Air Fryer Eggplant Milanese

This deliciously crispy yet healthy recipe for Air Fryer Eggplant Milanese is served on a bed of arugula with cherry tomatoes tossed in balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, shaved parmesan and a delicious balsamic glaze for a delicious vegetarian salad that is easy to make gluten-free!

Air Fryer Eggplant Milanese on a plate with cherry tomatoes, arugula, parmesan shavings and a balsamic glaze.

I’ve had some requests recently for more meatless meals! As well as more air fryer meals. So, I figured this recipe for Air Fryer Eggplant Milanese was a great place to start. My mom was talking about making eggplant Milanese a few weeks ago. Soon after I saw Bobby Flay post about eggplant Milanese on Instagram. Then it clicked, Air Fryer Eggplant Milanese!

I was heavily inspired by Bobby Flay’s post. But, I tweaked it quite a bit. He cut his eggplant lengthwise. I prefer eggplant rounds. I served mine over a bed of arugula then topped it with a cherry tomato balsamic salad, shaved parmesan, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. The eggplant got so crispy in the air fryer! My husband who usually isn’t a fan of meatless meals said he wouldn’t mind if we had this weekly! I’d call that a win.

I hope you love this Air Fryer Eggplant Milanese! It’s a great vegetarian dish to add to your weekly menu. Super easy to throw together but feels somewhat fancy if you ask me 😉

Air Fried Eggplant Milanese with a parmesan, tomato and balsamic salad on white plates and a pink background.

What does “Milanese” mean?

Milanese” style means breading something (usually thin sliced meat – I also like to make a chicken version) in flour, eggs and seasoned breadcrumbs. Then frying it! Chicken Milanese is a very popular Italian dish.

Which air fryer do you use?

I have the Crux digital air fryer and absolutely love it! They don’t make my exact model anymore – but click here for the new version. It has great reviews. I also heard amazing things about this Ninja air fryer with a convection oven included. I love my air fryer for getting breaded foods super crisp! Crispy eggplant is so underrated.

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Yes! I used panko breadcrumbs, but I also tried it with Trader Joe’s gluten-free rice crumbs which also works!

A few extra tips for nailing this Air Fryer Eggplant recipe:

  • Make sure to slice the eggplant 1/2 an inch thick, at most 3/4 an inch. No thinner or thicker or else timing may be off for cooking! I found 1/2 an inch to be the perfect width for this dish.
  • Season season season! Bobby Flay taught me this and it does make a HUGE difference. I season my eggplant before I air fry it (before breading), then season the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs. As well as the tomato salad. It’s like layers and amplifies the flavor.
  • Don’t skip the balsamic glaze, it really rounds off the dish!
Eggplant Milanese on white plates with an Italian salad.

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Eggplant Milanese on white plates with an Italian salad.

Air Fryer Eggplant Milanese

  • Author: Amanda Hickman
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 23 servings 1x


This deliciously crispy yet healthy recipe for Air Fryer Eggplant Milanese is served on a bed of arugula with cherry tomatoes tossed in balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, shaved parmesan and a delicious balsamic glaze for a delicious vegetarian salad that is easy to make gluten-free!



Eggplant Milanese

  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking spray

Cherry Tomato Salad

  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 12 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • handful of arugula
  • fresh basil ribbons, to taste
  • balsamic glaze, to taste
  • shaved parmesan, to taste


  1. Season your eggplant rounds with salt and pepper.
  2. Spray your air fryer basket then add eggplant rounds. You can stack them for this part. Lightly spray the eggplant and air fry at 400 degrees F for about 4 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, set up your breading station; flour in one shallow bowl with salt and pepper, whisked eggs in another shallow bowl with salt and pepper, then breadcrumbs in a third bowl with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  4. Take your eggplant rounds and dip in flour, then egg (shake off excess egg), then fully coat in the breadcrumbs. I press them on so it sticks well. Repeat with all of the eggplant rounds.
  5. Spray the air fryer basket again, then lay the breaded eggplant rounds in a single layer. This will probably have to be done in batches.
  6. Spray the tops of the breaded eggplant very generously with non-stick spray.
  7. Air fry at 380 degrees F for 6 minutes, flip (spray again if desired) and cook for 5-6 more minutes or until they’re crispy and golden.
  8. Meanwhile, make cherry tomato salad by combining the halved tomatoes, balsamic vinegar to taste, olive oil, a bit of salt and pepper, and the minced garlic. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  9. Assemble by adding arugula to the plates, then top with eggplant Milanese, cherry tomato salad, basil, shaved parmesan, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Serve immediately and enjoy!


To make this recipe gluten-free use Trader Joe’s ricecrumbs or gluten-free breadcrumbs

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: Italian
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    Recipe rating



    This was amazing!! I Knew my bf wasnt excited about No meat, but he said how awesome it tasted and Looked like something from a restaurant! This will definitely be in the dinner rOtation!


    This was so great! My boyfriend and i trIed Out a vegetarian diet for a while, and this recipe definitely didn’t make us mIss meat at all. This was a winner for sure.


    This is a go to Weeknight recIpe for me! EasY to make & so delicIous!