Can you make eggplant fries in an air fryer? Absolutely! These delectable air fryer eggplant fries are coated with savory pork panko, making them perfect for those following a low-carb, keto, or gluten-free diet. Not only are these eggplant fries quick to prepare, but they also contain only 6.9 grams of net carbs per serving. With just 12 minutes of air frying, you can enjoy the taste of your favorite restaurant’s fried eggplant fries right at home.
Hey there! Recently, we stumbled upon a local restaurant that serves the most mouthwatering deep-fried eggplant fries. Let me tell you, they are absolutely delicious. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and paired with a hint of Parmesan and warm marinara sauce for dipping, it’s easily one of the best appetizers I’ve ever had.
Luckily for us, eggplant fries are a great candidate for an air fryer adaptation. These “fried” eggplant fries made in the air fryer can give you that same restaurant experience without the need for deep frying. Trust me, you’re going to fall in love with them. Even my pickiest family member couldn’t resist gobbling them up.
You won’t believe that these fries are actually packed with nutrients. They’re so delicious that it’s hard to believe they’re good for you too. So, let’s dive right in, shall we?
Why should you try making eggplant fries in an air fryer? Well, besides being incredibly tasty, they also offer some nutritional benefits:
Baked, not fried: Typically, eggplant fries are deep-fried, resulting in excess oil absorption. By using an air fryer, you can achieve the same crispy texture without the need for all that oil.
Low-carb and keto-friendly: If you’re following a low-carb diet for weight loss or blood sugar control, you’ll be pleased to know that these air fryer eggplant fries contain only 6.9 grams of net carbs per generous serving. They’re a great way to enjoy breaded eggplant fries without overloading on refined carbs.
Gluten-free: These eggplant fries are also gluten-free since we use pork panko instead of traditional breadcrumbs. They’re a fantastic option for those who need to avoid gluten due to celiac disease or gluten sensitivities.
Veggie-packed appetizer: While technically classified as a fruit by botanists, eggplants are considered part of the vegetable group in the MyPlate model. Increasing your intake of both fruits and vegetables is always a good idea for overall health.
Perfect for picky eaters: Have you noticed that picky eaters tend to enjoy breaded foods, especially when there’s a dip involved? These eggplant fries might just be the ticket to getting fussy eaters in your household to love eggplant.
To make these keto eggplant fries, you’ll need:
- Baby eggplant (about 12-14 ounces total)
- Large eggs
- Pork panko
- Garlic powder
- Parsley (dried)
- Oregano (dried)
- Basil (dried)
- Thyme (dried)
- Rosemary (dried)
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Warm marinara sauce (for dipping)
If you’ve read my keto Air Fryer Chicken Schnitzel post, you’re likely familiar with my love for pork panko. Made from crushed pork rinds, it’s a delicious substitute for traditional breadcrumbs made from white flour. The best part is you won’t need to use cooking oil spray because the pork rinds provide enough fat to prevent sticking.
The kitchen equipment you’ll need for these air-fried eggplant fries is pretty basic. A good knife and peeler will come in handy for preparing the eggplant strips. While peeling the eggplant isn’t necessary, it’ll help your fries resemble the ones you’d find in a restaurant.
You’ll also want two medium-sized bowls—one for whisking the eggs and the other for combining the pork panko, Parmesan, spices, and dried herbs.
Lastly, you’ll need an air fryer to make this recipe. Whether you have a Ninja Foodi, Breville, Philips, Cosori, Nuwave, or any other brand, it should work just fine. However, keep in mind that cooking times may vary if you’re using a different model.
🔪 How to Make Air Fryer Eggplant Fries
Now it’s time to make these keto eggplant fries in the air fryer! Start by preparing your eggplants.
Trim both ends of the eggplant(s) and peel off the purple skin. Then, cut the eggplant into fries. I recommend slicing them into ½-inch thick strips about 4-4½ inches long. For even cooking, try to make the fries uniform in size. Altering the size will affect the cooking time.
Prepare two medium-sized bowls. Whisk the eggs in one bowl, and in the other bowl, combine the pork panko, Parmesan, spices, and dried herbs.
Dip each eggplant fry into the beaten eggs, then coat it in the pork panko mixture. Place the fries in a single layer on your air fryer trays, making sure they don’t touch.
It’s important not to overcrowd your fries. If necessary, use both air fryer trays for this recipe. Better results will be achieved by cooking the fries in multiple batches with enough space for air circulation.
⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
To air fry the eggplant fries, cook them for a total of 12-13 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Start by placing the eggplant fries in the air fryer for 5 minutes at 375°F.
- Then, switch the trays’ positions in the air fryer oven (no need to flip the fries) and cook for an additional 5 minutes at the same temperature.
- If the fries aren’t tender enough in the middle after this point, switch the trays’ positions one more time and air fry for an additional 2-3 minutes at 375°F.
Once done, sprinkle the eggplant fries with grated Parmesan cheese and let them cool for a bit before handling, as they will be hot.
👪 How to Serve Eggplant Fries
These eggplant fries are best enjoyed with some warm marinara sauce for dipping. If you want to turn them into a complete meal, serve them with spaghetti squash and extra marinara sauce. You can even try our Air Fryer Spaghetti Squash recipe, which is ready in under 30 minutes.
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 3 recipe, suitable for weight maintenance and active lifestyles. While breading your eggplant in crushed pork rinds adds incredible flavor, it also increases the calorie content. Therefore, if you’re aiming for weight management, these breaded eggplant fries may not be the best choice.
For a lower-calorie option, try air frying plain eggplant without breading. Experiment with different seasonings like Everything but the Bagel Seasoning, chili powder, Cajun spice, or lemon pepper. Although they won’t taste like classic eggplant fries, they can still be delicious.
Instead of having these fries as a snack, I recommend incorporating them into a meal alongside plenty of non-starchy veggies. Serve them with a large side salad or spiralized squash noodles with marinara sauce. These ideas will help create a low-calorie and keto-friendly meal that’s both satisfying and nutritious.
The combination of pork panko and Parmesan cheese in these eggplant fries provides ample protein. Therefore, I don’t recommend adding extra protein to the meal. However, if you’re looking to make it more substantial, consider adding grilled chicken breast.
For those who enjoy high-calorie meals, you can pair these fries with whole-grain pasta and pasta sauce on the side. Maybe even add some garlic bread for a true Italian feast.
Want more air fryer fries recipes? Don’t worry; there are plenty to choose from! Check out the following options:
- Air Fryer Frozen Sweet Potato Fries
- Healthy Air Fryer Frozen French Fries
- Air Fryer Home Fries
- Air Fryer Jicama Fries with Cilantro-Lime Dipping Sauce
By the way, if you’re specifically interested in air fryer eggplant recipes, you absolutely can’t miss our Air Fryer Eggplant Parm. It’s truly divine!
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Please note that all recipes on this website may or may not be suitable for you depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. If you require assistance in determining the best dietary pattern for your specific needs, consult a registered dietitian or physician.
Ketogenic recipes found online may not necessarily align with ketogenic diets recommended for medical nutrition therapy. This includes the recipe mentioned above.
The provided nutrition information is an estimate and should be used as a guide. The specific brands and ingredients used can cause variations. Calorie information on food labels can also be highly inaccurate, so don’t stress too much about the numbers.
For more information on how the three recipe levels can support your weight management goals, refer to my post on overnight oats without added sugar. Now, let’s get cooking!