Eggplant has worked its way into the starring role in many a recipe on this site, from pasta to sliders (you’ve got to see this one to believe it) and every taste in between. But it’s time to forget the forks in favor of your fingers with this easy, cheesy recipe for Eggplant Parmesan Bites with Marinara Dipping Sauce.
This updated take on the Italian classic features bite-sized nuggets of eggplant coated in Parmesan breadcrumbs and fried to crispy, golden brown perfection. And the dip-worthy complement to this snack sensation? Tangy homemade marinara sauce that transforms from raw ingredients to a saucy slam-dunk in just 10 minutes.
Keep the oil at a boil with a few more of my deep-fried favorites, including Fried Ravioli On a Stick, Italian Arancini (Rice Balls), and more warm, cheesy snacks and sides.
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- 2 medium eggplants (about 2 ½ lbs total)
- 2 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs (See Kelly's Note)
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 cup homemade or store-bought marinara sauce
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Deep-fry thermometer
- Peel the eggplants and dice them into 1-inch cubes. Place the cubes in a large colander and toss them with 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Let them drain in the colander over a bowl in the sink for 30 minutes to remove excess moisture.
- Combine the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together the eggs with 2 tablespoons water. Place the flour in a third bowl. Bread the eggplant cubes in batches by coating them in the flour, then the eggs and then the cheesy breadcrumbs.
- Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
- Add three inches of oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot set over medium heat and attach the deep-fry thermometer. Once the oil reaches 360ºF, add the breaded eggplant in batches, cooking them until they're golden brown on all sides. Using a slotting spoon, transfer the eggplant to the paper towel-lined baking sheet and immediately season them with salt. Repeat the frying process with the remaining eggplant, returning the oil to 360ºF between each batch.
- Garnish the eggplant bites with chopped fresh parsley and serve them with marinara sauce for dipping.
- I prefer a mix of Italian-style Panko breadcrumbs and very fine Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs, which produces well-breaded eggplant with a crispy crunch.
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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.
Hi! Fairly new cook here so I’m sure I did something wrong.. breading slid right off of all of the eggplant and separated right when I put it into the hot oil.. anyone know what I did wrong? I followed the order of the flour ,then egg, then bread crumb mix…. TIA!
Hi Jill! Did you salt the eggplant before (as indicated in the recipe)? That helps remove excess moisture, which could cause the breading to slip off.
I made these in the air fryer! I did 360degrees for about 12-15 min. Soooo crispy she delicious!!!
Awesome! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Jennifer!
These are so, so good! TY for sharing the recipe
I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe!
hi kelly,i was wondering if i can bread the eggplant bites ahead of time and store in refridgerator till ready to cook,also can i bake them instead of frying.thank you
Hi Tammy! It depends how far in advance you’d be breading them. And I’ve never tried baking these so I’m not sure, but I think it’d work!
Do they have to be rinsed after they have sweated with salt?
No need to!
Made these tonight, the family and I loved em! I skipped sweating them out because I didn’t have time and they still turned out great
So glad you and your family enjoyed the recipe, Nicole!
Once they are dipped in the egg, flour and breadcrumb mixture, can they be frozen until ready to be fried?
Hi Thea! I’ve never tried that so I’m not certain what the result would be. Let me know if you give it a shot!
can the recipe for Eggplant Bites be frozen ?
Hi there, Rita! I’ve never tried freezing the eggplant bites so I’m not certain what the result would be. Let me know if you give it a try!
These are amazing!!! Totally sitting down with the cookie sheet and eating this for dinner. :) I fried them in refined avocado oil, used home-ground whole wheat flour, and italian gluten-free bread crumbs (just because I had them on hand, obviously using wheat flour I’m not GF :) ). I just used about 1/2 inch of oil and turned them a couple times to brown all sides.
Woohoo! So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Joanna!
Can i freeze them aftet they are breaded and before they are fried
Hi Cathi! I’ve never tried freezing them so I’m not certain what the result would be. Let me know if you give it a try!
Trying this recipe out. Thanks for sharing!!
Yes need to know, do these bites need to be served warm, or at room temp. want to take them to a potluck party. But if i make them at home, they wont be eaten till 2 hrs. later, i have no refrigeration.
But they will be in a cool spot until eaten, plz help.
They’re definitely best served warm!
Is there a way to bake these instead of frying?
Hi Becky! I’ve never tried baking them so I’m not certain how they would turn out.
Can these be baked instead of fried?
And has anyone tried using Gluten Free Panko Crumbs?
Thank you for any advice!
Hi Deborah! I’ve never tried baking these or using gluten-free Panko so I can’t say for certainty how they’d turn out. You’d definitely want to moisten the Panko if you’re baking them though, so that they get a golden brown color.
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