How to Make Baked Eggplant

A platter with baked eggplant

The Spruce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Brine Time: 30 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 2 to 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
161 Calories
8g Fat
25g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 161
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1604mg 70%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 4mg 18%
Calcium 30mg 2%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 348mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Baked eggplant is a great way to cook the large fruit. It can be just as meltingly tender as fried eggplant but without the hassle, grease, and calories of frying.

To keep things as tasty as can be, this recipe uses a two-step method. You'll begin by brining the eggplant, which adds flavor and helps remove the bitter taste that prevents most people from eating it raw. The slices are then lightly coated with oil so they get nicely browned while baking. The recipe can easily be doubled and tripled as needed. You may need to work in batches, depending on oven space and access to baking sheets.

The baked eggplant can be used in dishes like eggplant Parmesan and Turkish roasted eggplant salad. It also makes a delicious side dish, especially when dressed up with simple things like balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, and basil.

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Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant

  • 1 tablespoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling, if desired

  • 1/2 cup warm water

  • 4 to 6 cups cool water

  • 2 tablespoons oil, such as vegetable, canola, or olive oil; or cooking spray

  • Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling, optional

  • Chopped tomatoes, for topping, optional

  • Chopped basil, for topping, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for making baked eggplant
    The Spruce
  2. Cut the eggplant into whatever shapes and sizes you prefer. Be sure to trim off and discard the stem and the ends. Set aside.

    Eggplant is cut and set aside
    The Spruce
  3. In a large bowl, dissolve the salt in about 1/2 cup warm water. Once the salt is fully dissolved, add 4 to 6 cups of cool water, mixing well.

  4. Put the eggplant into the salt water. Set a plate or pot lid that is slightly smaller than the top of the bowl over the eggplant to keep the pieces submerged. Let sit for about 30 minutes.

    Eggplant is placed in salt water and set aside
    The Spruce
  5. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375 F.

  6. After the eggplant has soaked, drain it, and pat the pieces dry with paper towels or a clean, lint-free kitchen towel. Lay the eggplant on a baking sheet (or sheets, depending on how much eggplant you decided to cook) in a single layer. Do not overlap. Leave a bit of space between the pieces so they bake evenly and attractively.

    Eggplant is placed on a baking sheet
    The Spruce
  7. Lightly brush or spray with oil. Turn all the pieces over and brush or spray the other side. Bake until the underside has browned nicely, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn all the pieces over and bake until that side is browned; about 10 more minutes.

    Eggplant is nicely browned after cooking
    The Spruce
  8. Use the baked eggplant in a recipe or serve alone sprinkled with salt, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, or topped with chopped tomatoes and/or basil.

    Finished baked eggplant on a platter
    The Spruce
  9. Enjoy.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Refrigerate leftover cooked eggplant in an airtight container or zip-close bag for up to four days.
  • To freeze whole cooked eggplant slices, arrange them in freezer bags or containers, separated by sheets of wax paper. Freeze for up to 10 months.

Why Is the Eggplant Soaked in Salt Water?

The process is called brining, and it uses the power of osmosis to help the eggplant hold onto its natural moisture while it cooks. This, in turn, helps the eggplant retain its shape instead of collapsing into a mushy mess. As a side benefit, it seasons the eggplant nicely.

Is It Necessary to Peel Eggplant?

The eggplant peel does not have to be removed. Young eggplant and some varieties have a thin skin that holds a lot of the nutritious value, so it can remain and be eaten as is. For thick-skinned eggplant, or if it's a personal preference, you can remove the peel. Leaving it on while cooking makes it easier to handle.

Recipe Variations

  • For garlic flavor, use garlic-infused olive oil or sauté a halved clove of garlic in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until aromatic. Remove the garlic and brush the eggplant with the oil.
  • Replace the salt with a seasoned salt blend or Creole seasoning.