Perfect Grilled Eggplant

Perfect grilled eggplant stacked up on a white plate

The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Brining Time: 30 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
178 Calories
10g Fat
25g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 178
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1600mg 70%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 4mg 18%
Calcium 26mg 2%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 349mg 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.)

Grilled eggplant can be one of the great treats of summer—lusciously tender eggplant, with bits of crispy charred edges here and there. It works on its own, as part of a grilled vegetable platter, or even as a stand-in for a meat patty in burgers. Sadly, it is more commonly either overcooked and flavorless or undercooked and spongy. Luckily, there is a way to grill tender, flavorful eggplant.

This easy recipe uses the power of salted water (or brining) to guarantee great grilled eggplant. It's easy and adds 30 minutes to this otherwise quick recipe, but it's worth it. Every time you pop a few slices of this brilliantly flexible vegetable on a hot grill, it will come off crispy brown on the outside, creamy sweet on the inside, and full of flavor.

Feel free to embellish with spices and other flavors. Serve it with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, a dollop of pesto, a spoonful of romesco, or a scattering of crumbled feta cheese and make this simple technique a recipe of your own. Grilled eggplant is also particularly yummy with a few grilled tomatoes at its side.


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"Easy to make, inexpensive, and full of flavor, this grilled eggplant recipe is a great side dish for the summer. The instructions were clear, it took little-to-no time to slice up the eggplant, and the brining solution provided excellent seasoning. The eggplant came out tender with grill marks, but not overly so. Very much enjoyed!" —Victoria Heydt

Perfect grilled eggplant stacked up on a white plate
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 tablespoons fine sea salt, plus more for sprinkling

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 6 to 8 cups cold water

  • 3 medium eggplants

  • 1/3 cup olive oil (approximately)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for grilled eggplant recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  2. In a large bowl, dissolve the 2 tablespoons of salt in 1 cup warm water; stir until the salt is fully dissolved. Add 6 to 8 cups cold water. Set the brine aside.

    Glass bowl with water and salt

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  3. Cut off and discard the stem end of the eggplant.

    Stem ends trimmed off the eggplant on a cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  4. Cut the eggplant into 3/4-inch thick slices (either diagonal, crosswise, or lengthwise).

    Eggplant cut into 3/4-inch slices and fanned out on a wooden cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  5. Place the slices in the saltwater brine.

    Eggplant slices in a bowl of saltwater brine

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  6. Weigh the eggplant slices down with an upside-down plate; let soak for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour.

    Eggplant weighed down with a plate

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  7. Meanwhile, heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high heat. You should be able to hold your hand about an inch above the cooking grate for 3 to 4 seconds before pulling it away from the heat.

  8. Drain the eggplant and pat it dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.

    Patting dry the drained eggplant on a rimmed baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  9. Lay the slices on a large baking sheet or tray. Brush one side with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

    Eggplant slices on baking sheet brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  10. Place the slices with the oiled side on the grill. Close the lid if using a gas or electric grill and cook until grill marks appear; about 5 minutes.

    Eggplant slices oiled-side down on the grill

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  11. Brush the top sides of the slices with oil and sprinkle them with salt. Turn the slices over, close the lid of the grill, and cook until grill marks appear on the other side and the eggplant is very tender; about 5 more minutes.

    Grilled eggplant slices on a grill

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt 

  12. Serve hot or at room temperature.

    A plate of grilled eggplant slices alongside oil and salt

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt


  • Depending on the size of your grill, you may need to cook the eggplant in two batches.
  • Be sure to use a heat-resistant basting brush when grilling.

Recipe Variations

  • For more flavor, sprinkle dried or fresh oregano and parsley on the eggplant along with the salt or use an Italian seasoning mix. You can also stir minced garlic into the olive oil.
  • Some grilled eggplant fans enjoy brushing Italian dressing onto the slices. It's an oil-heavy dressing, so no extra oil is required.

Why Is Brining Eggplant so Important?

Raw eggplant has a slightly bitter taste, and it's full of moisture. Brining helps lock in that moisture through osmosis, so the fruit's flesh holds together on the grill. It also transforms the raw taste into a delicious sweetness, and the salt enhances the eggplant's flavor.

Should Eggplant Be Peeled Before Grilling?

Some people find eggplant skin difficult to digest. However, leaving the skin on for grilling helps the eggplant slices keep their shape on the grill and makes them easier to handle. Diners don't need to eat the skin.