This simple Japanese-inspired air fryer miso eggplant is so delicious, it’ll convert even the biggest eggplant skeptics in your life.
I have to admit: for a long time, I was pretty anti-air fryer. As a professional recipe developer, I’m just used to using my oven for roasting – even in the summer. And as a Brooklyn-dweller with a small kitchen, I’m always hesitant to bring in any new gear, especially something so bulky.
But! Thanks to a couple of recent freelance projects that required its use, I’ve been enjoying experimenting with this gadget. It cooks things super quickly and heats up our apartment waaay less. And in the case of cooking eggplant, which usually calls for a lot of oil and time, the air fryer requires exponentially less of both resources.
I’m so excited to share this air fryer miso eggplant with you. Inspired by Japanese nasu dengaku, it’s simple to make yet tastes and looks restaurant-fancy.
Why You’re Gonna Love Air Fryer Miso Eggplant
- It’s super delicious. Buttery soft eggplant with caramelized edges and a salty-savory nutty glaze. Need I say more?
- It uses less oil. Air frying eggplant requires way less oil than pan-frying or roasting.
- It’s easy and fast. And you only need a handful of ingredients.
- Minimal cleanup. Forget scrubbing crusty baking sheets.
Ingredient Notes + Substitutions
- Eggplant: This recipe works best with baby eggplants because they fit comfortably in the air fryer basket. Japanese/Chinese eggplants work well, too. However, you can use any eggplants you have; just cut them into chunks to make them fit.
- Miso: This Japanese fermented soybean paste adds salt and savoriness. Look for it in the refrigerated section or in the international foods aisle. There are various types available; look for white miso (“shiro miso”), as it is the most versatile.
- Soy Sauce: Sub with tamari or coconut aminos for a gluten-free version.
- Sesame Oil: Adds an irresistible nuttiness. Don’t skip it!
- Maple Syrup: Balances the salt. Can be subbed with honey or even sugar.
- Garlic: Use fresh, not powdered, for the punchiest flavor.
- Sesame Seeds + Scallions: Feel free to experiment with other garnishes, like chopped peanuts, chives, cilantro, or basil.
Step-by-Step: Air Fryer Miso Eggplant
Step 1: Cross-hatch eggplant.
Cut diagonal criss-cross lines into each piece, cutting just through the flesh, not all the way through. This will help the miso glaze seep inside.
Step 2: Start air-frying.
Brush the eggplants with oil and place in a preheated air fryer. Cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes per side.
Step 3: Make the glaze.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
Step 4: Glaze the eggplants.
Use a pastry brush to distribute the glaze. (Don’t have a brush? A tablespoon will do.) Then return to the air fryer for just a couple of minutes to caramelize.
How to Serve Miso Eggplant
Air fryer miso eggplant is best eaten the same day it’s made. But if you do have leftovers, you can keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve it as part of a Japanese-inspired feast with rice, chilled udon, garlicky greens, and/or sesame garlic tofu.
I have an older Nuwave 6-quart model.
Yes. No need to peel eggplants – the skins are totally edible.
Yes! Follow all the same steps except bake at 400ºF (instead of 375ºF) and cook for 30-40 minutes until the eggplant is browned before adding the glaze.
If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes! Give it a rating below and leave a comment, and don’t forget to tag your creation with @thenewbaguette on Instagram.
The Full RecipePrint
This simple miso eggplant is so delicious, it’ll convert even the biggest eggplant skeptics in your life.
- 1 1/4 pounds baby eggplants (4 eggplants)* [see note below]
- About 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- 1 heaping tablespoon white miso
- 4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup*
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- Scallions and sesame seeds, for serving
- If using baby eggplants, halve them lengthwise. If your eggplants are too big to lay flat in the air fryer, cut them into smaller chunks. Cut diagonal criss-cross lines into each piece, cutting just through the flesh, not all the way through.
- Preheat the air fryer to 375ºF.
- Working in two batches (since all the eggplant won’t fit in the air fryer at once), brush both sides of the eggplant with olive oil. Place in the air fryer basket flesh-side down and sprinkle the skin with salt.
- Cook for 6 minutes. Then flip and cook for another 6 minutes, until slightly soft and golden.
- In a small bowl, combine the miso, soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup, and garlic.
- Open the air fryer and generously brush the flesh-side with miso glaze. Return to the air fryer for 2 more minutes. Transfer to a serving platter.
- Repeat with the remaining eggplant.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve warm.
- This works best with baby eggplants because they fit comfortably in the air fryer basket. Japanese/Chinese eggplants work well, too. However, you can use any eggplants you have; just cut them into chunks to make them fit. If using large globe eggplants, I recommend salting them first (use the technique described here).
- No maple syrup? Sub with honey or sugar.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 115
- Sodium: 515 mg
- Fat: 7.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 12 g
- Fiber: 5.2 g
- Protein: 2.2 g
Keywords: air fryer, miso, eggplant, vegan, healthy