Frying eggplant is somewhat tricky, as it absorbs oil like a sponge. I read some tricks like brushing egg white or flour on the eggplant slices before frying. None of these tricks are good enough to avoid oil soaking into the eggplant body.

Is there any practical way to fry eggplant using minimal oil?

  • 1
    You could get small eggplants (asian types - be careful, these overcook very quickly!), stuff them and fry them whole, with little unprotected flesh exposed to oil. Nov 14, 2015 at 19:09
  • Also, I remember reading something about how the direction you cut it (more surface with or against the "grain" exposed to oil) matters ... cannot find it for the world of it... Nov 14, 2015 at 23:37
  • @rackandboneman from direction you mean vertical vs. horizontal ?
    – Googlebot
    Nov 14, 2015 at 23:39
  • 3
    Why do you fry it if you don't want it oily?
    – rumtscho
    Nov 15, 2015 at 12:08
  • 1
    @rumtscho there is oily, and then there is eggplant which sponges up more oil than you could possible want. Grilling(broiling) or baking in oven is the trick
    – TFD
    Nov 16, 2015 at 6:50

6 Answers 6


I had the same problem before, but I learned this great trick from Larousse:

Try sprinkling slices of your eggplant with plenty of salt on both sides and let rest for about fifteen minutes. The salt will draw out a lot of water from the vegetable, making it less spongy.

Then, dry off the slices before adding them to very hot oil in a frying pan. The hot oil should help make a nice sear, sealing off the eggplant, so it doesn't soak up anymore oil. If you need to, turn down the heat after the eggplant is browned to let it finish cooking.


I've had the best luck using the following method:

  1. Gently rub some salt on the eggplant and leave for a few minutes

  2. Dab the eggplant pieces with a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture.

  3. Microwave (I know, it sounds awful, but give it a shot) the eggplant for couple of minutes. This will partially cook the eggplant and also collapse the air pockets in the eggplant, reducing the amount of oil that it will absorb when frying

  4. Fry with a bit of oil

The result is some of the best fried eggplant I've had.


Spray them lightly with olive oil on both sides, add your choice of fresh herbs¹, put them on an oven shelf and bake them in the oven at 150°C (300°F) until you get the texture you want.

Don't go above that T° as the smoke point for olive oil is 160°C.

Disadvantage: It's not really frying, it's baking
Advantage: no extra sodium! :-)

¹: I like a mix of oregano and thyme myself, but YMMV...

  • 1
    While this may be a good solution... the question is specifically asking for a method for frying eggplant, and this is baking it.
    – Catija
    Nov 15, 2015 at 1:33
  • @Catija: yes, it is! But sometimes you have to read between the lines and baking an oil sponge with a light sprinkling of oil is probably closer to the end-result the OP is trying to achieve then actually trying to fry it with less oil... :-/ Let's await OP's stance on this... ;-)
    – Fabby
    Nov 15, 2015 at 2:26
  • @Catija: Answer edited. Better now? ;-)
    – Fabby
    Nov 15, 2015 at 14:02

I experimented with salting and brining. Brining the cut-up pieces of aubergine for a few hours gives by far the best results. This methods gets rid of the bitter taste, and even takes care of the slightly allergic reaction I always get eating aubergines. The brine becomes quite brown. They will hardly take up any oil like this, cook quickly and evenly.

I brine in water about a salty as sea water, more or less.

This website agrees with me, check it out!


  • agree! seems counter-intuitive, but I have had success with brining too!
    – moscafj
    Feb 10, 2016 at 20:46

i have grilled egg plant before with a little brush of oil and it came out fine. i think this could work with frying if you fried it on a gentle heat for a longer time so the water was released,and so it steams in its own juice. they are very juicy when they are cooked. i have also baked with minimal oil, just a drizzle and tossed, and into a medium oven. i think keeping the heat down is key as it allows time for the moisture to be released.

  • I have done this and it definitely works. You can increase the temperature towards the end to get a nice sear. If you cut it into small or at least thin slices and use a non-stick pan, you can fry without any oil - although you will probably want to add some for the taste.
    – cgogolin
    Nov 18, 2015 at 0:04

According to other answers I read "rub some salt on the eggplant and leave for a few minutes" is great, but it might not be the way to reduce its absorption of oil, I guess !?

My way is :

1) Use round pan

2) Pour some oil (a small amount - but enough amount to fry the eggplants) into the pan

3) Shake the pan after the oil has been cooked. (make sure oil are all over the pan and not gathering in the middle)

4) Fry those eggplants.

Preparations before above steps

  • You can cut the eggplants into round shape (slicing horizontally) or stick shape (slicing vertically).
  • Don't cut into very big size.
  • And yes, rub it with a little salt together with water in a bowl for 10~15 minutes before getting started to fry.

Hope it helps! ;-)

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