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Picture this: A cozy evening in, and the aroma of melting cheese, savory tomato sauce, and tender eggplant wafts from your kitchen. Welcome to the experience that is our Mini Eggplant Parmesan.

This easy to make dish is perfect for intimate dinners or a well-deserved treat after a long day. It offers all the incredible flavors of a traditional Eggplant Parmesan but in a scaled-down size that won’t leave you with days of leftovers. Now, you don’t have to sacrifice quality or taste when cooking for one or two.

Relish your Eggplant Parmesan paired with a crusty slice of warm, freshly baked French Bread, a crisp Caesar Salad or a zesty Italian Chopped Salad, or alongside savory Garlic Smashed Potatoes.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Speedy: This recipe bakes in just 30 minutes. You don’t have to wait long to satisfy that comfort-food craving.
  • Simplicity: The ingredients are easy to find, and the steps are straightforward. No fancy techniques needed here!
  • Versatile: Whether you’re eating low-carb or traditional, this recipe offers ingredient options to suit your dietary needs.
  • Delicious and Satisfying: Lightly breaded eggplant layered with a savory tomato sauce and gooey cheese creates a flavor bomb in every bite.
  • Doubles Well: This recipe doubles well, so you can make it for a crowd or for leftovers.

RELATED: Easy Comfort Food Recipes For One

eggplant parmesan in a small baking dish with a fork on the side of the dish.

What Is Eggplant Parmesan?

Eggplant Parmesan is an Italian dish that consists of slices of eggplant breaded and fried, layered with cheese and marinara or tomato sauce, and then baked until bubbly and golden.

Although a classic in Italian-American households, Eggplant Parmesan is said to have roots in Southern Italy. It’s a delightful fusion of simple ingredients that come together to create something extraordinary. The dish has evolved over time, but its essence—a perfect blend of eggplant, cheese, and tomato sauce—remains the same.

Ingredients

ingredients in eggplant parmesan on a wooden cutting board.
  • Egg: A single large beaten egg is essential for coating your eggplant slices, acting as the glue for the breadcrumbs. It ensures a consistent, crisp layer.
  • Breadcrumbs: Whether you opt for homemade breadcrumbs or store-bought, breadcrumbs are key for that satisfying crunch. They serve as the outer layer, sealing in the eggplant’s moisture and flavor. Consider using any extra breadcrumbs in Baked Chicken Tenders, Chicken Parmesan, or a Mini Turkey Meatloaf.
  • Parmesan Cheese: For an extra punch, combine 1/4 cup of freshly shredded Parmesan with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle an additional 2 tablespoons on top before baking. Fresh Parmesan is always better than pre-packaged options, offering a richer, more authentic taste.
  • Herbs and Seasonings: Elevate the flavor profile with dried basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. These spices blend together to create that classic Italian seasoning we all love. We use this same combination of seasonings in Chicken Caprese.
  • Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil is the go-to for this recipe. It’s the least processed variant and retains the truest olive flavor, along with beneficial vitamins and minerals. If you prefer, lighter olive oil can be used as a substitute.
  • Eggplant: Select a small eggplant, roughly weighing around 11 ounces. Peeling is optional, but recommended, as the skin can sometimes turn out to be tough and a bit bitter. If you’ve got extra eggplant, consider using it to make a small batch of Baba Ganoush or Chicken Tagine.
  • Mozzarella Cheese: This staple ingredient contributes to the melt-in-your-mouth layers in this eggplant dish. Its creamy, stretchy quality is irreplaceable. Use extra cheese in Caprese Pasta or on a Personal Pepperoni Pizza.
  • Tomato Sauce: The base for your marinara, use 3/4 cup of either bottled or homemade tomato sauce. This forms the rich, tomatoey backdrop for all the other ingredients to shine.

This is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why I used them. For the full recipe please scroll down to the recipe box at the bottom of the post.

Recipe Variations

Whether you’re an adventurous eater or just want to use what you have in the pantry, here are some exciting alternatives to the classic recipe. Each variation brings a unique twist without compromising the comforting essence of Eggplant Parmesan.

  • Spicy Kick: Take your tomato sauce up a notch by stirring in some red pepper flakes or a splash of hot sauce. This gives your Eggplant Parmesan a zesty kick that spice lovers will appreciate.
  • Cheese Variety: Elevate the cheese factor by incorporating a layer of smoked Gouda or sharp Cheddar. Each cheese brings its own unique texture and flavor profile, adding depth to the dish.
  • Pesto Twist: For a burst of herbaceous freshness, swap out the tomato sauce for some homemade or store-bought pesto. This offers a lighter, yet equally flavorful, alternative.
  • Meaty Version: Introduce a protein like cooked, crumbled Italian sausage or ground turkey between the layers. It turns the dish into a meaty masterpiece while still keeping the essence of Eggplant Parmesan.
  • Stuffed Style: Before assembling, stuff each slice of eggplant with a mixture of ricotta cheese, chopped spinach, and garlic. This adds another layer of creaminess and flavor, making the dish even more indulgent.
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How To Choose The Perfect Eggplant

Though you can find eggplants all year, their peak season is from July to October. When selecting the ideal eggplant, keep an eye out for these key features:

  • Firmness: The eggplant should be slightly firm but not rock-hard. If it’s too soft when you press the skin, it’s overripe and should be avoided. An optimally ripe eggplant will resist a bit when gently pressed.
  • Skin Quality: Aim for an eggplant with smooth, shiny skin. Any blemishes or soft spots are signs to steer clear.
  • Stem Condition: Check that the stem is green and shows no signs of mold or softness.
  • Size Matters: Smaller eggplants often yield a sweeter, less bitter taste.
  • Shelf Life: Once you’ve picked your perfect eggplant, plan to use it within a week for the best flavor and texture.
slices of eggplant on a cutting board with a bowl of parmesan cheese in the background.

How To Make Eggplant Parmesan

These step-by-step photos and instructions help you visualize how to make a mini eggplant parmesan. See the recipe below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  1. Heat the oven to 350° F (177° C).
  2. Prepare the eggplant: Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, dried basil, salt, dried oregano, garlic powder, and pepper.
slices of eggplant on a table next to a bowl of beaten egg and another bowl with breadcrumbs.
  1. Dip 1 eggplant slice in egg, letting excess egg drip off, then dredge in bread crumb mixture until evenly coated, shaking off excess. Place on a large sheet of wax paper or on a large plate.
  2. In a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil for 30 seconds. Add 3 eggplant slices and fry 5 minutes until golden, turning over once halfway through frying. Transfer to a large paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices.

Pro Tip: Eggplant absorbs a lot of oil so you may find that you need to add additional olive oil to the skillet when frying the second batch of eggplant.

  1. Assemble: Arrange ½ of the eggplant in a layer on the bottom of a small baking dish lightly greased with cooking spray or olive oil.
  1. Cover eggplant with half of the mozzarella cheese.
  2. Add half of the tomato sauce.
  3. Repeat layering with remaining eggplant.
  4. Top with the remaining mozzarella and sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.

Pro Tip: Place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drippings from the sauce and cheese while the Eggplant Parmesan bakes.

  1. Bake for 30 minutes and enjoy!
six photos showing how to make eggplant parmesan.

Top Baking Dishes For Mini Eggplant Parmesan: Size Guide

5×5-inch baking dish with a base area of 25 square inches

4×6-inch baking dish with a base area of 24 square inches

6×6-inch baking dish with a base area of 36 square inches

6-inch round baking dish with a base area of 28.3 square inches

Make-Ahead Tips

Maximize convenience with these three make-ahead methods for Eggplant Parmesan:

  1. Full Bake Method: Cook the entire casserole a day prior, let it cool, then cover and place in the fridge. Reheat at 350°F until the center is warm and the edges are bubbling with cheese and sauce.
  2. Pre-Fry Method: Opt to fry your eggplant slices a day or two in advance to simplify your cooking process. Store them in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble and bake the casserole.
  3. Pre-Assemble Method: Create the casserole layers a day before you plan to eat, cover, and refrigerate. About 30 minutes before baking, remove from the fridge and let it come closer to room temperature as your oven preheats. Then bake as usual.

Expert Tips

  • Eggplant Thickness: Aim for slices no thicker than 1/4-inch. Thinner slices not only fry faster but also absorb less oil, making your dish lighter yet still flavorful.
  • Storing Leftovers: Extend the life of your Eggplant Parmesan by storing it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When you’re ready for round two, reheat using your microwave, conventional oven, or toaster oven for best results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is salting the eggplant necessary?

The traditional approach to preparing eggplant involves salting the slices to draw out any bitter juices. However, in my experience, skipping this step has never resulted in a bitter dish. Modern farming methods have led to less bitter eggplants, making this step often unnecessary. Feel free to slice your eggplant and get straight to cooking.

Is Eggplant Parmesan a vegetarian dish?

Eggplant Parmesan can be a vegetarian dish, but be cautious when choosing Parmesan cheese. Some brands use animal rennet in the production process. Look for Parmesan made with vegetarian rennet, opt for a dairy-free version, or substitute with nutritional yeast to ensure the dish is vegetarian.

How can I make low-carb Eggplant Parmesan?

Swap out breadcrumbs for almond flour to make this dish low-carb. Use 1/2 cup of almond flour while keeping the rest of the ingredients the same. Alternatively, skip the breadcrumbs entirely and coat the eggplant slices with a mixture of shredded Parmesan and spices.

a partially eaten dish of eggplant parmesan with the spoon resting on the side of the dish.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

If you’ve tried this baked Eggplant Parmesan or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

Also, if you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see it!


Your Cooking For One Source
Because you’re worth it

Mini Eggplant Parmesan

4.93 from 27 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
This mini eggplant Parmesan recipe is sure to become one of your favorites! Made with layers of lightly breaded eggplant slices, melted mozzarella cheese, and tomato sauce. It's a wonderful, easy to make, single serving meal that bakes in just 30 minutes.

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese , plus 2 tablespoons more for topping
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small eggplant (about 11-ounces), peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¾ cup tomato sauce

Instructions 

  • Heat the oven to 350° F (177° C).
  • Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, dried basil, salt, dried oregano, garlic powder, and pepper.
  • Dip 1 eggplant slice in egg, letting excess egg drip off, then dredge in bread crumb mixture until evenly coated, shaking off excess. Place on a large sheet of wax paper or on a large plate.
  • In a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil for 30 seconds. Add 3 eggplant slices and fry 5 minutes until golden, turning over once halfway through frying. Transfer to a large paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices.
    Pro Tip: Eggplant absorbs a lot of oil so you may find that you need to add additional olive oil to the skillet when frying the second batch of eggplant.
  • To Assemble: Arrange ½ of the eggplant in a layer on the bottom of a small baking dish lightly greased with cooking spray or olive oil.
  • Cover eggplant with ½ of the mozzarella cheese and ½ of the tomato sauce. Repeat layering with remaining eggplant, mozzarella, and sauce. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese.
    Pro Tip: Place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drippings from the sauce and cheese while the Eggplant Parmesan bakes.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until cheese has melted.

Notes

Maximize convenience with these three make-ahead methods for Eggplant Parmesan:
    1. Full Bake Method: Cook the entire casserole a day prior, let it cool, then cover and place in the fridge. Reheat at 350°F until the center is warm and the edges are bubbling with cheese and sauce.
    1. Pre-Fry Method: Opt to fry your eggplant slices a day or two in advance to simplify your cooking process. Store them in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble and bake the casserole.
    1. Pre-Assemble Method: Create the casserole layers a day before you plan to eat, cover, and refrigerate. About 30 minutes before baking, remove from the fridge and let it come closer to room temperature as your oven preheats. Then bake as usual.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 439kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 128mg, Sodium: 1000mg, Potassium: 685mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 1045IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 480mg, Iron: 3mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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I’m Joanie and I’m incredibly happy you’re here! Our aim is to inspire individuals with access to single serving recipes, education, and a supportive community that will enable them to enjoy the preparation of a meal that will nourish both body and soul.

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21 Comments

  1. Made an eggplant lover out of me. Simple but delicious. Definitely going into the rotation.

  2. Hi Joanie, I just found your “onedishkitchen.com” and so glad I did. My husband and I are empty nesters now that all 3 of our girls are married. So our meal portions have become smaller and my husband love desserts and I find desserts to be the hardest to bake smaller sizes. I’m excited to try the mini blueberry pie. So excited to receive emails and try your recipes.

    1. Judy, I bake mine in a 5×5-inch baking dish. You can use a 9×9-inch pan but you may only get one layer of eggplant slices in your pan. You will also have to watch the bake time, if using a larger baking dish the eggplant parmesan will likely cook faster.

  3. Have to hand it to you, my husband (who has been vegetarian his entire life) hates eggplant. He loved this. We both did! Finding great tasting, low carb, vegetarian meals is not easy – so thank you!

    1. Hi Bree,

      I’m so happy you both loved the recipe. It really is hard to believe it’s eggplant! Thanks so much for letting me know the eggplant was a hit.

      Joanie

    1. Hi Eileen,
      Yes, almond flour works well and I’ve made the switch quite a few times in this recipe. Hope you enjoy!

  4. Hi Joanie, I’ve made this twice now, but realized that you don’t say what temp to bake it at! I did 375 last night and it was too hot. I can’t remember what I did it at the first time. Help please.

    Lesley

    1. Hi Lesley,

      I apologize for my delayed response to your question. I’m traveling and my internet connection has been spotty. Bake it at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. The eggplant is already cooked so you really just want the cheese to melt. I can’t believe I forgot to post the oven temperature – thanks so much for bringing it to my attention. I’m adding it to the recipe notes now. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe 🙂

      Joanie

  5. Hi Joanie, I’ve made this and it’s delish! I have one comment – you don’t say what temp to bake it at! I can’t remember what I baked it at the first time!

    Thanks.

    Lesley Keller

  6. Can this recipe be frozen? And if so, should it be frozen before or after it's baked? This sounds delicious, but an eggplant is pretty large and it wouldn't do to have to toss what's left! LOL Thanks, Lesley Keller

    1. Hi Lesley,
      Yes, you can freeze Eggplant Parmesan. Bake it first, then tightly wrap up the leftovers in plastic wrap. In this recipe, I use a small eggplant that's just under a pound in weight. If you use a larger eggplant, you'll need to double the other ingredients.
      Hope you enjoy the recipe!
      Joanie