Baked Eggplant Slices Recipe with Ricotta Cheese

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Baked Eggplant Slices Recipe with Ricotta Cheese is a fun and delicious way to enjoy eggplant! Everyone loves these slices of crispy eggplant layered with ricotta and parmigiano (or parmesan) cheese and homemade tomato sauce.

This makes a great vegetarian main dish, perfect side dish or appetizer recipe. Serve with a simple salad and homemade bread.

baked eggplant slice on a plate
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Baked Eggplant Slices Recipe with Ricotta Cheese

The stacks are baked until crispy and then layered with whipped ricotta cheese and tomato sauce and baked again to cheesy perfection.

Why you will love Baked Eggplant Slices Recipe with Ricotta Cheese

When we go to Italy every summer to visit family we have eggplants coming out our ears from all the fresh fruit and vegetable markets! We are always looking for different ways to use eggplant in simple ways.

Today’s recipe is somewhat similar to eggplant parmesan (eggplant parmigiana), but assembled in a cute little stack. Layers of tender panko-crusted eggplant, creamy ricotta fresh basil leaves layered with fresh tomato sauce.

I substitute whole milk ricotta cheese for the traditional mozzarella in eggplant parmesan. I also oven-bake the breaded eggplant slices which means no oil and less mess!

This makes the dish a little lighter than the fried version. Don’t get me wrong I love it that way too.

If you love eggplant try these recipes too: Eggplant and Tomato Pasta Sauce, Sauteed Italian Eggplant, Melanzane alla Parmigiana, and Easy Grilled Eggplant.

slice on baked eggplant with pan on baked eggplant in the background.

Simple Ingredients

This baked eggplant recipe uses fresh, simple, and flavorful ingredients to create a super tasty dish!

ingredient shot for recipe

See recipe card for quantities.

What ricotta to use for baked eggplant slices with ricotta cheese

I recommend a good quality brand that is full fat. If you buy “cheap ricotta” or use part skim ricotta it will be more watery and grainy and change the consistency of the ricotta.

I like an extra creamy ricotta texture, almost silky, so I whip the ricotta before adding the other ingredients.

The higher quality ricotta cheese will also be more dense and you likely won’t even need to strain it to remove the excess moisture and liquid.

How to prepare eggplant before baking

Make sure to salt the eggplant slices before baking them and lay them out on paper towels or a baking rack to draw out excess moisture and prevent the eggplant from getting mushy when it is baked.

Note: Many modern eggplant varieties are produced to be less bitter than eggplants in the past, so you can skip this step if you know the eggplant variety you are using does not have a lot of extra moisture.

How to make sliced eggplant recipe with ricotta cheese (step by step photos)

These Eggplant Stacks are layers of breaded eggplant, whipped ricotta, homemade marinara or red sauce, and fresh basil! They’re an easy Italian favorite! It helps to make the tomato sauce ahead of time.

Process for making baked eggplant- taking out excess water
  • Salt: Place the cut slices on baking sheets lined with double layers of paper towels.
    • Sprinkle kosher salt over all the slices.
    • Let the the eggplant sit out at room temperature for 1 hour and pat dry to remove liquid.
  • Dry: Using a clean paper towel.
dipping the eggplant slices in eggs and breadcrumb mixture.
  • Flour: Dip each slice of eggplant in the flour on both sides.
  • Egg: Then lightly toss in the egg mixture.
  • Bread: coat with parmigiano cheese and breadcrumb mixture.
Baked eggplant slices with ricotta cheese- baking slices.
  • Bake: In a preheated oven for about 15 minutes until crispy and set aside.
making the ricotta filling
  • Make the ricotta filling: Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse on high until creamy and thick- a couple of minutes. 
layering the eggplant slices with ricotta and cheese. Repeat layers.
layering the eggplant slices with ricotta and cheese. Repeat layers.
  • Coat the bottom of baking pan with a couple of ladles of tomato sauce.
  • Lay down the slices of eggplant in a single layer and spoon a little sauce on each.
  • Top with a healthy serving of ricotta and a little parmigiano cheese.
  • Repeat layering.
  • Bake until heated through and garnish with fresh basil.
baked eggplant slices in a baking dish ready to serve.

This is one of those easy recipes that any eggplant lover will adore! The whole family. loves this recipe in our home. A simple way to serve eggplant with great flavors!

Substitutions for baked eggplant slices recipe

This recipe is amazing as is! Try is the original way the first time and the next time you make it you can always change it up a bit!

  • Breadcrumbs- you can use regular breadcrumbs instead of the panko variety.
  • Cheese- you can add fresh or block mozzarella cheese to the layers to make it extra cheesy!
  • Vegetables- this recipe also works with zucchini. Simply cut them lengthwise and use the same process.

If you love panko-crusted recipes try Crispy Baked Cod with Panko, Fried Butterfly Shrimp Recipe (Easy and Crunchy), and Crispy Calamari Air Fryer Recipe (Easy and Light).

Why use panko bread crumbs for baked eggplant stacks?

Crunchy panko crumbs provide a gorgeous golden brown topping to the eggplant rounds. I love he taste of traditional breadcrumbs and that is why I do half and half! It provides a great texture to the soft and creamy eggplant layered with ricotta and red sauce.

It creates the perfect crunch and contrast of texture. Feel free to use only regular bread crumbs, or only panko breadcrumbs if that is your preference.

Variations to baked eggplant with ricotta cheese

  • Layer a piece of prosciutto between the layers.
  • Add cooked crumbled Italian sausage and ground beef to your sauce for a meat version.
  • Add Italian seasoning or garlic powder to the whipped ricotta for more flavor.
  • Sprinkle pine nuts on top to add a little crunch.

What to serve with baked eggplant slices recipe with ricotta cheese

This eggplant recipe makes a great side dish to accompany Best Italian Stuffed Chicken Thighs (Involtini di Pollo). Serve with Easy Soft Italian No Knead Bread and Creamy Frozen Lemon Bars with Graham Cracker Crust, or Classic Italian Tiramisu Recipe (Authentic) for dessert.

Make ahead of time

  • Make the tomato sauce ahead of time so it is ready to use when you are ready to assemble.
  • Prep and bread the eggplant slices earlier in the day and refrigerate them until about an hour before you’re ready to eat.
  • Bake the slices and then assemble and bake.
  • The ricotta mixture can be made a couple of days ahead of time.
  • Use any sauce you have frozen or on hand because you don’t need a lot of it.
a bowl of classic Italian tomato sauce with a wooden spoon in it.
Classic Italian Tomato Sauce (Sugo al Pomodoro)

How to store Baked Eggplant Stacks Recipe with Ricotta Cheese

After they are cool- store the eggplant stacks in the fridge in an airtight container. They will last 2-4 days in the fridge. You can also freeze them as long as they are kept in a freezer bag.

They are great as leftovers! Try them in a sandwich with No Knead Italian Focaccia Bread.

FAQ’s

How to prepare eggplant before baking

Start by trimming off the top and bottom of the eggplant, and removing the stems and leaves. If desired, peel away the thick skin. Then slice into 1/2-inch to 1-inch rounds. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and generously sprinkle each slice of eggplant with kosher salt. The excess moisture will draw out of the eggplant. Soak up moisture with a paper towel and you are ready to use the eggplant in the recipe!

How to reheat eggplant stacks

Place leftover eggplant stacks in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, or until well-heated. The foil prevents the top from becoming too golden brown and a lower temperature helps prevent drying out.

Do I have to prep eggplant before baking?

Not necessarily- many modern eggplant varieties are produced to be less bitter than eggplants in the past, so you can skip this step if you know the eggplant variety you are using does not have a lot of extra moisture.

baked eggplant on a plate with fork and knife.

Top tip

  • Remove excess liquid from the eggplant– this will take away any bitter taste and won’t make the recipe soggy since eggplant is mostly made up of water!
  • Whip the ricotta cheese. This makes the filling irresistibly smooth!
  • Use Panko breadcrumbs for extra crunch!

A healthier eggplant parmesan recipe. Baked Eggplant Stacks Recipe have a crispy texture and fresh ricotta filling with bright flavors. It’s the ultimate vegetarian comfort food!

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baked eggplant on a plate with extra tomato sauce on the plate.

Baked Eggplant Stacks with Ricotta Cheese

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5 from 2 reviews

Baked Eggplant Stacks Recipe with Ricotta Cheese is a fun and delicious way to enjoy eggplant! Everyone loves these stacks of eggplant layered with ricotta and parmigiano (or parmesan) cheese and homemade tomato sauce.

  • Total Time: 1 h 25 min
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

Salting the eggplant

  • 2 eggplants, sliced into 1/3” slices, about 8 per eggplant
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 tsp per sheet pan to salt the eggplant

For the Breading

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano or parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup regular breadcrumbs
  • 3 1/2 cups homemade tomato sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Whipped Ricotta 

  • 15 oz whole milk ricotta
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

 

2 tablespoons fresh basil for garnish 

Instructions

Salting the Eggplant 

  1. Slice the eggplants each into 8 slices (16 total), approximately ⅓” thick.
  2. Lay eggplant slices side by side on a baking sheet. Salt the eggplant (1 tsp for each pan) and cover with two layers of paper towels. 
  3.  Let rest for 1 hour. After 1 hour, dry completely with paper towel as much as possible.

Breading

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Coat a 9×13″ baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil or spray with baking spray. Or, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Place the flour in its own shallow dish.
  3. Beat the eggs into a wide shallow bowl and set aside.
  4. Combine both breadcrumbs and cheese into another shallow bowl.
  5. Dip each side of each eggplant slice first in flour, then into beaten eggs and finally the cheese and breadcrumb mixture. Move to a  prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes, flipping halfway through, until crispy. Cool.

Whipped Ricotta

  • Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse on high until creamy and thick- a couple of minutes. 

Assembly

  1. Pour one cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of prepared baking pan.
  2. Layer half of the eggplant slices on the sauce.
  3. Top with 2 tablespoons of sauce and 2 tablespoons whipped ricotta. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon parmigiano cheese. Repeat process with final layer. 
  4. Bake in 400° oven for 20 minutes until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with basil and serve!

Notes

Top tip

  • Remove excess liquid from the eggplant– this will take away any bitter taste and won’t make the recipe soggy since eggplant is mostly made up of water!
  • Whip the ricotta cheese. This makes the filling irresistibly smooth!
  • Use Panko breadcrumbs for extra crunch!

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 1 h 5 min
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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4 Comments

  1. OMG!!!!! Soooo good!!! Added garlic powder and italian seasoning and crushed red pepper to the ricotta