How to Salt Eggplant

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The secret to delicious, quickly-cooking eggplant is just one basic ingredient and a little time. Here’s how to salt eggplant before cooking to draw out moisture and condense its flavor.

Eggplant slices being dried.

The first time you salt eggplant, you might find it tedious. Like a watched pot that never boils, step away from the salted eggplant! It will seem like nothing is happening, and then all the sudden, the cubes look smaller and darker, and you see juice in the bowl.

The magic is happening. The salt draws out the excess moisture so the eggplant has a stronger flavor and a softer, more tender texture. Sometimes cooks salt cucumbers, zucchini, and cabbage for the same reason. Less water = more flavor.

This method works for cubes, slices, and planks of eggplant.

Recipe ingredients

Eggplant cut into planks, slices, and cubes on a gray board.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Tutorial notes

  • Buying: Look for an eggplant that has firm skin and has a substantial heft in your hand. Heavier fruit is a sign that the eggplant is fresh and hydrated. Avoid eggplant with any soft spots, discoloration, or wrinkling.
  • Storing: Store unwashed, uncut eggplant at room temperature for up to 2 days (keep it away from other fruits and vegetables). For longer storage, wrap in a paper towel, place in a container, and store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Peeling: If the recipe calls for it, or if you want to, peel the eggplant before cutting.
  • Salting: Salting removes excess liquid and some of the bitterness. Today’s eggplants are bred for mildness, though, so it’s not as important as it used to be (if you are frying eggplant, salting will ensure a creamy texture and rich flavor). This method works for eggplant slices, cubes, or planks.
  • Yield: 1 pound eggplant = 6 cups cubed, raw (3 cups cooked). Serving size is about 2 cups raw, 1 cup cooked.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Set a colander or wire rack over a sink, bowl, or rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle salt generously over all sides of the eggplant and add to colander.
Sliced eggplant draining in a colander.
  1. Let sit for 40 minutes to 1 hour.
Sliced eggplant draining in a colander.
  1. Rinse lightly under cold water, place on paper towels, and pat dry.
Eggplant slices being dried.

Recipe FAQs

What does salting eggplant before cooking do?

Salting the eggplant before cooking draws out excess moisture so the eggplant has a stronger flavor and a softer, more tender texture. Less water = more flavor.

Does eggplant need salting?

Eggplant does not necessarily need to be salted, but some recipes benefit from the process. If you are throwing eggplant on the grill, the excess water can drip beneath the grates as it cooks. No harm, no foul. If you think about a dish like Eggplant Parmesan, though, the extra moisture will be released during cooking which will make the bread crumb crust less crusty and the final dish more watery.

How long do you salt eggplant for?

Salt your eggplant for no less than 40 minutes, but an hour or more can help reduce moisture even further.

More delicious recipe ideas

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Eggplant slices being dried.

How to Salt Eggplant

The secret to delicious, quickly-cooking eggplant is just one basic ingredient and a little time. Here’s how to salt eggplant before cooking to draw out moisture and condense its flavor.
Author: Meggan Hill
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 6 servings
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 38

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds eggplant sliced or cubed, peeled if desired (about 12 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon salt kosher or table salt

Instructions 

  • Toss the eggplant with salt and let it drain in a colander for about 40 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Spread drained eggplant over paper towels. Wipe away as much salt as possible and press firmly on each slice to remove as much liquid as possible.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Buying: Look for an eggplant that has firm skin and has a substantial heft in your hand. Heavier fruit is a sign that the eggplant is fresh and hydrated. Avoid eggplant with any soft spots, discoloration, or wrinkling.
  2. Storing: Store unwashed, uncut eggplant at room temperature for up to 2 days (keep it away from other fruits and vegetables). For longer storage, wrap in a paper towel, place in a container, and store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  3. Peeling: If the recipe calls for it, or if you want to, peel the eggplant before cutting.
  4. Salting: Salting removes excess liquid and some of the bitterness. Today’s eggplants are bred for mildness, though, so it’s not as important as it used to be (if you are frying eggplant, salting will ensure a creamy texture and rich flavor). This method works for eggplant slices, cubes, or planks.
  5. Yield: 1 pound eggplant = 6 cups cubed, raw (3 cups cooked). Serving size is about 2 cups raw, 1 cup cooked.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 38kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1166mgPotassium: 346mgFiber: 5gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 35IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 1mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. Thank You, all of your Recipe’s and special detailed information is wonderful and much appreciated. Dianag.

  2. I love your website!
    One small detail…I believe we must rinse the eggplant to remove the extra salt and then pat it dry.