Sautéed Eggplant with Honey

Fried Eggplant. It’s a dish people tend to have strong opinions about. Today I’ll show you how to cook eggplant in a way everyone will enjoy. Sautéed Eggplant with Honey and Thyme is melt-in-your-mouth tender and savory-sweet. A sure fire way to create eggplant converts.

Fried Eggplant with Honey and Thyme @

We all have that food that is our life-long nemesis. Well, I used to dislike eggplant. Although the color and shape were appealing, the texture reminded me of makeup sponges, something I wasn’t keen on eating.

No matter how I, or anyone else, prepared it, eggplant always seemed to make my nose wrinkle in disapproval.

Then I learned a restaurant secret that changed everything…

Apply milk to makeup sponges eggplant.

To magically remove the bitterness from eggplant and greatly improve the texture, soak it in milk over night. Once the slices of eggplant have taken a long, luxurious, milky bath, they are tenderized and primed for frying.

Simply tap off the extra moisture, dust them with sea salt and flour. Pan-fry in a large cast iron skillet until golden brown. Then serve piping hot.

This my friends… is how to cook eggplant. This is how to get the reluctant eggplant-eater on board.

Tender layers of fried eggplant, with the uncanny custard-like texture of good French Toast.

It is crispy on the outside, moist and supple on the inside. Drizzled with honey and sprinkled with fresh thyme and sea salt, this sautéed eggplant is one irresistible veggie.

Sautéed Eggplant with Honey and Thyme will make a believer of you, guaranteed!

More Summer Veggies:

Summer Squash with Blistered Tomatoes

Fennel Salad with roasted Beats and Shaved Asparagus

Grilled Fattoush

Crispy Parmesan Asparagus Sticks ~ How Sweet It Is

Grilled Corn ~ Michael Ruhlman

Roasted Tomato Soup ~ Smitten Kitchen

Candied Balsamic Tomato Salad ~ Eat Yourself Skinny

Sautéed Eggplant with Honey

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time:20 minutes active time

Cook Time:12 minutes

Did you make this recipe?   Leave a review »

How to cook eggplant: Fried Eggplant with a crispy outside and moist tender inside.


  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 3-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • Sea Salt


  1. Peel the eggplant and slice it into thin 1/8 inch rounds. Place the eggplant slices in an airtight container and pour the milk over it. Cover and refrigerate over night.
  2. In a small pie pan, mix the flour with 1 tsp. salt. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Line a plate with paper towels.
  3. When the oil is hot, dredge a few slices of eggplant in the flour and tap off the excess. Gently place them in the skillet and pan fry for 2 minutes per side. Remove and place on the plate to drain.
  4. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant, adding oil to the skillet as needed. Sprinkle the slices with a little more sea salt as they come out of the skillet. Serve warm, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with thyme.
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70 comments on “Sautéed Eggplant with Honey

  1. Tasty Detailsposted February 28, 2017 at 1:44 pm Reply

    I’m so happy to have found this recipe in your blog, as I’m Spanish! I loved the tip you gave about cooking eggplant, and I wanted to share your post in my blog, hope you like it! Thanks!

  2. Lindsayposted January 30, 2016 at 12:12 pm Reply

    I first had this style of dish in spain. I mix molasses with my honey when I make it at home to make the honey taste more like the kind they have in Spain and Africa. The molasses flavor l goes really well with eggplant. Never tried it with milk or thyme. Sounds delicious!

  3. Fawn Johnsposted September 16, 2015 at 1:53 pm Reply

    Thanks for this recipe! I love it! Do you think almond flower would work? I want to make this for my brother, but he is not eating all purpose flower.

    • Fawn Johnsposted September 16, 2015 at 1:54 pm Reply

      OMG I mean flour I don’t know what is wrong with me this morning!!!

    • Sommerposted September 16, 2015 at 11:21 pm Reply

      Hi Fawn, I have tried it with almond flour and it works, but not nearly as well. A better suggestion might be coconut flour. Let me know how it goes if you give it a try!

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  6. Carolyn Sposted May 3, 2015 at 9:26 pm Reply

    Make these and tell your toddler they are pancakes! I had to remove the “leaves” (thyme. haha) but once I did he gobbled them up and asked for more. 

    Also… I was impatient and decided to cook half the batch after about 2-3 hours of soaking. They were delicious and I can’t wait to cook up the rest tomorrow night. 

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  9. Stéphanieposted August 17, 2014 at 5:08 am Reply

    Loved the eggplant recipe! My husband thought I was serving him some sort of pastry, when he finished it (with great pleasure) I told him it was eggplant and he was pleasantly surprised. Thank you so much for the tip

  10. Lauraposted June 4, 2014 at 8:04 am Reply

    This is an interesting take on eggplant. The combination of honey and thyme intrigues me :) I have never soaked my eggplant in milk but I will give it a try.

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  13. Nancy Longposted August 17, 2013 at 6:28 am Reply

    was so looking forward to this, but sorry we weren’t thrilled with it. Eggplant was still a bit bitter. Still looking for a great caramelized eggplant to match what we had on our honeymoon.

  14. Nancy Longposted August 1, 2013 at 12:34 pm Reply

    can’t wait to try this – just bought an eggplant yesterday – reminds me of some caramelized eggplant we had on our honeymoon 22 years ago in St. Kitts. Hubby kept going back to get more. I’m a pretty good cook, but have never been able to match that one. Hopefully this one will work. Never thought of using honey. Have tried white and brown sugar. Fingers crossed.

  15. Barbara F.posted March 24, 2013 at 4:33 pm Reply

    This was the most delicious eggplant I have ever made, I ate half of it myself, and still have half in the fridge for tomorrow. I soaked it about 7 hours. I didn’t have any thyme, no fresh nor dried, have to get some. I did have a tasty clover honey from a farm stand in the fall. Wow. Excellent recipe. Love it. xo

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  18. Jenposted October 3, 2012 at 12:25 pm Reply

    Ever thought of trying buttermilk? I wonder how that would work. Tangy but nice combination with the honey.

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  21. Amyposted September 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm Reply

    This was so delish! Thank you for sharing!

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  24. NANCYposted August 27, 2012 at 11:01 am Reply

    When my Mom makes eggplant, she slices it, sprinkles with salt, covers, leaves it on the counter overnight. Dips it in egg (with a tiny bit of milk) then in crushed saltines and frys it in hot oil for a few minutes on each side…then we have always put butter on it and enjoy!! Wonderful dish from our chilhood (I am 51). I just bought 2 of them yesterday and called her for the recipe. This will be my first time ever making them ;)

  25. Tee Teeposted August 20, 2012 at 2:24 pm Reply

    It was AMAZING!!! Thank you! ^.^

  26. Donalynposted August 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm Reply

    Oh my – I can almost taste it! My Mom always soaked eggplant the same way, and it does indeed draw out the bitterness. Bookmarking this to give it a try :)

  27. Adora's Boxposted August 17, 2012 at 3:34 pm Reply

    That is such a simple but unique way of serving eggplants. I like the salty and sweet combo and I’ll definitely try this recipe.

  28. Mary Riemenposted August 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm Reply

    Has anyone tried this recipe with rice milk or coconut milk? I wonder if it would have the same outcome?

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  30. Javelin Warriorposted August 17, 2012 at 8:36 am Reply

    So I’ve never been a huge fan of eggplant, but these sound delicious and I’d definitely try them! I’m featuring this post in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and thanks for sharing such amazing creations…

  31. Kathy - Panini Happyposted August 15, 2012 at 10:26 pm Reply

    I have an eggplant on hand and I wasn’t sure how I was going to prepare it. I’m now off to slice and soak it in some milk – thank you!!

  32. Lindsay @ Pinch of Yumposted August 14, 2012 at 8:35 am Reply

    WHOAA! This looks amazing Sommer. Nicely done!

  33. maryposted August 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm Reply

    Looks great. Is it some enzyme or protein in the milk that helps so much? or the act of soaking? The reason I ask is that I wondered what a vegan could use in place of milk. Thanks!

  34. Angieposted August 13, 2012 at 2:42 pm Reply

    I love your photos! This look so good!

  35. Caraposted August 13, 2012 at 10:43 am Reply

    You sold me. I can’t wait to try this. I hope it works with almond milk too!

  36. nataposted August 12, 2012 at 8:16 am Reply

    Absolutely delicious! I tried this today and I love it. Thank you for this wonderful receipe! Although my pics didn’t reach the same level as yours, I published them on my Food Blog.

  37. Andi Houstonposted August 12, 2012 at 7:54 am Reply

    I’ve never heard of cooking eggplant this way! I’m going to try it this week!

  38. Chrisposted August 12, 2012 at 7:47 am Reply

    I always want to like eggplant but it always lets me down. I just don’t enjoy the taste at all. I have tried it many ways, at home and in restaurants. I’ll give yours a try, if nothing else, Alexis will like it, she loves eggplant. Great pictures!

  39. Katherineposted August 11, 2012 at 5:44 pm Reply

    i thought i was the only one who liked eggplant with honey ! my eggplant is fresh from the garden / i favor the small white ones / they dont need a milk bath / i like to use the 3 dish prep : flour, egg, panko / fry until crisp in canola oil / drain on paper towels / drizzle with honey / divine!

    btw i cut the eggplant on the diagonal so they are ovals

  40. Ginna Basileposted August 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm Reply

    I looove eggplants!!… and will make this today cause I have two beautiful eggplants just waiting to be consumed!!

  41. Lauren of Spanish Saboresposted August 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm Reply

    Spaniards make this dish all the time using molasses (what they call sugarcane honey) instead of flower honey. My mother-in-law was the one to show me how to soak the eggplant in milk and I haven’t done it any other way since!

  42. Priya Sreeramposted August 10, 2012 at 7:27 pm Reply

    gorgeous really- loved the tip with the milk; thanks for sharing ! bookmarking it

  43. Rachel @ Bakeritaposted August 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm Reply

    Mmm, I love eggplant, and I love finding new ways to prepare it. I can’t wait to try out the milk trick! I know what we’re having for dinner tomorrow :)

  44. Brian @ A Thought For Foodposted August 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm Reply

    I JUST had dinner and now I’m craving this. Shame I don’t have any eggplant around, otherwise I’d actually do it right now :-)

  45. Kelleyposted August 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm Reply

    I will have to try this now!!! I always thought I didn’t care for eggplant, but now I want to eat this!!! :D
    Thanks for the post!! Sounds yummy!! I loved your comparison to makeup sponges….hahahah….they really do remind you of those!! lol

  46. Chung-Ah | Damn Deliciousposted August 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm Reply

    I can’t believe I’ve never made eggplant before! I seriously can’t wait to give this a try!

  47. Cassieposted August 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm Reply

    I want this for dinner TONIGHT! I love eggplant, and the honey + thyme are so perfect!

  48. Cristinaposted August 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm Reply

    Never thought to use milk — but I don;t like the idea of frying– I thought you were going to gently sauté in lower heat…Have you tried soaking in milk, then sautéing without dredging in flour? I’ll have to try that, since i Love eggplant! Thanks for the great tip.

  49. claire @ the realistic nutritionistposted August 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm Reply

    Such a fabulous and healthy little eggplant dish!! Totally loving it.

  50. Jen @ Savory SImpleposted August 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm Reply

    I can’t wait to try this! I’ve never thought to use milk.

  51. amy @ uTryItposted August 10, 2012 at 12:34 pm Reply

    This is such a beautiful dish. Never know about the milk bath. I’m going to give that a try. :)

  52. Sanjeeta kkposted August 10, 2012 at 10:56 am Reply

    Absolutely gorgeous…never thought of combining eggplant with honey!! Pinning it…

  53. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Dessertsposted August 10, 2012 at 10:31 am Reply

    I have always been on the fence about eggplant. Sometimes it is pretty good, other times it is kind of gross. All in the cooking, I am sure! This recipe look and sounds amazing. I love the flavors. I will definitely have to give this a try, I would like to add more veggies in any way to our life.

  54. Paula - bell'alimentoposted August 10, 2012 at 10:14 am Reply

    I think eggplant is totally underrated. Love it. And This. Yes indeed xoxo

  55. Deb @ knitstamaticposted August 10, 2012 at 9:10 am Reply

    What a wonderful way to serve eggplant. Great idea to soak in milk too, must give that a try.

  56. Jeanetteposted August 10, 2012 at 8:55 am Reply

    What a fantastic trick – I’ve never heard of soaking eggplant in milk!

  57. Jennifer @ Mother Thymeposted August 10, 2012 at 8:48 am Reply

    Love egglant! This looks fabulous!

  58. Steph Cruzposted August 10, 2012 at 8:20 am Reply

    Heading to the market NOW! These look delicious.

  59. Amy @ Gastronome Tartposted August 10, 2012 at 8:18 am Reply

    What a great tip! I have never heard about soaking it in milk to remove the bitterness. I have usually just sprinkled with kosher salt and let it “sweat” it out after about 30 minutes. I have to admit that I am not much of an eggplant person either, however I just recently had an amazing eggplant dish and am now HOOKED! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  60. MIss @ Miss in the Kitchenposted August 10, 2012 at 8:07 am Reply

    I haven’t had eggplant in a long time, it is hard to come by here. This looks really delicious. Love those dishes too!

  61. Cécyposted August 10, 2012 at 8:05 am Reply

    I wonder if that’s how they do it at Curate… I love the eggplant they have. I’m going to have to try this with the eggplant I got at the market.

    • Sommerposted August 10, 2012 at 8:34 am Reply

      Haha, YES! That’s where I got this tip. :)

      • Cécyposted August 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm

        You’re my kitchen hero. So I decided to bring Curate home tonight: I’m makeing the Eggplan, along with the Garlic shrimp and the patatas bravas (I got the sauce recipe from Elizabeth Button).

  62. shelly (cookies and cups)posted August 10, 2012 at 6:57 am Reply

    Oh wow! I need to try this! My husband is convinced he doesn’t like eggplant!

  63. Belinda @zomppaposted August 10, 2012 at 3:57 am Reply

    Really?? Great tip! I do have the issue with eggplant. They need a milk bath, huh? Got it!

  64. Andrea Austoniposted August 10, 2012 at 3:21 am Reply

    Soaking eggplants in milk overnight will obviously make them tender and milky but all you need to do to extract the bitterness is slice them, sprinkle them with salt and put them under a weight for about an hour then rinse.
    This is what Italians do at least.
    I wouldn’t add milk to eggplants if I were making parmigiana but it works for this recipe.

    • Sommerposted August 10, 2012 at 7:44 am Reply

      Thanks Andrea! I’ve tried that, but for me the texture has always been the issue, so the milk it the key to transforming it.

  65. Laura (Tutti Dolci)posted August 10, 2012 at 12:20 am Reply

    I love eggplant but I’ve never thought to soak it in milk – brilliant! I love the honey and thyme here too.