A Spicy Perspective

Sautéed Eggplant with Honey

Sautéed Eggplant with Honey and Thyme –  This melt-in-your-mouth tender and savory-sweet recipe is sure-fire way to create eggplant converts.

Sauteed eggplant

Our Past Nemesis – Sautéed Eggplant

We all have a certain food that is our life-long nemesis.  

Well, I used to dislike eggplant. Although the color and shape was appealing, the texture reminded me of makeup sponges, something I wasn’t keen on eating. 

Fried Eggplant is a dish people tend to have strong opinions about. Today I’ll show you how to cook eggplant in a way everyone will enjoy.

Eggplant and honey drizzle

The Secret Restaurants Don’t Tell You

In the past, 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, I mean, eggplant.

To magically remove the bitterness from the eggplant and greatly improve the texture, soak the eggplant in milk overnight. 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 the eggplant slices with sea salt and flour. Then pan-fry them in a large cast iron skillet until golden brown. Then serve piping hot.

Easy eggplant recipe

Sautéed Eggplant Recipe Ingredients

  • Large Eggplant
  • Whole Milk
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Olive Oil
  • Honey
  • Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • Sea Salt

How to Fry Eggplant

  1. Start off the night before cooking the eggplant by peeling the skin from the eggplant and slicing it into circular pieces. Place the slices in an airtight container. Pour in just enough milk to cover the eggplant pieces and then put it in the refrigerator overnight. 
  2. On day two: In a shallow dish, mix together the flour and salt. Heat some oil in a large skillet for pan-frying. Make sure to have a large plate lined with paper towels near the stove, to absorb the excess oil. 
  3. When the oil is ready, dip the eggplant pieces into the flour and cover generously. Make sure to tap off the extra flour before placing in the hot oil. Let them cook for about 2 minutes per side then set on the paper towel-lined plate to cool off and drain. Then sprinkle the eggplant with sea salt. 
  4. Finish cooking all the eggplant and add oil to the skillet as needed. 
  5. Serve warm with a honey drizzle and some thyme. 

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!

Get The Full (Printable) Recipe Below For How To Make Sauteed Eggplant. 

Pan fried eggplant

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you salt eggplant before frying?

Yes, whether you put the salt in the flour mixture or just sprinkle it before placing it in the oil, the salt really helps the flavor of the eggplant develop as it cooks. Also, add a little salt at the end of the frying process to further enhance the flavor. Holding off on some of the salt, until the end, will help keep the eggplant from getting mushy or soggy. 

Do you have to peel the eggplant before frying?

No. Eggplant skin is definitely edible. Yet because the texture of this dish is so soft and luxurious, I prefer it without the skin.

Could you use almond flour instead of wheat flour?

I have tried it with almond flour and it works, but not nearly as well. A better suggestion might be coconut flour or gluten-free baking mix.

More Summer Veggies:

Print Recipe
5 from 10 votes
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Sautéed Eggplant with Honey

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
How to cook eggplant: Fried Eggplant with a crispy outside and moist tender inside.
Servings: 4



  • 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 overnight.
  • In a small pie pan, mix the flour with 1 teaspoon salt. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Line a plate with paper towels.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 304kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 56mg, Potassium: 461mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 23g, Vitamin A: 390IU, Vitamin C: 8.1mg, Calcium: 162mg, Iron: 1.7mg
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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81 comments on “Sautéed Eggplant with Honey”

  1. Just made this recipe and followed it as shown.  Very tasty!  Will definitely make again. 

  2. I love this- I am always looking for new ways to cook eggplant and this is perfection!

  3. Confession: I’ve never really done anything with eggplant except fried it for eggplant parm. This was such an unexpected and delish side dish. Adding it into our menu planning rotation!

  4. what a wonderful tip about soaking these ahead of time in milk! would’ve never guessed, thank you!

  5. My new favorite way to eat eggplant!! Thanks!

  6. I love that it is so easy to make! Such a tasty meal, too!

  7. This recipe looks out of this world delicious and tasty! I can’t wait to make this! My husband is going to love this!

  8. Easy to make and delicious but for the diet I don’t imagine the best but once in awhile worth cooking 🤗😂

  9. Pingback: Köstliches für Auberginenhasser: Gebratene Auberginen mit Thymian und Honig « Arabische Küche « Der magische Kessel

  10. Delicious

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

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  16. 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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  19. 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

  20. 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.

  21. Pingback: Köstliches für Auberginenhasser: Gebratene Auberginen mit Thymian und Honig « Arabische Küche « Der magische Kessel

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  23. 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.

  24. 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.

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

  29. Pingback: E is for Eggplant | V-Spot

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  31. This was so delish! Thank you for sharing!

  32. Pingback: Recipe: Sauteed Eggplant with Honey and Thyme — Villeroy & Boch Blog

  33. Pingback: Pan-fried Eggplant with Honey & Thyme » Cape Riverfront Market

  34. 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 ;)

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

  36. 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 :)

  37. 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.

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

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  40. 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…

  41. 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!!

  42. WHOAA! This looks amazing Sommer. Nicely done!

  43. 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!

  44. I love your photos! This look so good!

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

  46. 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.

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

  48. 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!

  49. 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

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

  51. 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!

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

  53. 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 :)

  54. 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 :-)

  55. 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

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

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

  58. 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.

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

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

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

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

  63. 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.

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

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

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

  67. Love egglant! This looks fabulous!

  68. 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!

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

  70. 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.

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

      • 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).

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

  72. Heading to the market NOW! These look delicious.

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

  74. 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.

    • 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.

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