Baked eggplant stacks feature the best of eggplant Parmesan and eggplant rollatini in this straight-forward recipe. Perfectly cooked (not soggy!) and breaded eggplant rounds are layered with marinara sauce, a seasoned ricotta filling, and more cheese for total vegetarian comfort food.
Before I started branching out and making air fryer eggplant, these eggplant stacks were my #1 eggplant recipe to make at home.
A mashup of eggplant parmesan and eggplant rollatini, this layered eggplant bake features breaded and baked eggplant rounds with seasoned ricotta layers, marinara sauce, and cheese. Basically all of my favorite flavors.
While it's not a very speedy recipe thanks to all of its delicious parts, the ingredients and method are quite simple to deliver a hearty vegetarian dinner to serve a crowd.
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- If you're a fan of many Italian-American main dishes, these eggplant stacks will taste like pure comfort food. It's got a little bit of everything going on.
- Baking the eggplant rounds on a wire rack set over a sheet pan allows air to circulate all around them during the cook time and prevents them from becoming soggy, all without any extra steps like salting, rinsing, etc.
- Yielding eight stacks, leftover portions reheat beautifully for top-notch next-day lunches or dinners.
- This eggplant stack recipe is hearty vegetarian fare, much like my beloved pepper and egg sandwich.
- Eggplant: A firm, medium eggplant is ideal for these eggplant stacks. To yield eight stacks, you'll need 24 quarter-inch thick rounds, as each stack uses three rounds.
- Panko: Larger pieces found in panko breadcrumbs help make the coating more substantial than regular breadcrumbs. You can use Italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs if that's what you have, but do adjust the dried spices as you see fit. If going this route, you also may wish to reduce the salt from the flour mixture.
- Parmesan: I'm a broken record at this point but Parmesan from the refrigerated deli department is my preference for the freshest taste. I like to grate my own, but pre-grated from this department is just fine, too.
- Ricotta: Either whole milk or part-skim ricotta cheese works fine here.
- Spices: These really are variable and can altered to your taste.
- Crushed red pepper: The quarter-teaspoon here add more flavor over spiciness. Add more if you'd like a zip, or eliminate altogether if you're sensitive to heat.
For assembly, you'll need your favorite jarred marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, more Parmesan, and more fresh basil for serving.
First prep the three bowls for coating. In one, stir together the flour, salt, and pepper. In the second, beat two eggs. In the third, stir together the panko, Parmesan, and dried Italian spices.
- First press each eggplant round into the seasoned flour mixture until both sides are coated. Gently shake the eggplant round above the bowl so the excess falls back in.
- Next dip the round into the bowl with the beaten eggs to moisten the front, back, and all sides.
- Lastly dip each round into the combined panko/Parmesan mixture to coat both sides well.
- Spray an oven-safe wire rack with cooking spray and set it over a sheet pan. Place each round in a single layer on the rack, leaving a little bit of space between them. Depending upon the size, you may have to use multiple racks/pans.
- Give the tops of each eggplant round a spritz of olive oil spray, then bake at 400°F for 15 minutes. Flip each round over, spritz the side on top with spray, then bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
- While the eggplant is cooking is a good time to prep the rest of the ingredients: grate the cheeses, chop herbs, etc. Add all ricotta filling ingredients to a bowl and stir well until evenly combined.
Eggplant Stacks Assembly
- To assemble, spread one-half cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish, at a minimum 9" x 13". Place eight eggplant rounds in the sauce on the bottom of the dish.
- Top each eggplant with about 1 ½ tablespoons of the ricotta filling (three-quarters cup total during this step).
- Top the ricotta with about 1 tablespoon of marinara (one-half cup total during this step).
- Top the sauce with 1 tablespoon of shredded mozzarella (one-half cup total during this step) and 1 teaspoon of grated Parmesan cheese (between 2-3 tablespoons total during this step).
- Repeat the above assembly steps twice more (eggplant, ricotta, sauce, cheeses) until all of the ingredients are used, topping the last eggplant round with marinara and the shredded cheeses.
- Bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, the edges of the baked eggplant stacks are bubbly, and they are heated well throughout. Garnish with fresh basil for serving.
- A peek at the recipe card shows a lot of ingredients, but a fair amount are the same, just listed out in different components (salt, pepper, Parmesan, oregano, fresh basil). Measuring out/prepping the total amount needed at once will streamline the process a bit.
- When slicing up an eggplant you'll get larger and smaller rounds. It helps the stacks hold together if you use the largest rounds on the bottom of the stack.
- Be sure to pick a jarred marinara sauce variety that tastes good! I'm truly not that picky about most foods, but I find there's a wide range of jarred marinaras, mostly OK, but some really awful. Using one that's not so hot would put a damper on a made-with-love type of dish like these eggplant stacks. My pick (not sponsored in any way) is Rao's, with the lowest price I've found in-warehouse at Costco.
No, there's no need to peel, salt, or soak eggplant in milk here before slicing it and coating it with flour, egg, and breading. Many modern eggplant varieties are produced to be less bitter than eggplants in the past, so that's not a concern.
The eggplant rounds can be baked ahead of time and reheated on a wire rack before assembly. The ricotta filling can also be made in advance.
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.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Baked Eggplant Stacks
- 1 medium (12 oz, 345g) eggplant cut into ¼" rounds
- ¼ cup (125g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs beaten
- ⅔ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- Olive oil spray
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper more to taste
- 2 cups marinara sauce divided
- 1 ¼ cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided
- 6 Tablespoons grated Parmesan divided
- Fresh basil for serving
Prepare the eggplant:
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice the eggplant into ¼-inch thick rounds, aiming to end up with around 24 rounds.
- Take out three bowls: in one stir together the flour, salt, and pepper. In the second, beat the eggs. In the third, stir together the panko, Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, and dried basil.
- Set a large, oven-safe wire rack over top of a rimmed sheet pan. Grease the rack with cooking spray.
- Press each eggplant round into the flour mixture making sure to coat all sides. Then dip it into the beaten egg, and then the panko. Press the mixture into both sides of the round to help it adhere. Place the coated eggplant onto the greased rack.
- Repeat with the remaining eggplant, arranging the rounds on the rack in a single layer. Give the top sides of the rounds a spritz with olive oil spray.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the pan from the oven and flip each eggplant round over. Give the other side of the eggplant rounds a spritz of olive oil spray. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. While the eggplant is baking is a good time to prep the rest of the ingredients: assemble filling, grate/shred cheeses, etc. Once the eggplant is done cooking, lower oven temperature to 375°F.
- Add ricotta, parsley, basil, garlic, salt, oregano, pepper, and crushed red pepper to a small mixing bowl and stir until combined evenly.
Assembling the stacks:
- Spray the bottom of a large rectangular baking dish (at least 9" x 13") with cooking spray, then spread ½ cup of the marinara sauce in an even layer on the bottom.
- When the eggplant rounds are finished baking, arrange eight rounds on the bottom of the pan in a single layer.
- Top each eggplant round with approximately 1 ½ Tablespoons of the ricotta filling and spread it to the edges. Then top the ricotta with 1 Tablespoon of marinara sauce, spread it to the edges as well. Next sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of shredded mozzarella and 1 teaspoon of grated Parmesan onto each sauce layer. Top everything off with another eggplant round.
- Repeat the process one more time: ricotta filling, marinara sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Place the remaining eight eggplant rounds on top, then evenly top with the remaining marinara sauce, then mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, the sauce is bubbly, and everything is well-heated throughout. Serve topped with fresh basil.
- When assembling the stacks, use the eggplant rounds with the widest diameter on the bottom to make them more sturdy.
- To reheat portions, place them in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly and heated throughout.
- For a serving suggestion, I like to round out the meal by serving an eggplant stack with a nice side salad and crusty bread (for scooping up all of the excess sauce).
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer