I am making Turkish stuffed eggplant using air fryer. “Karniyarik” is a authentic split eggplant kebab recipe in Turkish cuisine. It is very easy to make, easy to serve and comes out so delicious. Which Turkish recipes you would want to see me making in the air fryer. Share it in the comments section.

Stuffed eggplant in air fryer

Ingredients For Stuffed Eggplant Karniyarık: (For 6 Serving)

For The Stuffing:
  • About 200gr. ground meat (beef or half mutton)
  • 1 medium onions
  • 1-2 tomatoes
  • 2-3 sweet green peppers
  • chopped parsley (optional)
  • 1 tsp each tomato and red pepper paste (pepper paste is optional)
  • olive oil
  • salt, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

For the eggplants

  • 6 thin eggplants (about 500gr.)
  • salt to rub
  • paper towel or kitchen towel to pat dry
  • olive oil to fry

For the sauce:

  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • about 1 cup boiling water


Prepare the eggplants:

When you decide to make Karniyarık stuffed eggplants, try to choose small to medium even size eggplants to serve easily and bake evenly.

  1. Cut the big stems and the leafy part of the eggplants and alternately peel them.
  2. From a part between the black skin cut a line inside without going to the other side.
  3. Soak the eggplants in salty water for at least 30 minutes. They tend to go up so you can put something heavy like a pan to prevent them from floating.

Cook The Minced Meat Stuffing:

  • Dice the onion and cook in a medium size pan in an olive oil for about 4-5 minutes until beginning to get some color. Add minced meat and continue to saute until the meat turns it color and the water of the mixture is clear.
  • Slice green peppers or dice if they are big, add to the pan and continue to saute.
  • Peel and chop the tomatoes, add along with tomato paste, pepper paste, chopped garlic, salt, black pepper and paprika. You can drizzle more olive oil or add some butter if needed.
  • Close the lid and simmer for 4-5 more minutes and turn off the heat.

Cooking Whole Eggplant In The Air Fryer:

In the original Turkish cuisine recipe we pre-fry the eggplants before stuffing with the minced meat stuffing. Broiling on stove-top is another option but makes the final taste a bit different then the original recipe. So why not baking in the air fryer? (You can also bake them in the oven but it takes more time and energy to get to the desired softnes.)

  1. Take out the eggplants from the salty water and pat-dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel completley.
  2. Drizzle olive oil and spread the all over the eggplants and place them into the air fryer. Since my Cosori air fryer has dual blaze I preferred to place them directly to the drawer but if yours air fry only from top it would be better to place the second platform to let air flow more.
  3. I baked the eggplants in 180C in the air fryer settings for 10 minutes first. After checking they needed a bit more softened so I cooked 4-5 more minutes. We are looking for to get some golden color and to be able to split from the cut easily. Now we are ready to stuff the eggplants.

Stuffing The Eggplants And Baking In The Air Fryer

  • Gently open the eggplants from the cut without separating it from the ends. Place generously from the minced meat stuffing. You can either do this on an tray or cutting board then place or directly place and fill in the air fryer.
  • Decorate the eggplants with thin mild green pepper, cut them if they are big and with tomato wedges.
    In a small sauce pan heat olive oil and saute tomato paste for 2 min. and add about a cup of hot water and salt to taste. Drizzle over the eggplants and bake in the air fryer in 185C degree for about 15 more minutes.
Serving Karniyarik: Turkish Stuffed Eggplant

The time can change depend on the power of your air fryer or the size and softness of your eggplants. So check if the eggplant is soft and bake for couple of more minutes if needed.

Turkish Karniyarik with pilaf

Preferably serve with a fluffy Turkish pilav. I always cook mine with orzo pasta and would suggest to make that way too. Here is the video recipe for the pilaf: https://youtu.be/G_w-mv1BufE

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