Eggplant Rollatini Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 1 hour Bake: 30 min.
This Italian-inspired recipe could be described as eggplant Parmesan meets lasagna—with an elegant twist. Here’s how to make eggplant rollatini for a fancy dinner that’s sure to impress.

Updated: Apr. 25, 2024

There are everyday recipes, and then there are special-occasion recipes. Eggplant rollatini falls firmly in the latter category. It’s not a quick recipe, as it takes several steps to prepare and roll the eggplant. But it’s absolutely worth the effort if you’re looking for a restaurant-quality eggplant recipe.

Breading the eggplant gives it crispy edges, and the long bake time makes the centers soft and meltingly tender. Add in a smooth cheesy filling and a rich homemade tomato sauce, and you’ll create a dish that will satisfy even the staunchest eggplant haters.

What is eggplant rollatini?

Eggplant rollatini is made by rolling thinly sliced eggplant around a cheesy filling. The eggplant is sometimes baked, but we prefer to bread and fry the eggplant to give it crispy edges. The rolls are then topped with a savory tomato sauce and baked until warm and bubbly.

It might sound similar to eggplant Parmesan, another classic Italian eggplant dish. The two dishes are similar, but there is a difference between eggplant Parm and eggplant rollatini. Eggplant Parmesan is a layered dish made with breaded eggplant, tomato sauce and cheese. It usually contains mozzarella and Parmesan but not ricotta cheese. Eggplant rollatini also contains breaded eggplant and tomato sauce. However, the eggplant is rolled around a rich, ricotta cheese filling.

How do you cut eggplant for rollatini?

It’s important to cut the eggplant into thin, even pieces for rollatini. Uneven slices will cause the rollatini to bake unevenly, and overly thick slices are difficult to roll. So take your time and concentrate as you cut the eggplant lengthwise to create 1/8-inch-thick slices.

If you’re not confident in your knife skills, try using a mandoline slicer.

Eggplant Rollatini Ingredients

  • Eggplant: We love graffiti eggplant and Japanese eggplant, but purple globe eggplant is the way to go for this recipe. It’s long and wide enough to roll around the cheese filling. Look for large, straight-sided eggplants, as the curvy ones are harder to slice into even pieces.
  • Bread crumb coating: The eggplant gets its crisp exterior and tasty seasoning from this bread crumb coating made with Parmesan cheese, garlic and fresh parsley. Starting with seasoned bread crumbs is a great way to add flavor without adding a lot of extra ingredients.
  • Cheese filling: This creamy filling combines three types of cheese—ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan. An egg binds the cheese so it stays inside the rolls instead of oozing out everywhere.
  • Tomato sauce: This homemade tomato sauce tastes incredible! Of course, if you’re running short on time, you can use jarred pasta sauce to save about 30 minutes.
  • Oil for frying: Choose an oil with a smoke point of 375°F or higher, like canola or vegetable oil. (In case you’re wondering, these are the best oils for frying.)


Step 1: Prepare the eggplant

Slices of eggplant in colanderTMB Studio

Peel the eggplant, then slice it lengthwise into fifteen 1/8-inch-thick slices. Place the slices in a colander over a plate. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt, and toss to coat. Let stand 30 minutes.

Editor’s Tip: Salting the eggplant pulls removes the bitterness. It also draws out excess moisture and makes the slices more pliable (and thus, easier to roll).

Step 2: Make the sauce

Making sauce in large saucepanTMB Studio

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute the onion in oil. Add the garlic, and cook for one minute longer. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, parsley, sugar, salt, dried basil, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, until the flavors are blended, stirring occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes.

Editor’s Tip: We use chicken broth for added flavor, but you can use water or vegetable broth to make the dish vegetarian.

Step 3: Prepare the cheese filling

Making cheese filing in bowl with spatulaTMB Studio

Rinse and drain the eggplant; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, parsley, egg and pepper. Set aside.

Step 4: Bread and fry the eggplant

Dipping eggplant slice in bread crumbs TMB Studio

Place the eggs in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg, then in the bread crumb mixture.

Frying bread crumbs covered eggplant slices in skilletTMB Studio

In an electric skillet or deep skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil to 375°. Fry the breaded eggplant in batches until golden brown, two to three minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.

Editor’s Tip: Pat the eggplant dry before adding it to the egg. The breading will stick more easily to dry eggplant slices. Plus, less moisture means the oil will be less likely to spit and spatter.

Step 5: Roll the eggplant

Spreading cheese filling on fried eggplant slices on wooden baseTMB Studio

Preheat the oven to 375°. Spoon 1 cup of the sauce into an ungreased 13×9-inch baking dish.

Spread 2 rounded tablespoons of cheese filling over each eggplant slice. Carefully roll up each slice. Place the rolls seam side down in the baking dish.

Step 6: Bake eggplant rollatini

Pouring sauce from saucepan to baked eggplants TMB Studio

Spoon the remaining sauce over the eggplant rolls. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake until bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes.

Eggplant Rollatini served on plate with vegetables with forks on side TMB Studio

Recipe Variations

  • Add protein: Line each eggplant slice with a slice of prosciutto before adding the cheese filling. You can also add meat like cooked Italian sausage to the cheese filling or swap in a meat sauce for the tomato sauce.
  • Include vegetables or herbs: Add sauteed spinach or mushrooms to the cheese filling. Just make sure to cook out any excess moisture that could make the eggplant rollatini runny. Chopped fresh herbs (like oregano or basil) are a nice addition to the tomato sauce or the filling, too.
  • Skip the breading: Breading and frying the eggplant adds to the decadent nature of this dish, but it’s not the only way to make rollatini. You can bake the eggplant instead.
  • Don’t roll the eggplant: Instead of rolling the eggplant around the filling, turn it into a stacked casserole (similar to our keto lasagna recipe).

Can you make eggplant rollatini in advance?

You can prepare several components of eggplant rollatini ahead of time. Make the cheese filling and tomato sauce up to four days in advance. Store them in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator.

How to Store Eggplant Rollatini

Store leftover eggplant rollatini in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. For best results, reheat rollatini in a 375° oven until warmed through. You can reheat the leftovers in the microwave, but they might become a little soggy.

Can you freeze eggplant rollatini?

Yes, you can freeze eggplant rollatini after assembling the dish. Sauce the eggplant rollatini as directed, and top it with cheese. Cover the dish with foil, and tightly wrap it in plastic wrap. Freeze for up to three months. To use frozen eggplant rollatini, thaw the dish in the refrigerator overnight. Then bake it at 350° for 45 minutes or until it’s bubbly and hot.

Eggplant Rollatini Tips

Eggplant Rollatiniin casserole on table runner TMB Studio

Do you need to peel the eggplant for eggplant rollatini?

Not all eggplant dishes require peeling, but we recommend removing the eggplant skin for this recipe. Eggplant skin can be bitter, especially with older eggplants. The dish has a smoother texture and improved flavor without the peels.

Where does eggplant rollatini come from?

Eggplant rollatini is served all over Italy but is said to have originated in Puglia, the southern Italian region that forms the country’s “boot.” If you like this recipe, you might also enjoy these Italian vegetarian recipes.

What do you serve with eggplant rollatini?

Serve eggplant rollatini with warm spaghetti or creamy polenta and a garden-fresh side salad. If you’re the type of person who likes to soak up every last bite of sauce (like me!), make sure to include a side of crusty bread.

Watch how to Make Eggplant Rollatini

Eggplant Rollatini

Prep Time 30 min
Yield 5 servings.


  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 carton (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • Dash each salt and pepper
  • Oil for frying


  1. Peel and slice eggplant lengthwise into fifteen 1/8-in.-thick slices. Place in a colander over a plate; sprinkle with salt and toss. Let stand 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a large saucepan, saute onion in oil. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until flavors are blended, stirring occasionally, 20-25 minutes. Rinse and drain eggplant.
  3. In a large bowl, combine filling ingredients; set aside.
  4. Place eggs in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Dip eggplant in eggs, then bread crumb mixture.
  5. In an electric skillet or deep skillet, heat 1/2 in. of oil to 375°. Fry eggplant in batches until golden brown, 2-3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.
  6. Preheat oven to 375°. Spoon 1 cup sauce into an ungreased 13x9-in. baking dish. Spread 2 rounded tablespoons filling over each eggplant slice. Carefully roll up and place seam side down in baking dish. Spoon remaining sauce over roll-ups. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake until bubbly, 30-35 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

3 roll-ups: 726 calories, 48g fat (15g saturated fat), 181mg cholesterol, 3182mg sodium, 44g carbohydrate (19g sugars, 7g fiber), 35g protein.