If you have given-up cooking eggplant because it takes too long to get the raw flavor out, try this method! With just 5 minutes browning and three minutes under pressure your eggplant is served!

Use this recipe as a sauce on “short” pasta (penne, farfalle, or fusilli) or smashed and creamed at the last minute to serve on spaghetti – with grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Or, instead, settle a scoop-full of these eggplants on a little pillow of rice – with an extra hit of spicy oil. Or, double the recipe and serve the eggplant all by itself as a side-dish at room temperature (no cheese, dress with a fresh extra virgin olive oil and a little squeeze of lemon).

The base of this sauce is how almost every dish from Rome to the South of Italy begins. The anchovies melt and do not add a fishy taste – they add that elusive “umami” depth of flavor. Garlic takes the place of the onion which is more heavily used in the northern regions and; similarly, oregano evicts basil and becomes king the further down Italy you go.

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
2L or larger none 3 min. High(2) Normal

4.3 from 3 reviews
Pressure Cooked Spicy Pressure Cooked Eggplant Sauce or Side Dish
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 2 large eggplants, cubed
  • 1 handful, sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove, garlic, smashed but with the wrapper on
  • hot pepper flakes (1 pinch for light heat, two pinches for medium, three for spicy!)
  • 1 bunch of fresh oregano (or 1 tablespoon dry)
  • 2 anchovies
  • ½ cup (125ml) water
  1. Wash and cube the eggplant. To get the bitter liquid out of the eggplant, put it in a strainer and sprinkle the cubes with salt and mix. Add a plate on top of the cubed eggplant and some kind of weight on top of that to push it down (I use my full tea kettle) and leave them to rest for about half an hour or more (see photos).
  2. Now, infuse the oil. In the cold pressure cooker, add olive oil, the garlic clove (with the wrapper still on), the pinch of hot pepper, the oregano and anchovies. Turn the flame on the lowest setting, or keep-warm for electric pressure cookers, and swish everything around to flavor the oil (about 5 minutes)- if the oil starts to bubble and fry turn it off immediately.
  3. Carefully remove the garlic clove and wrapper (you can add the garlic back, later).
  4. Separate the diced eggplant into two piles. Turn the heat up to medium and add half of the eggplant into the pressure cooker, with the lid off. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Swoosh the eggplant around lightly browning it on most sides- about 5 more minutes.
  6. Next, add the raw eggplant and the roasted garlic clove you removed earlier.
  7. Quickly mix the new additions with the browned eggplant and add the water.
  8. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. For stove top pressure cookers, turn the heat up to high and when the cooker reaches pressure, lower to the heat to the minimum required by the cooker to maintain pressure. Cook for 3 minutes at high pressure.
  9. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure.
  10. Tumble the eggplant to a serving dish to stop it from cooking further.
If making this in a small pressure pan (3L or less) you may be able to omit the water depending on the juiciness of the eggplant.

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  1. This eggplant looks absolutely fabulous! I can’t wait to try it. (Even though I’m the only one in the house who will eat eggplant, that’s OK, I’ll eat it all!)

    1. I wonder if a step was left out. I found this recipe far too salty. Is the eggplant supposed to be rinsed before it’s put into the pressure cooker?

      1. Oh, yes–you have to rinse the eggplant before putting it in to the pressure cooker. The salt removes any bitterness your eggplant may have. When you rinse it, it takes away the overpowering saltiness and any bitterness.

        1. That’s a pretty important step to leave out. Maybe it should be added to the instructions.

  2. I never thought to cook eggplant in the pressure cooker, great idea, look forward to trying.

  3. I came up with the half/half method to keep a little body in the eggplant… otherwise it gets a little too creamy – which is OK if you are going to put it on spaghetti, anyway!

  4. hi. don´t you have to add liquid so it can come up to pressure? I made something similar last week, but added water, which made it soupy. I reduced it afterwards, and it was fine, but I´m curious, your method is easier.

    1. I love cooking pasta in the liquid left in the pot. My pasta (for a different recipe) took about 5 minutes under pressure. The result was fantastic. Make sure there is enough liquid to cover the pasta.

  5. Since Eggplant (zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes) have a high water content which is released the minute they touch salt & heat you don’t have to add any more liquid. By browning only half of it first, you can gauge how much liquid the rest will release and decide right at that moment whether to add any more. Just close the top immediately after adding the other half so that you capture all the steam that they begin releasing the moment they are in the pan!

    Peppers are iffy. They contain lots of water, but require 15 minutes to cook so it’s hard to tell whether they will be wet enough to support all the vapor that will be released by the pan to stay in pressure during that time.

  6. love this! and i love the concept of your blog. instead of ginger garlic paste, you can substitute 1 tsp crushed garlic + 1 tsp crushed ginger (adjust according to taste if you wish)

  7. I just had this for lunch, and it’s delicious! (Now I have warm eggplant belly. . . )

    I cooked as directed, and it may have been a little overdone (probably my fault – I think I got carried away on dicing the eggplant!) but still delicious.

    I tossed all of it with about a pound of pasta (shells), divided into individual servings, shredded some cheese over, and froze them.

    It froze and thawed perfectly for a quick lunch – thank you!

    And I’m SO getting more eggplant at the market this weekend. . .

  8. I’d love to get links to other recipes that use garlic rather than onion. My husband is allergic to the one, single enzyme that differentiates the two – loves garlic, nearly died once eating onion.

    It’s exciting that there’s an Italian region that will tend toward recipes we can eat without altering.

    And for those that we alter, is this generally the method for substituting garlic for onion when it says to brown? A clove with the wrapper on?

  9. Hi Dena, you are right to wonder… about whether garlic and onion are interchangeable! Flavor profile wise, in what they can add to a recipe, almost. But for cooking no. Garlic can burn much more quickly than onion and if over-cooked becomes bitter. Instead, you can cook an onion for an incredibly long time, and it will only get sweeter and more delicious.

    So, when directions say brown an onion, I would say use a whole garlic clove, lightly crushed and just cook until the exterior is golden. In some longer-cooking recipes I would even use garlic powder which does not burn. You will just have to use your best judgment and experiment!

    Ask your husband’s doctor if he is allergic to Scallions! I don’t know which family they belong to but taste a little bit like garlic but can be used like onions.

    Happy cooking!


  10. Scallions are baby onions so i don’t think that would work. But I came here via your newsletter link for Spicy Eggplant. Supposed to be made without the pressure cooker but I can’t find it. Is it here someplace? This sounds delicious! (I apologize if this is a double post but the first one didn’t seem to go through.)

  11. Dear Anonymous, I meant shallots but typed scallions – good catch!

    I had a link to this recipe from the Baba Ganoush recipe, because it was “not recommended for use in electric pressure cookers with non-stick inserts as the scorching could damage the coating – try my Spicy Eggplant recipe, instead.”

    I’m sorry if you were led to believe that there was a non-pressure cooker recipe here – at the moment I’m only publishing pressure cooker recipes.

    Thanks for writing!



  12. Made this last night and brought it to a very fussy neighbors’/friends house when invited for supper. They loved it (as did I). Brought some to another neighbor who also loved it, so this is another keeper.

    Good thing I saved some for myself to have with my lamb chops tonight.

    Thanks again Laura. I generally find new recipes tend to look better on paper (or in my case, on my Kindle Fire) than they taste, but so far you’re batting 1,000.

    :) Anne

    1. I focus on using as few ingredients as possible to get the most flavor- cooking is like mixing clors. Too many colors and you get brown- too many ingredients and the dish tastes ‘blah’, like nothing.

      I’ve cooked most of these recipes for my own family for years- new ones I develop are thoroughly tested and tweaked until I think they taste great. If a recipe doesn’t taste good. I won’t publish it.

      Sometimes that means the site goes a week or two without anything new – and that’s fine with me. I would rather keep my reader’s trust than a schedule!

      Thanks for your comment and so glad you enjoyed it.


  13. I have made this twice now. Both times the bottom has burned and most (if not all) of the eggplant has disintegrated. Any ideas?

    1. Can you tell me what pressure cooker you have (make, model and size) and if it’s a stovetop, what kind of heat source (gas, electric or induction)?



  14. 6.5 Q WMF Perfect Plus
    Gas is the heat source.

    1. Next time, I would add 1/2 cup of water and de-glaze before slapping on the lid. I’m going to update this older recipe to include this to make it fail-safe and remove the chance of any disappointment should someone be using a larger pressure cooker. This recipe was designed to be used with a smaller pressure pan but it was not indicated in the instructions.

      However, with 1/2 cup of water you should be able to make it in your 6.5L without any more scorching.



  15. Thanks. I am curious: what size was it designed for? Do have smaller ones…

    1. I have added a note to the bottom of the recipe for anyone who has a 3L or smaller cooker. If you purchased the WMF set it will work with your smaller pan because it requires less liquid and less time to reach pressure. : )



  16. I have 2 baby eggplants, and lots of zucchini. Can I use both together in my Instapot for this recipe?


  17. Very tasty, and easy to make in my instant pot. I’m back to check the recipe for a second go!

  18. This has just become my fav eggplant recipe!
    Splitting the eggplant cubes in half, sauteing one half then adding the other half later provides two textures to the finished dish.
    Made one sub; did not have anchovy fillets, added one TBS of Worcestershire sauce with the water.

    Steven S

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