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10 Types of Eggplant (Different Varieties)

Eggplants are versatile, nutritional vegetables you can add to almost any dish. But did you know that there are different types of eggplant?

There’s the tiny fairy tale eggplant, which can be grilled or roasted and used as an appetizer. 

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Raw Healthy Organic Purple Eggplant

Then, there are the larger, more widely available varieties found at most supermarkets.

These include the globe (or American) eggplant and Chinese eggplant.

There are even white and green eggplants if purple isn’t your color! 

In this post, I’ll explore the different types of eggplant out there. I’ll even discuss some tasty ways to prepare them.

Keep reading to learn about all things eggplant!

1. American Eggplant

Whole and Sliced American Eggplant on Wooden Table

The American eggplant is probably the most widely recognized eggplant variety. At least in the United States. 

Also known as the globe eggplant, it’s a large, fat veggie. It’s also a rich, deep purple.

In other words, it’s the ‘typical eggplant’ variety. 

Grocery stores all over America and the UK sell this large, tasty eggplant. Farmers all across the US grow it in their gardens, too. 

It’s a great choice for signature dishes like eggplant parmesan and fried eggplant.

You can roast, grill, fry, bake, or even saute them. They make a terrific side dish or main course.

2. Fairy Tale Eggplant

Fresh Fairy Tale Eggplants

Fairy tale eggplants are small and have vibrant white stripes on their purple skins.

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They look like the eggplants kids would serve to their dolls or in their miniature kitchens. 

Fortunately, what they lack in size, they make up for in taste and tenderness. They’re mild and sweet.

And their tender flesh and few seeds make them perfect for grilling.

They cook quickly, no matter how you decide to cook them.

Besides grilling, slow roasting them is another good option. Top them with lemon juice and herbs and roast them in the oven. 

Because of their small size (they’re no longer than a few inches), they make excellent appetizers.

They also make good side dishes but aren’t large enough for the main course.

3. Italian Eggplant

Fresh Italian Eggplant on Wooden Table

Italian eggplants have similar shapes to American eggplants. They also have a deep, rich purple color that borders on black. 

However, they’re somewhat smaller than American eggplants. They have a sweeter flavor and tenderer flesh. 

They’re likely the eggplant you’ll enjoy if you have eggplant parm from an authentic Italian joint.

It also works well in eggplant caponata and parmigiana di melanzane.

You can use it in non-Italian dishes, too, of course. Any way you can cook an American eggplant, you can also cook an Italian eggplant.

4. Japanese Eggplant

Fresh Japanese Eggplant

Sometimes, people use the terms Japanese eggplant and Chinese eggplant interchangeably.

However, they are actually two distinct eggplant varieties. Let’s talk about the Japanese one first.

The two look similar, but Japanese eggplants are a darker purple and often shorter.

Both are slim and long rather than short and globular.  

The Japanese eggplant is tender and creamy. It does well when grilled or baked.

However, you can also use it in stir-fries with phenomenal results. 

Because they’re so thin, you can cook them quickly.

Of course, that also means they’re easier to burn than some of their thicker counterparts. Watch them closely to prevent that. 

5. Chinese Eggplant 

Chinese Eggplants

On the other hand, the Chinese eggplant is typically longer and lighter in color.

Most people describe them as “lilac” or “lavender” colored. They’re also sometimes tinged with white. 

Most people think of Italy when picturing eggplants. However, Chinese eggplants are more widely produced.

After all, China produces more than half of all the world’s eggplants.

Like their Japanese cousins, Chinese eggplants are also thin, tender, and mildly sweet.

They’re perfect for grilling, braising, or using in stir-fry dishes.

6. Graffiti Eggplant

Graffiti Eggplants

In appearance, the graffiti eggplant is easily my favorite eggplant type.

It’s shaped like a teardrop and features a bright green top and purple and white-striped skin. It’s stunning.

It’s also delicious. Like the American eggplant, you can cook it any way you dream up.

It has tender skin, few seeds, and creamy flesh. All of that makes it especially perfect for grilling.

Sometimes, I slice and grill the pieces. Other times, I split them whole (picture a cut baked potato) and grill them.

They always turn out fantastic either way. 

You can also puree them with excellent results. 

Keep in mind that some people call these eggplants by different names.

If you hear someone talking about Sicilian or zebra eggplant, this is the eggplant they mean.

7. Green Thai Eggplant

Green Thai Eggplant on a Wooden Bowl

Finding a Thai eggplant in America is challenging. And even if you’ve seen one, you might not have known what it was.

These eggplants are about the size of figs and deep green. In other words, they look nothing like eggplants at all.

They also have several bitter seeds you should remove before eating them.

As for eating them, plenty of people do so without cooking them first.

They’re a great addition to salads and veggie platters. They’re crunchy and have a distinct but hard-to-describe taste.

You can also saute or puree them. If you’re a fan of Thai food, try adding them to your favorite recipes. You won’t be disappointed. 

*Note: There are other Thai eggplants. One is purple, and the other is white. This entry was specifically about green Thai eggplants.

8. Filipino Eggplant

Filipino eggplant

Filipino eggplants, like Japanese and Chinese eggplants, are long and thin.

However, they get a little thicker in the middle than the other two Asian eggplant varieties.

They also differ in color. Filipino eggplants are a dusty shade of purple, not light and not bright. In fact, their color often borders on gray. 

In their native country, people call them the talong or taeong.

They often use them in Filipino recipes, such as Filipino eggplant adobo.

There’s another variety of Filipino eggplant. It features the same color but a different shape.

It’s smaller and rounder, but it’s also harder to find. 

9. White Eggplant 

White Eggplants on a Wicker Basket

There are several white eggplant varieties. Still, my favorite is the one that looks like an oversized egg.

It’s large, round, and creamy white. Its flavor is sweeter and milder than purple eggplants.

Even so, you can cook them or use them in any recipe for eggplant.

Other than the milder taste, most people would never even notice a difference. 

White eggplants are some of my favorite eggplants for frying.

They hold the batter well and crisp up nicely. You can also roast, grill, braise, or saute them. 

10. Rosa Bianca Eggplant

Box Full of Rosa Bianca Eggplants

The Rosa Bianca eggplant is a bit of a mystery.

Some people lump it in with Italian eggplants, while others insist it’s a Sicilian variety.

Whatever the case, it’s a wonderful eggplant with which to cook. It features a fat, round shape and a lavender and white color.

It almost looks like a purplish apple. 

It’s a delicate eggplant variety without a hint of bitterness. It’s also melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Like most full-size eggplants, you can cook it any way you like. 

However, its tenderness and sweet flavor make it ideal for grilling. It doesn’t even need much seasoning.

Just brush a little oil over it and toss it on the grill. Its natural flavor is tasty enough.

10 Types of Eggplant (Different Varieties)

Try these different types of eggplant for healthy meals! From American to fairy tale to Japanese, each one is equally as delicious.

Ingredients

  • American Eggplant

  • Fairy Tale Eggplant

  • Italian Eggplant

  • Japanese Eggplant

  • Chinese Eggplant

  • Graffiti Eggplant

  • Green Thai Eggplant

  • Filipino Eggplant

  • White Eggplant

  • Rosa Bianca Eggplant

Directions

  • Select your favorite type of eggplant.
  • Try a fun and exciting new recipe.
  • Enjoy!
Types of Eggplant

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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