20 Types of Eggplant to Wow Your Garden & Meals
Author: Jen Worst | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
Eggplants are vegetables that you can cook in multiple ways and use for a variety of dishes, but did you know that there are many different types of eggplant that can offer you something unique in texture, flavor, and consistency?
20 Types of Eggplant
To understand each of these eggplant varieties in detail, you can go through the following list where we not only try to share different kinds of eggplants based on where they originate but also the most unique in flavor, texture, and visual appearance. For advice on how to grow eggplants, we'll leave that to Cornell University's compact guide.
Japanese eggplant is a long variety of eggplant. It is also quite thin and comes in various shades of purple, some even looking almost black from the outside. When you cut them, they can offer a soft, creamy and white flesh.
This eggplant species also tastes sweeter as compared to other bitter varieties and takes a short time to cook. You can also often leave the skin of this eggplant on in most dishes.
Fairy Tale Eggplant
The Fairy Tale eggplant is a variety of eggplant that tends to be pretty small in size, each eggplant measuring only around four inches in height. The eggplant is purple or lavender in color, often also featuring white streaks on the skin.
This eggplant can cook thoroughly pretty quickly. It also has a creamy and soft flesh that can go well with a variety of meals, especially if you wish to add a sweet note to your dish.
Chinese eggplants tend to be long and slender in appearance, much like the Japanese variety. The skin tends to be purple in color while the flesh is white, bearing a minimum number of seeds. This can also make them taste relatively sweet.
Often, these different eggplants tend to be straight and sturdy, although there are some that lean or curve a bit at the end. Some also have a bit of white at the top.
Italian eggplants have a rich purple color on their peels, although you can find some that verge on black too. These eggplant types are usually small in size and plump in shape, usually being narrower at the top.
The flesh of these types of eggplant tends to be tender, sponge-like and creamy, while the taste is slightly sweet. While it also has bitter notes, it isn’t as bitter as some other varieties. It goes well in pasta dishes complete with most types of pasta sauce, and the more vegetables the better.
Ping Tung Eggplant
The Ping Tung eggplant comes from Taiwan. These eggplants are usually slender and sturdy. They are quite long as well, similar to the Chinese and Japanese varieties, extending up to 12 inches in height. The skin tends to range from lighter to deeper shades of purple.
This eggplant has a dry flesh that is white in color. It isn’t as soft and juicy as the others but can offer a sweet flavor.
Indian eggplants are referred to as brinjals in the subcontinent. These are typically small in size and carry a round or oval shape. They have a rich red to purple to black color with green leaves at the top.
The flesh of these eggplants is usually white and soft, especially when cooked. You can cut the flesh up into small pieces or you can mix the flesh with other vegetables to make a curry. Stuffing the eggplant up is also possible.
Graffiti eggplants are also called Sicilian eggplants due to their origins. They are also called zebra eggplants because the skin tends to resemble a zebra through its light purple color and multiple white stripes or streaks.
These eggplants can be small and round or even long and relatively slender. These eggplants tend to have tiny seeds, thereby giving the flesh a sweet flavor. You can roast, puree or bake them.
Tango eggplants are usually white or yellow in color. They start off being white in color, with many turning yellow as the fruit and plant begin to mature and grow. The flesh inside, however, continues to be white like the other varieties.
This eggplant has rough skin that you should ideally peel off before you cook and eat these types of eggplant. The flesh inside is creamy but harder than the other varieties. It is also a bit bitter.
Rosa Bianca Eggplant
Originating from Sicily, these eggplants are small in size and generally round and plump in shape. The skin of these eggplants tends to have a light lilac color, with many also having streaks of white and pink on them.
These eggplant species have tender flesh with a delicious sweet taste. The outer skin also looks ridged like an onion, but the taste is quite different. The flesh is also meaty. Garnish it with types of basil to beautify the plate and enhance the taste.
Globe eggplants are the variety that you will most commonly find in the United States. These are also called American eggplants due to their growing origins. These eggplants are small in size but carry a pear-like shape, with the bottom half being fat, large and round like a globe.
The peel of these eggplant types is a rich purple, verging on black. The flesh is meaty and tender, with a slightly bitter taste.
Little Green Eggplant
These eggplant varieties are tiny in size and tend to carry a pale green color on the peel. The flesh is white and creamy, while the shape itself is round and egg-like. You can either peel the skin off or leave it on based on your preferences.
The flesh inside is tender and soft and tends to become even more so once you cook it through. Note that the taste is quite gentle and mild, so you can easily pair it with various foods.
Turkish Orange Eggplant
Turkish Orange eggplants come from Turkey, as the name suggests. They are small and almost perfectly round, resembling tomatoes due to this along with their rich orange-red color. They also have green stripes when they are still young.
The flesh of these types of eggplant is tender and soft. If you cook and eat the younger fruits, you can also get a sweet taste from the flesh. Once they mature, however, they become a bit more bitter.
White eggplants are completely white in color. This includes the skin as well as the flesh. They are also egg-like in shape, although some can also be a bit longer in size. These eggplants, despite their distinct appearance, taste as most eggplants do.
The flesh is meaty and tender, giving you a slightly bitter taste with some hints of sweetness. You can reduce this bitter taste considerably if you cook the eggplant fully.
Thai eggplants are grown and mainly found in Thailand. They are small in size and a round or pear-like shape. The skin is green in color with streaks of white, while the flesh tends to be pinkish-white.
These different eggplants have a bitter taste which you can reduce by removing the seeds completely. I find it tastes best when cooked softer, which helps it blend well with greens such as the many types of kale.
Santana varieties of eggplant are some of the largest eggplants. These are different kinds of eggplant that are long while also being plump and fleshy. Their peels have a deep purple to black color.
The flesh of these eggplant species is tender but firm, making it perfect for grilling. The flesh tastes bittersweet. This eggplant mainly has its origins in parts of Italy.
African Garden Eggplant
The African Garden or simply African eggplant is a small and round eggplant that is green in color, often becoming red and orange as it matures.
This eggplant also has several ridges, which makes it look more like green and red peppers or tiny pumpkins. The flesh tastes bitter and can work well in combination with other vegetables and meats.
Another Italian variety, the Barbarella eggplant tends to carry an extremely rich purple color on its skin, with parts around the leaves also being pink and white in color.
These types of eggplant are small and round and also have many grooves or ridges. The flesh is white and tender. It is also a bit grainy.
Orient Express Eggplant
Orient Express eggplants tend to be medium in size while also being more slender at the top and plump at the base. Many of these can also be long and thin.
They are rich purple in color and the flesh is quite creamy, although the taste is quite mild. You can leave the skin on and grill these for the best results.
Another Indian variety, Calliope eggplant types have purple and white peels and tend to be round or oval-like in shape. Some are short while others are a bit longer.
They are quite fleshy and creamy with a sweet taste. These are now grown in many other parts of the world too.
Kermit eggplants are a Thai variety of eggplants. They are green in color and are small and round. Some of them tend to become purple in color as they mature. These eggplants have firm flesh with a soft but grainy texture. Compared to the other different varieties of eggplant, these aren’t too bitter.
Types of Eggplant for Consistent Yet Interesting Variety
Some popular and delicious, but different types of eggplant are Japanese, white, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Calliope, Barbarella, African Garden, Santana, Turkish Orange and many others. You can try out each of these eggplant species to see what works for you or alternate between them based on what you are cooking and which ones are available in your area.