Chicken Parmesan Recipe

Totally Doable Chicken Parmesan Recipe

Gooey cheese and fresh basil tops crisp breaded chicken breasts lying on a bed of light marinara sauce. This friends, is serious comfort food.

We’ve had chicken parm on the list of “to-dos” for quite some time. We wanted to make the best — something better than the classic. To be honest though, we like the classic — baked in sauce and topped with cheese.

Alright, so we didn’t make any earth shattering changes to the classic. Like I said above, we love the classic. We did however, figure out how to make the classic best. 

Homemade chicken parmesan is totally doable — just keep the following in mind.

Chicken Parmesan Recipe — Totally Doable and Totally Delicious

After making a few mistakes, ourselves, we’ve narrowed down a few tricks to make the best chicken parmesan. They’re all simple enough, but wow do they make a difference.

Salt and Pepper Are Your Friend

Whenever we bread chicken (or other meats and veggies), we always go heavy on the seasoning. Breading the chicken is a three part process. The chicken is dredged in flour, dipped in egg, and then is tossed in breadcrumbs and a little parmesan before pan frying.

Fortunately, that means there are lots of chances to season the chicken. First, we lightly season the chicken itself. Then, we actually add salt to the flour and to the breadcrumbs. This way, not only is the chicken seasoned, but the breading is as well. Win!

Why You Should Use Marinara Sauce

For the sauce, we rely on a light marinara sauce. We make our own marinara sauce, but you could buy it at the store  If you do, try buying something that’s light — maybe in the prepared section? Or, choose a jar that specifically says “marinara.”

You see, tomato sauce and marinara sauce are different. Marinara sauce is usually cooked within an hour, whereas “tomato sauce” can be cooked for hours — making it much richer than marinara.

Using a lighter sauce, like marinara won’t weigh down the chicken.

How Much Sauce To Add — Less Than You Think

We really like baking the chicken on top of sauce. Some, however, think this makes the breading mushy. Our way around this is to bake the breaded chicken on a bed of sauce, but then to only add about a tablespoon to the top of the chicken. This way, the breading remains crisp, but you still get the extra flavors of the chicken baking on top of the sauce.

Totally Doable Chicken Parmesan

If you really are against baking the chicken and sauce together — don’t. All you need to do is add basil and cheese to the top of the breaded chicken and bake until cooked through. Then, serve the chicken with warm marinara sauce on the side.

Cooking the Chicken — Or, How Not to Overcook the Chicken

Chicken parmesan is a two-part process. First the chicken is breaded and pan-fried. This makes the breading crisp and golden brown. After that, it is baked.

While the pan-frying does cook the chicken partially, it won’t be completely cooked through. So, you really only need to bake long enough to complete cooking the chicken and to melt the cheese. We bake for 15 to 20 minutes. That’s it.

Totally Doable Chicken Parmesan

For serving, we like to add a small side of pasta topped with warm marinara sauce or even crisp vegetables. The chicken is very filling so there’s no need for lots.

 Totally Doable Chicken Parmesan

Do you have a favorite way to make chicken parmesan? Tell us, how do you make it?

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5.0 from 4 reviews
Chicken Parmesan Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Why we love this recipe. This one is a classic -- almost everyone we know has indulged in a plate of chicken parmesan, but not many have made it at home for themselves. We admit, it has a few steps to it, but they are so worth it. In this case, homemade is where it’s at.

What you need to know. For this, we actually like to make our own marinara sauce since it is a little brighter and more fresh. (This can be done days or weeks in advance). If you’re in a pinch, though, store-bought is great. If you plan to buy jarred marinara sauce, you will need to buy 2 jars. About 1/2 of one jar will not be used.

Equipment you’ll need. A cutting board, flat meat mallet (rolling pin or heavy bottomed pan can be used), 3 shallow dishes for breading, fork, large plate or small baking sheet, large skillet, tongs and a 13x9-inch baking dish.
Created By:
Yield: 4-6
You Will Need
For chicken
  • 4 chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 cup (140 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (210 grams) dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup (16 grams) finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For Assembly
  • 4 cups (709 to 946 grams) marinara sauce, warmed (some sauce will be leftover for serving)
  • 1/2 cup (16 grams) finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves
  • 4 thin slices provolone cheese
  • 1/3 cup (79 ml) canola or vegetable oil
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (177C).
Prepare Chicken Breasts
  1. Place a chicken breast onto cutting board then lay a sheet of wax paper, parchment paper or plastic wrap over it.
  2. Pound the chicken breast with a flat meat mallet (you can also use a rolling pin or heavy bottomed pan), until it is about 1/2-inch thick. Repeat with three remaining chicken breasts. Lightly season both sides of each chicken breast with salt and pepper.Chicken-Step-1
Prepare Breading Station
  1. You will need three shallow dishes -- we like to use round cake pans or pie dishes. Add flour and a generous pinch of salt to the first and mix well with a fork. Crack both eggs into the second dish then add milk. Use a fork to beat until frothy. Then, add breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and another generous pinch of salt and pepper to the third dish and use a fork to mix well.
  2. Have a clean plate or small baking sheet ready -- this is where the breaded chicken can be placed before frying.
  3. Now bread chicken breasts: dredge chicken in seasoned flour, and then dip them in the egg wash to coat completely, allowing excess to drip of the chicken and back into the dish. Finally, dredge chicken in the breadcrumbs. Place breaded chicken onto clean plate or baking sheet.Chicken-Step-2
Cook Chicken
  1. Prepare a small baking sheet or large plate covered with a few paper towels. This will be where you place the browned chicken so excess oil is absorbed.
  2. To brown the chicken you will need a skillet large enough so that all four chicken breasts can nestle into the pan comfortably. If you do not have a pan large enough, use a medium pan and cook the chicken, two breasts at a time. Add enough oil to the pan so that when the chicken is added, it sizzles around the chicken.
  3. Heat the oil over medium heat in skillet. Once the oil is hot (the oil will look shimmery) add the chicken and fry 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crisp.
  4. Once done, place chicken onto a bed of paper towels to absorb excess oil.Chicken-Step-3
Assemble and Bake
  1. Ladle enough marinara sauce to coat the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Then, arrange chicken on top of sauce.
  2. Add a generous tablespoon of sauce on top of each chicken breast then top the sauce with a few basil leaves. Finally, divide a 1/2 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese between the chicken breasts and finish with a slice of provolone cheese on each.
  3. Bake chicken, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese begins to brown and an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).Chicken-Step-4
  4. Serve with pasta, additional sauce, vegetables or a sandwich roll.

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17 comments… Leave a Comment

  • Kelly May 6, 2013, 3:19 pm

    So, I felt a little daunted by all the steps, as I seem to always miss something, but it was really easy, and, by far, the BEST chicken Parmesan I’ve ever made, all four family members said so!! Thank you so much for unlocking the mystery; a great batter, then browning it in the pan before baking, and not for too long. Followed all your directions, and I’m so pleased, I want to make it again! Thank you so much, I love your site. Keep cooking, for my sake, haha!!

    Reply
    • Joanne May 8, 2013, 10:49 am

      We’re so glad it worked out for you — there are lots of steps, but we tried to make everything as simple as possible :) This one is definitely one of our favorites!

      Reply
  • Maureen May 7, 2013, 4:57 am

    In Australia marinara sauce has seafood in it because of the word I suppose. I’m assuming this is a light tomato based sauce? This dish looks wonderful.

    Reply
  • susan jordan May 14, 2013, 6:09 pm

    Hi Can you pre-prepare and freeze it?

    Reply
    • Joanne May 16, 2013, 9:36 am

      HI there — You can, but we like to keep things separate so the breading on the chicken stays crunchy. Freeze the uncooked breaded chicken separate to the cheese and sauce. Then when you are ready, thaw everything, fry the breaded chicken and then assemble everything and cook.

      Reply
  • Cydney June 17, 2013, 12:08 pm

    Maybe I just canèt see it but what temperature do you bake it at?

    Reply
    • Joanne June 17, 2013, 4:38 pm

      Hi Cydney, You’re correct, the temperature was not there. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F (177C). Thanks for catching the mistake, it is fixed now.

      Reply
      • Lavoria July 5, 2013, 2:36 pm

        it was at the top of the recipe under method. Have not made it yet. Soon!!!

        Reply
  • Amrita January 12, 2014, 1:43 pm

    Hey there This looks amazing…can you recommend some sides to go with?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Joanne January 15, 2014, 3:10 pm

      We personally go for something lighter like a salad, but pasta tossed in a little mariner sauce is nice.

      Reply
  • Jeweline January 21, 2014, 1:31 pm

    I love Mexican food. It has always been my favorite but this recipe, hmm… it is definitely in my top two. I found the recipe in early December 2013. I’ve made it 4 times and plan on making it again sometime this week. It is funny because I almost talked myself out of changing the Parmesan Cheese and Bay Leaves because I hate processed parmesan cheese on spaghetti and I just am not into leaves as it relates to anything but I stuck with the recipe since google advised that Parmesan Cheese taste different cooked vs processed. Not only did I love this dish so did my family and co-workers (it was so good I had to make a batch for work). I haven’t found one person that I’ve given it to that hasn’t handed me back a clean plate.

    Reply
  • Heather February 15, 2014, 2:01 pm

    Made this last night for my husband because Chicken Parmesan is one of his favorite dishes. I followed the recipe EXACTLY and he said it was one of the best Chicken Parmesan dishes he has ever had. Loved the step-by-step instructions as well as the pictures, made it super easy to follow. This recipe is a new go to one.

    Reply
  • Samantha February 16, 2014, 1:57 pm

    I made this for valentine’s day for my boyfriend. This recipe was so easy!your instructions were spot-on and very simple to follow. The dish came out just as I hade hoped. My boyfriend even said it was delicious as leftovers too! I served the chicken Parmesan with a side cesar salad and rosemary olive oil breadsticks. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply
  • Desarie March 25, 2014, 4:43 pm

    I have all the ingredients but eggs. What can I switch it with?

    Reply
    • Joanne April 3, 2014, 11:17 am

      Try brushing the chicken with mayonnaise, sour cream or yogurt then dipping in the breadcrumbs (you can skip the flour and eggs this way).

      Reply
  • Catherine Gallagher April 12, 2014, 1:36 pm

    Well…my name is Catherine Gallagher and I will use this recipe tomorrow. Have made chicken parm before but not this recipe. I’ll let you know my rating but looks good.After all namesake should be delish! :)

    Reply
    • Joanne April 16, 2014, 12:58 pm

      Hope it works well for you! Great name by the way ;)

      Reply

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