This recipe for chicken parmigiana is simple to make and loaded with robust Italian flavors. Chicken cutlets are breaded and fried to golden brown perfection before being baked with bright marinara sauce and rich, melted cheese.
This chicken parmigiana recipe is going to blow your mind. An Italian-American dish, it features crispy fried cutlets bathed in silky marinara and topped with gooey melted cheeses to create a taste and texture sensation.
Don’t be intimidated by the number of steps in the recipe. Chicken parmigiana is actually quite easy to put together and can be made in just around 45 minutes from start to finish. Plus, with all those rich aromatic herbs in the mix, your house is going to smell amazing as you cook.
Table of Contents
- Chicken Breasts – Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are fantastic, or, feel free to buy breast meat that has already been processed into cutlets.
- Flour – Regular, all-purpose flour works great.
- Garlic Powder – Gives the breading a sweet, nutty, pungency.
- Italian Seasoning – This blend of dried herbs adds a variety of rich, earthy, aromatic flavors to the dish. Buy a premixed version or blend your own out of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram.
- Eggs – Keep the cutlets moist while helping the breadcrumbs to adhere to the surface.
- Breadcrumbs – Choose classic Italian breadcrumbs or go for the airier, lighter Panko breadcrumbs.
- Marinara Sauce – Gives the chicken parmigiana recipe robust tomato flavor and rich texture. Try my easy DIY version or use any of your favorites.
- Mozzarella – Adds a rich, melty cheesiness with a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
- Parmesan – Gives the dish its name while offering a sharp, complex flavor with a hint of tang.
- Basil Leaves – As a finishing touch, adds a welcome dash of fresh, herby flavor and bright green color. Freshly chopped parsley is another great option here.
How to Get Perfectly Melted Cheese
If your chicken parm is almost done baking but the cheese isn’t as melted as you like, switch on the broiler for a minute or two. This will quickly melt the cheese and give you the golden brown, bubbly effect. However, keep a really close eye on the oven if you do this to prevent burning.
- Prepare the Oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Make & Season Cutlets. Make each breast into 4 cutlets by either slicing or pounding thin with a mallet. Season the cutlets with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Set up Stations. Whisk together the flour, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning in a small bowl. Transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl or plate that will work for dredging. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and water together. Place the breadcrumbs in their own, separate dish.
- Coat the Cutlets. Start by dredging each cutlet in the flour mixture. Then, dip each in the egg mixture and finally in the breadcrumbs. Use your hands to gently press if to help the breadcrumbs stick.
- Pan Fry the Chicken. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat it until it begins shimmering. Carefully place the breaded cutlets in the oil and fry until they are golden brown and crispy on both sides. Remove the cutlets and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside and let the excess oil absorb.
- Add Sauce & Cheese. Transfer the cutlets to a casserole dish or a well-rimmed baking tray. Spread marinara sauce over the center of each cutlet followed by a topping of both mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
- Bake to Perfection. Place the dish in the preheated oven and cook for around 18 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, golden brown, and bubbly. Garnish with plenty of fresh basil before serving.
Nothing! It’s just two different names for the exact same dish. Both consist of breaded, fried cutlets baked with marinara sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan. Parmigiana is simply the Italian word for the cheese we call parmesan in the United States.
While it is clearly an Italian-inspired dish, the chicken parmesan we know today has roots in North America. While nobody knows exactly who invented it, recipes started showing up in Italian cookbooks and restaurants in the 1950s, primarily along the east coast of the United States.
Where is the connection? Parmigiana does not simply mean parmesan cheese but translates more literally to mean from Parma. Parma is the city in Northern Italy where the cheese originated. Rather than chicken, which was not abundant at the time, the earliest Parma style or parmigiana recipes were made with breaded and fried strips of eggplant.
Italian immigrants brought this culinary tradition with them to the United States and eventually applied it to chicken cutlets.
This dish is wonderful served over a bed of spaghetti, fettuccine, or any of your favorite pastas. I like to round out the meal with a Chopped Vegetable Salad or Lebanese Fattoush and a side of warm, crusty garlic bread.
Instead of pasta, try pairing this chicken parmigiana recipe with Basmati Rice or mashed potatoes and some steamed vegetables like asparagus or broccoli.
You can also enjoy chicken parmesan as a wrap, submarine sandwich, or nestled inside some Pita Bread.
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Classic Chicken Parmigiana
- 2 lbs chicken breasts boneless, skinless
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
- 2 large eggs beaten with 2 teaspoons water
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs or Italian breadcrumbs
- ½ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
- 2 ½ cups marinara sauce
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese freshly sliced or grated
- 1 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 8 fresh basil leaves sliced into ribbons (or chopped parsley)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Pound each breast thin with a meat mallet or slice in half to form 4 cutlets. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Combine flour, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning and transfer to a shallow dish or plate. Whisk egg and water together in separate dish. Pour panko breadcrumbs into another dish.
- Dredge chicken in flour mixture, then egg, ending with the panko mixture. Gently press to adhere breadcrumbs.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil begins to shimmer, add chicken to skillet and pan fry until golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes per side. Remove and set on a paper towel lined plate to soak up excess oil.
- Transfer chicken to a rimmed baking tray, casserole or baking dish. Pour marinara sauce across center of each piece of chicken and top with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
- Bake until cheese is browned and bubbling, about 18 minutes. Remove and garnish with basil.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.