Chicken Parmesan is an amazing classic Italian-American dish that makes a comforting dinner any time of the year. Juicy chicken breast is breaded and oven-fried for that special crispy touch and topped flavorful marinara sauce and Mozzarella cheese.
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Why We Love This Chicken Parmesan Recipe
This is probably the best known and most loved chicken recipe. Knowing how to make the best chicken parm right at home means you will never have to order another one from the restaurant. Homemade will always taste so much better because you will be able to put your own special touches to this family dinner.
Originally, Chicken Parmesan was made with crispy fried chicken but I prefer to bake it in the oven. You can still get the crispy chicken bite without having to fry it. I also love to add freshly grated Parmesan cheese right into the bread crumb mixture so that every bite of this chicken dish is infused with Parmesan flavors.
What takes this classic dish to a whole new level is the homemade sauce. As good as some store-bought pasta sauces can be, none of them compare to a homemade sauce. Great news is that you can make an easy marinara sauce while you prepare the chicken.
Chicken breast – try to get chicken breasts that are as close to the same size as possible. You can get full chicken breasts and cut them yourself of get already cut chicken cutlets from the store.
Marinara sauce – for the best results, use homemade marinara sauce. You can even make the sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use. (Try my Homemade Spaghetti Sauce or an easy Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce.)
Parmesan Cheese – use fresh grated parmesan cheese so it tastes and melts best. You can often find freshly grated parmesan cheese in the deli section of the grocery store or you can grate it yourself.
Bread crumbs – use Panko bread crumbs for a beautifully crisp finish. If you need to keep the chicken parmesan gluten free, use gluten free bread crumbs (and gluten free all purpose flour).
Seasoning – you will need a simple combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onions, powder, and dried oregano.
See the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients and instructions.
How To Make Chicken Parmesan
Start with the sauce! You can prepare the chicken while sauce is simmering, so it’s done with chicken.
To Make Easy Marinara Sauce:
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour it into a sauce pot and bring to simmer. Lower the heat to medium-low/low and let it gently simmer while you prepare and bake the chicken.
Making Chicken Cutlets
If using full boneless chicken breasts, you will need to slice the chicken in half to make thinner cutlets, widthwise. (For very small, thin chicken breasts, you can just gently pound it with a meat tenderizer.) Place the chicken breast on the cutting board, place your hand on top of the chicken breast (1), and slice each chicken breast in half, width-wise (2).
PRO TIP: Make sure to lift your fingers up and not curve them down when cutting the chicken.
How to Bread Chicken
The biggest problem that people have when breading the chicken is keeping the coating from falling off. The way to fix it is to bread the chicken in the right order. There are three parts to the coating on the chicken and as long as you do them in the right order, the coating will stay on nicely.
First the flour – Dip each chicken breast in flour mixture to lightly coat it all over.
Second is the egg – Dip flour coated chicken breast in egg mixture on both sides.
Third is bread crumbs – Place chicken breast into the bowl with bread crumb mixture and flip it over a few times. Gently pat as you’re flipping the chicken to make sure the bread crumbs get onto the chicken nicely (4).
Repeat this with all the chicken cutlets.
Baking Chicken Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 425° and lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet. Place the breaded chicken cutlets onto the baking sheet (5).
Bake chicken for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts (6). Take the baking sheet out of the oven (close the oven door to keep the heat in) and spoon marinara sauce over each chicken breast (7). Use as little or as much as you want, just make sure to cover the whole top evenly.
Spread shredded Mozzarella cheese over the top of each chicken breast (8) and sprinkle some oregano over cheese. Place the baking sheet back in the oven and cook for another 5-7 minutes, until all the cheese is melted. (Chicken is fully cooked when it reaches 165° internal temperature.)
Absolutely! I make gluten free Chicken Parmesan all the time, there are just a couple simple substitutions.
Substitute regular flour for gluten free all purpose flour.
Substitute seasoned Panko bread crumbs for seasoned gluten free bread crumbs (preferably Panko style).
Note: If you can’t find seasoned gluten free bread crumbs, get plain gluten free crumbs and add dry parsley, dry oregano, dry basil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to get the flavors into it.
This is actually a pretty common question that I’ve gotten quite a bit. While the traditional (and incredibly delicious) way to make chicken parmesan is with the crispy chicken, you can make it a little healthier. Making it healthier is usually the main reason for leaving off the breading.
You can definitely make chicken parmesan without the breading but make sure to season the chicken cutlets before cooking. You can either bake the chicken cutlets or simply cook them in the skillet on the stove-top. Bake them still at 425° but it will take much less time.
You can also try my Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan, it is made without breading.
Make a Chicken Parmesan Sub sandwich with leftover chicken! Spread a little marinara sauce inside a sub roll, slice cooked Chicken Parmesan into slices and add in to the sub. Sprinkle some more Mozzarella cheese over chicken. Bake in the oven at 350° for about 10 minutes, or until chicken is hot.
What To Serve With Chicken Parmesan?
The most common side that you will see with Chicken Parmesan is pasta, like spaghetti or fettuccine.
For a comforting dinner, you can also try mashed potatoes. Nothing is better than soft, fluffy homemade mashed potatoes to make the dinner cozy and comforting.
Try mashed cauliflower if you want to keep the meal comforting but lighter.
Storing and Freezing Instructions
Store leftover chicken parmesan in an air-tight food storage container, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Reheating. To reheat the chicken, you can do it in the skillet, over medium-low heat to get the bottom nice and crispy. Make sure to reheat it covered with a lid so it heats all the way through.
You can also freeze the leftovers or double the recipe and freeze half of it.
To freeze cooked Chicken Parmesan, make sure it’s cooled to room temperature and place it into a shallow aluminum pan. You can use one pan and fit all the chicken breasts into it or divide it among two smaller pans.
Wrap the whole pan in two layers of plastic wrap and press gently as you’re wrapping to get the most air out. Wrap the whole pan into a layer of aluminum foil and label. For extra protection, you can place smaller pans into a freezer zip-lock bag.
Place the pans into the freezer and freeze for up to 2-3 months.
Thaw frozen chicken by pulling it out of the freezer and onto the refrigerator the day before you need it.
Take off all plastic wrap before reheating chicken. Reheat in the oven at 350° for about 15 minutes, until chicken is hot throughout.
Note: after freezing and defrosting, chicken won’t be crispy but it will still be delicious.
More Classic Italian Dinners To Try
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Chicken Parmesan Recipe
- 1.5-1.75 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 1/2 cup seasoned Panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- fresh cracked black pepper
Easy Marinara Sauce:
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes fire roasted or San Marzano
- 1/2 Vidalia onion
- 5-6 large fresh basil leaves
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp white granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp kosher coarse salt more to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper more or less to taste
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- Preheat the oven to 425° and lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet.
- Combine all ingredients for marinara sauce in a blender and pulse until smooth.
- Transfer the sauce mixture into a sauce pot and bring it to simmer over medium heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low/low and let it gently simmer while you prepare and bake the chicken. Remember to stir from time to time.
- Place the chicken breast onto the cutting board and place your hand on top, make sure to slightly bend your fingers up and not curl or angle them down. Slice through the center of the chicken all the way to cut it in half widthwise. This will create two thinner chicken breast halves.Note: for very small, thin chicken breasts, just gently pound it a little with a meat tenderizer. No need to cut them in half.
Breading the chicken:
- You will need 3 wide and shallow bowls for breading.
- Combine flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in the first one. Whisk egg with some salt and pepper in the second bowl. Mix seasoned Panko bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper in the last bowl.
- First – Dip each chicken breast in flour mixture to lightly coat it all over.
- Second – Dip flour coated chicken breast in egg mixture on both sides.
- Third – Place chicken breast into the bowl with bread crumb mixture and flip it over a few times. Gently pat as you’re flipping the chicken to make sure the bread crumbs get onto the chicken nicely.
- Repeat with remaining chicken cutlets.
- Place breaded chicken breasts onto the baking sheet, leaving just a little space in between.
- Bake chicken for 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of chicken breasts.
- Take the baking sheet out of the oven (close the oven door to keep the heat in) and spoon marinara sauce over each chicken breast. Use as little or as much as you want, just make sure to cover the whole top evenly.
- Spread shredded Mozzarella cheese over the top of each chicken breast and sprinkle some oregano over cheese.
- Place the baking sheet back in the oven and cook for 5-7 more minutes, until all the cheese is melted.
- Spoon some marinara sauce over pasta and add baked chicken cutlet over the top. Serve with some fresh grated parmesan cheese sprinkled on top!
- Gluten Free Notes: Substitute regular flour for gluten free all purpose flour. Substitute Panko bread crumbs for gluten free bread crumbs (preferably Panko style).
- Storing: Store leftover chicken parmesan in an air-tight food storage container, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Reheating. To reheat the chicken, you can do it in the skillet, over medium-low heat to get the bottom nice and crispy. Make sure to reheat it covered with a lid so it heats all the way through.