What is chicken parmesan?
Also referred to as chicken parmigiana, this recipe is breaded and pan-fried chicken breasts or cutlets (they can also be deep fried) with lots of delicious parmesan cheese. It’s topped with red sauce — either marinara or tomato basil — then lots of grated or sliced fresh mozzarella. Once cooked, the cheese becomes golden brown and bubbly. The whole dish is completely irresistible!
I have been making this easy chicken parmesan for my family for years. Instead of spooning marinara sauce on top of each cooked chicken breast, I like to fully submerge them in the skillet. There was never enough sauce for my liking, so…. I made sure there was plenty for everyone! And since chicken parmesan is so often paired with pasta, this ensures that everyone gets a generous spoonful of sauce for their noodles. WIN-WIN.
- chicken breasts
- all-purpose flour (can substitute rice flour to make gluten-free)
- garlic powder
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- eggs, whisked
- panko breadcrumbs or traditional breadcrumbs (again, can substitute with gluten-free as needed!)
- FRESHLY GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE — sorry for yelling, but it really should be fresh, it’s the name sake of this recipe!
- fresh basil
- butter and olive oil for cooking
- your favorite homemade or store-bought marinara sauce — my go-to is Rao’s!
- fresh mozzarella cheese, either grated or thickly sliced into rounds (as pictured below)
How to make chicken parmesan
First, make sure that your chicken breasts are pounded to an even thickness of about ¾”. You can place the chicken between parchment paper or plastic wrap, then use the flat side of a meat tenderizer to achieve even thickness.
Next, follow the traditional breading order: dredge the chicken in flour, then eggs, and finally in the panko and parmesan mixture until evenly coated on all sides.
Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then cook until golden brown on both sides, about 8 minutes total, flipping once halfway through.
Once your chicken is browned, remove it from the pan, add your marinara sauce and fresh basil leaves, then return the chicken to the skillet and top with fresh mozzarella. The chicken parmesan will finish cooking in a preheated oven until an internal temperature of 165F is reached, about 8 minutes more.
Finally, BROIL that fresh mozz until bubbling! Serve immediately!
What to serve with chicken parmesan
Obviously, the best option for this recipe is pasta. Chicken parmesan and spaghetti are a match made in heaven. However, if you want to keep things slightly lighter (and sadly, I cannot convince myself to eat pasta daily), I love pairing it with simple roasted broccolini. Perfect every time!
If you’re looking for a killer way to use up leftovers, I highly recommend turning this into a chicken parmigiana sandwich. Grab a crusty Italian baguette, then place either a full chicken breast or thinly sliced chicken breast on top, spoon on a little reserved marinara sauce, and heat in an oven until warm and crispy. Best ever!
How can I make this gluten-free?
As long as the chicken is breaded in gluten-free flour (either traditional or some alternative like rice flour) and then coated in gluten-free panko or breadcrumbs (both accessible at major grocery stores) you are good to go!
Honestly, this is my favorite chicken parmesan recipe. My kids love it, my hubby and I crave it, and it never fails to impress. Our only complaint is that I don’t make it often enough.
Love Italian food? Omg, us too! Check out some of our favorites below:
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For more simple weeknight dinners, check out the following recipes:
- Whole30 anchovy chicken
- Fish (salmon) escabeche
- Whole30 Asian stuffed peppers
- Chicken and waffles
- Whole30 Sausage stuffed acorn squash
- Pasta with chorizo, butternut squash, and sage
Easy Chicken Parmesan
- 4 chicken breasts
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large eggs whisked
- 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup parmesan grated
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil thinly sliced, plus 4 fresh basil leaves
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 28 oz Rao's Marinara or Tomato Basil sauce (my favorite brand!)
- 6-8 oz fresh mozzarella sliced into ¼” thick rounds
- Preheat oven to 375F. Setup a breading station with three bowls. In the first, place flour, garlic, kosher salt, and black pepper, then stir to combine. In the second, place whisked eggs. In the third dish, mix together panko breadcrumbs, grated parmesan, and sliced basil.
- Use the flat side of a meat tenderizer to pound out each chicken breast to about ¾” thickness. I like to place the chicken on a piece of parchment paper, then fold the excess parchment over on top of the chicken. This helps to make sure I don’t destroy each chicken breast with the tenderizer.
- Pat chicken breasts dry with a paper towel, then dredge each fully in the flour. Shake off any excess, then transfer to coat in eggs. Finally, move the chicken to the last bowl and coat evenly on all sides with panko and parmesan mixture. Place on a wire rack until ready to cook. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add butter and olive oil. When butter begins to sizzle, about 1-2 minutes later, add breaded chicken and cook undisturbed, 3-4 minutes. Carefully flip each piece of chicken over — and check whether your pan is dry! If so, add another couple tablespoons of olive oil, otherwise the breadcrumbs will burn. Cook 3-4 minutes more. Remove chicken from pan when golden brown on both sides.
- Turn the heat off on your skillet, then carefully pour in store-bought or homemade marinara sauce. Add 4 basil leaves, then return chicken to the pan. Top each chicken breast with fresh mozzarella, covering as much of the chicken as possible. Cook in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature of chicken is 165F. Place chicken under the broiler with high heat for about 2 minutes, just until the fresh mozzarella is golden brown and bubbling. Garnish with additional fresh basil as desired, then serve immediately.