The Best Chicken Parmesan

May 22, 2018  ·  Published February 19, 2013

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Chicken Parmesan! It is easily the best recipe I’ve ever tried and it’s likely to become you’re new favorite too. Everything about it is spot on delicious! From the tender crusted chicken, to the gooey melted cheese, and the final coating of fresh marinara and basil. YUM!

Overhead close up image of two pieces chicken parmesan on a white serving plate. Chicken is covered with golden brown Panko bread crumbs, melted mozzarella, marinara sauce and fresh basil.

The Best Chicken Parmesan Recipe

We’ve probably all had our fair share of mediocre or even bad chicken Parmesan. You know the kind that’s overcooked, has little flavor, the breading is so so, the sauce is covering the entire surface of the crusted chicken and absorbs right into the crumbs making it soggy, and the cheese is overcooked and chewy?

This crispy chicken parmesan recipe is the opposite of all those negatives. You get:

  • A perfectly golden brown crispy parmesan crust. And it’s amazingly crisp thanks to the extra crispy Panko and frying it in olive oil.
  • Sauce only covered the cheese, which protects that crispy layer of crumbs, so you wont end up with a soggy breading (what’s the point of breading if you’re just going to soak it in a wet sauce?).
  • It has great flavor throughout. There’s parmesan and herbs in the breading, two kinds of cheese cover the top, basil, onion and garlic in the homemade marinara, and it’s finished with more fresh basil.
  • The cheese isn’t overly chewy. If you pull it out of the broiler after just a minute or two it should still be stretchy and gooey.

So, in other words this is the homemade chicken Parmesan recipe you’ll want for life!

Want to see how easy this Chicken Parmesan recipe is? Watch the video!

Chicken Parmesan Ingredients

I know this is a long list, but it’s worth it! Scroll below for shortcuts if you are looking to simplify this easy chicken Parmigiana.

  • Chicken breasts
  • Canned crushed tomatoes
  • Yellow onion
  • Fresh garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Cheese! – Parmesan, Mozzarella and Provolone
  • Herbs and spices – Dried oregano, fresh basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper
  • Flour
  • Egg

Ingredients needed for chicken parmesan shown here including panko, chicken breasts, crushed tomatoes, oregano, dried and fresh garlic, onion, egg, olive oil, basil, mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, and flour.

How to Make Chicken Parmesan from Scratch

  • Prepare the chicken – cut the chicken breasts evenly all the way through their thickness to create two portions.

Showing how to make chicken parmesan. Starting by butterflying chicken breasts on a cutting board.

  • Pound chicken to a thin even thickness (I like to cover with plastic wrap first to prevent splattering).
  • Season chicken – sprinkle both sides lightly with salt and let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Pounding chicken flat with meat mallet for chicken parmesan.

  • Make the chicken parmesan sauce – saute onions then add garlic and saute in a saucepan.

Sauteeing onions and garlic in saucepan for chicken parmesan marinara.

  • Then mix in crushed tomatoes, oregano and two sprigs of basil (two bigger stems).
  • Let simmer 20 minutes.

Showing how to make marinara sauce in a stainless steel saucepan for chicken parmesan.

  • Bread the chicken – mix together the flour and eggs in a shallow dish until smooth. In a separate dish stir together Panko, parmesan, garlic powder, and oregano.
  • Dab chicken dry with paper towels and dredge both sides the chicken in the egg mixture, then transfer to Panko mixture and dredge both sides and press to help the crumbs stick.

Showing how to make chicken parmesan. Dredging chicken cutlets in egg in shallow glass dish on left side then Panko parmesan mixture in shallow glass dish on right side.

  • Pan fry the chicken – heat olive oil in a 10-inch non-stick skillet (I like preheat this will coating the chicken), cook two chicken cutlets at a time, about 2 – 3 minutes per side until it’s practically cooked through and well browned.

Searing chicken parmesan pieces in olive oil in black non-stick skillet until golden brown.

  • Bake the chicken – transfer the chicken to a baking sheet. Cover each with a big mound of shredded cheese.
  • Broil until melted (be sure chicken registers 165, if not you can reduce the oven temp to 375 and let cook through. This shouldn’t be necessary though if you began with thin chicken and cooked it long enough in the skillet).

Placing browned chicken cutlets on baking sheet then covering with shredded cheeses.

  • Top and serve – immediately after baking top with spoonfuls of marinara and plenty of fresh basil and serve right away while that cheese is nice and melty!

Finished chicken parmesan with cheese marinara and basil after baking. Shown on dark baking sheet.

Can I Use Regular Breadcrumbs?

No, Panko breadcrumbs are best for this breaded chicken parmesan recipe. Panko breadcrumbs are flakier and lighter than traditional breadcrumbs, which makes this chicken parmesan extra crispy without weighing it down too much.

Do I Have to Fry the Chicken?

Traditional chicken parmesan is made by frying the chicken, but if you’d rather skip that step you could certainly bake the chicken instead. If you’d like to go that route, I recommend making my Baked Chicken Parmesan with Zucchini. It’s the lazier version of chicken parmesan and a one-pan dinner.

What to Serve with Chicken Parmesan

Not sure what to pair with this homemade chicken parmesan? Here are a few of my favorite sides for chicken parmesan:

Row of four pieces of chicken parmesan on a white serving platter.

Tips for Making Chicken Parmesan

I think you’ll love this recipe exactly as is but if you are in a rush here are a few tips to make it go even faster:

  • Use 4 store-bought chicken cutlets, then you shouldn’t need to halve and flatten.
  • Use a good quality store-bought marinara sauce instead of making this homemade version.
  • Skip shredding cheese and just use two slices of mozzarella or provolone per chicken piece instead and use pre-shredded parmesan from the deli.
  • Use two skillets so you don’t have to wait and cook the second two after the first batch.

More Italian Chicken Recipes You’ll Love:

The Best Chicken Parmesan

5 from 17 votes

This really is the best chicken parmesan I've ever had! No soggy crust, no flavorless sauce, and no skimping on the cheese - this recipe has three kinds. A recipe everyone in the family will go crazy for!

Servings: 4
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

Marinara Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (2 tsp)
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed Roma tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 fresh basil sprigs*
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chicken:

  • 2 (8 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and separated, and pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
  • 2 oz whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
  • 2 oz provolone cheese**, shredded (1/2 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, finely shredded (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh basil

Instructions

  1. For the sauce, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. 

  2. Add in onions and saute for 2 minutes then add garlic, and saute 30 seconds longer. 

  3. Stir in crushed tomatoes, 1/4 tsp salt, oregano, and 2 fresh basil sprigs, then season with salt and pepper to taste. 

  4. Bring mixture to a simmer then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Remove basil, remove from heat and cover saucepan with lid.

  5. For the chicken, while sauce is simmering, sprinkle each side of the chicken cutlet lightly with salt, let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. 

  6. Adjust oven rack 4-inches from broiler element and preheat broiler.
  7. In a shallow dish, whisk together flour and egg until smooth. In a separate shallow dish, toss together Parmesan cheese, Panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, oregano and 1/4 tsp pepper. 

  8. Pat chicken dry with paper towels then working with 1 chicken cutlet at a time, dredge chicken in egg mixture coating both sides and allowing excess to run off, then immediately transfer to Parmesan mixture and coat both sides with mixture, while pressing to allow crumbs to adhere. 

  9. Transfer chicken to a plate and repeat process with remaining chicken cutlets. Pour olive oil into a 10-inch non-stick skillet and heat over medium-high heat. 

  10. Once oil is shimmering, add 2 coated chicken cutlets and fry without moving them until bottom is crispy and golden brown, about 2 - 3 minutes, then using metal tongs rotate to opposite side and cook until golden brown, about 2 - 3 minutes longer until (chicken should be about 155 degrees F, it will cook just briefly in oven). 

  11. Transfer fried chicken to a baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining 2 pieces of chicken.
  12. Toss mozzarella and provolone together and sprinkle cheese mixture in a mound over cutlets. 

  13. Broil in oven until cheese is melted (you can let it brown a little if you like) about 1 - 2 minutes (keep a close eye on it!).

  14. Remove from oven and cover each cutlet with 2 Tbsp marinara sauce. Sprinkle tops evenly with remaining 1/4 cup fresh basil and serve immediately (serve extra sauce with pasta on the side).

Recipe Notes

  • *This is two large stems (sorry there was a mix-up with the video, it's not two leaves).
  • **I just buy a very thick slice of provolone from the deli counter and grate it.
  • Recipe adapted with some changes from Cook's Illustrated
Nutrition Facts
The Best Chicken Parmesan
Amount Per Serving
Calories 577 Calories from Fat 324
% Daily Value*
Fat 36g55%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Cholesterol 141mg47%
Sodium 848mg37%
Potassium 1085mg31%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 1060IU21%
Vitamin C 21.6mg26%
Calcium 408mg41%
Iron 4.1mg23%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Chicken Parmesan
Author: Jaclyn

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92 Comments

  • VAP

    Made this tonight for friends and family. It was fantastic! Crispy, moist chicken with cheese and delicate sauce. I served it with tomato cream fettuccine, fresh green beans, homemade bread sticks, and fruit salad. A fantastic meal for 17. I sent everyone home with leftovers, but we kept the extra chicken Parmesan; it was too good to let leave the house.

  • Noemi

    Thank you it was very good! The video was great too. I Felt that I needed to make the cutlets a bit thinner though.
    Would it be possible to, or has anyone tried, just using egg whites in the dredge?

  • Carrie

    Fantastic! This chicken parmigiana is so good that I wanted my husband to take some over to his mom so she could see what great food I make for him lol. It is sort of an unspoken competition we have. Neither will admit it. The chicken was the most tender I have made and the sauce…mmmmm! I would give more stars if they allowed it. 5 stars from me definitely!

  • Nancy K

    We added a couple of bay leaves to the sauce and some crushed red pepper flakes to the Panko crumbs. Absolutely delicious!!

  • Ryan Purpur

    Tried this recipe and it’s by far the best one I’ve ever tried. This right here is better than any restaurant I’ve ever had this dish. I’m a chicken parm kinda guy and anywhere new I go that has this dish I order it. I made it for friends and family for a dinner and everyone couldn’t believe how good this was. Legit never looking for another chicken parm recipe ever again.

  • Ann

    I never used egg and flour for coating chicken! This recipe was really good.

  • Jill Tino

    This recipe was excellent. We have been trying to eat lighter but this was a special treat for my son. He loves chicken parmesan but he is very picky. He ended up cutting it up and making a grinder out of it. He said “that was awesome Mom”.

  • Bobbi

    Can the chicken be made ahead and sauce and cheese added before baking?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      If you were to cook the chicken entirely through first it should be fine.

      • Ryan Purpur

        The only difference id assume with cooking chicken through first is if you then bake it, it might get a bit more dry. That’s why you don’t cook it all at first but it should still taste pretty good.