This recipe for Baked Chicken Parmesan is crispy, tender, and flavorful just like the classic Italian favorite, yet this recipe has been significantly lightened up.
One of my all-time favorite meals is Chicken Parmesan. I adore the crispy chicken smothered in rich marinara and mozzarella cheese.....I mean, there is not much not to like about that, right?!
Okay, maybe the high fat and calories that accompany the classically fried dish?!!
My recipe for Baked Chicken Parmesan delivers the same delicious flavors, without being heavy or greasy. Crusted with parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumbs, the chicken is baked for a crispy, juicy, flavorful chicken that mimics the pan-fried texture. Then finished with a classic topping of mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, this dish truly knocks it out of the park! And because it is healthier than the classic and fairly easy to prepare, I say it is a dish worth enjoying often!
Notes on Ingredients
- Chicken: This recipe for works best with chicken cutlets, sometimes labeled as thinly sliced chicken breasts. However, you can easily use boneless, skinless chicken breasts that you cut into cutlets yourself.
- Panko: Panko breadcrumbs are lighter than traditional breadcrumbs and therefore crisp up better when baked. They are a MUST for crispy baked chicken parmesan.
- Parmesan: For the best flavor, use freshly grated parmesan cheese instead of jarred parmesan.
- Spaghetti Sauce: Use your favorite jarred or homemade spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce, not simply a can of tomato sauce for the best flavor.
- Mozzarella: Use fresh sliced mozzarella or shredded mozzarella. While fresh mozzarella is best in terms of flavor, shredded works!
Notes on Equipment Needed
In order to achieve the crispy, lightest Baked Chicken Parmesan, the pan you use is crucial. I highly, highly recommend using a sheet pan fitted with a baking rack. By elevating the chicken on a baking rack, the heat can circulate evenly around the chicken allowing the breading to brown evenly. This also prevents a soggy crust. This is the same baking technique I use for my recipe for Chicken Tenders, which is another family favorite.
How to Make Baked Chicken Parmesan
- Prepare the chicken by slicing chicken breasts into cutlets if your chicken breasts are on the thick side. To do this, place one hand flat on top of a chicken breast and holding a knife parallel to the cutting board, slice it horizontally, from the thick end to the thin end, into two even pieces.
- Once you have cut the chicken into cutlets, place the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound chicken breasts with a meat mallet until each piece is even in thickness.
- Season each side of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
- Prepare the breading station for the chicken by setting up three shallow dishes. In the first dish, mix together flour with seasonings. In the second dish, whisk together eggs. In the third dish, mix together breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and herbs.
- Dredge the chicken in flour, shaking off excess flour, then dip into the egg mixture, shaking off excess egg.
- Evenly coat chicken with breadcrumb mixture, gently pressing the mixture into the chicken to coat. You really want to be sure to fully coat the chicken in the breading so that every bite gets nice and crispy.
- Place chicken onto a rimmed baking rack that has been placed over a baking sheet.
- Lightly spray chicken breasts with cooking spray. This will help the exterior to get nice and golden.
- Bake chicken for 10 minutes, giving the breading enough time to become just golden.
- Remove the partially baked breaded chicken from the baking rack and place it into a 9x13 baking dish.
- Top each chicken breast with a couple of tablespoons of spaghetti sauce and 1 slice of fresh mozzarella or shredded mozzarella.
- Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is browned and melted.
Chicken Parmesan is best served immediately after preparation to keep the crispy integrity of the dish. Serve with a side of pasta, Homemade Garlic Toast, and a Copycat Panera Greek Salad, for one outrageously delicious meal.
Tips to Remember
Making crispy Baked Chicken Parmesan is not hard, but for the best results remember these tips.
- Use panko breadcrumbs. It will produce a much lighter, crispier breading than traditional breadcrumbs.
- Use the right pan. Using a sheet pan fitted with a baking rack will allow the chicken to crisp evenly on both sides and prevent the breading from becoming soggy.
- You need to bake the chicken using high heat. By using a high oven temperature, the breading has a chance to brown before the chicken gets overcooked.
- Gluten-Free Option: Feel free to use an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend and gluten-free panko bread crumbs.
- Egg-Free Option: If you have an egg allergy, you can use milk or almond milk in place of the eggs. It will help the breadcrumbs adhere to the chicken, but does not work quite as well as eggs do.
- Using an Air Fryer: If you are wanting to make Chicken Parmesan without turning on the oven, follow my recipe for Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan.
More Italian Favorite Recipes
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Baked Chicken Parmesan
- 6 chicken cutlets
- ½ cup flour
- 2 teaspoons salt divided
- 1 teaspoon pepper divided
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder divided
- 2 teaspoons oregano divided
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup marinara or spaghetti sauce
- 8 thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese or ½ cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place a baking rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly spray with olive oil.
- Place the chicken cutlets in between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a meat mallet to ensure the cutlets are even in size. Season each side of the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Set up three shallow dishes. In the first dish, mix together flour with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon oregano. In the second dish, whisk together the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water and ½ teaspoon of salt. In the third dish, mix together breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon oregano.
- Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Then dip in the egg mixture, shaking off excess. Finally, evenly coat the chicken with breadcrumb mixture, gently pressing the mixture into the chicken to coat. Repeat the process with each chicken cutlet.
- Place the breaded chicken on the prepared pan. Lightly spray the cutlets with olive oil cooking spray.
- Bake the chicken for 10 minutes.
- Remove the baked chicken from the oven and place the breaded chicken into a 9x13 pan baking dish. Top each chicken breast with 1-2 tablespoons of spaghetti sauce and 1 slice of fresh mozzarella.
- Return to oven and bake for 5-8 more minutes, or until cheese is browned and melted.
- Allow to cool slightly and then serve immediately for best results.