This classic chicken parmigiana recipe is the perfect meal for Italian food lovers looking for an easy weeknight family dinner.
This is a delicious easy to make recipe consisting of breaded and fried chicken cutlets that are topped off with a delicious tomato or Pomodoro sauce and then covered in cheese and baked in the oven until melted. It makes for a great Italian recipe to impress your family or guests with and is the ultimate comfort food.
Who Invented It
Chicken parmigiana is similar to cioppino or Spaghetti and Meatballs, in that it’s a recipe created by Italian’s who immigrated to the northwest region of the United States and tweaked one of their country’s original recipes. In this case the traditional melanzane alla parmigiana, a.k.a. eggplant parmesan was re-created in the states and turned into a new recipe, chicken parmesan.
My SWAG (scientific wild a$$ guess) tells me that the eggplant was traded for chicken because eggplant likes to grow in warmer weather and if you’re living in the Northwest, chances of getting some ripe in-season eggplant probably aren’t too high.
Is Chicken Parmesan the Same Thing
Chicken parmesan and chicken parmigiana is the exact same recipe. Parmigiani is the Italian word for the American adopted word, “Parmesan cheese.” I suppose when you say Parmigiani it makes it more authentic, right?
Regardless if you see parmesan or a parmigiana recipe spelled, either way, it’s the same breaded chicken cutlet topped off with a simple tomato sauce and melted cheese for an amazing Italian American meal.
The Keys to Making It Really Flavorful
Making successful chicken parmesan lies in the breading, sauce and cheeses used for the recipe. Failing to meet the standards of any of these can result in a flavorless, overcooked recipe.
- It’s important that the breading be seasoned at every step of the procedure.
- Having a good Pomodoro sauce is key to further flavoring the cutlet.
- Selecting a few different kinds of cheese and making sure there are plenty of them goes a long way.
Breading for the Parmigiana
It all starts with the standard breading procedure. A standard breading procedure consists of flour, egg wash, and breadcrumbs.
Flour: Start by seasoning the all-purpose flour with salt and pepper and whisking until it is combined.
Egg Wash: Whisking only eggs with salt and pepper, or eggs with a little bit of milk and salt and pepper can be used in this second procedure.
Breadcrumbs: A simple seasoning of salt and pepper in a finely ground breadcrumb is perfect for this last and most important procedure.
How to Make It
- 1. Slice the chicken breasts in half width-wise.
- 2. Pound out each of them slightly so that it is about a ¼ inch thick.
- 3. Set up your standard breading procedure.
- 4. Dredge the pounded-out breasts 1 at a time completely coating in the flour, then egg-wash, and finally the bread crumbs.
- 5. Fry them in olive oil until golden brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side.
- 6. Transfer the breaded cutlets to a casserole dish or sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
- 7. Top each cutlet off with a bit of Pomodoro sauce.
- 8. Add cheeses to the top of the tomato sauce on top.
- 9. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted.
Since chicken parmesan is breaded with flour and bread crumbs and smothered in melted cheese, it’s hard to say that there is a way to make it healthy. With that being said, you can make a healthier version.
- Instead of frying the cutlets in oil, bake them right in the oven at 400° for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Once they are browned top off with some tomato sauce and a part-skim milk mozzarella and a tablespoon of parmigiana cheese.
- Place it back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked throughout.
What to Serve It With
There are a few different items you can serve with this including creamy polenta, scalloped potatoes or homemade pasta. In addition, if you are looking to serve this up with some vegetables, try these butter glazed green beans or this Panzanella salad recipe.
No matter if you make the traditional eggplant parmesan or this recipe you are going to absolutely love how delicious and easy it is to make!
Recipe Chef Notes + Tips
How to Reheat: Add it to a casserole dish and top off with foil. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes at 375° or until warm.
Storing and Freezing: Store it covered in plastic in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It freezes well covered individually in plastic for up to 2 months.
Regardless of how and who created it, this is delicious and comes together in under an hour, making it an impressive weeknight meal for family and friends.
In case you were wondering parmigiana is pronounced: par-mah-zhah-na.
You can use panko as the breadcrumbs, but it will not be of a classical nature.
I used a combination of sliced mozzarella, fontina and parmesan cheeses for the chicken.
It’s important that the breading be seasoned at every step of the procedure.
You can also use canola oil or a healthier oil, just be sure to pay attention to the smoking point before cooking the chicken.
Feel free to add optional garnishes on top of chopped parsley or fresh basil.
More Chicken Recipes
- Chicken Piccata
- Creamy Chicken Dumpling Soup Recipe
- Chicken Milanese
- Best Fried Chicken Recipe
- Authentic Chicken Curry
Easy Chicken Parmigiana Recipe
- 2 9-10 ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in half widthwise
- 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups unseasoned bread crumbs
- 1 cup pomodoro sauce
- 8 ounces sliced mozzarella
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- fresh chiffonade basil for garnish
- Place the sliced chicken in between to pieces of plastic wrap and pound out using a rubber mallet until each one is in between ¼” and 1/3” thick. Set aside on a plate.
- In a medium-size baking pan or bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper and set aside.
- In a separate second medium-size baking pan or bowl whisk together, the eggs, salt, and pepper until combined and set aside.
- In a separate third medium-size baking pan or bowl mix together, the bread crumbs, salt, and pepper until combined and set aside.
- Add the pounded-out chicken cutlets one by one and coat in the flour, then dredge in the egg mixture following up by coating and pressing down into the bread crumbs making sure the chicken cutlet is completely breaded. Repeat until the chicken cutlets are all breaded.
- Add about ½ to 3/4 cup of olive oil to a large frying pan over medium-low heat and add in the breaded chicken cutlets, 1 to 2 at a time, and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. transfer to a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
- Evenly add the Pomodoro sauce to the top of each chicken cutlet and then layer on as followed: sliced mozzarella, fontina, and parmesan cheeses.
- Bake in the oven at 450° for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh chiffonade basil.
- 1Serve with polenta or homemade noodles tossed in melted butter.