This surprisingly easy, 30-minute dinner recipe is a far cry from the over-floured and fat-fried version of the past. Instead, I’m sharing my tips to deliver juicy chicken breasts with a delicious bite nestled in a flavorful tomato sauce with a mozzarella cheese-pull that’ll stun even the cheesiest eater, with every single bite.
This recipe is brought to you by Kroger
So why do they call it Chicken Parmesan? Probably because someone in the family didn’t like eggplant. Go figure!
Italians on the island of Sicily (who we lovingly thank for introducing us all to the Mediterranean flavor-ed influences we love about Southern Italian cooking #bowdown) would dip slices of eggplant in egg and ground bread crusts, fry them up, and then top them with slices of home-made tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese then pop the whole shebang in the oven. So most likely, some husband said (sound familiar?), “I’m not going to eat EGGPLANT! Give me CHICKEN!” (Is that my husband I hear speaking up?)
And this is likely where Chicken Parm was born.
Chicken Parmesan may not be authentically Sicilian, or even red-blooded-Italian. But seriously…this version prepared with 2018’s healthy-ish-but-still-comfort-food-in-30-minutes-goals in mind, ticks off so many of my meal planning check boxes I’m pretty sure nations of eaters are totally okay with looking past it’s family tree.
What Do You Need to Make Chicken Parmesan?
It’s deceiving. I used to think Chicken Parmesan was a fat-riddled, over-fried dinner that would never jive with my goals of eating healthier, and it sounded complicated to prepare. But in both cases, I was wrong. In my head, Chicken Parm conjures up visions of Italian mothers slaving over sizzling fry pans in the kitchen for hours to create this dish.
But actually, this chicken parmesan is an incredibly simple meal to prepare and guess what? It can be ready in under 30 minutes!
In fact, all it takes to make this healthy-ish version of chicken parmesan is:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts—cut them in half lengthwise and pound them all the same thickness so they cook evenly. I prefer somewhere between 1/4″ and 1/2″ but the thinner the better IMO.
- A simply seasoned flour—kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper is all you need.
- An egg wash. You can thin it out with a splash if water if you like.
- Store-bought Italian seasoned bread crumbs—I buy the Kroger brand at my local Smiths Marketplace—and then toss it with finely grated Parmesan cheese from the Murray’s Cheese Shop deli case to lighten it up. Sometimes I’ll toss or use panko bread crumbs too. Whatever is in the cupboard is my goal!
- A large cast-iron skillet for frying (this is my favorite, it’s an investment but you’ll have it forever!). I like to use both canola oil (for it’s high smoke point) and a pat of butter (for it’s flavor) to cook the cutlets in. The combination of both makes it so the skillet doesn’t get that weird burned element that can happen when sautéeing.
- Fresh mozzarella slices and grated Parmesan cheese. Because duh, melty mozzarella cheese (the fresh mozz from Murray’s is bueno!) And more PARMESAN. I mean, it’s called PARMESAN CHICKEN for a reason!
What Kind of Tomato Sauce Do You Use With Chicken Parmesan?
This is an especially easy dish to make so there’s no need to over-complicate things.
Next up…the sauce. This is not the dish that calls for a long-simmering, deep-bodied, red-wine-soaked sauce. Instead, a super easy stove-top tomato sauce or simple roasted tomato basil sauce that has all the fresh flavors is really all you need. I keep mine frozen in gallon freezer bags so I can pull them out and use at any time. That’s what makes this meal so meal-prep friendly: having a batch of homemade tomato sauce on hand or using a high quality brand from the grocery store.
Dinner seriously doesn’t get easier than this one.
How Long Do You Cook Chicken Parmesan?
There are plenty of differing methods out there. Some gear toward baking only, but I like to get that super golden crust so a quick sear in just the smallest amount of oil and butter totally delivers the crust I want, to stand up to the saucy tomato and melty mozzarella this dish is known for.
It takes just 3-4 minutes per side over medium high heat in the skillet (watch it so they don’t get too browned!) then popped in the oven at 425°F for just 10-12 minutes more (depending on the thickness of your chicken.) Use a meat thermometer and when it hits an internal temp of 165°F, it’s done!
More Recipes to Make This Dinner a Meal
- Easy Buttered Parmesan Noodles
- Easy 5-Minute Parmesan Zucchini
- Easy Creamed Swiss Chard with Garlicky Bread Crumbs
- Killer Garlic Rolls
- Citrus Fennel and Avocado Salad
How to Make Homemade Chicken Parmesan
While you could easily use grated mozzarella cheese in this dish, a fresh mozzarella really delivers the unctious cheese pull this crispy chicken dinner is known for. Nestle the chicken breasts in the tomato sauce and don't be shy with the cheese!
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2-3 cups prepared Marinara or roasted tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil leaves if desired
- 2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Use a sharp, thin knife to slice the chicken breasts in half lengthwise and place the chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap then pound with the flat side of a meat tenderizer to about 1/4 inch thickness.
- Pour the marinara or tomato sauce into a pot, and warm over medium heat until heated through then reduce to a simmer.
- Pour the flour into a shallow bowl and season with the kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. In another shallow bowl, whisk the eggs. And in another shallow bowl, toss the bread crumbs with the Parmesan cheese.
- Place a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat and heat the oil and butter until hot but not smoking and the butter has melted. Working with one chicken breast at a time, dredge the chicken cutlet in the flour, shake off the excess, and dip lightly but evenly into the egg wash and let the extra egg drip off and place the cutlet in the bread crumbs, gently patting the crumbs into the chicken cutlet. Set each of the cutlets aside.
- Working in batches, add the cutlets to the skillet but be careful not to overcrowd it. Cook on each side until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes each or until golden and crisped.
- Ladle the marinara sauce around and over the chicken cutlets. Top with slices of the mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F and the cheese has melted. Garnish with fresh basil and more Parmesan.
This recipe is brought to you by Kroger. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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