I’ve been painstakingly trying to perfect chicken parmesan for many years. When it comes to Italian cuisine, there are few dishes that can match the comforting flavors of chicken Parmesan. Crispy breaded and pan-fried chicken topped with marinara and cheese and baked to perfection for a cheesy golden melted finish.
The secret to perfect chicken Parmesan all comes down to how you prepare the chicken. Thinly sliced chicken is going to maximize the crispy coating in every single bite, delivering the perfect ratio of cheese, sauce, breading, and tender chicken. Let’s dive into my entire chicken Parmesan process so you can make the best chicken Parmesan you’ve ever made!
If you enjoyed this recipe, you also have to try my skillet lasagna and my skillet baked ziti. If you’re looking for a delicious vegetarian Italian classic, try my eggplant parmesan recipe! You can also enjoy this recipe in handheld form with my chicken parmesan calzone.
The great thing about chicken parmesan is just how simple the ingredients are. Like most Italian cooking, simplicity and quality ingredients is the key to success.
- Thinly sliced chicken breast: You can buy thin-cut chicken cutlets or buy regular chicken and butterfly the pieces so it’s roughly 1/2 inch chick. This is critical!
- Plain breadcrumbs: I use regular/unseasoned breadcrumbs and add Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley
- Parmesan cheese: Always opt for a blog of Parmesan and grate it yourself. The flavor is much fresher than
- Fresh basil
- Fresh parsley
- Whisked eggs
- All-purpose flour
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Marinara or tomato sauce: I swear by Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce for all of my Italian cooking.
- Fresh and shredded mozzarella: I like to use a combination of low-moisture shredded mozzarella and fresh mozzarella on my chicken. It adds a great blend of creamy flavors.
How to Make Chicken Parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Cut each piece of chicken in half lengthwise to form thinner slices. Using a rolling pin, flatten the chicken to under half an inch by firmly hitting it with the rolling pin. This will both tenderize and thin the chicken.
- Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs on a plate and set aside. In a shallow bowl, whisk water and eggs and set aside. Spread the flour on a third plate and set aside.
- Coat the chicken in the flour and shake off the excess. Dip in egg mixture and then coat in bread crumbs, making sure the crumbs adhere and the chicken is fully coated. Set aside on a plate.
- Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken slices two at a time and sauté until golden and crispy, about 2 minutes per side.
- Let the skillet cool slightly and wipe up excess oil if any. Add a thin layer of tomato sauce to the bottom of the skillet. Return all four pieces of chicken to the skillet and arrange them with the least amount of overlap possible.
- Top with remaining tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese, and a combination of shredded mozzarella and fresh mozzarella cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and cheese is fully melted and golden.
I managed to make this recipe (of four servings) in one 12-inch cast iron skillet however you can also transfer the chicken to multiple baking dishes if preparing larger quantities.
Making Your Own Tomato Sauce
There is a small handful of tried and true jarred tomato sauces you can buy at the store. While these are really convenient, none of them compare to a simple homemade tomato sauce. If you really want to wow your guests, I would highly recommend you make this really easy homemade sauce that I swear by.
Marcella Hazan’s famous sauce is made with canned whole San Marzano tomatoes, butter, onion, and a pinch of salt. The process consists of gently simmering everything together for 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are broken down and the sauce has thickened. The onion is typically discarded and the sauce can be served ‘as is’ or blended for a smoother texture.
Tips & Tricks
- Chicken Parmesan should be made with thinly sliced chicken. You’ll notice nice Italian restaurants always serve large, thinly sliced servings of chicken Parmesan. If your chicken is thicker than half an inch, the crispy crust is lost, it’s too chewy, and there’s too much chicken in each bite.
- Always mix Parmesan cheese in with the breadcrumbs. Top with extra parmesan cheese and plenty of fresh mozzarella cheese before baking. You want a solid layer of melted cheese to nearly cover each piece of crispy chicken.
- Always sauté/crisp the chicken in olive oil. No substitutes here. Olive oil will add tremendous flavor to the crust and will help give your chicken parm that much-desired crispy crunch. Nothing compares. This goes hand and hand with thin chicken.
- Use a nice marinara sauce. There are plenty of good jarred ones out there. Making your own from scratch is really easy if you follow Marcella Hazan’s recipe. It makes a huge difference and I swear by it!
You’ll Also Love
- Eggplant parmesan
- Skillet lasagna
- Chicken parmesan calzone
- Cheesy baked rigatoni
- Ultimate baked ziti
- Gnocchi bolognese
- Creamy chicken carbonara
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Classic, crispy chicken Parmesan made in a cast iron skillet with fresh melted mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
- 2 large chicken breasts, halved lengthwise (to make 4 slices)
- 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
- 1 cup, plus 4 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- 8-ounce fresh mozzarella ball, sliced into thin strips
- 1 1/2 cups low-moisture shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Cut each piece of chicken in half lengthwise to form 4 thin slices. Using a rolling pin, flatten the chicken to under half an inch by firmly hitting it with the rolling pin. This will both tenderize and thin out the chicken.
- Combine bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs on a plate and set aside. In a shallow bowl, whisk water and eggs and set aside. Spread the flour on a third plate and set aside.
- Coat the chicken in the flour and shake off the excess. Dip in egg mixture and then coat in bread crumbs, making sure the crumbs adhere and the chicken is fully coated. Set aside on a plate. Repeat with all chicken.
- Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken slices two at a time and sauté until golden and crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Remove chicken and set aside on a plate.
- Let the skillet cool slightly and wipe up excess oil if any. Add 1/2 a cup of tomato sauce to the bottom of the cast iron skillet. Return all four pieces of chicken to the cast iron skillet and arrange them with the least amount of overlap possible.
- Cover with remaining sauce, remaining Parmesan cheese, and top each piece of chicken with a combination of shredded mozzarella and a few strips of fresh mozzarella cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and cheese is fully melted and golden. Note: Thinly sliced chicken will cook very quickly and will likely be 90% cooked prior to baking. Serve immediately topped with fresh basil with a side of pasta if desired.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 667
- Sugar: 11.3g
- Sodium: 728mg
- Fat: 23.9g
- Saturated Fat: 11g
- Carbohydrates: 54.5g
- Fiber: 5g
- Protein: 47.9g
- Cholesterol: 232mg
Keywords: chicken parmesan, easy chicken parmesan, chicken parmigiana