Eggplant Parmesan

This recipe for Eggplant Parmesan uses the high heat of the oven for crispy breaded eggplant without the mess of a deep fryer. Add your favorite jarred sauce or my 10-minute quick tomato sauce and plenty of mozzarella for a delicious homemade Italian dinner.

Eggplant parmesan in a white baking dish.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled eggplant parmesan ingredients in bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Eggplant: Salting eggplant removes excess liquid and some of the bitterness. Today’s eggplants are bred for mildness, thought, so it’s not as important as it used to be. Peeling the eggplant is optional and up to you, too.
  • Sauce: Make my 10-minute quick tomato sauce (recipe below) or sub your favorite brand of store-bought sauce. For this recipe, buy a 32-ounce jar.
  • Bread crumbs: Homemade work great, but so does store-bought: panko, seasoned, or gluten-free.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. First, cut the eggplants into 1/4” slices.  Then lightly salt them and let them sit in a colander for 40 minutes.
    Sliced eggplant in a silver colander being drained into a small clear bowl.
  2. If you want to make your own sauce, heat some olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then stir in the minced garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, herbs, sugar, salt, and pepper and simmer until the ingredients have blended together, about 10 minutes.
    Tomato sauce cooking in a black skillet.
  3. Add two rimmed baking sheets to two racks in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.  Bread the eggplant using a coat of seasoned flour, beaten eggs, and a mixture of bread crumbs, Parmesan, and salt and pepper.
    Slices of eggplant being dipped in flour, egg, and shaved parmesan.
  4. Place the breaded eggplant slices on a wire rack as you go. When all the eggplant slices are breaded, remove the preheated baking trays from the oven and pour 3 tablespoons of oil onto each sheet. Carefully tilt the tray to let the oil move around on the surface.
    Slices of eggplant on a cooking rack.
  5. Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake at 425 degrees until the slices are well-browned and crisp looking on top, about 20 minutes. After that, flip the eggplant and bake until the second side is brown and crispy, another 10 minutes.
    Slices of eggplant on a sliver baking sheet.
  6. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Then arrange half of the eggplant slices over the sauce, slightly overlapping (like roof shingles). Spoon more tomato sauce over the eggplant, then spread half of the mozzarella cheese over that.
    Slices of eggplant in a white baking dish.
  7. Add the remaining eggplant in another overlapping layer, then spoon on more tomato sauce. This time, don’t cover the eggplant with sauce—you want to leave some of it crispy. Sprinkle on some grated Parmesan cheese and the rest of the mozzarella.
    Eggplant parmesan in a white baking dish.
  8. To bake, place the casserole on the lower middle rack of the oven and bake at 425 degrees until the cheese bubbles and browned on top, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle fresh basil over the top and serve, passing any extra tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese on the side.

Recipe Tips and Variations:

  • Olive oil: I don’t recommend substituting olive oil for vegetable oil, but of course it’s always up to you. Anything but the lightest olive oil will overpower the delicate flavor of the eggplant.
  • Meat sauce: Try my favorite homemade meat sauce instead of the quick tomato sauce.
  • Gluten-free: Use your favorite brand of GF breadcrumbs and flour.
  • Ricotta cheese: Dot the eggplant with fresh ricotta cheese (use the mozzarella and Parmesan too, obviously!) You’ll love how creamy it is.
  • Freezing:  Freeze the dish before the final baking stage. To freeze, assemble the casserole but do not bake; wrap tightly with aluminum foil and freeze, up to 3 months. Bake it frozen put directly into a pre-heated oven set to 425 degrees, allowing extra time for cooking.
  • Make ahead: The tomato sauce can be made several days ahead of time, but this recipe is best enjoyed the day you make it (unless you freeze it).

Eggplant parmesan in a white baking dish.

More delicious Italian recipes:

Eggplant parmesan in a white baking dish.

Eggplant Parmesan

This recipe for Eggplant Parmesan uses the high heat of the oven for crispy breaded eggplant without the mess of a deep fryer. Add your favorite jarred sauce or my 10-minute quick tomato sauce and plenty of mozzarella for a delicious homemade Italian dinner.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
salting time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 587kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

For sweating the eggplant:

  • 2 large eggplants 2 pounds, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds (see note 1)
  • 1 tablespoon Salt

For the tomato sauce (or substitute 1 (32-ounce) jar store-bought, see note 2):

  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes undrained
  • 1 teaspoon sugar optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Eggplant Parmesan:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 cups bread crumbs or panko (see note 3)
  • 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese grated (3 ounces)
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil (see note 4)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese shredded (8 ounces)
  • 10 fresh basil leaves for garnish, optional

Instructions

To sweat the eggplant:

  • Toss the eggplant with 1 tablespoon salt and let it drain in a colander for about 40 minutes.

To make the quick tomato sauce (or substitute 1 (32-ounce) jar store-bought, see note 2):

  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add crushed tomatoes (Be careful! They may splatter when they hit the hot oil, so keep the lid handy), diced tomatoes, sugar (if using), basil, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste (I like 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until flavors have blended, about 10 minutes.
  • Keep warm over low-heat until serving time, or cool completely and store covered in the refrigerator.

To make the Eggplant Parmesan:

  • Adjust two oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions, and place a rimmed baking sheet on each rack. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  • In a large zipper-top plastic bag, add flour and pepper to taste (I like 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper). In a second shallow dish, add eggs and beat lightly. In a third shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs, 1 cup Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Spread drained eggplant over paper towels. Wipe away as much salt as possible and press firmly on each slice to remove as much liquid as possible.
  • Working with about 8 eggplant slices at a time, add them to the bag with the flour. Seal and shake until thoroughly coated. Remove from bag, shake off any excess flour, and dip into eggs.
  • Remove from eggs, allowing any excess to drop off, and coat evenly with the breadcrumbs, pressing them to adhere. Lay the breaded eggplant on a wire rack and repeating with remaining eggplant rounds.
  • Remove preheated baking sheets from the oven. Pour 3 tablespoons of oil onto each sheet, tilting to coat the sheets evenly. Spread breaded eggplant in a single layer over the preheated, oiled sheets.
  • Bake until the eggplant is well browned and crisp on the first side, about 20 minutes. Flip the eggplant slices over. Switch and rotate the baking sheets, and continue to bake until the second side is browned, about 10 minutes longer.
  • In the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish, spread 1 cup tomato sauce. Shingle half of the eggplant slices over the tomato sauce. Distribute 1 more cup of the sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle with half of the mozzarella.
  • Shingle the remaining eggplant in the dish and dot with another cup of the sauce, leaving the majority of the eggplant exposed so that it will remain crisp. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella.
  • Place the dish on the lower-middle rack of the oven. Bake until cheese is bubbling and well browned, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the basil over the top and cool for 10 minutes before serving. Pass the remaining 1 cup tomato sauce and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese separately.

Notes

  1. Eggplant: Salting eggplant removes excess liquid and some of the bitterness. Today’s eggplants are bred for mildness, thought, so it's not as important as it used to be. Peeling the eggplant is optional and up to you, too.
  2. Sauce: Make my 10-minute quick tomato sauce or sub your favorite brand of store-bought sauce. For this recipe, buy a 32-ounce jar.
  3. Bread crumbs: Homemade work great, but so does store-bought: panko, seasoned, or gluten-free.
  4. Olive oil: I don't recommend substituting olive oil for vegetable oil, but of course it's always up to you. Anything but the lightest olive oil will overpower the delicate flavor of the eggplant.
  5. Meat sauce: Try my favorite homemade meat sauce instead of the quick tomato sauce.
  6. Gluten-free: Use your favorite brand of GF breadcrumbs and flour.
  7. Ricotta cheese: Dot the eggplant with fresh ricotta cheese (use the mozzarella and Parmesan too, obviously!) You'll love how creamy it is.
  8. Freezing:  Freeze the dish before the final baking stage. To freeze, assemble the casserole but do not bake; wrap tightly with aluminum foil and freeze, up to 3 months. Bake it frozen put directly into a pre-heated oven set to 425 degrees, allowing extra time for cooking.
  9. Make ahead: The tomato sauce can be made several days ahead of time, but this recipe is best enjoyed the day you make it (unless you freeze it).

Nutrition

Calories: 587kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 1782mg | Potassium: 462mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 523IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 494mg | Iron: 4mg
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  1. Tammy sue

    Excellent recipe. My husband doesn’t like eggplant parmigiana in restaurants, and I’ve never made it before. He loved this recipe. I just heard him talking to his daughter on the phone about it and how much he liked it!5 stars

  2. Maggie

    WOW this was so good! 5 stars

  3. Lili Drob

    Amazing! Crisp and a dried eggplant is the key of the recipe5 stars

  4. Rose

    Great recipe!
    A few suggestions:
    1) I baked the eggplant on parchment paper instead.
    2) 4 cup of bread crumbs is excessive. Suggest 1.5 cups bread crumbs to 1 cup Parmesan.
    3) The only oil I used was a few table spoons of light olive oil to sauté the garlic.5 stars

    1. Meggan

      Glad you liked it, and thank you for the suggestions! -Meggan

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