This version of Chicken Parmesan is made with a cheesy coating of bread crumbs so it’s extra crispy and so delicious with the homemade marinara sauce and spaghetti.

To me, Chicken Parmesan is comfort food like no other, perfect any night but especially when the days get shorter, and there’s a bit of a chill in the air. This hearty recipe for a delicious, easy Chicken Parmesan with pasta and a homemade tomato sauce will make everyone at the table ask for seconds, maybe even thirds. 

It may taste Italian, but this humble dish is All-American and loved by everyone. There are so many different ways to make it, but I keep my Chicken Parmesan easy but homemade, right down to the tomato sauce. I make extra sauce so everyone can help themselves. I think you’ll love it.

Table of Contents
  1. Ingredient notes
  2. Step-by-step instructions
  3. Recipe tips and variations
  4. The Best Chicken Parmesan Recipe

Ingredient notes

  • Chicken: Butterfly and pound the chicken into thin cutlets so it cooks quickly and evenly without burning.
  • Bread crumbs: Panko bread crumbs, also known as Japanese bread crumbs, keep breaded and fried foods extra crispy. You can also substitute fresh bread crumbs you grind yourself.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. First, make the sauce. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a saucepan, stir in the garlic, then add the dried herbs and the crushed tomatoes (they may splatter, so keep the lid handy). Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the sauce cook while you prepare the chicken.
    Marinara sauce cooking in a saucepan for chicken parmesan.
  2. Butterfly the chicken breasts: Cover a cutting board completely with a piece of plastic wrap. Add chicken breasts. Working with one breast at a time, place your palm on top of the breast and slice in half horizontally so you have two cutlets. Repeat with the second breast.
    Butterflying a chicken breast in half lengthwise.
  3. To keep germs covered and protect the chicken, pound chicken breasts to an even thickness between two pieces of plastic wrap. Season with salt and pepper.
    Pounding chicken cutlets thin under plastic wrap.
  4. Dredge each breast into the flour, then tap off the excess. Next, dip the breast through the beaten egg; hold the chicken over the liquid to let any extra egg wash fall back into the bowl. Then settle the chicken in the bread crumbs, pressing the crumbs into the cutlet to really get them to stick.
    Chicken dredging stations lined up.
  5. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the cutlets, two at a time (or more, depending on the size of your skillet) and fry until deep golden brown and cooked through. This should take about 3 minutes per side, flipping as needed.
    Breaded chicken cutlets frying in a pan.
  6. Transfer the cutlets to a wire rack set over a baking sheet lined with foil. Top each cutlet with mozzarella, then broil until the cheese is brown and melted. Serve the Chicken Parmesan on a platter with the sauce and cooked spaghetti.
    To me, Chicken Parmesan is comfort food like no other, perfect any night but especially when the days get shorter, and there’s a bit of a chill in the air. This hearty recipe for a delicious, easy Chicken Parmesan with pasta and a homemade tomato sauce will make everyone at the table ask for seconds, maybe even thirds. 

Recipe tips and variations

  • Make ahead: The cutlets can be pounded out, breaded, and stored covered in the refrigerator one day in advance. Unfortunately, they cannot easily be frozen and then reheated in a pan or oven.
  • Chicken thighs: You can substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the chicken breast. Just pound them out in a similar fashion.
  • Chicken Parmesan sandwich: Slice some soft, crusty rolls in half. Butter the inside of each and sprinkle with garlic powder.  When the chicken is cooked, add a cutlet to the inside of the hoagie and top with the fontina mozzarella mixture.Place open faced sandwich under broiler on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil for 2-4 minutes, until cheese is melted and begins to bubble. Spoon sauce inside sandwich, close, and serve.
  • Chicken Milanese: The same breaded chicken cutlets but served with a fresh arugula salad instead of the marinara.
  • Chicken Piccata: The same breaded chicken cutlets but served with a lemon butter sauce instead of the marinara.

More delicious Italian recipes

Chicken parmesan on a white serving platter.

The Best Chicken Parmesan

This version of Chicken Parmesan is made with a cheesy coating of bread crumbs so it’s extra crispy and so delicious with the homemade marinara sauce and spaghetti.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Calories 810

Ingredients 

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional (only if you like the spice)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

For the chicken:

  • 16 ounces boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 2 large, see note 1)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (see note 2)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Cooked spaghetti for serving
  • fresh parsley minced, for garnish

Instructions 

To make the sauce:

  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add minced garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes (Be careful! They may splatter when they hit the hot oil, so keep the lid handy), basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes (if using). Bring the sauce to boil over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the flavors have blended, about 10 to 15 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm over medium-low heat while preparing the chicken.

To make the chicken:

  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Top with a wire rack coated with nonstick spray.
  • Cover a cutting board completely with a piece of plastic wrap. Add chicken breasts. Working with one breast at a time, place your palm on top of the breast and slice in half horizontally so you have two cutlets. Repeat with the second breast.
  • Arrange all four cutlets in a single layer on the plastic wrap-covered cutting board. Cover with a second piece of plastic wrap. Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness, about 1/4-inch. Remove top layer of plastic wrap and season breasts with salt and pepper.
  • In a shallow dish, add flour. In a second shallow dish, add eggs and beat lightly. In a third shallow dish, combine panko, grated Parmesan, parsley, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Working with one cutlet at a time, dredge in flour and shake off excess. Dip in eggs and tap gently on side of dish to remove excess. Add to panko mixture and press gently until crumbs adhere. Transfer to a large plate and repeat with remaining cutlets (cutlets can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 1 day in advance).
  • Line rimmed baking sheet or large plate with 3 layers of paper towels. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil until just smoking, about 400 degrees (this can take a few minutes). Add 2 cutlets and fry until deep golden brown and cooked to 165 degrees on an internal thermometer, about 3 to 5 minutes per side.
  • Drain cutlets well on paper towel-lined plate and transfer to prepared wire rack. Repeat with remaining 2 cutlets.
  • Adjust oven rack 4” from broiler element and preheat broiler. Top each breaded cutlet with about ½ cup cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 2 to 4 minutes. Serve the chicken Parmesan on a platter with the sauce and cooked spaghetti, if desired. Garnish with parsley.

Notes

  1. Chicken: Butterfly and pound the chicken into thin cutlets so it cooks quickly and evenly without burning.
  2. Bread crumbs: Panko bread crumbs, also known as Japanese bread crumbs, keep breaded and fried foods extra crispy. You can also substitute fresh bread crumbs you grind yourself.
  3. Make ahead: The cutlets can be pounded out, breaded, and stored covered in the refrigerator one day in advance. Unfortunately, they cannot easily be frozen and then reheated in a pan or oven. 
  4. Chicken thighs: You can substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the chicken breast. Just pound them out in a similar fashion.
  5. Chicken Parmesan sandwich: Slice some soft, crusty rolls in half. Butter the inside of each and sprinkle with garlic powder.  When the chicken is cooked, add a cutlet to the inside of the hoagie and top with the fontina mozzarella mixture.Place open faced sandwich under broiler on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil for 2-4 minutes, until cheese is melted and begins to bubble. Spoon sauce inside sandwich, close, and serve.
  6. Chicken Milanese: The same breaded chicken cutlets but served with a fresh arugula salad instead of the marinara.
  7. Chicken Piccata: The same breaded chicken cutlets but served with a lemon butter sauce instead of the marinara.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cutlet with sauceCalories: 810kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 49gFat: 52gSaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 204mgSodium: 992mgPotassium: 1153mgFiber: 5gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 1329IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 487mgIron: 6mg
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Comments

  1. I’ve made chicken (and pork) Parmesan for years, but never this way. It looked better than my version, so I gave it a try. Wow! Totally a better system! We (only two of us) used chicken tenders, ’cause that’s what we had, and it was a test. Next time, definitely the pounded breasts or thighs — more food! LOL! It’s That Good!

    I use Rao’s marinara, even though its expensive (Walmart is around $6.50/jar Aug 2020), because it’s better than anything I’ve made at home. And this recipe only uses about a third of a jar, so cost reduces over three dinners (for two).

    Biggest problem was handling the chicken coated with the egg mixture. That’s some thick stuff! Made a mess coating with breadcrumbs-cheese mix. Reading about folding the Parmesan into mayonnaise, that may be a better idea. Or fold the cheese into the egg/flour. That would coat the pieces almost with a loose dough or heavy batter. I’ll do that next time, then roll in the breadcrumbs. This is really and truly a superb way of making a simple, inexpensive, filling and satisfying meal. Thanks very much!5 stars