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Eggplant parmesan in a white baking dish.
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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 my 10-minute quick tomato sauce or your favorite jarred sauce and lots of mozzarella for a delicious homemade Italian dinner.
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 servings
Calories 587kcal

Ingredients

For the eggplant:

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

For the sauce (see note 2):

  • 3 tbsp olive
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes undrained
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar optional (see note 3)
  • 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 4)
  • 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese grated (3 ounces)
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese shredded (8 ounces)
  • 10 fresh basil leaves for garnish, optional

Instructions

To salt the eggplant:

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

To make the sauce:

  • Or substitute a 32-ounce jar of store-bought sauce (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.

Video

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 (recipe below) or sub your favorite brand of store-bought sauce. For this recipe, buy a 32-ounce jar.
  3. Sugar: Even a teaspoon is too much for some people. If you don’t like the sound of sugar in your meat sauce, please leave it out. In my family, people add ¼ cup.
  4. Bread crumbs: Homemade are delicious, but store-bought are fine too (especially panko).
  5. Yield: This recipe makes 8 generous servings.
  6. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  7. 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).
  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. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed.
  9. Meat sauce: Try my favorite homemade meat sauce instead of the quick tomato sauce.
  10. Ricotta cheese: Dot the eggplant with fresh ricotta cheese (in addition to the mozzarella and Parmesan, obviously).
  11. Chicken parmesan: Another classic Italian recipe that you might love to try.

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