Cheesy, crispy, saucy classic Chicken Parmesan

A very homey dish that still feels special to serve.

A very homey dish that still feels special to serve.

(Credit: Allison Day)

This classic Chicken Parmesan recipe is a do-able decadence if you will. It’s a homey dish that feels special to serve, and any leftovers make a pretty epic sandwich.

Classic Chicken Parmesan

The sauce in this recipe makes a double batch, so you can use half to make this Eggplant Parmesan. If you do not wish to make that dish, reserve half the sauce for another use, or use half the ingredients.


For the tomato sauce (double batch):

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 (680 mL) jars tomato passata (tomato puree)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, torn

For the chicken:

  • 1 kg boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 large eggs, well beaten
  • 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs or gluten-free panko breadcrumbs
  • ¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil (not extra-virgin), as needed
  • 1 (226 g) ball fresh mozzarella, torn or sliced
  • Fresh basil leaves, to taste (optional)
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)


For the sauce, in a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Sauté garlic for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant, and then add the tomato passata, salt, balsamic vinegar and basil leaves. Stir to combine, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. *As per the headnote, if making the full quantity, set aside half of this batch of sauce at this point before proceeding.

For the chicken, if the chicken breasts are very large, halve them lengthwise. On a sturdy surface such as a wooden cutting board, pound the chicken breasts until they are ½-inch thick. Prepare your chicken breading station by adding the flour, dried basil, dried oregano, salt and pepper to a large shallow dish and mix well; add the beaten eggs to a shallow pie plate; and finally, add the breadcrumbs and Parmesan to another large shallow dish and mix well. Have a large rimmed baking sheet nearby to place the breaded chicken on before pan-frying. 

To bread the chicken, in this order, coat 1 chicken breast in the flour mixture and shake off the excess, then coat it in the beaten egg, and finally coat it in the breadcrumb and Parmesan mixture. Place the breaded chicken on your baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken. 

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. To a new, clean, large, rimmed baking sheet or 2 (9x13-inch) casserole dishes, spread half of the sauce evenly on the bottom; reserve the other half for topping the chicken after pan-frying. 

To pan-fry the chicken, in a large high-sided skillet or cast-iron pan, heat ½- to 1-inch of olive oil over medium heat. To test if your oil is hot enough, add a pinch of breadcrumbs to the oil and watch for it to sizzle (putting the chicken in too-cold oil will result in pale, greasy cutlets). Fry the chicken in batches, being sure not to overcrowd pan (about 2 per batch), cooking for 5 to 6 minutes per side, until golden brown on the outside and cooked through (to a 165F degree internal temperature). Replenish the oil with each round, keeping ½- to 1-inch hot oil in the pan at all times. Evenly place each pan-fried chicken breast on top of the tomato sauce. Top each portion with a ladleful of the reserved sauce and a slice of mozzarella cheese. 

Bake the chicken until the sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Turn on the broiler for a few minutes to get an extra crispy top, if desired. Serve with a sprinkling of fresh basil and chili flakes if using. 
Yield: Makes 6-8 servings


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