Chicken breasts are coated in a light and crunchy parmesan and herb panko coating then baked until crispy.
My husband’s family is Italian, and I loved visiting with them, hearing stories, and learning their recipes while we were in college in Boston. Some of my favorite recipes to this day have Italian roots and come from those fond memories like Aunt Dolly’s Italian Stuffed Artichokes or the best Italian Wedding Soup.
In fact, you can see all of my favorite Italian family recipes in my eCookbook Series: Food From Our Ancestors. In the Ultimate Italian Sunday Dinner, I translate “a pinch of this” and “a splash of that” into recipes that we can pass onto the next generation.
Chicken Parmesan evolved from two traditional Italian dishes using veal cutlet and breaded eggplant. The Italian diaspora developed a lot of these combination recipes as they emigrated to various countries and had to compromise on ingredients.
Often when people think of Chicken Parmesan they think of deep-fried chicken smothered in mozzarella cheese and sauce. However, my recipe actually uses parmesan cheese as part of the breading, so it’s more aptly named!
This version is healthier, lighter, and lower in calories. The parmesan crust provides a lot of flavor and locks in the moisture making each bite juicy.
How to Make Chicken Parmesan:
This recipe is actually pretty simple if you follow a few tricks I have for making the chicken easy to coat with breading.
First you want to prepare your coating. Mix together all the dry ingredients in one shallow bowl or plate, and the egg in another. You don’t need anything fancy! As you can see, I just use pie plates.
In order for the chicken to cook properly, maintain moisture, and be easier to coat with breading, you’ll need to make each breast an even ¼ inch thick. You can do this by butterflying or pounding with a meat tenderizer.
Drying the chicken before coating with egg and breadcrumbs is an essential step. This allows the egg to dry quick enough to act as glue for the parmesan coating. Nothing is worse than the crispy bits falling off in the oven!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Probably because your chicken is not dry enough before coating with egg and the breadcrumb mixture. Be sure to pat your chicken dry thoroughly with a paper towel. This allows the egg to dry faster and act as glue for the breadcrumbs.
There are a couple ways to do this. One, you can use a meat tenderizer to pound them into ¼ inch thickness. Or, you could also butterfly the chicken breasts by slicing them in half horizontally.
Yes! However, this recipe works best when the chicken breasts are thawed and patted dry first.
It is very easy to swap out the whole-grain panko bread crumbs for gluten free panko crumbs. If you do decide to serve with pasta, just use your favorite gluten free brand.
The reason this Chicken Parmesan recipe is healthier than many you see in restaurants is because it’s oven-baked instead of fried. Baking is a simple switch to do with many recipes to reduce calories without sacrificing flavor or giving up foods you love.
More Oven Baked Recipes You May Like:
- Oven Baked Chicken Wings
- Oven Baked Egg Rolls
- Baked Corn Tortilla Chips
- How to Cook Bacon in the Oven
- Oven Baked Boston Baked Beans
With just a few tweaks, there’s no reason why we can’t enjoy our family comfort food favorites like Chicken Parmesan and still stick to our healthy eating plan.
Your fork is waiting.
Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded thin or cut in half horizontally
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 large eggs
- pasta and marinara sauce optional, to serve
- 1 ½ cups whole-grain panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated
- ½ cup minced fresh herbs such as parsley or basil
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch chili flakes
- If the chicken breasts are thick, place them on top of a cutting board and cover them with plastic wrap before carefully pounding them with a meat tenderizer to thin them. The goal is to have chicken breasts about ¼ inch thick that is an even thickness throughout. Alternatively, you can carefully butterfly a chicken breast in half horizontally.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. You will also need two shallow dishes (such as a pie plates).
- Whisk eggs in one of the shallow dishes; set aside.
- In the second shallow dish, mix together all of the panko topping ingredients with a fork.
- Begin assembling chicken parm by sprinkling chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Working one at a time, carefully coat the chicken in the eggs then dip in the panko topping. Be sure to evenly coat chicken breast with panko topping evenly on both sides before placing on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake chicken until tender and crispy, about 20 minutes. Serve over pasta with your favorite red sauce if you wish.