All good Italian girls have to know how to make a fabulous parmesan crusted chicken. Also known as chicken parmigiana, this classic Chicken Parmesan recipe should be in everyone’s recipe box.
What is Chicken Parmesan?
Parmesan Chicken has many names depending on where your family hails. As a child I called them pounded chicken breasts (due to the meat mallet tenderizing process).
My mother called them Chicken alla Parmesana. My husband’s family and many other Italians refer to them as chicken cutlets. In French cuisine they are called paillards.
Any which way you put it, they are delicious. Juicy chicken surrounded by a tasty crust. They are also the base for many other recipes and easily dressed up with a variety of sauces.
Whether you decide to add the marinara sauce or even a spicy marinara sauce and smoked buffalo mozzarella for Parmesan Chicken or go “naked”, this chicken parmesan recipe is an easy weeknight meal. It can even be made in the air fryer!
This recipe uses fresh herbs, but you can also use dried. Adding Parmesan cheese to the breading creates a nutty flavor and browns the crust beautifully. Make sure you have a large, heavy bottom skillet or cast iron skillet for frying.
Chicken Parmesan Ingredients
- Chicken breasts – Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the best to use for this parmesan chicken recipe. To get an even thickness, we will pound the chicken pieces to ensure they cook at the same rate.
- Flour – All purpose flour is the perfect binding agent to allow the breading to stick to your chicken pieces.
- Nutmeg – I like to think of this as my secret ingredients. When added to the breadcrumb mixture, it adds a nutty and delicious flavor that is out of this world.
- Salt and pepper – The breadcrumb mixture already has lots of flavor from the fresh herbs, so salt and pepper are all we really need. You could add onion powder or garlic powder if you’d like to though.
- Eggs – An egg wash is necessary for making sure the breading mixture sticks to the boneless chicken breasts perfectly.
- Bread crumbs – You can use Italian breadcrumbs, but then omit fresh herbs. If you don’t have fresh herbs, add 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning to plain breadcrumbs.
- Fresh herbs – I like to use a blend of fresh oregano, fresh basil and parsley to season the breadcrumbs. If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can also use dried Italian seasoning.
- Parmesan cheese – To add just a little extra flavor to our breading mixture, I like to add some parmesan cheese. Freshly grating your own is always preferred.
- Extra virgin olive oil and butter – We need a little olive oil and butter in order to try the chicken in. It prevents sticking and also gives the perfect crispy outer layer.
- Marinara sauce – You can use store-bought sauce or homemade sauce, but I prefer to use my homemade marinara sauce. It’s out of this world delicious.
- Smoked buffalo mozzarella – Mozzarella cheese is like the icing on the cake for this chicken parm recipe. You really just can’t beat fresh mozzarella, so check out my recipe for making your own.
How to Make Chicken Parmesan
- Prepare oven and sheet pan. Preheat oven and line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels.
- Pound chicken. Place one chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper on a cutting board. Using a tenderizer, pound the chicken breast until it is a uniform thickness, about 1/4 inch or a tiny bit thicker. Continue with remaining breasts. Cut each flattened breast in half, smaller pieces are easier to handle when frying.
- Set up breading station. You will need three pie plates or mixing bowls. In bowl #1 mix flour, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. In bowl #2 beat two eggs. In bowl #3 mix bread crumbs, freshly minced herbs and Parmesan cheese.
- Bread chicken. Working briskly, dredge chicken in flour mixture, then egg mixture and finally bread crumb mixture. Pressing bread crumbs into the breast. The flour is necessary to get the egg to stick and the egg is necessary for the bread crumbs to stick.
- Fry chicken. Place into hot frying pan. Fry until medium brown. Place on a paper towel lined baking sheet and into the warm oven.
- Top with sauce and cheese. Plate chicken parmesan on plates, spoon marinara over top along with shredded, smoked buffalo mozzarella.
Every family has their own idea of what makes the best chicken parmesan. Here are some suggestions to really make this recipe your own.
- Low carb – If you’re trying to cut back on carbs, you can use zucchini noodles instead of regular pasta noodles.
- Eggplant parmesan – Meatless Monday has been trending for the last few years, so feel free to make it with eggplant instead of chicken.
- Sides – You don’t have to serve this easy chicken parmesan with pasta. It tastes great with cheesy garlic bread or a simple green salad.
- Sauce- Marinara is a classic tomato sauce. However, you can also substitute any other sauce of your choice. For example, you can use Alfredo sauce , pesto sauce, vodka sauce or fra diavolo sauce for a different variation.
- Cheese – You can use any type of shredded Italian cheese, plain mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan.
What to Serve with Chicken Parmesan
I usually pair it with a side salad, soup or bread. Homemade tomato soup and my cauliflower soup are favorites for this dish. Of course, it tastes grand over a plate of pasta. Since the chicken is the main focus, use any type of pasta you desire.
Storage, Reheating and Freezing
Storage: You can store this leftover chicken parmesan recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Reheating: When ready to eat it the next day, you can reheat in the microwave or oven. You can add extra sauce to help keep it moist and juicy.
Freezing: You can also freeze it. Just make sure to tightly wrap in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container. It will last for up to three months.
More Easy Italian Recipes
- Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken Pasta
- Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Bolognese Sauce
- Chicken Cacciatore
- Easy Fettuccine Alfredo
- 4 chicken breasts , boneless, skinless
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- 2 eggs , beaten
- 1 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs*
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano , finely minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh basil , finely minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian parsley , finely minced
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese , grated
- 1/4 cup butter , divided
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1 cup smoked buffalo mozzarella**
- Heat oven to 300 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels.
- Place one chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper on a cutting board. Using a tenderizer, pound the chicken breast until it is a uniform thickness, about 1/4 inch or a tiny bit thicker. Continue with remaining breasts. Cut each flattened breast in half, smaller pieces are easier to handle when frying.
- You will need three pie plates or mixing bowls. In bowl #1 mix flour, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. In bowl #2 beat two eggs. In bowl #3 mix bread crumbs, freshly minced herbs and Parmesan cheese.
- Heat 1 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Working briskly, dredge chicken in flour mixture, then egg mixture and finally bread crumb mixture. Pressing bread crumbs into the breast. The flour is necessary to get the egg to stick and the egg is necessary for the bread crumbs to stick.
- Place into hot frying pan. Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side or until medium brown. Place on a paper towel lined baking sheet and into the warm oven.
- Continue with remaining breasts, being careful to not crowd the pan. If the frying pan gets dry, melt an additional 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. The liquid will absorb into the breading (adding flavor!).
- Plate chicken parmesan on plates, spoon marinara over top along with shredded, smoked buffalo mozzarella.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how you liked it!