Easy Chicken Parmigiana

Cooking for One or Two, Recipes, Worknight Dinners
chicken parmesan
chicken parmesan

Photo: Leigh Loftus

Lately I’ve been on an eat-healthier-workout-more kick and having embarked on a great many of these phases over the past few years, I can tell you that I don’t know exactly what “works” but I do know what doesn’t work for me: eating “diet” food. No matter how much low-fat this, fat-free that I try to buy, it just doesn’t get eaten. Or it gets eaten but it’s unsatisfying and three days later I”m all like “pass the triple creme brie please…and does anyone else want French fries?”

Don’t pretend you haven’t done the same thing.

That’s where this dish comes in. Chicken Parmigiana is easily one of my favorite meals, as cliche as that may well be, but it has to be good chicken parmigiana or else it’s hardly worth the calories. There are a lot of chicken parm recipes floating around online – not to mention in the stacks of cookbooks some of you probably have at home.

Nonetheless, I think mine is great so here are the my tips on how to make perfect chicken parm:

  • Use real mozzarella cheese. Buy a container of fresh mozzarella cheese from Whole Foods or your local market. It’s going to cost you rougly $4.00-6.00 but I promise, it will make all the difference in the world for your finished dish.
  • Use real olive oil to coat your pan. And be generous with it. I have tried this recipe with both PAM spray and genuine olive oil, the former to cut down on calories and fat. What I’ve found is that if you opt for the spray, your breading will stick to the bottom of the pan and you’ll be left with dry chicken and a glob of burned breadcrumbs. And if you don’t have a dishwasher, that’s clearly a real tragedy.
  • Use whole wheat bread crumbs. If you like Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs, add your own basil, oregano, etc. but I find whole wheat breadcrumbs to be the tastiest – and it doesn’t hurt that you’re getting a little extra fiber too.
chicken parmesan

Photo: Leigh Loftus

Easy Chicken Parmigiana
Recipe type: Worknight Dinners, Cooking for One or Two
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 1 cups marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin with a meat mallet or heavy-bottomed frying pan
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup of shredded cheese)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread 1 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of a glass or enameled cast iron baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Place the flour in a shallow bowl or platter and in a wide bowl, beat the egg whites with a fork until frothy - as soon as it looks like there are soap bubbles in the egg whites, you're done. In a small bowl, mix the Parmesan cheese and the whole wheat bread crumbs. Arrange the three dishes on the counter or cooking surface, assembly-line style.
  3. Heat ¼ cup olive oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet. While the oil is heating up, lightly dredge [aka: drag] both sides of the chicken cutlets in the flour, then the egg [let any excess drip off before proceeding] and finally in the bread crumbs.
  4. When the oil is nice and hot add the chicken and fry for 4-6 minutes on each side [cook time will depend on how thick they are] until pieces are golden and crusty, turning once. Place chicken in the baking dish atop the marinara sauce.
  5. Top the chicken with the remaining cup of marinara sauce and top with the mozzarella cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and let bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and let bake for an additional 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly and chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  6. Serve with your favorite pasta or fresh, wilted spinach.

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  • Reply
    Six Recipes that Anyone Can Cook for Dinner or Breakfast
    February 9, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    […] in cheese and marinara sauce, chicken parmigiana is one of my all-time favorite meals. It’s my favorite thing to order at an old-school, red […]

  • Reply
    Maria @ Scandifoodie
    May 3, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    My partner would adore this dish, I think I’ll have to treat him with this soon! 😉

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Maris, I love your chicken parm!! I never used just the egg whites and whole wheat bread crumbs… I need to take note of that. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    That looks so good! I’ve never made chicken parmigiana before, so I will have to try this out

  • Reply
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking
    May 3, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Maris, I love that you made this chicken parmigiana so simple, quick and easy. We should all be able to enjoy warm, hearty and comforting meals on weeknights and thanks to recipes like yours, we can! Thanks for sharing. Have a great day! 🙂

  • Reply
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking
    May 3, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    This is comfort food at its finest, and I love that you made it so easy. We should all be able to indulge in meals like this on weeknights, and with a recipe like this, it’s simple to do. Thanks for sharing, Maris! Even though it’s spring, we all still crave warm, hearty meals like this – and I’m no exception! 🙂

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Healthier eating (for me) is all about give and take. I’ll gladly buy low fat (and rarely) fat free products if I cannot tell the difference or the taste change is minimal, but if it’s a huge compromise I’d rather splurge and go with the real thing.

  • Reply
    Beth @ DiningAndDishing
    May 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    got to agree with you – i’d rather eat a little of the good stuff than a lot of the diet junk!! this looks delish :).

  • Reply
    Lucy @ The Sweet Touch
    May 3, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I agree, if you’re gonna make it, you might as well make it with the real stuff! I haven’t had chicken parm in ages – thanks for reminding me of this delish dish!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Looks good! This would definitely work for me.

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    What a lovely dish. It has always been one of my favorites and your recipe for it is wonderful. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Yeah, I gave up the low-cal, fat free stuff a long time ago (there’s a few things out there that still taste good, but not many). Eat in moderation. Eat what you like. And get active. I seem to be real happy with that regimen =)

    And this chicken parm sounds out of this world! Definitely going to try this soon (and I love the tips!)

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Easy, but mighty delicious nonetheless! A great idea.



  • Reply
    Alexandra (Veggin' Out in the Kitchen)
    May 3, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Thanks for the awesome recipe!! I really want to try this! Maybe I can sub eggplant for the chicken 🙂


  • Reply
    Nami @ Just One Cookbook
    May 3, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Hi Maris! Thank you for leaving a comment on my website! It’s nice to meet you and your blog! You have a wonderful blog here and I’m excited to follow you on facebook and twitter. Your chicken parmigiana looks fantastic!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 7:13 am

    I’ve never ever eaten diet food. If we know what we are cooking with, then there should not be a problem with calories and your chicken looks pretty awesome! I love simple yet tasty recipes! Thanks for sharing this.

  • Reply
    Simply Life
    May 3, 2011 at 12:47 am

    this meal is so good any time of year, with company, alone, etc!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 4:47 am

    LOVE chicken parm! Will keep this recipe on hand, as I’ve been searching for a healthier version 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet
    May 3, 2011 at 3:56 am

    add a nice healthy salad and it all balances out! looks delicious.

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 3:55 am

    This definitely looks tasty and simple to prepare. Thanks for the tips!

  • Reply
    Kerry (newlywedcooks)
    May 3, 2011 at 3:07 am

    This looks delicious! I will have to try this soon. Yummm chicken parm.

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 2:49 am

    Yum! This is one of my favorites, too.

  • Reply
    Autumn @ Good Eats Girl
    May 3, 2011 at 1:38 am

    This chicken parm looks great! And I totally agree with you….I can’t do the “diet” food route either. It just doesn’t work for me!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 1:17 am

    mmm. I love me a good chicken pram!

  • Reply
    sheila @ Elements
    May 3, 2011 at 12:56 am

    How is it possible that I’m Italian and have never made this before? Where have I been? Yours looks wonderful and your pictures make me want to try making this myself. Looks so good!

    And by the way, I’m with you about the diet food. 🙂

  • Reply
    May 3, 2011 at 12:49 am

    This is what I always order at Italian restaurants! Now I have the recipe :)Looks yum!

  • Reply
    Kate (What Kate is Cooking)
    May 3, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Oooh, all that melty cheese is making me drool!

  • Reply
    Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
    May 2, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    I don’t think I’ve made chicken parm since my college days, when it was a real favorite among my friends as we were learning to cook for ourselves. I just might have to try it again….

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Yummie, chicken parmegiana…I haven’t had it for ages…yours look delicious…very inviting. Have a great week ahead Maris 🙂

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Awesome recipe and food philosophy! 😀 Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I just used whole wheat bread crumbs for the first time when I made my garbanzo burgers. This sounds so good and great tips!

  • Reply
    5 Star foodie
    May 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Your chicken parmigiana looks excellent, great tips on how to make it perfect!

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    so funny – i’ve had chicken parm on the brain lately! this looks great.

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Amen! I have the same philosophy when it comes to food. I like making favorite foods healthier, but I also know there are times when a substitution just won’t work. This looks delicious.

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 9:37 am

    This looks really good. It’s the kind of dish I rarely cook, but makes my other half very happy when I do. I’ll bookmark it for a weeknight soon!

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    That looks so satisfying! Great tips!

  • Reply
    Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook
    May 2, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Looks fantastic, now you just gave me a craving. Love chicken parm, love it cold next day for leftovers, too!. Now I have to have some, definitely worth the calories!

  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    May 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    That parmigiana looks like it is worth every single calorie! You’re so right, it has to be very good otherwise I just won’t eat it! 🙂

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Maris, this looks delicious! I am definitely bookmarking this recipe to make in the near future..possibly over some orzo or spaghetti!

  • Reply
    Sophia @ Raven Waves
    May 2, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Sounds delicious! I’ve never made chicken parm before. It’s one of those dishes that I always order out but am too nervous to try at home!

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 11:43 am

    This looks absolutely delicious. We love chicken parmigiana around here. I love your fresh and healthy take on this classic recipe. I’m all for using “real” foods myself. I think they are much healthier than they “lite” and “low fat” versions. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  • Reply
    alyssa - fashion fitness foodie
    May 2, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I’m a huge fan of not eating diet foods… Just healthifying our normal meals! This looks SO amazing!

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Love Love Love parmigiana and this looks amazing. I think it is such a warm and inviting meal and one i make for guests all the time because it is so dang yummy! Your version sounds incredible and I will be trying it next time around

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Very nice! Looks gorgeous. I make a healthier chicken parm that I also bake, and instead of using egg to dip the chicken in, I dip it in a lemon juice/water combo- still makes everything stick! Very cool 🙂 Hope your week is off to a good start

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 8:28 am

    I had to chuckle at this because I know exactly what you mean! This is a gem of a recipe for me because I l also love chicken parm. Bookmarked!

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