This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Crisp, tender and juicy Chicken Parmesan
Our favorite Chicken Parmesan recipe
Chicken Parmesan, also known as Chicken Parmigiana or Chicken Parm, was originally created by Italian immigrants living in the Northeast United States in the early 1950s.
This popular Italian neighborhood favorite quickly spread to restaurant menus across the globe. The crispy chicken is often served as a main course over fresh cooked spaghetti.
Even though this is a true Italian-American creation, it still has all the things we love about a good authentic Italian main course meal.
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts or cutlets
- salt and pepper
- whole-milk shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
- shredded fontina cheese mixed with the mozzarella for a creamier cheese topping. This cheese is buttery, soft and creamy and will help prevent the mozzarella from getting rubbery.
- eggs for dipping the chicken before breading
- all-purpose flour
- panko breadcrumbs for the crunchy coating
- garlic powder
- dried oregano or Italian seasoning
- crushed red pepper flakes to add a little zing, totally optional
- fresh ground black pepper
- a little cornstarch is added to the coating for extra crispiness
- Parmesan cheese, also for the coating
- vegetable oil or olive oil for frying the chicken cutlets
- marinara sauce – store-bought or homemade with chunky tomatoes
- hot cooked spaghetti
- fresh basil leaves for serving
- fresh parsley leaves as a garnish
Overview: How to make Chicken Parmesan
Prepare the marinara sauce if using homemade. This can be done a day in advance and refrigerated until needed.
1. Prepare the chicken:
Preheat the oven to 400F.
If slicing whole chicken breasts into cutlets, place the chicken on a small parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes. This makes it much easier to slice.
Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally to create cutlets. Pound the chicken to an even thickness.
Season chicken with salt and set aside on a baking pan to come to room temperature while preparing the other ingredients.
If using cutlets, lay them out on a parchment lined baking sheet and season with salt.
2. Prepare all ingredients:
Combine the shredded mozzarella and fontina cheeses and set aside.
Place the eggs in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Whisk to blend.
Pour the all-purpose flour in a second shallow bowl and set aside.
Finally, combine the panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper and cornstarch in a third pie plate. Once blended stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.
Note: If serving with spaghetti, start heating a pot of water on the stove-top.
3. Bread the chicken:
Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Dip in the flour to coat completely. Next dip both sides in the egg.
Finally, coat the entire cutlet in the panko mixture pressing gently so the crumbs adhere.
Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with remaining cutlets.
NOTE: Start cooking the spaghetti and warm the marinara sauce. Set aside and keep warm.
4. Cook the chicken:
Pour enough vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet (cast iron works well) to reach a depth of 1/4-inch. Warm over medium-high heat until shimmering.
Using tongs carefully place 2 breaded cutlets in the skillet and cook without moving until the bottom is crispy and deep golden brown.
Turn the chicken over and cook until golden. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining chicken.
Place the cooked chicken on the now empty baking dish or sheet pan.
If serving all cutlets at once, spread marinara on top of each. If only serving a few, set aside the cutlets you want to save for later.
Top each with the cheese mixture then bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
For a browned cheese topping, heat under the broiler for 2 to 4 minutes taking care you don’t burn any exposed breading.
Place the cutlets over spaghetti or your favorite pasta tossed in marinara or tomato sauce. This is also great served over zucchini noodles for a lower-carb option.
Garnish with fresh basil and parsley. Serve immediately.
TIPS for the best crispy Chicken Parmesan:
If you don’t plan to serve all 6 chicken cutlets at the same meal, wait to add the sauce and cheese and store the breaded, cooked cutlets in an airtight container.
This will help prevent the crispy coating from getting soft. It’s still good reheated, but just won’t be as crispy.
Rewarm the breaded cutlets in the oven, then cover with cheese and sauce and bake until melted.
If storing leftovers already covered in cheese and sauce you can rewarm in the microwave.
You can also skip the layer of marinara on the chicken and just top with cheese. This also helps prevent a softer top.
If desired, spread marinara over the top of the cheese instead of under to ensure a more crispy breading.
How to freeze Chicken Parmesan
To make this dish ahead, freeze the breaded, fried chicken breasts once cooled completely. Cooked, frozen cutlets will keep in the freezer for up to 30 days.
Bake the frozen cutlets at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes.
Top with sauce and cheese and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted.
What we love about this recipe
This great recipe is hearty and flavorful and very filling. Everybody loves it!
The chicken is crisp on the outside but juicy and tender inside.
Panko crumbs combined with herbs, seasoning and cornstarch makes the best coating for chicken. The breaded chicken is even delicious on its’ own without cheese or sauce. It’s that good.
We love that this dish serves 4 to 6, but can be cut in half if needed for a smaller group. I say make extra and freeze for later!
While this recipe takes about an hour to prep, it cooks quickly and is on the table in about 30 minutes. Most of the prep work can be done ahead, too.
Thanks for PINNING!
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or cutlets (about 3 8-ounce chicken breasts)
- salt and pepper
- ¾ cup whole-milk mozzarella cheese shredded (3-ounces)
- ¾ cup fontina cheese shredded (3-ounces)
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour (66g)
- ¾ cup panko bread crumbs (45g)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
- ¾ cup Parmesan cheese grated (about 1 ½ ounces)
- ½ cup vegetable oil for cooking the chicken
- Marinara Sauce store-bought or homemade
- hot cooked spaghetti
- fresh basil leaves
- fresh parsley leaves chopped
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Slice cold chicken breasts in half horizontally to create cutlets. Pound the chicken to an even ½-inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to come to room temperature while preparing the other ingredients.
- Combine the mozzarella and fontina cheeses; set aside. Place the eggs in a shallow bowl or pie plate and whisk until blended. Pour the all-purpose flour in a second shallow bowl and set aside. In a third shallow bowl combine the panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper and cornstarch. Once blended stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.
- NOTE: If serving with spaghetti start heating a pot of water.
- Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels then dip in the flour to coat completely. Next dip both sides of the floured chicken in the egg allowing any excess to drip back into the bowl. Finally coat the entire cutlet in the panko mixture pressing gently so the crumbs adhere. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with remaining cutlets.
- NOTE: Start cooking the spaghetti and warm the marinara. Set aside and keep warm.
- Pour enough vegetable oil in a large, nonstick skillet (cast iron works well) to reach of depth of 1/4-inch. Heat over medium-high until shimmering.
- Using tongs, carefully place 2 breaded cutlets in the skillet and cook without moving until the bottom is crispy and deep golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook until golden. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain and repeat with the remaining cutlets.
- Place the cooked and drained chicken on the now empty baking sheet. Spread a heaping spoonful of marinara sauce on top. Top each with the mozzarella fontina mixture. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. For golden browned cheese, heat under the broiler for 2 to 4 minutes more.
- Serve the Chicken Parmesan over hot spaghetti noodles tossed in the remaining marinara. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and parsley if desired.
- When cutting your own cutlets freeze the chicken breasts for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing. Firm chicken is easier to slice in half.
- If broiling the cheese at the end, be sure the entire chicken piece is covered. The breading may burn under the broiler if not covered with cheese.
- If you’re not planning to serve all 6 pieces of chicken at the same time, wait to add the sauce and cheese until ready to serve.
- For crispier chicken omit adding the sauce to the chicken and only top with the cheese mixture. Spoon hot marinara over the chicken when serving or skip adding it to the chicken at all.
- Rewarm leftover chicken in the microwave. The chicken will not be as crispy but still has great flavor.
- To make ahead, freeze the breaded, fried chicken breasts once cooled completely. Bake frozen chicken cutlets at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Top with the sauce and cheese and continue cooking until melted.
If you love this Chicken Parmesan recipe, you’ll also like these!
One of our most popular and beloved Italian favorites is this easy and authentic Chicken Cacciatore. Serve with Artisan Bread, hot spaghetti and nice green salad with homemade Italian dressing for a complete meal.
We also have a wonderful baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe you might also enjoy. Give it a try next time you see fresh eggplants in the market.
Finally, don’t forget about the always popular, healthy and delicious Minestrone Soup. It’s so good and easy to make too!