Chicken Parmesan is one of the most delicious foods on the planet. Here’s how to make Perfect Italian Chicken Parmesan that’s crisp on the outside, tender inside and covered with velvety rich tomato sauce and melted cheese. When you cook this for friends and family, you’ll have some happy folks at your table!
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN PARMESAN
What we are after here is tender chicken breast cutlets coated with crisp breadcrumbs, covered with a velvety rich tomato sauce and two kinds of melted cheese… add to that some pasta to soak up some more of that delicious tomato sauce and I’m getting happy just thinking about it.
There are three key steps to making great homemade chicken parmesan:
- Start with an excellent tomato sauce. The one I’ll show you how to make here is easy and it’s my favorite!
- Get the chicken cutlets nice and thin, breaded and sautéed to perfection: crunchy outside and tender inside. This is not hard to achieve with a few simple steps.
- Assemble the dish and bake it in the oven until hot and bubbly. This part is easy!
HOW TO MAKE TOMATO SAUCE FOR CHICKEN PARMESAN
I have a thing for tomato sauce, really good intensely tomatoey tomato sauce. Occasionally, if I’m really pressed for time I’ll buy a good quality tomato sauce like Rao’s, but usually I make my own tomato sauce from scratch because it’s very easy to do.
All you need are a handful of simple, good quality ingredients: imported Italian canned tomatoes, fruity extra virgin olive oil, a little fresh garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. Fresh basil to stir in at the end is optional but highly recommended.
The type of canned tomatoes you choose for your sauce matters a lot. If you use excellent canned tomatoes for sauce, you get amazing results.
The Best Canned Tomatoes for Tomato Sauce:
I’ve paid close attention to taste tests over the years and the consensus is that the best canned tomatoes are either those from San Marzano, Italy or Muir Glen Organic tomatoes, grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley. In both cases the tomatoes are picked at the peak of ripeness, so they are fruity and deep red and make delicious sauce.
My favorite homemade tomato sauce takes 5 minutes of prep:
- Sauté chopped garlic and red pepper flakes in a good amount olive oil for 30 seconds
- Add canned tomatoes and bring to a simmer
- Cover and cook for 20 minutes
- Puree with an immersion blender or leave sauce chunky.
HOW TO POUND, BREAD AND SAUTE CHICKEN FOR CHICKEN PARMESAN
While the sauce is simmering, you’ll have plenty of time to prepare the chicken.
First you’ll want to pound the chicken breasts to make thin cutlets. Or sometimes you can find thin chicken cutlets at the grocery store.
To avoid a mess, I put my chicken into a large sturdy plastic baggie and then pound it with a meat mallet or a rolling pin until I get the desired thickness.
Next you’ll want to bread the chicken cutlets in the traditional way by dipping them first into flour, then into egg and then into bread crumbs or Panko crumbs.
Once your chicken is breaded, heat oil in a skillet and brown the cutlets for a minute or two per side. Don’t worry about cooking them through. They will finish cooking in the oven. The goal here is to get the crumb coating brown and crisp.
The final step is to assemble the chicken parmesan in layers: First spoon some sauce into the bottom of a baking dish, add the chicken in a single layer, top with sauce. The final layer is mozzarella and parmesan.
Set the chicken parmesan in a 350ºF oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, the sauce is hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHICKEN PARMESAN
- Sautéed Spinach and Garlic
- Insalata Tricolore (Italian salad of arugula, radicchio and endive)
- The Best Easy Ratatouille
- Chimichurri Broccoli Salad
Here’s the recipe for Breaded Chicken Parmesan with Tomato Sauce. If you try this recipe I hope you’ll come back to leave a comment and a star rating. I’d love to know what you think.Print
Breaded Chicken Parmesan with Tomato Sauce
Homemade Chicken parmesan, tender scallops of boneless chicken breast coated with crisp breadcrumbs, covered with a velvety rich tomato sauce and two kinds of melted cheese. Serve with pasta and extra sauce.
- Prep Time: 40 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
- Yield: 4-6 1x
- Category: Main Course
- Method: stovetop and oven
- Cuisine: Italian
- For the Sauce
- ⅓ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 24-ounce cans plum tomatoes (Imported San Marzano or Muir Glen organic are best)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 10–12 basil leaves, slivered plus extra for garnishing
- For the Chicken
- 4 whole boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds)
- Kosher salt, to taste
- ½ cup flour
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups plain bread crumbs or Panko
- Oil for sautéing
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus extra for sprinkling on top
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced (or grated mozzarella)
- Make the sauce: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Open the cans of tomatoes and set aside. Put oil, garlic and red pepper flakes into a large, nonreactive pot. Turn the heat to medium. Keep watch. As soon as the garlic starts to sizzle, stir it around for 20-30 seconds, but don’t let it brown. Pour in the tomatoes and salt. As soon as everything starts to bubble, turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook sauce for 20 minutes, uncovered. If you like your sauce chunky, use the back of a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes. If you like your sauce smooth, puree in a food processor or use an immersion blender to puree the sauce in the pot. Just before using, stir in slivered basil.
- Pound the chicken While the sauce is simmering, pound the chicken breast halves by putting one half breast into a large ziplock baggie, unsealed. Using a meat mallet or a heavy rolling pin, pound the breast gently and evenly, 12-20 times, starting at the middle and working towards the edges, until you get an even thickness of about ½ to¼ inch. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Bread the Chicken: Set out a large plate and pour the flour onto it. Next to that put the eggs into a wide shallow bowl and whisk them. Next to the eggs put a large plate with the breadcrumbs on it. Season the chicken breasts with salt, to taste, on both sides. Then dredge with flour. Shake off the excess. Then dip the breast into the egg and coat both sides, allowing the excess to drip off. Then press the breast into the crumbs to coat both sides. Put the breaded chicken onto a plate and repeat the process with the rest of the chicken.
- Brown the chicken: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Place two of the chicken breast in the pan and cook for one to two minutes per side, just until you get a nice golden brown crust. You may need to add a bit more oil, if the pan seems too dry when you flip the chicken over. Transfer browned chicken to a platter, add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the pan and brown the rest of the chicken.
- Assemble the chicken parmesan: Spread about a cup of sauce over the bottom of a large casserole or baking pan. Arrange chicken cutlets on top. Pour 2 cups of sauce evenly over the cutlets. Sprinkle ½ cup parmesan evenly over the top. Then add the mozzarella cheese. Cook in the middle of the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted.
- Serve with spaghetti, topped with the extra sauce. Sprinkle chicken and pasta with parmesan and basil.
Nutrition Information: The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and is not a substitute for a the advice of a professional nutritionist.
Keywords: chicken parmesan, homemade chicken parmesan, chicken parmesan from scratch
This Breaded Chicken Parmesan with Tomato Sauce Recipe first appeared on Panning The Globe in September 2013. It has been updated with new photos, added nutritional information and clearer instructions.