Skip the skillet and make this healthy baked chicken parmesan dinner with marinara and melty cheese on a sheet pan instead.
Baked Chicken Parmesan Recipe
It’s pretty much 100% obvious that most of you will agree, but I think crispy cutlets of Parmesan-coated chicken are one of the tastiest types of chicken you can eat. I mean, I have more than just one parm-coated chicken recipe here on the blog with different techniques, here and here, that says so. And unlike my recipe for homemade chicken Parmesan, that calls for pan-frying in a skillet and then baking, this one is even easier to make.
Here’s what makes this recipe different:
- This baked chicken parmesan is pretty much hands-off cooking. We use thinly cut, boneless chicken breasts that cook fast but stay moist when baked on a sheet pan at high heat in the oven.
- We skip the typical flour/egg/breadcrumb dredge and instead use a slather of mayonnaise (or butter) for the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese mixture to stick to.
- It’s awesome to batch cook for meal prep and then portion into containers. I like to make extra and deliver to as a surprise dinner for my mom and day, or eat as a make ahead dinner, lunch, or freeze for later.
Topped with a simple marinara sauce (store bought or homemade) and gooey, melty cheese, this easy dinner is complete when it’s served alongside your favorite pasta. And because this dish can be fixed in 30 minutes, it somehow tastes even better.
Let the dinner bells ring!
What’s In Chicken Parmesan
Chicken Parmesan isn’t authentically Sicilian, or even red-blooded-Italian. You can thank the U.S. for this Italian-American chicken and marinara mash-up. It’s an incredibly simple meal to prepare, with just a handful of basic ingredients.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Seasoned Italian bread crumbs
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Garlic powder
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Marinara sauce—try my easy homemade marinara recipe or a good store-bought variety
- Cooked pasta such as spaghetti, angel hair, or fettuccine
- Melty white cheese such as mozzarella or provolone
How to Make Easy Chicken Parmesan
- Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Chicken breasts cook quicker and more evenly when sliced in half lengthwise, then pounded with a meat tenderizer to the same thickness. Aim for 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thickness.
- Mayonnaise replaces the flour and egg dredge. Mayonnaise is the shortcut that replaces the typical flour and egg dredge before dipping the chicken into breadcrumbs. It also adds fat to the lean chicken breasts, creating a more juicy, tender bite. If mayo isn’t your thing, brush with melted butter before flouring.
- Season the breadcrumbs. Use Italian flavored bread crumbs that are already seasoned, with extra garlic powder and kosher salt, plus paprika for an extra sheen of color as the chicken bakes.
- Bake chicken Parmesan at 400°F. Cooking chicken at a higher temperature locks in the juices and won’t dry out the meat. Bake the chicken breasts directly on a rimmed baking sheet (not lined with foil) for extra crispness on both sides.
- In the final minutes of cooking, top with marinara and grated melty white cheese.
Tips for Baked Chicken Parmesan
Use seasoned Italian bread crumbs instead of panko. You may think about using Japanese panko bread crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs in this recipe. We taste tested both, and my family prefers good old Italian seasoned bread crumbs. Regular bread crumbs mix better with the grated cheese, and because the crumbs are smaller than panko, cover the chicken uniformly for an extra crisp crunch.
Skip the canned cheese and use freshly grated Parmesan. Freshly grated Parm is the only way to go no matter what you’re cooking. Use finely grated Parmesan from the deli department, instead of shredded. If grating your own, be sure it’s extra fine so it melds in with the bread crumbs, making the exterior crisp and not soggy.
What Type of Tomato Sauce Is Best for Chicken Parmesan?
You already know that a quality, store-bought marinara sauce will save time, but making tomato sauce from scratch takes hardly any extra effort than it does making that trip to the store.
Here’s a few of my favorite homemade Italian tomato sauces:
The Final Act: Marinara and Melty White Cheese
Add the toppings with mere minutes to go. So that the chicken breasts stay crisp and don’t turn soggy, wait until the last few minutes of baking to spoon warmed marinara on the chicken and top with cheese. Cook just until the cheese melts.
Mozzarella isn’t your only cheesy choice. Sure, everyone automatically thinks “it’s gotta be mozz” when it comes to meltable white cheese, but if you ask me, provolone is the best meltable cheese-pulling cheese. A sprinkling of extra Parmesan and minced basil or parsley finishes the dish.
What to Serve With Chicken Parmesan
To finish off this easy dinner, here’s some ideas for what to serve on the side:
- Long, twirlable pasta is the classic side. Try spaghetti, angel hair, or fettuccine.
- Arugula Salad With Shaved Parmesan Three Ways
- Easy Broccoli with Feta Cheese
- Garlicky Swiss Chard and Chickpeas
- Sweet Carrots with Tarragon
- Easy 5-Minute Parmesan Zucchini
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Baked Chicken Parmesan
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large shallow bowl or on a large plate, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika. Set aside.
- Use a thin, sharp knife to slice each chicken breast in half lengthwise to create two thin fillets. Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap on a cutting board, and gently pound to about 3/8-inch with a meat tenderizer.
- Brush both sides of the chicken fillets with mayonnaise to evenly coat. Dredge each of the chicken fillets in the breadcrumb mixture and place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until cooked through and the outsides are golden and crispy.
- Top each cutlet with a dollop of marinara and shredded cheese and return to the oven. Cook until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Serve with spaghetti, angel hair, or fettuccine noodles.
• Instead of garlic powder, use 1 clove of fresh garlic that's been pressed or very finely minced instead.
• Instead of Italian seasoned bread crumbs, use regular bread crumbs with 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning added to it.
• Instead of mayonnaise, use 4 tablespoons melted butter.
More Easy Chicken Recipes
- Easy Chicken Piccata
- Chicken Fajita Foil Packet Dinners
- Easy Chicken Marsala
- Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
- 30-Minute Creamy Mushroom And Leek Chicken Breasts
- Potato Chip Crusted Chicken Breasts Recipe
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