Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan

I have a love-hate relationship with Chicken Parm. It sounds great in theory: I love chicken, I love Parmesan, I love tomato sauce and I love spaghetti. So I should love Chicken Parmesan too, right? But for all its promise, in most restaurants, it’s an utter abomination that ruins the ingredients that go into the dish. With soggy pancakes of mystery meat saturated with old grease and insipid sauce, I’ve never been able to get behind the American interpretation of Pollo Alla Parmigiana.

Part of the problem is that most chicken parm recipes have you douse the crisp fried chicken with sauce before covering it with cheese and then baking it. Maybe it’s just me, but it it seems a little silly to fry something to get it crisp only to cover it with liquid and make it soggy. That’s why I decided to stick the sauce under the chicken. I still cover it with cheese and bake it to give the cheese color, but this way, the top stays crispy, while the bottom absorbs all the great flavors in the sauce.

This is also the reason why I choose to bake the chicken rather than fry it, because it doesn’t make a difference in the finished Chicken Parmesan, while making cleanup easier and reducing the amount of fat in the dish. Sure the bottom side of the chicken may not get crispy in the oven, but who cares since it’s going into the sauce anyway.

For the breading, I like using Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) rather than the European kind because the crumbs are larger, giving your chicken a nice thick crispy coating. I also use a lot of Parmigiano Reggiano in the coating since Parmesan is in the name after all.

As for the sauce, I find most places spend more time on the chicken than on the sauce (which isn’t saying much) and the sauce tends to be watery, bland and sour. I still like to keep the sauce simple, but by caramelizing the onions first and adding tomato paste, you can make a more flavorful balanced sauce for your chicken to sit atop.

All put together and tossed in a hot oven for a few minutes, and you’ll have a dish of moist, juicy chicken cutlets that are crisp and cheesy on top with a thick, flavorful sauce bubbling up from underneath.

Equipment you'll need:

Chicken Parmesan
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Votes: 38
Rating: 3.74
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This baked Chicken Parm, retains a crispy crust, a juicy interior, with plenty of sauce and a crusty browned layer of cheese.
Chicken Parmesan
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 38
Rating: 3.74
You:
Rate this recipe!
This baked Chicken Parm, retains a crispy crust, a juicy interior, with plenty of sauce and a crusty browned layer of cheese.
Ingredients
  • Chicken Cutlet
  • 500 grams chicken thighs - boneless skinless breasts work too
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1 sprig rosemary stem removed and minced
  • 3 sprigs thyme stems removed and minced
  • 40 grams Parmigiano-Reggiano grated
  • 1/4 cup flour - all-purpose
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Basic Tomato Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large onion minced
  • 800 grams whole stewed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • Chicken Parmesan
  • 80 grams Mozzarella cheese grated
  • 450 grams dried spaghetti
  • flat leaf parsley minced for garnish
Units:
Instructions
  1. Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 350 degrees F (175 C). Put a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the panko, rosemary, thyme and parmigiano reggiano.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg until the yolk and white are well incorporated.
  4. Generously salt and pepper the chicken on both sides, then dust with flour to coat evenly.
  5. Dip the coated chicken in the egg, making sure to cover the whole surface of the chicken with egg, then transfer the chicken to the bowl with the breadcrumb mixture. Coat both sides with a thick layer panko, pressing down on the chicken a bit to ensure an even coat.
  6. Place the chicken on the wire rack, then drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil evenly over the chicken.
  7. Put the baking sheet in the oven. Bake chicken for 20-25 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees F (71 C).
  8. While the chicken is in the oven, heat a frying pan over medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, along with the garlic and onions. Saute until the onions are translucent and start turning brown around the edges.
  9. Add the stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, and dried oregano, then salt and pepper to taste. Use a spatula to break up the tomatoes into small pieces. Simmer until the sauce is no longer watery.
  10. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil.
  11. After removing the chicken from the oven, increase the temperature to 500 degrees F (260 C).
  12. Pour the sauce into a casserole dish, then top with the baked chicken. Sprinkle with the Mozzarella and you can top with additional Parmesan if you'd like.
  13. Bake the Chicken Parmesan until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese has formed a golden brown crust on top.
  14. Boil the pasta according to the package directions, drain, then toss with olive oil.
  15. Serve the Chicken Parmesan over a bed of spaghetti with a sprinkle of parsley for garnish.
Categories
  • Steve

    Sounds incredible……a nice variation would be a side of spinach fettucinni alfredo instead . Have you got a recipie for alfredo? Steve.

  • http://terristable.blogspot.com/ Terri’s Table

    I really like how you prepared this. Makes more sense and it looks delicious.

  • saturnine

    Any reason why there’s not a time estimate on the oven time for the chicken?

    • saturnine

      Never mind–I mis-read it! Sorry about that,

  • Kiki

    Just curious – this is how chicken parm has to be – the chicken has to be breaded? I am asking, because we have a family ricpe since generations for a maccaroni dish: fried chicken cubes in a hearty thick tomatoe sauce (tomatoes, t.paste, garlic, oregano, pancetta diced) inserted in nests of pasta, afterwards everything sprinkled with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs and olive oil and baked in the oven.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Your dish sounds similar in it’s components, but I’m guessing it’s a different dish. All the versions of chicken parm I’ve ever seen involve a whole cutlet that’s been breaded and fried.

  • Hollowlegs

    I would be totally on board with this as it looks delicious, but chicken and pasta has always seemed weird to me (also chicken on pizza). Perhaps it’s the double-beigeness of it all? Definitely doing that chicken on its own though!

  • http://www.tasteasyougo.com/ Michelle @ Taste As You Go

    Your reasoning behind putting the sauce on the bottom to maintain the crispness of the chicken makes perfect sense, Marc. I’m going to make my Chicken Parm like this from now on!

  • Trix

    Delish and got props from three teenage boys!

  • Alli

    This was amazing. I used Italian breadcrumbs instead of panko (what I had on hand) and tomato sauce instead of paste and it was outstanding. I think I will probably cook my chicken on a cooling rack from now on. I love the way you don’t use a recipe that’s the way I cook.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Glad to hear you enjoyed it (and that you’re a fan of winging it in the kitchen)!

  • Kat

    Made this for my boyfriends birthday and it was simply AMAZING!!! followed the exact recipe and both my boyfriend and I were very satisfied. I will use this recipe from now on.

  • Savannah

    This was perfect, my first time making chicken parm for my bf and roommate. Turned out fabulous. I add a think tomato sauce as well I the sauce (we love sauce) lol and fresh parsley as well. Also used a blend of cheeses for the cheese topping, parm, provolone, mozzarella and Romano. I live that everything’s baked and not greasy!! Thanks so much for posting this!

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  • Kristen

    Great recipe! Delish!

  • A_S00

    I’ve always had the same intuition as you about the silliness of crisping up your chicken only to soggify it immediately afterward with excessive tomato sauce, so when I saw that you’d solved that problem, I was immediately interested.

    I used this recipe (with a fair amount of modification) as a base for three different parmigianas (chicken, portobello mushroom, and fennel root). The fennel had some trouble sticking together as a coherent patty (I cut it horizontally into about 1/3″ slices, and the layers of the root wanted to peel apart), so I sauteed it with some egg and flour first to keep it together, then gave it the same treatment as the other two.

    As promised, each dish remained crispy and delicious on top, while there was plenty of sauce below to keep it interesting and top the pasta. I used panko, and was very satisfied with both how it coated the chicken and how it crunched when served. I can’t imagine making a parmagiana using the more typical sauce layering technique after trying this; it’s so much better this way.

    I did the final baking at only 450f (500 seemed hot), and still had some of the bits of cheese that were sticking up start to burn before a pretty golden crust like that pictured had finished forming. I wonder if the last baking stage might be better done at 400f or so instead. It’s also possible that my oven just doesn’t heat very evenly; I’m in a new apartment and haven’t cooked with it much yet.

    All in all, a great recipe. Glad it showed up on teh googlez. Thanks!

  • Laura

    Does the flour go into the breading??

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Laura, it’s used in step 4 to coat the chicken before you bread it.

      Sent from Mailbox for iPhone

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  • John

    This sounds just like what I’m looking for. I’m cooking it tonight. Baking on a rack seems ingenious for keeping the chicken from getting soggy. I’m not getting the “no recipe” part, though. The ingredients and steps to take are carefully spelled out, with pictures, no less! Isn’t that a recipe?

  • Norma Eich

    I am cooking for a diabetic friend. Can I coat the chicken with rice flour rather than wheat flour?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Norma, do you mean to get rid of the breadcrumbs entirely and only use rice flour or just to substitute the initial coating of flour to rice flour? If it’s the later, it should work fine, but bread crumbs contain wheat flour so if your friend is gluten-free, you’ll need to make sure you’re using gluten-free breadcrumbs.

  • ~*GingerMamiOf4*~

    I just made this recipe for my family last night. Now, I did make a couple substitutions, (i.e.: whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour, & crushed Ritz crackers instead of Panko crumbs) & I always add white pepper to ALL my recipes. And boy was I surprised at my family’s reaction…THEY LOVED IT!! I cook for myself, my husband, my 2 y/o, 6 y/o, & pregnant 17 y/o. So making a dinner that everyone loves or even likes can be very difficult, LOL! This is the 1st time I’ve ever made Chicken Parmesan & we will definitely be having this at least once a month from now on! And I can’t wait to make this for my other family members as well! I give this recipe 5-stars & would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for a delicious Chicken Parmesan that’s relatively easy-to-make!

    ~*THANX*~

  • Jan

    I also have made many different chicken parmesan recipes and veal parmesan but this one is now at the top of my list. Tonight was a practice run with my family for a dinner party next week and by far this is the best recipe ever. Using boneless chicken thighs was the key for a moist, tender result. Also the measurements were exact. Thank-you. Do you have any other “best” recipes you
    could share?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Jan, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it! I have a category dedicated to the best recipes on this site, which you can find under the “recipes” menu at the top of the page, or just click this link http://norecipes.com/type/best/

  • jandbcinAZ

    I make a Chicken Parm a Variety of ways, as well as changing up the Pasta. We both like Alfredo so I do the serve the Chicken and Red Sauce but serve the linguine with a home-made Alfredo Sauce with lots of garlic. I still drizzle a small amount of Red Sauce on the Chix as well as lots of melted Parm… which I spread over the pasta alfredo as well. Everyone I have served it to loves this version,its one of my husbands favorite.

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you for such a nice recipe; I made this for date night this weekend and we both thought it was so good. I loved how crispy the chicken was from cooking it separately; it also made leftovers so easy. I just put half the chicken in half the sauce in a dish on the first night, then we cooked it up the same way with the leftover chicken in a new dish with leftover sauce and it made it just as yummy and not soggy since it didn’t sit overnight in the sauce. This is officially our go-to chicken parmesan (better than a restaurant’s!)! Really, thanks so much for such a winning recipe!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Thanks! Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  • gail

    Fantastic. Followed your directions exactly except for the sauce (had some left -over homemade). Your point of not soggifying the nice crispy chicken by drenching in sauce is spot on. The cheese I put on top was also a left over bag of shredded Walmart Italian blend (,mozerella/asiago/provolone/parmigian). Came out delicious. Thanks.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Glad to hear you enjoyed it! Great call using leftover tomato sauce.

  • teri

    How can I make this for 25 people?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      You’d need a very large oven, but you could in theory scale this up and it should work better than a deep fried one since you can oven fry a lot more chicken at one time than you can in a fryer.

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