Chicken Parmigiana



by Cat,  Oct 2007 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

You can find more  of my chicken cutlet recipes, as well as links to cutlet recipes on other sites, on the Poultry & Fowl Main Course Menu, under Chicken Cutlets.

I recommend brining the chicken to help it retain its moisture. I first learned to make Eggplant Parmigiana from the  Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas (3) (see beloved cookbooks for more about this book), which was my first cookbook as a young adult in the 1970s. Then when I started adding chicken and fish to my diet, I learned to make this with chicken; or sometimes with both eggplant and chicken.

I include two versions of Chicken Parmigiana here; the first adds the tomato sauce after the chicken and cheese have baked; the second makes a thicker, richer sauce from fresh tomato paste and red wine that is baked with the chicken and cheese.

Chicken Parmigiana, Version 1

This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking (1), and serves 4.

prepare meat for cutletsIngredients & Equipment:

  • Cutlets
  • 4 ea 6-oz chicken breasts
  • ½ cup unbleached white flour or tapioca starch
  • Unrefined Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups breadcrumbs (preferably sourdough)
  • about 4 Tbsp coconut oil or lard
  • Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup packed fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or regular Parmesan
  • 1 ½ cups fresh or canned crushed tomatoes
  • Equipment
  • large bowl (for brining)
  • baking sheet
  • 3 wide, shallow dishes/bowls for dipping
  • cast iron skillet or chicken fryer


  1. Cutlets: Brine chicken and prepare cutlets (see Preparing Cutlets, above). Or, If you don’t brine the chicken, season it lightly with salt.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the onion and mince the garlic.  Chop basil. Grate the parmesan using the small holes on the grater. Slice mozzarella. Set all aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 425° F, and position oven rack in center of oven. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
  4. Mix flour/starch with ¼ tsp pepper in a dipping dish; lightly beat eggs with 1 Tbsp water in another dipping dish; and the breadcrumbs in a third dipping dish.
  5. Dip chicken pieces in flour, tapping off excess, then the egg, and then the breadcrumbs, pressing the breadcrumbs to help it adhere.
  6. Heat 2 Tbsp of the coconut oil or lard in skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, flipping once until crumbs are golden and chicken is almost cooked through. Work in batches so chicken pieces are not crowded, using another 2 Tbsp oil/lard for the second batch. Transfer to oiled baking sheet.
  7. Sprinkle pieces with parmesan and top evenly with mozzarella slices. Bake until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through, 5 – 7 minutes.
  8. Sauce : Meanwhile, wipe skillet clean and set over medium heat. Pour in remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion is tender and lightly browned, 3 – 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and ¼ tsp salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 4 – 5 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped basil. Adjust seasoning.
  10. Serve the sauce over the chicken.

Chicken Parmigiana, Version 2

This version is based on my Eggplant Parmigiana recipe, originally adapted from The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas, and serves 4. It uses a richer, thicker tomato sauce or paste made fresh from fresh tomatoes and red wine instead of a more traditional tomato sauce as in the previous recipe.  The sauce is added to the chicken before baking, rather than added after baking as in previous recipe.

Ingredients:prepare meat for cutlets

  • Chicken cutlets
  • 4 ea 6-oz chicken breasts
  • unbleached white flour or tapioca starch
  • milk
  • 1 – 2 eggs
  • dried breadcrumbs
  • olive oil
  • ½ lb fresh Mozzarella
  • Sauce
  • 6 Tbsp fresh Tomato Paste, Fresh. for Parmigiana Sauce or other tomato paste
  • dry white or red wine
  • pinch dried oregano or basil, or a bit more fresh
  • 2 (or more) cloves garlic
  • Unrefined Sea Salt and freshly grated black pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated Paremsan or Romano cheese


  • 3 small, shallow bowls (for dipping cutlets)
  • cast iron skillet
  • lasagna or other baking dish


  1. Chicken: Brine chicken and prepare cutlets (see Preparing Cutlets, above). Or, If you don’t brine the chicken, season it lightly with salt.
  2. Put a little flour in a shallow bowl; whip egg with a little milk in second shallow bowl; and breadcrumbs in a 3rd shallow bowl.
  3. Dip slices into flour, then into egg/milk mixture, and then into the breadcrumbs, so they are well coated.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  5. Heat olive oil or lard in cast iron skillet; sauté coated cutlets, a few at a time (don’t crowd), until they are nicely browned on both sides.  Tend them carefully and add oil as needed.
  6. When cutlets are golden brown, arrange them in baking dish, and put a slice or more of Mozzarella on each one. You may need two layers of cutlets & Mozzarella slices to fit into the pan.
  7. Sauce, Bake: Make a thick tomato sauce by diluting the tomato paste with wine.  Mince garlic, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and crush with flat side of a chef’s knife until they release liquid.  Add to tomato paste with oregano or basil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread 2 – 3 Tbsp on each cutlet in baking dish.
  8. Sprinkle grated parmesan on top; bake about 15 minutes and serve steaming hot.

Variation: Eggplant & Chicken Parmigiana

Use ingredients and method for Version 2 above, with the following changes:

  • Use only 2 boneless chicken half-breasts
  • Add 1 eggplant (see Eggplant Parmigiana for how to pre-salt and prep the slices)
  • Double amount of tomato-wine sauce.
  1. For the chicken cutlets, cut breasts crosswise in ¾” thick pieces. Then cut each of these in half, parallel to first cut, but not all the way through. Then ‘butterfly’ each piece and pound lightly to about ¼” thick. Bread them in flour/egg/bread-crumbs as above.
  2. Cook the breaded eggplant and chicken cutlets in batches, as above.
  3. Arrange a layer of the cooked eggplant slices in baking pan. Top each with a slice of the fresh mozzarella and a spoonful of the tomato sauce. Then top with a cooked chicken cutlet and repeat with the mozzarella and tomato sauce. Sprinkle grated parmesan over all.
  4. Bake in preheated 400°F oven, 15 – 20 minutes until cheese is melted and all is hot.

Serving Suggestions for either version:

  • Serve with pasta or gnocci on the side, with a green salad and garlic-parmesan bread if desired.
  • Spinach, chard or kale braised with minced fresh garlic is a nice accompaniment.


  1. Quick Chicken Parmesan (
  2. Classic Eggplant Parmigiana (
  3. The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas (see beloved cookbooks for more about this book)

About Cat

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