Crispy Chicken Parmesan Recipe

Our traditional Chicken Parmesan (or Chicken Parmigiana) is a classic dish featuring crispy panko-crusted chicken breast, lusciously melted fresh mozzarella, and a tangy homemade marinara sauce. Perfect for a restaurant quality dinner and ready in a little over an hour!

chicken parmesan ready to enjoy

If you’re looking for a restaurant quality chicken parmesan recipe that doesn’t get soggy, your search is over! I’m going to teach you all my secrets to keeping your chicken parmigiana ultra crispy and flavorful to make the BEST chicken parm of your life, guaranteed.

Chicken parmesan is on literally every restaurant menu here in New Jersey, but it’s rare I find a really good one. That’s why I prefer making it at home, and you should too. Why? Because this recipe is better than even the best restaurant versions and I am confident you will agree!

Growing up, my Italian mom made this recipe all the time, but I’ve tweaked it with my professional chef experience to make it so much better (sorry, mom!).

It starts with my 5-star-rated Italian breaded chicken cutlets, then topped with homemade marinara sauce and finished with plenty of lusciously melted fresh mozzarella. But what set’s it apart is the technique I use to keep the chicken breading crispy.

There’s nothing worse than a sad, soggy slab of chicken parmigiana, and I’m here to make sure you never have to experience that again! Keep reading to learn my secrets!

For more Italian recipes, try my Easy Baked Italian Sausage And Peppers, or Authentic Italian Meatballs.

Why This is The Best Chicken Parmesan Recipe

  • This recipe is a family favorite - everyone will love this dish!
  • Easy to make with everyday pantry items but tastes like it was made for an Italian feast.
  • A mixture of panko breadcrumbs and pecorino cheese makes a delicious crust.
  • Perfectly crispy exterior with moist chicken inside.
  • What makes this recipe unique is that it's baked with just cheese and no sauce. Then, it's plated on top of the sauce to maintain that extra-crispy chicken.
  • Tastes delicious when served with your favorite pasta and side salad!
recipe ingredients in clear bowls, with graphic labels
Homemade Chicken Parmesan Ingredients

Breadcrumbs - The key to a delicious crispy chicken parmesan is using the right coating. To get that perfectly crunchy texture, I used a mixture of panko breadcrumbs mixed with grated pecorino cheese, garlic, and fresh Italian parsley. Don't forget the salt and pepper!

Pecorino Romano Cheese - This hard Italian sheep's milk cheese adds the perfect sharp and salty flavor to the chicken. Use a high quality brand such as Locatelli if you can.

Chicken Breasts - Make sure to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts and use a meat mallet to pound them out so they're nice and thin. If you don't want to use chicken breasts, you can also use chicken tenderloins, but they will be much smaller so you will need to use more.

Oil - For the best flavor, I recommend frying the chicken in extra virgin olive oil. If you're opposed to frying in olive oil, use an oil that has a high smoke point, like canola oil or avocado oil.

Mozzarella Cheese - Looking for an ooey-gooey cheese pull? Use a high quality fresh mozzarella cheese! Thinly slice it or roughly tear into pieces yourself and avoid the pre-sliced stuff. Be sure to blot the fresh mozzarella dry before using so it doesn't make your chicken soggy. You can also use traditional whole milk mozzarella, but be sure to grate it yourself rather than the pre-grated bagged stuff, which contains additives and won't melt as well.

Marinara Sauce - Use your favorite marinara sauce for this recipe, or for best results make your own! If you're looking for a great homemade marinara, try this simple yet authentic tomato sauce recipe.

*Find the full ingredient list in the recipe card below!

Helpful Equipment

Mixing Bowls - When making chicken parmigiana, the easiest way to get it ready to cook is to set up a breading station! To do this, you need a few shallow mixing bowls.

Whisk - A whisk is helpful for mixing together the breading ingredients, but a fork works too.

Meat Mallet - A meat mallet is a tool that helps to tenderize the chicken breasts so they cook evenly.

Sauté Pan - The first part of the cooking process requires you to flash fry the chicken breasts in a sauté pan. Make sure it is deep enough to cover the chicken halfway. You can also use a large cast iron skillet.

Tongs - You'll need a pair of long tongs to help you flip the chicken without splashing oil everywhere. I like using a long pair so I can avoid burning myself with any splattering oil.

Baking Sheet - You will need a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for the second part of cooking. This helps create an even cooking surface and prevents the cheese from sticking.

How to Make the Best Chicken Parmigiana Recipe

After preheating the oven to 450°F, create a breadcrumb mixture with garlic, parsley, pecorino cheese, salt, and pepper.

3 bowls, one with flour, one with an egg mixture, and one with a breadcrumb mixture.
Pounding chicken breasts to an even thickness.

Whisk together eggs, pecorino, water, salt, and pepper in another shallow bowl.

Place flour into a separate bowl or plate and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness, then season both sides.

Coat each piece of chicken in the flour, egg mixture, and then breadcrumbs while pressing gently to help them adhere.

Then, heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and fry the chicken until golden brown on each side before transferring it to a rack or paper towels.

Visual of how to coat chicken in breading to make chicken parmesan.
Frying breaded chicken in a skillet with olive oil

Bake the chicken with mozzarella for 10 minutes or until melted before broiling for a few minutes if desired.

Heat marinara sauce in a small saucepan on the stove until bubbling hot, then spoon onto plates with the chicken on top.

Adding freshly sliced mozzarella to fried chicken before baking.
Plate of homemade chicken parmesan with melted mozzarella cheese, sauce, and fresh basil.

Garnish with more grated cheese and basil leaves before serving with extra sauce and grated cheese for passing!

Best Chicken Parm Recipe Tips For Success

  • Season the chicken faster by liberally seasoning one side and then stacking another piece on top.
  • Set up a breading station: chicken (far left), flour, egg, breadcrumbs, landing plate/pan.
  • Designate one hand for dry ingredients and one hand for wet when breading.
  • Don't overcrowd the chicken in the frying pan/baking sheet!
  • Blot the excess moisture from fresh mozzarella slices with paper towels so it doesn't make the chicken soggy.
  • Don't use too much cheese, or the chicken-to-cheese ratio will be off.
  • Leave some of the edges exposed for extra crispiness.
  • Use homemade marinara sauce or good-quality store-bought for best results.
  • Add a fresh basil leaf or two on top of the chicken for presentation and flavor.
bird's eye view of a classic Italian dish

Serving Suggestions

This delicious traditional chicken parmesan can be served in so many different ways!

Keep it classic and serve it with your favorite pasta and leftover authentic marinara sauce, or make it a sandwich by stuffing it into a toasted Italian roll or garlic bread with extra cheese and sauce. Add a roasted long hot to make it spicy!

Chicken parm is a rich dish, so I like to serve it with something green on the side. Try it with garlicky sautéed broccoli rabe, escarole with olives and capers, or some roasted vegetables. You can also serve it along with a simple, crisp green salad, a spinach salad or Caesar salad!

Not in the mood for pasta? Serve it up with a side of crispy roasted potatoes, creamy polenta or risotto.

No matter how you decide to serve it, this traditional chicken parmesan will definitely hit the spot!

How to Store Leftovers

The best way to store leftovers is in the fridge for up to 4 days. Place the cooled chicken parm in an airtight container with a lid or on a plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap or foil, and place it in the refrigerator.

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The best way to reheat chicken parm is in an oven preheated to 350°F. Place the chicken on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until warmed through.

Plated homemade chicken parmesan topped with fresh basil.


What's the best kind of oil for frying?

Neutral oils with a high smoke point, such as Canola oil, vegetable oil, grapeseed oil and avocado oil are typically the best choices for frying. However, I prefer frying the chicken cutlets in extra virgin olive oil because it adds a superior flavor to the dish.

Can I use different kinds of breadcrumbs?

Yes, you can substitute homemade breadcrumbs made from crusty Italian or French bread with great results. You can also use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (but leave out the additional seasonings) or use regular, plain breadcrumbs for this recipe, but they will not produce the same light and crispy coating as the panko.

Can I use pre-sliced mozzarella?

Yes, you can use pre-sliced mozzarella if it is a good quality cheese. The best results will come when you buy a block of fresh mozzarella and slice it or tear it yourself. Pre-sliced cheeses usually contain preservatives that can affect the texture and flavor of the dish.

Is cornstarch a good substitution for flour?

Yes, you can use cornstarch as a substitute for flour when breading the chicken. Cornstarch has less gluten and will create a crispier coating.
You may need to adjust the measurements depending on how thick your chicken breasts are sliced. It is best to use ¼ cup of cornstarch for every ½ cup of all-purpose flour.

Can this chicken parmigiana be made gluten-free?

Yes! Simply substitute the all-purpose flour with a 1:1 ratio of gluten-free all-purpose flour and use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs instead of regular.

What wine pairs with chicken parmesan?

A dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, pairs well with chicken parmesan. lighter Italian red wine, such as Chianti Classico or Barbaresco also goes nicely with this dish. If you're looking for a sparkling option, Prosecco is always a great choice!

close up of chicken parmesan baked and topped with fresh basil

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The Best Chicken Parmigiana Recipe

Our traditional Chicken Parmesan (or Chicken Parmigiana) is a classic dish featuring crispy panko-crusted chicken breast, lusciously melted fresh mozzarella, and a tangy homemade marinara sauce. Perfect for an affordable family dinner and ready in a little over an hour!
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 472kcal


  • 2 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic grated or finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup finely grated pecorino Romano cheese divided, plus more for serving
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise to make 6 pieces
  • olive oil for frying
  • 12-16 oz fresh mozzarella thinly sliced
  • 3 cups marinara sauce plus more for serving
  • Fresh basil for serving


  1. Add the breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, and ¼ cup pecorino cheese to a medium shallow bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then use your fingers to mix it together, working the garlic into the breadcrumbs until evenly distributed.  In another medium, shallow bowl, whisk together 3 eggs with ½ cup pecorino, a pinch of salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon water until combined. Pour the flour into another shallow bowl or plate, season lightly with salt and pepper and mix to combine.
  2. Take one chicken breast half and place it on a cutting board. Place a piece of plastic wrap over top, then use a meat mallet to pound it out to an even thickness. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Season each piece of chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Take a piece of chicken and coat it in the flour, then shake off the excess. Add the chicken to the beaten egg mixture, turn to coat, then let the excess drip off. Transfer the chicken to the bread crumb mixture, toss it around and press gently to help the breadcrumbs adhere, then place it on the reserved plate and repeat with the remaining chicken. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before frying to help the breading adhere.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully place 2 chicken breasts in the pan. Cook until golden brown on each side, then remove to a rack or paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
  5. Place the chicken breasts on a large sheet pan and top with 2-3 slices of mozzarella, making sure to leave plenty of crispy edges still exposed. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted. If desired, place the pan under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the cheese slightly. Watch closely so it doesn’t burn.
  6. While the chicken is baking, heat the marinara sauce in a small saucepan on the stove until bubbling and hot. Spoon about ½ cup of marinara sauce on each plate, then use a spatula to transfer the chicken on top. Sprinkle with more grated cheese and fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately with extra sauce and grated cheese for passing


  • To season the chicken faster, liberally season one side, then stack another piece on top of it to allow some of the seasoning to transfer onto the other piece, then repeat.
  • When breading, try to designate one hand for touching only dry things, like flour and breadcrumbs, and one hand for touching only wet, like the raw chicken and eggs. This prevents you from breading your fingers in the process.
  • Set up the breading station so that the chicken is on the far left, then next to it the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs, and then a landing plate or pan to hold the breaded chicken.
  • Make sure the chicken isn’t overcrowded in both the frying pan and on the baking sheet or it wont cook evenly.
  • Place the slices of fresh mozzarella on paper towels and blot off the excess moisture so it doesn’t make the chicken soggy.
  • Don’t use too much cheese or it will overpower and smother the crispy chicken. Leave some edges exposed for extra crispiness.
  • Use homemade marinara sauce or a good quality store bought for best results
  • Do not use the broiler if using parchment paper or it will catch on fire!


Calories: 472kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 1351mg | Potassium: 529mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1102IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 544mg | Iron: 4mg
5 from 6 votes (1 rating without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    Hi Coley,
    I made this tonight and everyone loved it! I did improvise by using seasoned panko but what an awesome idea leaving the marinara off the chicken to bake!
    Thank time I will follow all the rules.... directions. LOL
    Thx again!
    Cathy 😺

  2. 5 stars
    we always make chicken parm in a very similar way, but always finish it in the tomato sauce in the pan - but your way of serving by baking with the cheese and then serving on top of the plate of hot tomato sauce makes so much sense - after all these years of cooking, never thought of that ! Sounds so great ! Thank You from way up here in north Jersey ! !

  3. 5 stars
    This was delicious and the concept of serving the crispy chicken in a pool of plated marinara sauce, instead of baking it in marinara, was genius. Our guests loved the dish! My only recommendation, since you did not specify weight for the chicken breasts, is to go on the smaller side. That would help with managing them in the frying stage and also portion control.

      1. 5 stars
        How are you? I am impressed with your recipe, it's the "real" way to make this classic dish. My mother is from Turin, Father from Sicily, three of us siblings were born in Italy, three in the States. We grew up cooking and gathering, cherished memories. I would love to connect with you.l and perhaps share stories and more!

        Thank you.

        1. Thank you so much for the compliment! I went to Turin years ago and it was incredible. Hoping to get to Sicily this year! Thanks for commenting!