Crispy Baked Chicken Parmesan
Try this baked chicken Parmesan with steamed broccoli or pasta for an easy to make weeknight dinner.
Why you’ll love it: It’s easy to make and lower in calories than traditional chicken parmesan.
How long it takes: 33 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: oven, baking pan with wire rack, sharp knife, mixing bowls.
Do you love restaurant style chicken parmesan? However, maybe you don’t love the calorie count or how it makes you feel afterwards.
This baked chicken parmesan is the perfect solution. It has all the flavor without making you feel weighed down or overfull. And it’s so easy to make!
The breading process is simplified by skipping the normal flour and egg steps. Instead you’ll dip the chicken in buttermilk. Not only will the buttermilk help the breading stick but it does double-duty and also tenderizes the chicken.
Next, the chicken is dipped in a mixture of panko and seasonings, baked on a wire rack in the oven, and topped with sauce and cheese.
It turns out so well, with a nice crisp coating encasing tender juicy chicken. I think you’re going to love it, and it’s just 323 calories per serving.
What you’ll need
The ingredients for this recipe are fairly simple. I’ll run you through the recipe to get you started with a few extra tips and instructions.
As always, scroll down for the printable recipe card with measurements, instructions, and nutrition information.
- Chicken Breasts – This recipe calls for about 2 pounds, but you can halve or double the recipe easily. Make sure to buy boneless skinless chicken breasts. If you want to eliminate the step of cutting them and pounding them, buy the thin cutlets.
- Buttermilk – Buttermilk serves two purposes in this recipe, so don’t skip it. It will tenderize the chicken and will also help the breading stick to the chicken.
- Panko, Dried Herbs, and Parmesan – This combination gives the chicken crunch and flavor. If you happen to have Italian seasoned panko, skip the dried herbs (but not the cheese or salt and pepper!). By the way, homemade bread crumbs (panko) are easy to make and you can use day-old bread.
- Marinara Sauce – Go ahead and pick up your favorite pizza sauce (or make homemade pizza sauce), or make a batch of spaghetti sauce and use it to top your chicken. Spicy red arrabbiata sauce is perfect, too.
- Mozzarella Cheese – Shred your own for maximum meltiness!
How to make it
To make this baked chicken parmesan, thinly slice two chicken breasts horizontally, like you would to butterfly them but slice all the way through. Pound them lightly between two sheets of plastic wrap so they are a uniform thickness.
Soak the chicken in buttermilk while you get the breading mixture prepared. The buttermilk tenderizes the chicken and helps the breading adhere.
Combine panko bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, herbs and seasoning for the breading.
Let the excess buttermilk drip off before dipping the chicken in the bread crumbs.
Bake the chicken on a baking rack placed on top of a sheet pan. All in the name of crunchiness. Crunchiness = goodness.
This chicken parmesan is baked in a hot oven (450°F) and it doesn’t take long, only about 15 minutes. Smear on a little marinara sauce and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Return to the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
I love to serve this chicken parmesan with steamed or roasted broccoli or air fryer Brussels sprouts instead of pasta for a healthier dinner but go ahead and make pasta if you prefer. It is divine with angel hair pasta with fresh tomato cream sauce or pasta with roasted red pepper sauce. If you prefer potatoes to pasta, throw a pan of diced potatoes in the oven with the chicken to make crispy roasted potatoes.
For a lighter meal, serve chicken parmesan with a tossed green salad with red wine vinaigrette or healthy homemade ranch dressing. Marinated mushrooms and a loaf of Italian bread with Italian bread dipping oil will round out a perfect dinner.
Since you have the oven on, you may as well make dessert, too. Apple blueberry crisp is easy and so delicious! Another favorite is strawberry rhubarb crisp.
For chicken parmesan, you’ll definitely want to leave the pan uncovered so the air can circulate freely around the chicken pieces. Using a wire rack inside the pan aids in air circulation as well ensuring that the chicken will crisp up nicely. Soggy breading is a real turn off.
In this chicken recipe, the buttermilk coating not only tenderizes but also adds moisture. In addition, the chicken is thinly cut, flattened, and then baked in a hot oven for only fifteen minutes. This process quickly sears in the moisture so the chicken isn’t dried out.
Try a medium bodied red wine with your chicken parmesan, such as pinot noir, chianti, or sangiovese.
Make It Your Own
- Skip the sauce and cheese and serve the breaded chicken cutlets as is.
- If you prefer bone-in chicken, try these oven roasted bone in chicken breasts. They’re very easy and so versatile. Or go all out and make a whole roasted chicken dinner with potatoes, carrots, and onions.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days. It freezes nicely and will keep for up to three months. Reheat in an oven, air fryer, or toaster oven at 350-400ºF until heated through. Avoid reheating it in the microwave because the breading will be soggy.
Have leftovers? Try cutting the chicken into slices, adding a little extra marinara, and putting on a sub roll for a perfect chicken parmesan submarine sandwich.
More chicken recipes
- Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms Recipe
- Baked Chicken Parmesan and Broccoli (sheet pan dinner!)
- Healthy Chicken Nuggets with Parmesan
- Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- Instant Pot Honey Sriracha Chicken
- Baked Honey Mustard Chicken – super easy!
- Pizza Chicken — One pan, 5 ingredients!
- 20+ EASY One Pan Chicken Recipes
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 8 oz. each)
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup panko
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¾ cup marinara sauce (can use pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce)
- ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly spray wire baking rack with nonstick cooking spray and place rack in foil-lined rimmed baking pan.
- Cut each chicken breast in half as though you were going to butterfly it, but cut all the way through to make two thin flat pieces (4 total). Pound to an even thickness (about ¼ -inch) between two pieces of plastic wrap, or in a zip-top bag, using the flat side of a meat tenderizer, a rolling pin or the heel of your hand.
- Add buttermilk to a medium bowl and place the chicken in it.
- In a shallow bowl, combine panko, Parmesan cheese, salt, basil, garlic powder, pepper, oregano, and thyme; mix to blend.
- Lift each piece of chicken out of the buttermilk, letting excess drip off, and coat it in the bread crumb mixture. Place on prepared wire rack. Repeat for remaining chicken breasts.
- Bake 15 minutes, or until chicken is golden brown. Remove from the oven, spoon marinara on top, and sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.
- Continue to bake for another 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked through (165°F on instant read thermometer).
- Refrigerate leftovers, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 days or up to 3 months in the freezer.
- To reheat, avoid using a microwave oven (breading will get soggy). For best results, reheat in an oven, toaster oven, or air fryer.
- Gluten-free panko can be substituted for regular panko. Make your own bread crumbs, if you wish (it’s really easy!).
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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