This easy chicken parmigiana recipe is sure to be a big hit with the whole family.
Tender and crispy breaded chicken is topped with ham, marinara sauce and lashings of melted mozzarella. What's not to love?
This breaded chicken parm is a real favorite with my kids, so I hope your family will love it as much as mine do.
What is Chicken Parmigiana?
Chicken parmigiana, or chicken parmesan, is a popular pub dish that consists of crispy breaded chicken, topped with marinara sauce and melted mozzarella. You can also choose to add ham to the chicken too, as we do in this recipe.
Chicken parmigiana is often known by its more affectionate names of chicken parm, chicken parma, chicken parmy or even just parmy.
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How to make a chicken parma
Making Chicken Parmigiana takes just a few simple steps.
The first part to making a homemade chicken parmigiana is to make a chicken schnitzel.
To do this, you first need to tenderise and flatten the chicken.
Take a chicken breast, slice it in half length ways (so you have two long flat pieces of chicken). Place the chicken between plastic wrap and give it a good old bash with a mallet or rolling pin!
This not only flattens the chicken to make it cook quicker, but also tenderises the meat, to make it extra succulent and juicy. Aim to get the chicken to around ⅛ inch thick, and try to have an even thickness throughout.
Next, you cover it in breadcrumbs. To do this, prepare three bowls: one with flour, one with beaten egg, and one with seasoned breadcrumbs.
For our schnitzel and chicken parmigiana recipes, we use panko breadcrumbs to give an even crispier finish, but any kind of breadcrumbs are fine. You could even use crushed up cornflakes like in our cornflake chicken nuggets recipe.
I also add in some grated parmesan to the breadcrumbs and some seasonings - I use Italian seasoning and garlic salt, but you can add whatever seasonings you like.
Things you may want to add to flavor the breadcrumbs:
- grated parmesan cheese
- garlic salt
- onion powder
- dried herbs
- cayenne pepper or chili flakes
- salt & pepper
To crumb the chicken, first, dip the chicken into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs, ensuring that it is evenly coated. Then set it aside until you are ready to cook it.
How to cook chicken parmigiana
First we need to get the chicken nice and crisp, and the best way to do this is to fry it. I like to use a combination of olive oil and butter for best results and flavor.
Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan until it is bubbling hot, then add the chicken. It should sizzle as it hits the pan.
Some chicken schnitzel parmigiana recipes suggest you should fill the pan with oil so that it practically covers the chicken. I prefer to add just a couple of tablespoons of oil and a tablespoon of butter, and as long as you have a good non-stick frying pan, this should be enough.
How long to cook the chicken for will partly depend on the thickness of your chicken and how hot your pan is, but I usually estimate around 4 minutes per side.
Once the chicken is cooked, you need to transform it from a chicken schnitzel to a chicken parmigiana. To do this, top it with marinara sauce, a slice of ham (optional) and then sprinkle it with mozzarella cheese.
Now you just need to pop it under the broiler and cook it until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown. Delicious!
Alternative: Some recipes for chicken parmigiana suggest you put the chicken in a deeper baking dish and pour in marinara sauce around the chicken and then sprinkle the whole dish with cheese and bake in the oven.
Personally, I find this makes the chicken too soggy and I prefer a nice crispy chicken parmy. But feel free to give this way a go too!
Chicken Parmigiana sauce
For the parmigiana sauce you can just use a jar of marinara sauce. You just need a tablespoonful for each piece of chicken.
Usually when I make chicken parmigiana at home, I make up my own sauce by combining two tablespoons of my hidden vegetable pasta sauce with two tablespoons of tomato paste. (This is the same sauce I use for homemade pizza too). It's a great way to sneak in some extra veggies and it tastes great too.
What to serve with chicken parmigiana
In pubs and restaurants around the world, popular side dishes for chicken parmigiana include french fries and salad or vegetables.
My kids love to have their chicken parmigiana with pasta or buttered noodles. You could also try it with mash, steamed veggies or cauliflower rice.
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Easy Chicken Parmigiana
- 2 large chicken breasts
- ½ cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoon grated parmesan
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon dried Italian herbs
- salt & pepper
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 4 slices ham optional
- ¼ cup marinara sauce
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- Cut the chicken breasts horizontally lengthways so that you have four large flat pieces of chicken.
- Place the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap and, using a mallet or rolling pin, bash the chicken to flatten it, until it is around ⅛ inch thick. Try to ensure you have an even thickness throughout.
- Get three bowls. In one bowl, put the flour. In the second bowl, crack the eggs and whisk together with a fork until well mixed. In the third bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic salt, herbs, salt and pepper.
- Now crumb the chicken: with each chicken piece, first dredge it in flour until well coated, then dip in the egg until fully covered, and finally turn it over in the breadcrumbs until fully coated. Set aside until ready to cook.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a frying pan. Once it is hot, place two of the chicken pieces into the pan. They should sizzle as they hit the pan. Cook until browned underneath - around 3-4 minutes. Flip the chicken over and cook on the other side until cooked through - a further 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
- Repeat step 5 with the remaining two pieces of chicken.
- Place all the chicken pieces onto a baking tray. Scoop one tablespoon of marinara sauce onto each piece of chicken and spread across the chicken.
- Top each piece of chicken with a slice of ham. Divide the cheese between the chicken pieces and spread out.
- Place the tray with the chicken under a pre-heated broiler and cook until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown,