Chicken Parmesan

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Chicken Parmesan Recipe by Mr. Make It Happen

Mr. Make It Happen | Chicken Parmesan – Money Shot
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In the realm of comfort food classics, few dishes rival the timeless appeal of Chicken Parmesan. This Italian-American delicacy boasts a perfect marriage of tender chicken, rich marinara sauce, gooey cheese, and aromatic herbs, all layered to perfection. Its popularity transcends borders, gracing dinner tables from New York to Naples with its irresistible charm. Join me as we delve into the delightful world of Chicken Parmesan, exploring its origins, ingredients, and the art of crafting this culinary masterpiece.

Chicken Parm was always a favorite of mine growing up. My family never made it at home, but It was something that I’d look forward to whenever I heard it was on the menu at a friends house, or when we would go out to dinner after basketball games with some friends families. It’s one of the few dishes that I enjoy, even when it isn’t that good (shout out to Olive Garden and whoever catered all of those terrible corporate America lunches, lol) I guess fried chicken and cheese just have a special place in my heart.

Mr. Make It Happen | Chicken Parmesan – Money Shot

Origins:

While its exact origins are debated, Chicken Parmesan, or “Pollo alla Parmigiana” in Italian, is widely believed to have originated in Southern Italy, particularly in the regions of Campania and Sicily. It draws inspiration from the traditional Italian dish Eggplant Parmesan, with the substitution of chicken as the primary protein.

Ingredients:

The beauty of Chicken Parmesan lies in its simplicity, yet each component plays a crucial role in creating its signature flavor profile. Here are the essential ingredients:

  • Chicken breast: Thinly pounded chicken breasts serve as the foundation of this dish, providing a tender and juicy base.
  • Breadcrumbs: Coated in seasoned breadcrumbs, the chicken develops a crispy, golden crust when fried or baked.
  • Marinara sauce: A vibrant tomato-based sauce infused with garlic, herbs, and spices adds a burst of flavor and moisture to the dish.
  • Mozzarella cheese: Melting into a stringy, gooey layer atop the chicken, mozzarella cheese lends creaminess and richness.
  • Parmesan cheese: Grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the dish adds a sharp, nutty flavor and enhances the overall cheesiness.
  • Fresh herbs: A garnish of fresh basil or parsley provides a pop of color and a hint of freshness.

I always like to begin by prepping the chicken. This gives a little time for the seasoning to penetrate the meat – preventing a bland end product (the trademark of mediocre chicken parm). To get started, lay your chicken breast out on a cutting board and butterfly the breast with a sharp knife. 

Butterfly Chicken Breast

Butterflying a chicken breast is a technique used to create a thinner, more evenly sized piece of meat. Here’s how you can butterfly a chicken breast:

  • Prepare the chicken breast: Start with a boneless, skinless chicken breast. Place it on a clean cutting board.
  • Trim excess fat: Use a sharp knife to trim any excess fat or sinew from the chicken breast.
  • Position the chicken breast: Hold the chicken breast flat on the cutting board with the thicker side facing your non-dominant hand (if you’re right-handed, your left hand, and vice versa).
  • Slice horizontally: Using a sharp knife held parallel to the cutting board, carefully slice into the thickest part of the chicken breast horizontally, starting from the thicker side and moving towards the thinner side. Be careful not to cut all the way through—leave about half an inch of thickness intact.
  • Open the chicken breast: After making the initial slice, open up the chicken breast like a book, folding it outwards along the cut you made. Press down gently on the thicker side to flatten the breast.
  • Flattening If you want an even thinner piece of chicken, you can use a meat mallet or the back of a heavy skillet to gently pound the chicken breast until it reaches your desired thickness. 

Once the chicken is prepped, season it generously with your desired flavors. Today, I chose my All Purpose, Chicken Bouillon Powder, and Italian Seasoning. Cover and place in the fridge while your sauce cooks!

Homemade Marinara Sauce

For the sauce, we are going to use some fresh garlic, basil, and 1-2 diced shallots. When it comes to homemade marinara sauce, the fresher your ingredients, the better. Also, look for good quality tomato products. I like Cento or anything from San Marzano.

San Marzano tomatoes are widely regarded as some of the best tomatoes for cooking and sauce making, and several reasons contribute to their reputation:

  • Flavor: San Marzano tomatoes are known for their rich, sweet, and slightly tangy flavor. This distinctive taste is due to the soil and climate conditions of the San Marzano region in Italy where they are traditionally grown. The volcanic soil in this area, along with the Mediterranean climate, helps enhance the flavor profile of the tomatoes.
  • Texture: San Marzano tomatoes have a thick, meaty texture with fewer seeds and less water content compared to other tomato varieties. This makes them ideal for sauces, as they can be cooked down into a thick, smooth consistency without becoming watery.
  • Low acidity: San Marzano tomatoes typically have lower acidity levels compared to other tomato varieties. This makes them less bitter and more balanced in flavor, especially when cooked into sauces or used in dishes where tomatoes are the primary ingredient.
  • Long shape and easy peeling: San Marzano tomatoes have an elongated shape with a pointed tip, which some people find aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, their thin skin makes them easy to peel, which is convenient for recipes that require peeled tomatoes.
  • Culinary tradition: San Marzano tomatoes have a long history and are deeply rooted in Italian culinary tradition. They have been cultivated for centuries in the Campania region of Italy and are a staple ingredient in many classic Italian dishes, such as pasta sauces, pizzas, and soups.

Overall, the combination of flavor, texture, low acidity, and culinary tradition makes San Marzano tomatoes highly prized by chefs and home cooks alike for their superior quality and taste. 

Homemade Marinara Sauce Instructions

Here’s a simple homemade marinara sauce recipe that you can prepare at home:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 diced shallots
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (preferably Cento or San Marzano)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup diced basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)
  • Salt and pepper to taste or AP Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste 
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar (optional, to balance acidity)

Instructions:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the minced garlic to the hot oil and sauté for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Pour in the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine with the garlic.
  • Add the dried oregano, basil, thyme, and crushed red pepper flakes (if using). Stir to incorporate the herbs into the sauce.
  • Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Remember, you can always adjust the seasoning later, so start with a small amount and add more if needed.
  • If using tomato paste for extra richness, add it to the sauce and stir until fully combined.
  • If you find the sauce too acidic, you can add a teaspoon or two of sugar to balance the flavors. Taste and adjust as necessary.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the flavors to meld and the sauce to thicken.
  • Once the sauce has reached your desired consistency, taste it again and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat and use it immediately, or let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Once your sauce is complete, it’s time to fry the chicken. Setup your frying station with 3 bowls. Bowl 1 needs to contain 2-3 beaten eggs. Bowl 2 contains seasoned all purpose flour, and bowl 3 contains panko or Italian bread crumbs with freshly grated parmesan cheese (mixed to combine.

Add your chicken breast to the flour, then egg wash, then bread crumbs. Now it’s time to fry!

Once it’s fresh out of the oil (fry at 350 degrees) – I like to hit it with a fresh topping of grated parmesan cheese before the fresh mozzarella. Place this in a 400 degree oven to finish (if using smaller chicken breasts, you can just place this under the broiler to brown the cheese rather than continuing to cook the chicken. Chicken breast should be cooked to 165 degrees internal temp.

Serving:

Chicken Parmesan is best enjoyed hot and fresh out of the oven, paired with a side of spaghetti or crusty garlic bread. Its comforting flavors and satisfying texture make it a crowd-pleaser for family dinners, casual gatherings, or romantic date nights alike.

Mr. Make It Happen | Chicken Parmesan – Money Shot

Conclusion:

In a world filled with culinary trends and fads, Chicken Parmesan stands as a timeless classic, beloved by food enthusiasts of all ages. Its simple yet irresistible combination of flavors and textures continues to captivate hearts and tantalize taste buds around the globe. Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or a novice in the kitchen, mastering the art of Chicken Parmesan is sure to elevate your culinary repertoire and bring joy to those you share it with. So, gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and prepare to savor the magic of Chicken Parmesan—one delicious bite at a time.


Chicken Parmesan with Homemade Marinara Sauce

By: Mr. Make It Happen
Servings: 4 people
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
In the realm of comfort food classics, few dishes rival the timeless appeal of Chicken Parmesan. This Italian-American delicacy boasts a perfect marriage of tender chicken, rich marinara sauce, gooey cheese, and aromatic herbs, all layered to perfection. Its popularity transcends borders, gracing dinner tables from New York to Naples with its irresistible charm. Join me as we delve into the delightful world of Chicken Parmesan, exploring its origins, ingredients, and the art of crafting this culinary masterpiece.

Equipment

  • 1 Meat Mallet or preferred hard object
  • 1 Mr. Make It Happen Chef Knife or preferred kitchen knife
  • 1 Baking Sheet
  • 1 Sheet of Aluminum Foil
  • 1 Wire Rack
  • 1 Mr. Make It Happen Skillet or preferred frying pan

Ingredients 

Chicken Parmesan Ingredients:

    Protein

    • 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

    Dry Ingredients

    • 1 lb spaghetti noodles
    • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
    • 2 cups Flour
    • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
    • Fresh Mozzarella, specialty cheese section

    Wet Ingredients

    • 2 eggs
    • 1-2 cups cooking oil, for frying
    • 1 jar of your favorite brand marinara sauce or from scratch – below

    Seasonings

    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Onion Powder
    • Italian Seasoning

    Produce

    • Fresh basil
    • Fresh oregano, optional

    Sauce Ingredients:

    • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
    • 3-4 cloves minced garlic
    • 1/2 diced onion
    • 2 tbsps tomato paste
    • salt, to taste
    • pepper, to taste
    • onion powder, to taste
    • italian seasoning, to taste
    • sugar, to taste – balance natural acidity of tomatoes
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    Instructions 

    • I always like to begin by prepping the chicken. This gives a little time for the seasoning to penetrate the meat – preventing a bland end product (the trademark of mediocre chicken parm).
    • To get started, lay your chicken breast out on a cutting board and butterfly the breast with a sharp knife.
    • Once the chicken is prepped, season it generously with your desired flavors. Today, I chose my All Purpose, Chicken Bouillon Powder, and Italian Seasoning.
    • Homemade Marinara Sauce from Scratch:
    • For the sauce, we are going to use some fresh garlic, basil, and 1-2 diced shallots
    • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
    • Add the minced garlic to the hot oil and sauté for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
    • Pour in the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine with the garlic.
    • Add the dried oregano, basil, thyme, and crushed red pepper flakes (if using). Stir to incorporate the herbs into the sauce.
    • Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Remember, you can always adjust the seasoning later, so start with a small amount and add more if needed.
    • If using tomato paste for extra richness, add it to the sauce and stir until fully combined.
    • If you find the sauce too acidic, you can add a teaspoon or two of sugar to balance the flavors. Taste and adjust as necessary.
    • Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the flavors to meld and the sauce to thicken.
    • Once the sauce has reached your desired consistency, taste it again and adjust the seasoning if needed.
    • Remove the sauce from the heat and use it immediately, or let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
    • Once your sauce is complete, it’s time to fry the chicken. Setup your frying station with 3 bowls.
    • Bowl 1 needs to contain 2-3 beaten eggs.
    • Bowl 2 contains seasoned all purpose flour, and
    • bowl 3 contains panko or Italian bread crumbs with freshly grated parmesan cheese (mixed to combine.
    • Add your chicken breast to the flour, then egg wash, then bread crumbs. Now it’s time to fry!
    • Preheat your fryer to 350 degrees and preheat your oven to 400 degrees
    • Once it’s fresh out of the oil (fry at 350 degrees) – I like to hit it with a fresh topping of grated parmesan cheese before the fresh mozzarella.
    • Place this in a 400 degree oven to finish (if using smaller chicken breasts, you can just place this under the broiler to brown the cheese rather than continuing to cook the chicken.
    • Chicken breast should be cooked to 165 degrees internal temp.
    • Chicken Parmesan is best enjoyed hot and fresh out of the oven, paired with a side of spaghetti or crusty garlic bread. Its comforting flavors and satisfying texture make it a crowd-pleaser for family dinners, casual gatherings, or romantic date nights alike.

    Notes

    Oil for frying should be at 350 degrees and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 

    Additional Info

    Course: Chicken Recipes, Main Course, Pasta
    Cuisine: Italian

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    About Matt Price

    I’m Matt Price – A self taught “Home Chef”, or “Internet Chef”, lol, from Virginia. I’m super passionate about cooking and sharing recipes and techniques to elevate home cooking. Too many of us have drifted away from the kitchen – and my goal is to change that! Let’s Make It Happen.

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