This week’s Cooking for Twosday is Chicken Parmesan, and I’ve included a step-by-step recipe with pictures to show you exactly how to make this comforting date night dish.
The first time I made Chicken Parmesan, it was for Greyson’s birthday dinner at my parents’ house. We were just having close family over, and I really wanted to try out this recipe, so my mom helped me out and we made it together. Everyone loved it, so I made it again, and again, and it’s now 3 years later and I’ve made it about a bagillion times.
Chicken Parmesan may sound fancy, but it’s actually a super simple dish. It’s breaded and lightly fried chicken breast, topped with marinara sauce and cheese. Unfortunately, the part that some home cooks find intimidating is the “breaded” part. But I’m here to tell you that breading chicken is really not as hard as it sounds, and once you’ve done it, you’d be surprised at how easy it is!
“Breading” a product usually starts with dredging it in flour, then egg. The flour and egg together make a paste so that your breadcrumbs will stick to it. Then you dip it in your breading to complete the process.
For this recipe, create a little assembly line to bread your chicken. Put flour in one plate, beaten egg with just a little water into a bowl, and Italian breadcrumbs onto another plate. You can add fresh basil and parsley to the breadcrumbs if you’d like, but it’s not 100% necessary because the Italian breadcrumbs already have herbs in them. You also need to add parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs, because a parmesan breading is what makes this dish Chicken Parmesan! Mix them together with a fork.
Next, dredge your pounded and seasoned chicken breast into the flour. Make sure you didn’t miss any parts, then dip it into the egg wash. When you lift out the chicken breast, allow any excess egg to drip off of it so there’s only a thin layer of egg. Then place it onto the breadcrumbs and flip it over. Make sure the entire breast is coated in breadcrumbs, then set it aside on a plate. Repeat with the other chicken breast. You just breaded chicken! Yay!
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Now heat 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, no worries! Just use a regular one for now. When the oil is hot, gently place the chicken breasts into the pan. (Que the sizzle!)
You’ll need to cook the chicken breasts about 3-4 minutes on each side. Flip it over only once, when the bottom of the breast looks golden and crispy. When flipping your chicken over, make sure that some oil gets under the breast to keep the breading moist. If you end up needing to add more oil to the pan, go ahead!
Once both sides of your chicken look like this, your chicken is ready for the fix-ins. (If you’re not using an ovenproof skillet, then now is the time to grease a glass pan with cooking spray and put your chicken right in.) Now you can add your marinara sauce onto and around the chicken. I haven’t put much here in the picture, but I’m usually very liberal with mine! I like to add it all around so that it keeps the chicken nice and juicy, and I have plenty left for my spaghetti.
Top your chicken with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese and more parmesan, if you’d like. Then put some more basil on top. I also like to throw in some kalamata olive for good measure.
Pop it in the oven for 15 minutes. In the meantime, cook some spaghetti and plate it. When your chicken is done, put each breast onto the plates of spaghetti and scoop up that extra marinara to add to the plates. Top with more basil and parmesan, and serve.
I can truly say that there’s no better home-cooked meal than this one. You’ll never order it from a restaurant again!
- 2 chicken breasts, pounded to about ½-inch thick
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil, divided
- ½ tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
- ½ cup marinara sauce, plus more if desired
- ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup kalamata olives, drained and pitted (optional)
- 4 oz uncooked spaghetti
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
- Spread flour in a plate. In a shallow bowl, beat egg with a fork and add 1 tbsp room temperature water. Spread breadcrumbs in another plate and combine with 2 tsp parmesan cheese. Add parsley and ½ tsp chopped basil, if desired.
- Dredge each chicken breast in flour, then egg wash, letting any excess egg drip off. Then dredge in breadcrumbs until completely coated.
- Heat olive oil in an ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat. (If you don't have an ovenproof skillet, see notes.)
- Add chicken breasts to skillet and cook 3-4 minutes until bottom is golden and crispy. When flipping over, make sure oil gets under each breast. Add more oil under the chicken if necessary, then cook on the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Top each breast with at least 2 tbsp marinara sauce and add remaining sauce to pan, plus more if desired. Top breasts with mozzarella cheese, remaining parmesan, and basil. Add kalamata olives if desired.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, cook spaghetti in a large pot according to package directions. Remove to plate.
- Remove chicken from oven. Place alongside or on top of spaghetti. Scoop remaining sauce from skillet onto chicken and spaghetti. Top dish with more basil and parmesan, and serve.
This recipe has been adapted from Tyler Florence’s Chicken Parmesan.