The Cozy Cook

Eggplant Parmesan

Thin slices of eggplant are lightly fried in a crispy Parmesan breadcrumb mixture and baked with marinara sauce and  mozzarella cheese.  This will be the BEST Eggplant Parmesan recipe you’ll ever try. Be sure to check out my make-ahead tips!

Be sure to try my recipe for Zucchini Parmesan next!

A spatula holding up warm, cheesy eggplant Parmesan.

Eggplant Parmesan

Guys, if you have any doubts about this recipe, check out the reviews. It’s a keeper.

It does take a bit of prep work, but the end result is worth every minute. Plus, I’ll share some make ahead tips with you. But first, the ingredients:

Ingredients

See recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient amounts and full instructions

  • Eggplant
  • Italian Breadcrumbs– Check out my homemade breadcrumb recipe
  • Marinara Sauce– I’ve got a marinara sauce recipe as well!
  • Flour
  • Garlic Powder
  • Seasoned Salt
  • Eggs
  • Mozzarella Cheese- Low moisture shredded from a block melts the best
  • Parmesan Cheese

overhead shot of ingredients for eggplant parmesan.

Do You Peel Eggplant Before Cooking

There is no need to peel the eggplant prior to cooking it, unless it’s very large, in which case the outside could be tough and a bit bitter. I like to leave it on, especially for this recipe.

How to Make it

1. Salt the Eggplant to Remove Excess Moisture.

  • This is key to crispy results. Eggplants are 92% water. Failure to remove some of this water will results in soggy Eggplant Parmesan.
  • Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch slices and line them on paper towels.
  • Salt each side.
  • Top the slices with paper towels and let them sit for one hour. The paper towels will absorb the excess moisture during this time.

close up shot of an eggplant slice with moisture on top from salting it.

2. Bread it.

  • Dip each slice into the seasoned flour mixture, then briefly in a whisked eggs, and then coat well with breadcrumb mixture.

a hand dipping eggplant into flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs for eggplant parmesan.

A tall stack of breaded eggplant slices.

3. Lightly Fry for a Golden Brown, Crispy Crust.

  • Fry in batches of about 4 at a time. Leave breathing room around each slice to allow them to crisp up as well.
  • Cast Iron skillets conduct heat the best and give you a nice golden brown, crispy surface.

To Bake instead of fry:

  • Line the breaded eggplant on lightly greased baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes. Flip them halfway through.

slices of fried eggplant on a white cutting board.

4. Assemble in a Baking Dish and Bake

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spoon marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.
  • Layer with eggplant slices. Top with marinara sauce, then with mozzarella cheese.
  • Repeat with 2 more layers of eggplant, marinara, mozzarella.
  • Top with Parmesan.
  • Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes.

Overhead image showing how to layer ingredients for eggplant Parmesan in casserole dish.

Make-Ahead Eggplant Parmesan

  • Eggplant Parmesan can be time consuming, but most of the work can be done ahead of time.
  • Remove the excess moisture, bread them, then lightly fry.
  • Store them in the refrigerator for 1-2 days prior to assembling and baking.
  • You can also flash freeze them on a plate and then store them in a labeled freezer bag for up to 3 months. Place them in the refrigerator overnight prior to assembling and baking.

What to Serve it With

A casserole dish filled with warm eggplant Parmesan hot out of the oven..

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Eggplant Parmesan being pulled up from a casserole dish with hot mozzarella cheese on top.

Eggplant Parmesan

5 from 27 ratings
Thin slices of eggplant are lightly fried in a crispy Parmesan breadcrumb mixture and baked with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium eggplants, ripe
  • Salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-2 splashes milk, optional
  • 2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, separated
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 8 oz. Part Skim Mozzarella, grated
  • Basil, to garnish (optional)

Instructions

Bread the Eggplant

  • Slice the eggplant into ¼ inch slices. Season each side with salt and lay them in between paper towels. Let them sit for one hour to allow the paper towels to absorb excess moisture.
  • Create an assembly line to bread the eggplant:
  • Station #1: Combine the flour, seasoned salt, and pepper on a large plate.
  • Station #2: Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Add an optional splash of milk to thin it out slightly. It’s easier to dunk and lightly coat the slices this way.
  • Station #3: Combine the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and ½ cup Parmesan cheese on a large plate.
  • Dip each slice into the flour and ensure it’s thoroughly covered. Next, dip into the egg mixture, and then into the breadcrumbs. Stack the breaded slices on a plate as you go.

To Fry:

  • Add vegetable oil to a skillet over medium heat. Use just enough to submerge each slice by half. Add more as needed while they cook.
  • Use kitchen tongs to gently place about 4 slices at a time into the heated oil. Fry for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  • Continue to fry the remaining batches. Reduce the heat if the pan starts to get too hot.

To Bake (Alternative Method to Frying):

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line the breaded eggplant on lightly greased baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
  • Set the cooked slices on a wire cooling rack to allow air to circulate and keep them crisp.
  • Note: You can stop here if you are preparing this ahead of time. Let the eggplant slices cool completely and refrigerate for up to two days, or flash freeze for an hour before stacking them in a freezer bag.

Assemble and Bake

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish and spread a light coating of marinara on the bottom. Top it with a layer of breaded eggplant slices.
  • Top the eggplant with marinara sauce, then with grated mozzarella. Repeat with another layer of eggplant slices, then with marinara, then with mozzarella. Continue until you’ve used all of the eggplant.
  • Sprinkle the top of the mozzarella with the remaining Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, until the top is hot and bubbling.
  • Top with chopped basil or parsley if desired and serve!

Notes

Don't forget a side of Garlic Bread with Cheese!

Nutrition

Calories: 453kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 117mg, Sodium: 1806mg, Potassium: 468mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 840IU, Vitamin C: 6.8mg, Calcium: 533mg, Iron: 4.4mg
Eggplant Parmesan

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100 comments on “Eggplant Parmesan”

  1. Oh my goodness. I subbed GF flour so I could actually try this recipe (without getting sick), and used my Ninja Foodi to air fry the slices, and also to bake after assembly. Holy…YUM. This recipe is a winner! I had fun making it, too, which is a bonus. Thank you for sharing!

    • I am sooo happy that you enjoyed it Sarah!! I love your positive energy, I can feel it from here!! 🙂 You’re the best- and thank you for taking the time to leave a review as well, I really appreciate it! -Stephanie

  2. Delish!! Basic ingredients and techniques. Anyone can do this. I myself used 2 med and 1 large eggplant. (Husband does shopping) it made 2 13×9 pans plus a tray I flash froze! Luckily I had extra sauce and cheese. The recipe took me 4 hrs to make but it was worth it. It tastes superb like a restaurant. My one suggestion is to dry eggplant on clean kitchen towels instead of paper towels. No waste!! Thank you Stephanie!

    • Happy to hear you enjoyed the Eggplant Parmesan Anne!😍 It’s great that you were able to flash freeze some. My husband rolled his eyes when I first made this because he’s a meat lover. But even he loved it. He actually requests it all the time now. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review!

  3. My fav meal is eggplant parm and this recipe is honestly the best I have ever made. Thank you so much Cozy Cook. Just made the smothered chicken tonight but haven’t eaten yet, can’t wait!!!I I’ll be stuck for days making many of your recipes, so glad I found your site!

  4. Delicious!  My husband used the small local eggplants there in the Hawaiian Islands and substituted some leftovers – meat/spagetti sauce for marinara – grated white chedddar cheese – and second layer topped with more meat/spagetti sauce top parmesan.  We browned the egg plant in oil, then arranged inn baking dish and baked for 45 minutes till tender and all ingredients heated through!

  5. My nephew came to visit so we wanted to try some eggplant recipes and see how he liked them. He loved this recipe and so did my husband and I. we will definitely be making this one again. Thanks so much.

  6. What an amazing eggplant parm. Even my lil one liked it and that’s a big deal. Thanks!

  7. This is amazing.  I did the frying method (in 90 degree heat) but it was so worth it.  Thank u 

  8. Such an easy amazing recipe 

    • Hey Sara! I am SO happy that you enjoyed it! Eggplant Parmesan is one of my top favorite things to eat so I love being able to make it at home! 🙂

  9. This is a family favorite! I have made it twice – the first time I fried the eggplant and the second time I baked them and it was delicious both ways! Does this freeze well?

    • I am so happy that you enjoyed preparing it both ways Diane!! You have me in the mood for some Eggplant Parm now! I do like the way that this freezes and it reheats nicely in an oven or air fryer! 🙂

  10. Delicious delicious delicious! Made this a few times now (including vegan version.. which we enjoyed just as much). Thanks!

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