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!
Don’t forget a side of CHEESY Homemade Garlic Bread!
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:
See recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient amounts and full instructions
How to Make it
1. Remove excess moisture from the Eggplant
- This is key. 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 of the eggplant.
- Top the slices with paper towels and let them sit for one hour. The paper towels will absorb the excess moisture during this time.
2. Bread the Eggplant
- Dip each slice into the seasoned flour mixture, then briefly in a whisked eggs, and then coat well with breadcrumb mixture.
3. Lightly Fry Them 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.
4. Assemble in a Baking Dish and Bake
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Line the breaded eggplant on lightly greased baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes. Flip them halfway through.
Make-Ahead Eggplant Parmesan
-Eggplant Parmesan can be a time-consuming process, and the vast majority of the leg work can be done ahead of time.
-Begin by removing the excess moisture from the eggplant slices. Move on to breading each slice, and then fry or bake them.
-From here, you can 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.
Try These Next:
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- 3 medium eggplants, ripe
- 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)
- 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. See Note #1
- 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 breadcrumb mixture. Stack the breaded slices on a plate as you go.
- To Fry: Heat vegetable oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Add enough vegetable oil to submerge just barely half of each slice. 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.
- To Bake: 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. Continue to fry the remaining batches. Reduce the heat if the pan starts to get too hot.
- 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.
- To proceed with baking and serving, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.
- Spread a small amount of marinara onto the bottom of the baking dish and 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 layer 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!