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 19 votes
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!

Video

Notes

Don't forget a side of CHEESY Homemade Garlic Bread!

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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Recipe Rating




82 comments on “Eggplant Parmesan”

  1. Made this eggplant parm recipe and it was so
    Delicious. I made it in my cast iron skillet. It fried beautifully and it was nice and meaty. Salting the eggplant and letting it sit for an hour did the trick. Could not believe how much water was extracted from it. Added spaghetti and what a fantastic meal. A favorite with the family. 

    • Hi Linda!! I am so happy to hear that! Nothing beats cooking in a cast iron skillet, good work! I’m so glad your efforts paid off, thank you so much for the review!!! ❤️

  2. Zucchini is so abundant, I end up substituting it for eggplant all the time!

  3. Do you fry and then bake?? Doing both? Or is it fry or bake? This will be my first time making eggplant Parmesan! So excited to try this recipe!

    • Hi Renee! You’re going to do both! You’re going to lightly fry them after they’re breaded to get them nice and crisp and golden on the outside, and then you’ll assemble into a casserole with layers of sauce and cheese and bake it. It’s going to be delicious, enjoy it! Make sure you remove the moisture from the eggplant slices first! 🙂

  4. Excellent recipe- easy to follow, great results!

  5. Can I substitute mozzarella for smoked gouda

    • Hi Sherrell, You want to use Smoked Gouda instead of Mozzarella, correct? You absolutely can, it will melt really well and will add a nice flavor! Enjoy!

  6. This was the BEST dinner I’ve ever made for my family! Thank you for your easy to follow instructions, this Eggplant Parmesan was so golden and crispy. Can’t wait to make it again!

  7. I made this for my mom’s birthday dinner and it was excellent! The salt and paper towel tip worked perfectly! This recipe made a LOT of food (and I only used 2 eggplants). We had 6 people there and each couple went home with leftovers (not complaining – I love leftovers). I can’t wait to make again! Thank you so much!

    • Hey Morgan! I am soooo happy to hear that!!! You made my day and thank you so very much for taking the time to leave a review! I think I’m going to try to find myself some eggplant as well! We need something different! ❤️ Take care! -Stephanie

  8. I wanted to know if you fry it and then bake it or can you just bake it without frying eggplant I’ve never made it before and my daughter will be 18 next week and asked for eggplant Parm for her birthday and I just want to get it right

  9. Love your recipe. I wanted to try something different. This was it. We dont eat eggplant much but we decided to try something different. Food turned out great. Hubby even posted his dinner on fb to rave to his friends.

    • Hey Aleeshia! I’m SO happy that you enjoyed it, what a great recipe to make right now. It takes a little extra time and that’s something we all actually seem to have right now! Wonderful choice, and I’m so glad the hubby liked it too! You made my day. Stay safe and happy! 🙂 -Stephanie

  10. I consider myself an eggplant parm aficionado. This was my 1st time trying to make it myself. I believe this is the best I’ve ever had! I followed your recipe exactly & it was picture perfect. My men cannot stand veggies- one had 2 servings & the other had 3!!! Thank you for sharing!!! ❤️

    • Pam, you made my WEEK. I am so so so super happy to hear that! THANK you for sending positive vibes right now, and for taking the time to leave a review! You are the best! -Stephanie ❤️

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