Classic Eggplant Parmesan

The whole family will love this classic eggplant parmesan! Slices of tender eggplant coated in homemade breadcrumbs, and then layered with melted cheeses & rich marinara! Whether you’d like to bake or fry the eggplant, this recipe has a method for both.

eggplant parmesan in a white baking dish on dark gray background with herbs and a napkin arranged around it.

Growing up, I adored eggplant parm! No matter how laborious the cooking process was, it was always worth it in the end.

If you’ve never had it, eggplant parmesan is an Italian dish made up of slices of eggplant that are coated in flour, breadcrumbs, and then baked in layers of rich marinara and melted cheese! It’s a must-try for any and all Italian food lovers.

It’s just like chicken parmigiana – but made vegetarian with eggplant instead of chicken!

For this recipe I used a simple homemade breadcrumb recipe versus store-bought breadcrumbs. This is a simple change that really elevated the flavor and texture of the whole dish!

There are also two methods to make this dish – fried or baked. Frying the eggplant will mean using quite a bit of oil to brown the breaded eggplant. Baking the breaded eggplant on a tray in the oven requires a lot less oil, and is a little bit lighter and healthier! Either way you go, the dish will be exceptionally delicious.

Ingredients You Need

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this dish happen: eggplant, marinara, breadcrumbs, fresh herbs (basil & oregano), eggs, flour, garlic powder, dried herbs, oil, marinara, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese.

Ingredients for eggplant parmesan arranged on dark gray background.

How to Make Eggplant Parmesan – Step by Step

Sweat the eggplant slices with salt: after slicing the eggplant into 1/4-1/2 inch thick cuts, sprinkle with salt and let sit for 10 minutes before thoroughly patting dry with a paper towel. Be sure to wipe off any additional salt too.

Bread the eggplant: assemble 3 bowls with flour, whisked eggs, and breadcrumb mixture.

First, dredge eggplant slice in flour on both sides, then dip into egg, and last dip in breadcrumbs – lightly pack breadcrumbs on with hands. Then arrange back onto sheet pan. (If you are baking the eggplant and not frying it, make sure sheet pan is brushed with oil).

Brown eggplant (two ways)

Pan fry: in a skillet with 1-2 Tablespoons of oil at a time, brown breaded eggplant for 2-3 minutes on each side. Repeat until all of the eggplant is finished. Place on paper towels to absorb any extra oils.

Bake: Preheat the oven to 350F, and arrange eggplant on a sheet pan brushed with olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

Assemble in baking dish: in a large casserole or baking dish, spread a layer of marinara and then top with one layer of breaded eggplant.

Top eggplant with mozzarella slices, a spoonful of marinara, then top with parmesan cheese.

Repeat with another layer of breaded eggplant, mozzarella, marinara, and parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered at 400F for 30 minutes. Top with additional fresh parmesan and chopped fresh basil & oregano.

Extra Tips for Success

Types of sauce to use: I recommend serving this dish with a quality marinara sauce! I love using our San Marzano tomato sauce for a homemade sauce or using our favorite store-bought marinara. You can also spice up the dish and use our homemade arrabbiata sauce.

Types of flours for dredging: I recommend I finely ground flour for dredging the eggplant such as all-purpose, white whole wheat, gluten-free flour blend, or oat flour.

Make it gluten-free: use a gluten-free flour blend for dredging eggplant and either use store-bought gluten-free breadcrumbs or make the homemade breadcrumbs with your favorite gluten-free bread.

How to avoid “tough” eggplant: in some cases, the eggplant parm can come out tough in texture which would mean that it’s underdone/undercooked. To avoid this, make sure eggplant cuts are no thicker than 1/2 inch. I like to shoot between 1/4 to 1/2 inch in thickness to ensure they’ll be fully cooked through!

Do I have to peel the eggplant before cooking? Eggplant skin is completely edible and actually gives a “meatier” texture to the vegetables when cooked. I recommend keeping the skin on instead of peeling.

Types of bread to use for homemade breadcrumbs: this recipe includes a homemade breadcrumb recipe that is super easy to make! The types of bread you can use are endless. You can make it with a healthier grain bread, white bread, your favorite gluten-free brand, or Ezekiel bread. For this recipe, I used this specific grain bread.

eggplant parmesan arranged in white baking dish on dark gray background.

How to Freeze & Store Leftovers

Keep leftovers fresh: if you’re not freezing leftovers, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days. Reheat in the oven at 350F until warm or microwave.

How to Freeze (three ways)

Freeze fried/baked eggplant: if you have extra breaded & cooked eggplant leftover, you can store flat in freezer-friendly bags (layered with parchment paper) and freeze up to 1-2 months to make at another time.

Freeze before baking: Assemble eggplant parmesan as the recipe instructs, but don’t bake it. Cover with plastic wrap, then cover with foil and freeze for up to 1 month. Then thaw at room temperature and bake when ready to eat!

Freeze leftovers: Assemble eggplant parmesan as the recipe instructs and bake it. Store leftovers in airtight containers and freeze for up to 1 month – thaw at room temperature and reheat in the oven at 400F until warm.

a slice of eggplant parmesan being lifted on spatula out of white baking dish.

More Italian Eggplant Recipes

If you tried this Classic Eggplant Parmesan recipe or any other recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know what you think. I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM, and FACEBOOK for more crave-worthy content.

a slice of eggplant parmesan being lifted on spatula out of white baking dish.

Classic Eggplant Parmesan

4.97 from 106 votes

The whole family will love this classic eggplant parmesan! Slices of tender eggplant coated in homemade breadcrumbs, and then layered with melted cheeses & rich marinara! Whether you'd like to bake or fry the eggplant, this recipe has a method for both.

Servings 6
Prep Time: 40 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Tags: best eggplant parmesan, eggplant parmesan, fried eggplant parmesan
Freezer Friendly: Yes
Calories: 403 kcal
Author: Bethany Kramer

Ingredients

Eggplant

Homemade Breadcrumbs

  • 6 bread slices (about 1 1/2 cups – see notes) for more info use our homemade breadcrumb recipe.
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • 2 teaspoons Italian herb blend
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (each) salt & black pepper

Toppings

  • 1 1/2 cups marinara
  • 1 lb mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1-2 Tablespoons fresh basil chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano chopped

Instructions

  1. Slice eggplant: remove stem from eggplant then slice into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices.

  2. Sweat eggplant: arrange slices on a pan and sprinkle with a pinch of coarse salt on both sides. Let sit and "sweat" excess moisture for 10 minutes. Pat firmly with paper towels to dry eggplant thoroughly (wipe off salt as well).

  3. Breadcrumbs: toast slices of bread. Then chop in food processor until consistency is crumbs. Mix breadcrumbs in a bowl with garlic powder, salt & pepper, Italian herbs, and shredded parmesan cheese. Tip: If you are not making your own breadcrumbs, use 1 1/2 cups of store-bought breadcrumbs instead.

  4. Bread eggplant: arrange three bowls containing whisked eggs, flour, and breadcrumb mixture. First, coat eggplant in flour on both sides, then dip into eggs, and then dip into breadcrumbs – pack onto eggplant and then gently shake off excess crumbs. Wipe hands with paper towel then repeat. Tip: if baking eggplant instead of frying, brush a sheet pan with 1-2 Tablespoons of oil and arrange breaded eggplant onto pan as you coat them.

  5. Pan frying method: in a skillet pan, add 1-2 Tablespoons of oil at a time, and cook breaded eggplant for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Lay on paper towels to soak up excess oil. Repeat until all eggplant has been fried.

    Baking method: instead of pan frying you can also bake the eggplant to use less oil. Preheat oven to 350F and arrange breaded slices onto sheet pan that is brushed with 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes until golden.

  6. Assemble: in a large casserole dish, spread a generous layer of marinara on the bottom. Then layer: eggplant slices, mozzarella, a spoonful of marinara, and shredded parmesan. Repeat an additional layer (breaded eggplant, mozzarella, marinara, and shredded parmesan).

  7. Bake: Then bake at 400F uncovered for 30 minutes until cheese is browned and melted. Top with chopped fresh basil & oregano, and serve!

Recipe Video

Notes

Types of bread to use for homemade breadcrumbs: this recipe includes a homemade breadcrumb recipe that is super easy to make! The types of bread you can use are endless. You can make it with a healthier grain bread, white bread, your favorite gluten free brand, or Ezekiel bread. For this recipe I used this specific grain bread.

Types of flours for dredging: I recommend I finely ground flour for dredging the eggplant such as all purpose, white whole wheat, gluten free flour blend, or oat flour.

Make it gluten-free: use a gluten-free flour blend for dredging eggplant and either use store-bought gluten free breadcrumbs, or make the homemade breadcrumbs with your favorite gluten free bread.

Nutrition Facts
Classic Eggplant Parmesan
Amount Per Serving (1 eggplant parmesan stack)
Calories 403 Calories from Fat 158
% Daily Value*
Fat 17.5g27%
Cholesterol 109.1mg36%
Sodium 980mg41%
Carbohydrates 36.6g12%
Sugar 6.7g7%
Protein 25.4g51%
Vitamin A 17IU0%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Bethany Kramer

Bethany Kramer is the cook and photographer behind A Simple Palate. She found a deep love for food and nutrition after learning to cook from her mom at eight years old. Since then she’s been developing and sharing recipes from her own kitchen that are bold in flavor and nourishing to the body!

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Recipe Rating




245 Comments

  • Avatar for Lorraine Lorraine says:

    First time tried this recipient. My husband loved it. What’s the best way to reheat the leftovers

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Hi Lorraine! So glad you enjoyed it. I shared in the notes that you can reheat it in the oven (covered) at 350F until warm!

  • Avatar for Jacqueline Rodriguez Jacqueline Rodriguez says:

    5 stars
    Very good recipe!

  • Avatar for Sully Sully says:

    5 stars
    Delish! Hubby says it’s restaurant good! Thank you for sharing. Btw I added mushrooms to the sauce, was a nice touch.

  • 5 stars
    This was amazing! The only thing I didn’t do was put salt on the other side of the eggplant slices before they started sweating (I over seasoned on the one side to make up for it). My family approves and I’m so grateful.

  • Avatar for Marianne Marianne says:

    5 stars
    Easy recipe. Used the baked eggplant. Great meatless dinner and delicious to boot!

  • Avatar for Rob Normand Rob Normand says:

    5 stars
    It’s a good starting point, but I don’t like my eggplant cooked to where it’s mushy. So I do everything as described, but instead of baking it, I put it under the broiler for a few minutes to melt and brown the cheese a bit. Frying it gets me the texture I like.

  • Avatar for Evelyn E Evelyn E says:

    5 stars
    This was the first time I’ve ever made egg plant parm at home as I’ve never been a fan. However, it is a favorite of my husband. This recipe was easy and outstanding! I did the baked version, and used Panko bread crumbs and fresh mozzarella. I did not peel the eggplant but it was nice and ripe. I’m spreading the word on this delicious recipe!

  • Avatar for Lisy Lisy says:

    5 stars
    Fantastico! Finger licking good. My husband loved it.
    One question, why can’t I pin your recipe to my Pinterest Board?

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      hi Lisy, I’m so happy you loved the recipe! As far as Pinterest, I don’t know :/ It’s working on my end. Let me know if it still isn’t working!

  • Avatar for Ashley Ashley says:

    5 stars
    I’ve made eggplant one time before this and I failed miserably. This though. This recipe is incredible!! Everything came out so tender and delicious. I used the baking method and holyyyyyy!! Thank you so much for the detailed instructions on how to perfect this dish!

  • Avatar for Jenn Jenn says:

    5 stars
    Thank you for this delicious recipe. My son and husband decided to plant Japanese eggplant in our garden and it’s grown really well, so I’ve been looking for recipes to use it. This was perfect and I love the baked versus fried option. It made it easier on me since ours our long and skinny rather than thick. All my kids loved it!

  • Avatar for Kristine S Kristine S says:

    5 stars
    This was a hit in our home! I also made your San Marzano sauce. The only thing I would do next time is sweat the eggplant longer. The sauce became almost watery after cooked with the eggplant. This was very time consuming, so I will definitely make the sauce one day and finish on another day.

  • Avatar for Melissa Melissa says:

    5 stars
    Glenn maybe when you got done baking the eggplant if you had made sure it was done you would not have waisted the rest of the Ingredients.
    With everyone else loving this recipe maybe it wasn’t the recipe at all.

  • Avatar for Michelle Michelle says:

    5 stars
    I am that cook who rarely uses a recipe, and that serves me and my family, as well as my friends very well! However, I came across this recipe and decided to try it today. It is superb, Bethany, and it is great that I can share the recipe with others! I had some bread crumbs left over, so I sprinkle them on top and drizzle it with a little olive oil before serving. The flavors in this dish are excellent, and it’s not swimming in oil, as my dish usually is!🤣Thanks!!!

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      That means so much, Michelle!! I’m thrilled to hear that the recipe worked so well for you. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Avatar for BF BF says:

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe! I choose to bake mine and used gluten-free flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs. It was delicious! I would definitely make this again. Thanks!

  • Avatar for Kimberly Kimberly says:

    5 stars
    Very delicious, thank you so much for the recipe, we will definitely make it part of our family’s menu!

  • Avatar for Chelsea Vargas Chelsea Vargas says:

    5 stars
    This was a major hit at our place! We prepared as written and I wouldn’t have changed a thing!

  • Avatar for Wayne Wayne says:

    5 stars
    Delicious. This recipe takes time to do right and the marinara is key. Use the one you love and all will be great.

  • Avatar for Jean Mary Becraft Jean Mary Becraft says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! Tastes like my Italian grandmother’s. Worth the time!

  • Avatar for Kim Kim says:

    5 stars
    I made the gluten free version of this for a big crowd so made it more like a casserole. It was delicious.

  • Avatar for Sandy D Sandy D says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! Real Italian! THANK-YOU!

  • Avatar for Netee Netee says:

    This looks delicious! I would love to try it but we have egg allergies, is there anything that can be used instead of eggs?

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Hi Netee, unfortunately, I have not tried eggplant parmesan without the egg. But instead, you could always try plant-based milk or regular milk for dipping! It should work. Hope this helps 🙂

    • Avatar for Megan Megan says:

      You could try to go with flour, milk (regular or almond, soy, etc.), then breadcrumbs or Panko like Bethany suggests or try melted butter, then breadcrumbs. All you are really looking for is a sticking agent to adhere the breading.

  • Avatar for Brenda King Brenda King says:

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe! Hubby and I loved it!

  • Avatar for Janene Janene says:

    Is there a point I could stop after the first baking and then finish cooking just the last part for a dinner party???

  • Avatar for Karen Karen says:

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe! I’ve been making this for a while now. I like to rinse and pat dry my eggplant after the salting process to get rid of excess bitter juice. I prefer to peel the eggplant and cut it in lengthwise planks if 1/4”. This allows better baking dish coverage and ensures eggplant is cooked throughout. I also use a combination of Panko and regular breadcrumbs for a bit more crunchy coating. Delicious! Thank you!

  • Avatar for Kathy Pile Kathy Pile says:

    5 stars
    Awesome recipe thank you so much yummy 😋

  • Avatar for John John says:

    5 stars
    This is New York Sicilian style EP…. the best ever.

  • Avatar for Neilia Neilia says:

    5 stars
    Love it! Easy to follow and prepare will definitely recommend. I used the fried method. Will try it again with the baked method and some more of gluten free suggestions.

  • Avatar for Chris Chris says:

    5 stars
    Delicious recipe! My family tried this the other night using the baking method. I used to pan fry my eggplant but it takes forever and makes more of a mess. Just curious, where is all the protein coming from in this? You have it at about 20g per serving. Is there much protein in eggplant? Thanks for the recipe!

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Hi Chris! The nutrtional info is just an estimate. But, I looked further into the recipe card calculator I use and apparently mozzarella is where most of the protein is coming from! Quite interesting. Again, it’s an estimate so you can take that with a grain of salt. But the mozz apparently has quite a bit of the protein in this recipe! Glad you liked the recipe 🙂

  • Avatar for Anderia Rhodes-Bigham Anderia Rhodes-Bigham says:

    5 stars
    Recipe is simple and easy to follow. Love the different cooking variations. Great taste. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

  • Avatar for Janet Janet says:

    This turned out so good, I did peel my eggplant, and I baked it, so much healthier and easier

    • Avatar for Syl Syl says:

      5 stars
      Excellent ! I baked mine to cut down on calories. This will be in my recipe box.

    • Avatar for Margaret Margaret says:

      5 stars
      Excellent, this is the way I’ve always made, but I couldn’t remember what got dipped first, breadcrumbs or flour, LOL, Thank you for sharing. BTW I agree with Katie about Glen’s comment, life is too short to get that upset over a recipe!!!

    • Avatar for J J says:

      Delicious wondering if salting the eggplant is necessary seemed to make dish saltier than I like. Having said that it still was fantastic, impressed my wife and we all know what that means.

    • Avatar for J J says:

      Delicious wondering if salting the eggplant is necessary seemed to make dish saltier than I like. Having said that it still was fantastic, impressed my wife and we all know what that means.

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Hi J, glad you liked the recipe! I only sprinkle a small amount of salt on the eggplant so it shouldn’t be too salty.

    • Avatar for curtis curtis says:

      One of the best on-line recipes I have ever used. Never had eggplant before. This tuned out great. I did use a better than average store bought marana and fresh mozzarella. I did add during a mid layer some hambuger and diced tomatoes. Just couldn’t leave it alone.

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Such a compliment. Thanks so much, Curtis! 🙂

    • Avatar for Tom Albano Tom Albano says:

      My grandmother who was born in Italy, seasoned and fried the slices of eggplant.
      Then, baked it in Sunday gravy with grated Italian cheeses.

  • Avatar for Phyllis K Phyllis K says:

    5 stars
    Even my friends who are old school Italian cooks, rate this 5 star! And request it when invited to dinner!

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      so thrilled to hear that! Thank you, Phyllis 🙂

    • Avatar for Glenn Glenn says:

      I tried your baked eggplant recipe . ” HORRID ” The worse eggplant parm I’ve ever tasted . Went by the recipe that calla for cooking it uncovered and wound up with rubber eggplant . I tried adding more sauce and covering it with foil but it was too far gone . Your recipe wasted my time , eggplant , sauce , cheese and oven electricity . THANKS FOR SUCCESFULLY CAUSING MY SUPPER TO BE THROWN OUT INTO THE GARBAGE !!

    • Avatar for Katie Katie says:

      This is actually a reply to Glenn where I actually laughed out loud by his review. Absolutely wild that someone can get that upset over dinner 😂 I quite liked it.

    • Avatar for Chase Chase says:

      5 stars
      @Glenn salty bc he didn’t wipe his eggplant slices before cooking ’em.

      For real though, I loved this dish. Easy Monday night quick-fix or fun Friday date night idea.

  • Avatar for Rob W Rob W says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

  • Avatar for Julie Julie says:

    5 stars
    Excellent! My family all went back for seconds! I did adapt a little and added provolone slices to the top before baking.

    • Avatar for Mary Mary says:

      Great recipe. My husband was very skeptical, and I will admit I was as well, because we have tried eggplant in other recipes and it can be slimy. It’s a texture thing with us. I think the sweating process helps this in a huge way. Gets that moisture out with the salt.
      So, I did the baking method (for less oil) after the breading step & it turned out fine. Used my own homemade marina so even after baking the final dish it was a bit “runny” . I got a little confused with the layering but hey, how can you go wrong with sauce, cheese and more cheese! It was great.

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Thanks so much, Mary! I’m so glad it worked out. Yes, I’ve found using homemade sauce can add a little bit more liquid! Happy to hear it was a success for you. 🙂

  • Avatar for Pamela Pamela says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is absolutely delicious. I used it for the second time now and it’s a big hit in my house! The texture of the eggplant comes out perfect.

  • Avatar for ben ben says:

    5 stars
    Easy great meal!

  • Avatar for Scott Scott says:

    5 stars
    Really really good recipe!

    • Avatar for Gustav Gustav says:

      5 stars
      EXCELLENT!! Had friends over to share… we all loved it! I fried the eggplant. This is definitely a keeper !
      Thank you.

  • Avatar for Scott Scott says:

    D*** good recipe, I have never liked the Eggplant Parmesan I have had before. This recipe was great and easy, my wife and I cooked… what a great taste and texture! Very good taste and heck I liked it!

  • Avatar for sugra mia sugra mia says:

    eggplant my favorite tnx 4 sharing recipe

  • Avatar for Arielle Arielle says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! Was a hit for the household and I will be making this again. I did however run out of the homemade breadcrumbs using the 6 bread slices and I also ran out of the Marina, so I would suggest to make or buy a little extra.

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      So happy you enjoyed it, Arielle! I guess it would just depend on the size of the bread slices (and mine that I use are rather large). I’ll adjust the numbers for future reference 🙂 Thanks for the feedback!

  • Avatar for lisa lisa says:

    5 stars
    I’ve been through a lot of eggplant parm recipes and this one has been the most flavorful. It’s being saved to the recipe files!

  • Avatar for Adeline Adeline says:

    5 stars
    I made this last week and it was such a hit we are having it again tonight!!!

  • Avatar for james james says:

    Absolutely delicious! When we have the time to spend on cooking this it’s worth all the hard work! thanks for sharing this amazing article and delicious recipe of classic eggplant parmesan.

  • Avatar for Jessica Jessica says:

    5 stars
    It was great! I used smoked mozzarella and added spinach in my layers !

  • Avatar for Evie Evie says:

    5 stars
    Love this dish! I just have a hard time with not eating the fried breaded slices before assembling in baking dish. Thank you for sharing this recipe 🌹

  • Avatar for Courtney Baillie Courtney Baillie says:

    Did you use fresh mozzarella?

  • Avatar for Carol S Carol S says:

    5 stars
    Yummy and simple! Thank you

  • Avatar for Brianna Brianna says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! When we have the time to spend on cooking this it’s worth all the hard work! (I’m a slow cooker 😅)

  • Avatar for Taliyah W Taliyah W says:

    5 stars
    Turned out amazing! Overall, filling, flavorful, and healthy (ish) 👍🏾

  • Avatar for Tina Tina says:

    5 stars
    This is one of my favorite dishes! Thank you, Bethany, for sharing!

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