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

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

Classic Eggplant Parmesan

4.97 from 114 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




266 Comments

  • Avatar for Chrisanne Chrisanne says:

    Time consuming but I believe it will be worth it. Comes out of the oven in 10 min.

  • Avatar for Maya Maya says:

    Thanks much. So excited, in the oven… grew so many tomatoes & eggplants. Note, though, for people with problems eating solanaceae (deadly nightshade family): I had been peeling my eggplant & had no problems. I asked my fellow gardener about it & she said she ate the skins. I made a dish once with the skins & my hamstring tendonitis, gone for months, flared up like the devil. I read the offending chemical is concentrated in the skins. So I’ve been peeling both my tomatoes before making sauce & my eggplant.

  • Avatar for Westiegirl Westiegirl says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! Substituted Asiago for Parmesan and was very pleased.

  • Avatar for Brenda Maconochie Brenda Maconochie says:

    5 stars
    I love eggplant Parmigiano! I have made this both ways – baking and frying the eggplant. Delicious!! Thank you. This will definitely go into my recipe rotation.

  • Avatar for Darcy Darcy says:

    5 stars
    Love love love this eggplant parm. Super easy recipe I keto it up a bit and is wonderful.

  • Avatar for Bob Bob says:

    This is second time using the recipe. Loved it, have garden fresh eggplant to use and so happy with how it came out. Going to try the air fryer for cooking the eggplant wheels next time to see if that works. Thank you for sharing.

  • Avatar for Daniel Daniel says:

    5 stars
    Nice recipe, Bethany. I can now toss out all the other recipes I had on this dish. I did not find it salty at all and I liked the controlled use of the marinara sauce instead of just piling it on as I’ve done before. I tend to cut the eggplant closer to the 1/4 inch size and stack it three times. I’m not a big fan of mozzarella cheese because, well, it really doesn’t have much flavor. I used some in the inner layers but I topped with Parm and Gruyere cheese which melts better and I like the taste of it. Also, I’ve noticed that the female eggplants have a ton more seeds and tend to be a little more bitter because of it, so I look for the male plants which have significantly less seeds (one of your photos show the difference between the plants and seeds). I’m also lazy so I used the Italian Panko crumbs instead of making my own. As far as the one immature negative comment; it must be the chef’s fault because everyone else likes it and has no issues cooking it.

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Thanks so much, Daniel! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. And I’m all for switching up the cheeses for more flavor 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Avatar for Pamela Pamela says:

    5 stars
    Delicious!! I baked mine although I was generous with the oil on my pan. We had fettuccine on the side and couldn’t be happier. Perfect recipe!!

  • Avatar for Michi Michi says:

    5 stars
    So so good. I baked instead of fried and it was perfect!

  • Avatar for Joanne Joanne says:

    Fantastic! I used homemade meat sauce and served with spaghetti on the side.

  • Avatar for Joanne Joanne says:

    Fantastic! I used homemade meat sauce.

  • Avatar for Jon Jon says:

    5 stars
    Never made this before. Made my own marinara sauce. Should have made more, but from scratch wasn’t certain how much to make.

  • Avatar for Silvia Silvia says:

    5 stars
    My family loves this recipe. I prefer to bake the eggplant and use panko breadcrumbs. Thank you for posting and providing alternatives!

  • Avatar for Bernie Bernie says:

    5 stars
    I’ve never left a review on a dish I made because I use recipes as a guide and add my twist. Yes I made my homemade sauce, but other than that followed the recipe. It was fantastic. I sent a picture to my daughter since they didn’t want to come for supper, needless to say they came over and picked up a pan when they saw the picture. She said she didn’t think she liked eggplant lol. It was fantastic. Recommend dish, yes.

  • Avatar for Jess Jess says:

    Can you make this a couple hours in advance? Unsure how it holds up or how to reheat appropriately.

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      I’ve not made it in advance, but I’m sure it would be okay! It’s not super ideal just because it will sit and get a little soggy. So you could bake it ahead of time, then keep it warm in the oven (covered).

  • Avatar for Suzi Suzi says:

    2 stars
    Eggplant was not fully cooked. Followed recipe exactly, baking the eggplant slices. They were less than 1/2” think. But 55 mins total in the oven was not enough. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Hey Suzi! That’s a bummer to hear. I’m so sorry! It’s a huge process to make the recipe so I know how disappointing it would be for it not to be cooked in the end. My only thought is the eggplant itself might not have been ripe because it 100% should be cooked.

  • Avatar for Irina C Irina C says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely amazing recipe. I baked mine instead of the frying pan. Made my own bread crumbs as well. Will absolutely make this recipe again. Now just waiting to feed it to my kids and not tell them what is it. LOL

  • Avatar for Wendy Wendy says:

    5 stars
    Excellent!

  • Avatar for Kate Kate says:

    5 stars
    I’ve never had this before. I not only made the baked version, but made a pan on regular and a pan of vegan for my neighbors. Soooo good! Will be making this again.

  • Avatar for BELINDA BELINDA says:

    5 stars
    I love this recipe! I baked my eggplant and I did use store bought Italian breadcrumbs and peeled my eggplant, but it’s absolutely delicious!

  • Avatar for RoseMarie RoseMarie says:

    5 stars
    It came out excellent! And easy to make!

  • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

    Hi Jeff, I apologize that was your experience. It’s never fun to put effort into something that fails. The recipe has worked for me without fault, and hundreds of readers as well. It sounds like the issue was there wasn’t enough sauce in the bottom of the pan. I’m sorry that swayed you enough to not trust my recipes!

  • Avatar for Marcia Marcia says:

    5 stars
    Very good recipe. I peeled and sliced the eggplant and then soaked in salt water for 10 minutes and then patted it dry. Not salty at all. Thanks for the recipe,Bethany..

  • Love the recipe and easy to make

  • Avatar for Rose Rose says:

    5 stars
    OMG was that good even if I have to say so myself! Thanks!

  • Avatar for Trisha Trisha says:

    5 stars
    Made this for self-proclaimed Eggplant Parm lovers, and they said it was their new Favorite!! Loved the ease of baking instead of frying (healthier & less clean-up!). Delicious.

  • Avatar for Michele Michele says:

    5 stars
    Delicious. We just had this for family dinner and will definitely use this for a dinner rotation.

  • Avatar for Yodle1 Yodle1 says:

    5 stars
    First time eating eggplant and this recipe will have us eating more eggplant.

  • Avatar for Ellen Ellen says:

    5 stars
    I have tried to make eggplant parm before (fry method) with the vegetable cut the other way, and it never worked. This recipe was a dream and I had extra, so I gave a pan to a friend for hey birthday, and her family loved it too! You won’t miss the oil if you bake it instead of frying!

  • Avatar for An Fi An Fi says:

    When using frozen eggplant parmesan I take it I thought 1st then how do I reheat it

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      I’ve personally never used frozen eggplant, unless it is sliced the right way I wouldn’t know how to use it in this recipe. Plus it might have a bit of excess moisture that could make the recipe watery. Sorry I can’t be of help here! I recommend fresh eggplant. 🙂

  • Avatar for Sandra Sandra says:

    5 stars
    Best step by step instructions. It was delicious and turned out perfect.

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      That means a lot – I always want the instructions to be thorough. Appreciate it, Sandra! 🙂 Glad you liked the recipe!

  • Avatar for Karina Karina says:

    5 stars
    This was a delicious way to use some freshly grown eggplant from my garden. Easy and delicious!

  • Avatar for caryparkway caryparkway says:

    5 stars
    I tried this recipe with my Fairy Tail Eggplant. I omitted the oven baking as once sauteing in pan on top of stove with cracker crumbs and milk as the coating, I found that the baking with marinara sauce was enough for these small eggplants. Turned out very tasty!! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  • Avatar for Susan G Susan G says:

    5 stars
    I made this for the first time ever at my dad’s request, my dad LOVED it; and my mom, who doesn’t like eggplant, tried it and said it was good. It’s a keeper of a recipe. I did not peel the eggplant, and I baked it using gf bread crumbs. Yum!!

  • Avatar for John Boulanger John Boulanger says:

    5 stars
    This is delicious and so easy! I had never made eggplant Parmesan before, thinking it was too involved and time-consuming. This recipe is not only easy, but the tips on doing parts of it in advance are really helpful and I will definitely do those now that I know how delicious the dish turns out!

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Thanks so much, John! I really appreciate that. I’m really glad you tried making it for yourself – it’s always worth the little bit of effort 🙂

  • Avatar for Jackie Jackie says:

    I made this recipe the other night with my better half. We enjoyed cooking together and it came out delicious. We are making it tonight to freeze. The fresh eggplant are abundant in the garden. Any recommendations on which method I should choose to freeze? Thank you for a great meal!!

  • Avatar for LoriCris LoriCris says:

    5 stars
    Straightforward, excellent recipe. I used baby eggplants right off the farm so I didn’t but need to salt them. Also added 1/2 pound of hamburger crumbled. Delicious

  • Avatar for Sue Marie Sue Marie says:

    4 stars
    This was very good. I gave it 4 stars because there’s conflicting information. When I went to the baking instructions, there’s 2 different times/temps listed. I did mine at 350 for 30 minutes. Also, reading for freezing instructions, there’s also two different instructions for those too (keeps for 1 month / keeps 1-2 months).

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Hi Sue! Glad you liked the recipe! As far as the instructions, I’ve tried to be as thorough as possible. The two different times are for baking the eggplant alone (rather than frying), and then you up to temperature to bake the whole dish in the oven. I’ve intentionally placed two temperatures in the recipe. The freezing is for the eggplant slices being able to be frozen longer (1-2 months) versus the eggplant parmesan being frozen for only a month. Hope that helps!

  • Avatar for Larry Wade Larry Wade says:

    excellent recipe and directions

  • Avatar for Tony Tony says:

    The recipe was very good. The whole family praised the dish. I baked the eggplant slices. I added sauteed onions, garlic, basil, oregano and a pinch of chile pepper to the sauce. However, the suggested amount of sauce was not nearly enough. Actually needed about 6 cups of sauce for a 9 x 13 pan. The breaded egg plant really soaked up the sauce. Additionally, it would have been helpful if the casserole dish size or capacity was mentioned too.

  • Avatar for B B says:

    5 stars
    My first time cooking homegrown eggplant. This recipe was well written but easy to follow. Thank you. I never really liked eggplant till tonight.❤️

  • Avatar for Lisa Lisa says:

    5 stars
    Wowwwww Bethany that was the best eggplant parm I have ever made, hands down!

  • Avatar for Winnie Morgan Winnie Morgan says:

    5 stars
    You won’t be disappointed. This is the simplest and best Eggplant Parmesan recipe EVER! Fast & easy preparation, with a deelicious outcome. Thank you!

  • Avatar for Cindy Cindy says:

    Do not bake the eggplant! It did not brown. I followed the direction to a tee. Assembled and cook it anyway with fingers crossed. It was a pasty mess. I will only fry from now on.

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Hi cindy! I’m sorry to hear the baking didn’t work out. I’ve had many readers as well as myself have much success baking the eggplant… Not sure what happened. But you can of course just stick with pan frying!

  • Avatar for C Lampe C Lampe says:

    5 stars
    Loved it!

  • Avatar for Chris Chris says:

    5 stars
    My husband adored this. I forgot to season the breadcrumbs. Added seasoning as I was assembling. I used Panko instead of breadcrumbs. Also used Locatelli cheese which has more bite. Super good.

  • Avatar for Janis Janis says:

    5 stars
    This came out perfect! I baked the eggplant and followed the recipe exactly. A big win! Thank you!

  • Avatar for Michael Michael says:

    5 stars
    Good recipe

  • Avatar for Janet Janet says:

    I read through the directions and see marinara sauce. I missed it in the list of ingredients.

  • Avatar for Rebecca Rebecca says:

    5 stars
    It came out great! Time consuming for a whole family, but well worth it.

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