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 Andrea Andrea says:

    5 stars
    Excellent instructions and food came out beautifully, thank you!

  • Avatar for Deanna Gentleman Deanna Gentleman says:

    5 stars
    A little time consuming, but worth every minute spent preparing!

  • Avatar for Cin Cin says:

    You put lots of salt, let sweat and then rinse off salt and pat dry. That’s how Nona did it.

  • Avatar for Brandon Brandon says:

    5 stars
    Glenn messed up somewhere cuz everyone else is loving it.

  • Avatar for Cheri Cheri says:

    Works great every time and we cannot get enough!

  • Avatar for Richard Strack Richard Strack says:

    5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe 3 times & it’s absolutely delicious. The 1st two times I used tomato sauce as I had no marinara sauce. This time I used Rao’s marinara & it was even more delicious. I also use fresh ichiban eggplant from the garden. I would highly recommend this recipe. One other thing, I use parchment paper in the oven when I bake the eggplant instead of greasing the pan with oil, which works great.

  • Avatar for Richard Strack Richard Strack says:

    5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe 3 times & it’s absolutely delicious. The 1st two times I used tomato sauce as I had no marinara sauce. This time I used Rao’s marinara & it was even more delicious. I would highly recommend this recipe. One other thing, I use parchment paper in the oven when I bake the eggplant instead of greasing the pan with oil, which works great.

  • Avatar for Cassandra Cassandra says:

    5 stars
    My Fiancé has been asking for me to make Egg Plant Parm for so long. I came across this recipe and it did not disappoint! I have never made this dish before but the step by step instructions were easy to follow! This was a big hit for dinner tonight and will now be added to our “Yes Please” dinner request list! My son who is very critical about food even gives it a thumbs up!

  • Avatar for Maureen Maureen says:

    5 stars
    Who could screw up eggplant parmesan? One of the easiest dishes to make, a little time consuming with the frying, but so easy!

  • Avatar for Maura Weisenfluh Maura Weisenfluh says:

    5 stars
    Wow Bethany this was the BOMB!!! Absolutely delicious! I loved the idea of baking instead of frying the eggplant and I have to say I was skeptical it was going to be as good as it was! I have started to save up all my bread ends and eventually I make bread crumbs with them. It was a good day to process all those pieces I had in the freezer…and then use the fresh crumbs for this recipe! I let the eggplant pieces sweat extra long–about two hours while I had some errands to run. I used paper towel to wipe each piece down back and front to get rid of the salt. I used Rao’s marinara and the whole thing was divine! Thank you for sharing your talents!

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Maura, thank you so much! I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe so much. I love being able to bake it too, so I’m really glad that worked out for you. 🙂

  • Avatar for Mari Mari says:

    5 stars
    DELICIOUS!! This recipe was/is perfect. The directions are easy to follow.
    Since I live in “farm country”, I went to the local farmers market to get globe eggplant.
    I agree, season both sides with salt…..take out moisture.
    THANK YOU!!!

  • Avatar for Brian Brian says:

    5 stars
    Great Recipe ! Delicious ! First time making it myself, and It came out just like Mom use to make ! Have not had Eggplant Parm in 20 years ! So Good !

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Thanks so much for sharing, Brian! That makes me so happy to hear it reminded you of your moms. I’m really glad you enjoyed this recipe:)

  • Avatar for Ann Ann says:

    The best ever !

  • Avatar for Kasey Kasey says:

    5 stars
    Soooo good! Made this as a surprise for my husband as he loves eggplant parmesan and he didn’t know what hit him! Followed the directions, even making my own breadcrumbs and frying the eggplant in a skillet. I found the assembly instructions a bit confusing when it says “repeat an additional layer on top.” Of what? repeat another eggplant, cheese, and marinara layer? Or just another cheese marinara layer? So I’m not sure if I got that part right but I figured all the flavors were there anyway. Super tasty and not too difficult, It will definitely be in our regular dinner rotation.

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Kasey, I’m so glad to hear it! Eggplant parm is the best surprise 🙂 And appreciate the feedback on the instructions, I always want them to be as clear as possible so I’ll reword that part. Thanks!

  • Avatar for Lisa Lisa says:

    A little confused by steps 5 &6 if baking. Bake for 25 minutes until golden, then assemble in casserole dish and bake for another 30 minutes? So cook the eggplant for almost an hour?

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Hi Lisa,
      So the eggplant needs to be breaded and browned FIRST separately, then layered and baked with the cheese and sauce. Otherwise, if you just bread it and layer it in the dish, it won’t cook properly.

      You can brown the eggplant in either the oven or pan fry it. The oven is a healthier method with no oil, and the pan method uses quite a bit of oil and requires a little bit more time.

      I hope this helps!

  • Avatar for Anne Anne says:

    Way too salty. How do you lessen the salty taste? I had to throw it away which made me sick. I hate waste. Willing to try again if you have suggestions. Thanks

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Hi Anne, I’m sorry to hear that! This shouldn’t be the case at all. My only thought is that too much salt was used to sweat the eggplant and it was not properly wiped off the eggplant slices. I only use a pinch of salt.

      So sorry this happened, and hope you can try it again!

  • Avatar for Mary Mary says:

    5 stars
    This is a classic eggplant parmigiana recipe, and absolutely delicious. The secret is in the eggplant prep, which is straightforward but takes a bit of well-warranted time. It will become a “go to” in our house.

  • Avatar for Florence Davis Florence Davis says:

    5 stars
    I love this recipe. I bake my eggplant this is a dish I fix on my no meat days or when vegetarians come for dinner along with my broccoli, rice and cheese casserole.

  • Avatar for Ryan Ryan says:

    5 stars
    Best recipe ever

  • Avatar for Ryan Ryan says:

    Made this again tonight for anew audience and I killed it!was told it was the best eggplant parmigiana they ever had. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Avatar for George George says:

    5 stars
    Made this for anniversary dinner last night. 😋
    It was perfect.

  • Avatar for Evelyn Hicks Evelyn Hicks says:

    5 stars
    Excellent instructions. Delicious results. Thank you!

  • Avatar for Linda Linda says:

    5 stars
    This is a great recipe and very easy to make. Sometimes I add a layer of Pepperoni because that makes it taste like pizza!

  • Avatar for Anne Anne says:

    5 stars
    This is absolutely amazing 👏

  • Avatar for Mary Mary says:

    Great recipe. Loved it

  • Avatar for Stephen Amberg Stephen Amberg says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious, Thank You!

  • Avatar for Marie Marie says:

    5 stars
    Loved it ! Definitely use a great marina sauce; it makes a big difference.

  • Avatar for Rose Rose says:

    Great recipe I loved it rose

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