Eggplant Parmesan is made with layers of lightly breaded and baked eggplant, flavorful marinara sauce, parmesan cheese and melty fresh mozzarella cheese. Robust and flavorful, this classic Italian meal is one your whole family will love. Includes a video!
We’ve been loving this Eggplant Parmesan lately – the perfect fall comfort food meal! Slices of eggplant are lightly breaded with a mixture of panko and parmesan cheese, and then baked until golden and crispy. The crispy eggplant slices are then layered in a baking dish with marinara sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese and baked once more until the eggplant is beautifully succulent and tender and the mozzarella is perfectly golden and melty. When it comes out of the oven, it is heavenly! The leftovers get even better as the flavors have time to meld. I honestly don’t know why it’s taken me so long to share this recipe. If you love eggplant as much as we do, be sure to check out these 25 Delicious Eggplant Recipes!
Table of Contents
- Why You’ll Love This!
- How to Choose the Right Eggplant
- Eggplant Parmesan Ingredients
- How to Make Eggplant Parmesan
- Expert Tips
- Serving Suggestions
- Storage & Reheating
- More Eggplant Recipes You’ll love!
- Roasted Eggplant with Zaatar
- Eggplant Lasagna
- Eggplant Chickpea Tagine
- Eggplant Parmesan Video
- Eggplant Parmesan Recipe
Why You’ll Love This!
- Family-friendly, classic Italian dish: When you’re in the mood for Italian cuisine, this baked Eggplant Parmesan (Melanzane alla Parmigiana) satisfies all cravings. It’s a warm and comforting recipe that the whole family will love.
- It’s simple and easy to make– and can be made ahead, or in stages!
- Lightly-breaded eggplant: The eggplant has a lovely light, crispy coating made with panko instead of bread crumbs, that is baked- we skip the frying! ***See the recipe notes for a breading-free version!
- Perfect to meal prep or freeze: You can prep this easy Eggplant Parmesan recipe 1-2 days in advance before baking it, or you can freeze it baked or unbaked for 3 months!
- Feed a crowd or enjoy leftovers: This recipe serves 8, which is perfect for a cozy dinner party or to enjoy leftovers throughout the week.
How to Choose the Right Eggplant
- Smooth and shiny: Look for eggplant with skin that is smooth and shiny, without dents or mushy spots.
- Heavy: The eggplant should feel heavy for its size.
- Use right away: Try to prepare your Eggplant Parmesan soon after buying your eggplant. Overripe eggplant has a rather bitter taste.
Eggplant Parmesan Ingredients
- Eggplant: The main ingredient of the dish—a vegetable with a subtly sweet flavor that becomes tender and succulent when cooked.
- Eggs: Used for coating the eggplant slices as an egg wash bind the golden, crispy outer layer.
- Milk: Mixed with the beaten eggs for the egg wash. Water, or plant-based milk can also be used here.
- Sea salt: Adds seasoning while enhancing the other flavors in the dish. You can use kosher salt if you prefer.
- Black Pepper: Adds a hint of spiciness to the dish.
- Chili flakes: Optional ingredient for those who prefer a little extra heat!
- Panko breadcrumbs: Lighter and crispier than traditional breadcrumbs, they give a nice texture to the dish. Use gluten-free panko if you wish.
- Parmesan cheese: Adds a rich and savory flavor to the dish. A must-have in any Italian dish!
- Olive oil: Used for baking the breaded eggplant slices. Spray olive oil or regular olive oil can be used generously here.
- Marinara Sauce: A flavorful tomato-based sauce to layer with the eggplant. You can make your own homemade marinara sauce, use our Marinara Sauce, or use a store-bought sauce.
- Fresh oregano: Optional herb to add a fresh Italian flavor. Substitute dried oregano if needed.
- Fresh mozzarella: Provides a melty, cheesy layer. They can be thinly sliced mozzarella balls or grated mozzarella cheese.
- Garnish: Fresh basil, cracked black pepper, and chili flakes.
How to Make Eggplant Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Slice the eggplant into ⅓-inch round slices. If in a hurry, you can slice the eggplant lengthwise- fewer pieces make faster prep!
In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper and chili flakes. In another wide shallow bowl, stir equal parts panko bread crumbs and parmesan.
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Spray the parchment with spray oil (or brush extra virgin olive oil). Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture, then dredge each side into the panko/parm mixture. Place on the sheet pans, repeating until all are done. Sprinkle any excess panko-parmesan mixture over top. Spray or generously with olive oil. Bake 20-25 mins, until golden and crispy. The goal is to get the eggplant golden and crispy, so be patient. All ovens are different, this may take longer- feel free to use your boiler.
Mix ½ cup water into your marina sauce to make 3 cups.
Assemble: Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish. Cover the bottom with ¾ cup marinara sauce. Saving the best-looking pieces for the top, place half of the crispy eggplant in a single layer over the sauce.
Drizzle 1 cup marinara over the layer of eggplant slices, add ½ of the mozzarella and half the parmesan. Add fresh oregano if you like.
Add the final layer of eggplant, cover with remaining marinara, sprinkle with remaining parmesan, and top with mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper.
Bake at 400 F uncovered for 20-25 minutes until beautifully golden brown, warmed all the way through (145F) and edges are bubbling.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
- Make each eggplant slice the same width. In order for the dish to bake evenly, you want each eggplant slice to be the same width. This will prevent some eggplant slices from overcooking while some remain undercooked.
- Slice the eggplant lengthwise if short on time. Reduce prep time by creating long strips of eggplant!
- Bake the eggplant until golden and crispy. Every oven is different, so your baking time might differ from the suggested 20-25 minutes. Be patient and make sure the eggplant is golden and crispy before removing it. You can use your broiler to help the process along!
- Use fresh marinara sauce! If you have time or wish to prep it in advance, my Marinara Sauce takes 30 minutes to make. Fresh, homemade sauce adds even more love, intention, and of course, flavor, to your eggplant parmesan.
- Season the layers. I like to add fresh oregano between the layers for a lovely Italian herb flavor. You can also add salt and pepper in between the layers in addition to seasoning the top.
Leave the skin on the eggplant (or peel the skin in trips). The skin is completely edible.
Cooking it long enough! Refrain from removing the eggplant from the oven too early. It should take 20-25 minutes, but as ovens vary, it could take a bit longer.
The eggplant will get more and more tender as it cooks. It if is not soft, it probably needs to cook a bit longer.
Adding too much sauce to the dish can result in a soggy eggplant parmesan. Follow the measurements below. The thick layers of mozzarella and crispy eggplant help to break up the sauce too.
While you can certainly enjoy this Eggplant Parmesan entirely on its own, we love it paired with a hearty green salad and our Easy Sourdough Bread. For heartier appetites, serve it alongside pasta- like this simple Cacio e Pepe.
A hearty main like this always goes well with vegetable sides like Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Lemon and Parsley or Steamed Broccoli with Garlic & Lemon Zest.
Storage & Reheating
You can prep this recipe 1-2 days in advance before baking it in the oven.
Leftovers will last in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. To reheat, place in the oven at 350F until warm all the way through, or use a microwave.
You can freeze this recipe before baking it. Simply assemble the dish as instructed, then cover it tightly with plastic wrap and foil. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature until ready to bake.
You can also freeze this recipe after you bake it. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight or at room temperature prior to baking, then reheat in the oven at 400F until warm.
More Eggplant Recipes You’ll love!
Love eggplant? Let us know what you think of this recipe, give it a rating, and check out our 25 Delicious Eggplant Recipes!
Eggplant Parmesan Video
This Eggplant Parmesan recipe has layers of lightly breaded baked eggplant, flavorful marinara sauce, parmesan cheese and melty mozzarella. Robust and flavorful, this classic Italian dish is one your whole family will love. Adapted from Ina Garten’s Eggplant Parmesan
- 2 large eggplants (2 1/4 lbs) cut into -1/3- inch thick slices ( see notes)
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup milk, or water
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes- optional
- 1 1/4 cups panko breadcrumbs (panko is lighter than traditional breadcrumbs)
- 1 3/4 cups parmesan cheese, divided (save 1/2 cup for assembly)
- Spray olive oil or olive oil for drizzling
- 28 ounces of Marinara Sauce ( use store-bought or make your own). 3 cups.
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, optional
- 12 ounces fresh mozzarella balls, 2 balls thinly sliced (or use 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella)
- Garnish: basil, cracked black pepper and chili flakes
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Slice eggplant into ⅓-inch round slices. see notes.
- In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper and chili flakes. In another wide shallow bowl, mix equal parts panko and parmesan.
- Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Spray the parchment with spray oil ( or brush). Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture, then dredge each side into the panko/parm mixture. Place on the sheet pans, repeating until all are done. Sprinkle any excess panko-parmesan mixture over top. Spray or generously with olive oil. Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden and crispy. The goal is to get the eggplant golden and crispy, so be patient. All ovens are different, this may take longer- feel free to use your boiler.
- Mix ½ cup water into your marina sauce to make 3 cups.
- Assemble: Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Cover the bottom with ¾ cup marinara sauce. Saving the best-looking pieces for the top, layer half of crispy eggplant over the sauce. Drizzle with 1 cup marinara, add ½ of the mozzarella and half the parmesan. Add fresh oregano if you like. Add the final layer of eggplant, cover with remaining marinara, sprinkle with remaining parmesan, and top with mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake at 400 F uncovered for 20-25 minutes until beautifully golden and edges are bubbling.
- Garnish with fresh basil.
Eggplant: If in a hurry, you can slice the eggplant lengthwise- fewer pieces make faster prep.
Tomato Sauce: Feel-free to substitute store-bought marinara sauce. I like Trader Joe’s spicy organic marinara.
Breading Free- If you prefer a breading-free version, roast the eggplant slices ( brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper) until tender and layer according to instructions.
- Serving Size: about 1 cup
- Calories: 320
- Sugar: 11.9 g
- Sodium: 1398.8 mg
- Fat: 10.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 4.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 30.6 g
- Fiber: 7.7 g
- Protein: 27 g
- Cholesterol: 68.8 mg