One bite of this traditional eggplant parmesan recipe, and you’ll be an eggplant lover for life. Whether your mouth waters at the thought of Baked Eggplant Slices or you’re looking for a sophisticated recipe to impress the whole family, there are dozens of classic eggplant recipes to try. From cheesy Eggplant Baked Ziti to photo-ready Eggplant Involtini with Ricotta and robust Turkish Stuffed Eggplant, here at Foolproof Living, we have an eggplant recipe for every occasion.
Eggplant Parmesan Ingredients
To make this baked eggplant parmesan recipe, you’ll need two sets of ingredients:
Panko-Crusted Eggplant Slices
- Globe eggplants: You can’t make crispy baked eggplant slices without eggplant! I recommend selecting two medium eggplants (about 1 pound each) for this recipe. Globe eggplants tend to be the most common in American grocery stores but if you can get your hands on Italian eggplants, go for it! Still, no matter which eggplants you choose, aim for ones of equal size to ensure even cooking.
- Eggs: Eggs are not only the binder but also the key to making the breading for eggplant parmesan as golden brown and crispy as possible.
- Panko breadcrumbs: You can use panko, pre-seasoned breadcrumbs, or homemade breadcrumbs in this baked breaded eggplant parmesan.
- Gluten-free options: You may also opt for gluten-free breadcrumbs or gluten-free panko to accommodate dietary restrictions. Alternatively, you can use an equal amount of almond flour instead of panko breadcrumbs for gluten-free eggplant parmesan.
- Grated parmesan cheese: If you’re a fan of rich, nutty flavor, then you’ll love preparing your roasted eggplant with parmesan cheese. You’ll need a little over a cup of shredded parmesan cheese to make this recipe.
- Seasoning: To give your baked eggplant parm the savor of a classic Italian dish, I recommend using garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and black pepper.
Baked Eggplant Parmigiana
- Tomato sauce: Like my Panko Chicken Parmesan, I recommend topping this eggplant parm recipe with my go-to homemade basil tomato sauce or your favorite store-bought marinara sauce. My favorite—low-carb and keto-friendly— one is Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce.
- Mozzarella: You can use shredded mozzarella or sliced fresh mozzarella to give this simple eggplant parmesan an irresistibly creamy texture.
- Fresh herbs: Fresh basil leaves and oregano are essential to give this classic bright, garden-fresh flavor. However, dried versions of these herbs would also work.
- Red pepper flakes: I love adding a touch of heat to my eggplant dish with red pepper flakes. However, you can also make a kid-friendly eggplant recipe by omitting this spicy addition.
How to Prep Eggplant for Eggplant Parmesan
There’s no secret to preparing this oven-baked eggplant parmesan recipe. With minimal prep work and maximal flavor, this easy dinner will delight your tastebuds any day of the week. Here are a few frequently asked questions answered to help you along the way:
Should I Salt Eggplant Before Breading?
Because of advances in genetic engineering, if you are buying your eggplants from a grocery store, there’s no need to salt eggplant before breading it. Most modern-day varieties of eggplant are not as bitter as their ancestors. As a result, they don’t require salting to draw out excess liquid or unwanted flavors.
However, you may salt your eggplants if you purchase them from a farmer’s market or want to remove extra bitterness. We have a full tutorial on sweating eggplant, where you can find several methods to salt and sweat your eggplants.
How to Cut Eggplant for Eggplant Parmesan? Should I Peel my Eggplant?
The best way to cut eggplant for parmesan is in rounds or long, lengthwise slices. For more expert tips on slicing eggplant like a pro, check out my guide on how to cut an eggplant.
It’s up to you whether you skin your eggplants before using them in your breaded baked eggplant parmesan. Eggplant skin is edible (and delicious!), but some find older or larger eggplant skin too tough for their taste.
How to Make Eggplant Parmesan in the Oven
If you’ve followed your grandma’s eggplant parmesan for years, you’ll adore this hassle-free oven-roasted version. Rich and delicious, this easy eggplant parmesan recipe comes together in under an hour and a half from start to finish.
Make the Breaded Eggplant
The first step to preparing this easy recipe for eggplant parmesan is to prepare the breaded eggplant slices. Here are the quick steps:
- Heat the oven: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Then, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
- Cut the eggplant: Slice the eggplant into thick rounds (about ½-inch thick each). Set the eggplant slices aside.
- Prep the dredging station: Whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl. Mix the panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and black pepper in another bowl.
- Coat eggplant: Dip each slice of eggplant in the beaten eggs, letting the excess drip off, and then into the panko mixture. Coat each slice on all sides to give your eggplant flavor, gently pushing the pieces into the breadcrumb mixture when necessary.
- Layer the large sheet pan: Transfer the eggplant onto the prepared baking sheets in a single layer of eggplant slices. Lightly spray them with olive oil spray.
- Bake: Place the sheet pans in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then, flip each piece of eggplant, rotate the baking sheets, and bake until lightly brown and tender (10-12 minutes).
- Cool: Remove the eggplant from the oven and set it aside to cool for 5-8 minutes. Leave the oven heated to 400 degrees F.
Layer the Eggplant Parmesan
Layering eggplant parmesan is the key to giving this vegetarian Italian classic its decadent flavor and gorgeous presentation. Throw it in the oven, and voila! Crispy eggplant parmesan baked to perfection. Here are the steps:
- Assemble the eggplant parm: Spread ½ cup of tomato sauce along the bottom of a large casserole dish (I used a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish). Arrange the now-slightly cooled parmesan-baked eggplant slices on top of the sauce in an even layer. Spread the top of the eggplant with a cup of tomato sauce, half of the shredded mozzarella cheese, half of the parmesan cheese, and half of the fresh basil.
- Repeat layering: Add another layer of eggplant slices, then top it with the remaining tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese.
- Bake: Place the eggplant parmesan in the oven and bake until the cheese melts and the top is golden brown (20-25 minutes).
- Serve: Let the oven-baked eggplant parmesan cool on a wire rack. Then, garnish the dish with fresh oregano and the remaining basil. When serving, you may also sprinkle the eggplant with parmesan cheese and a pinch of red pepper flakes, if preferred.
How to Make Ahead, Store, Reheat, and Freeze?
This is the best baked eggplant parmesan recipe for easy meal prep. Enjoy tasty eats whether you prepare this eggplant parmesan as a freezer meal or a same-day dinner.
- Make ahead: There are two ways to prepare this eggplant parmesan beforehand. The first option is to bake the dish the day before you want to serve it, let it cool, and cover it with aluminum foil or stretch film. Then, store the eggplant parm casserole in the fridge until ready to reheat. Otherwise, you can assemble the recipe the day before, cover it, and remove it from the fridge one hour before baking.
- Store: First, let your eggplant parm bake come to room temperature. Then, either cover the leftovers tightly with plastic wrap or transfer them to an airtight container (you can store them as a whole or in individual portions). Your eggplant parm can stay in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Reheat: To reheat this recipe for eggplant parmesan, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and cook the dish for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
- Freeze: Freezing oven-fried eggplant parmesan is a trouble-free way to meal prep in advance. Simply assemble the casserole, but don’t bake it. Then, wrap the dish tightly with aluminum foil and freeze it for up to 2 months. Thaw the eggplant parmesan completely when ready to eat, then bake as usual.
What to Serve with this Oven-Roasted Eggplant Parm?
Countless mouthwatering sides go with this easy, healthy eggplant parmesan recipe. Fill your menu with these five-star pairings, from savory beef to hearty quinoa salad ideas.
- Bread: There’s nothing better than dipping an oven-warm slice of bread in this easy eggplant parmigiana. My Olive Bread is a crusty, no-knead recipe with just five ingredients. Or, serve up Garlic Ciabatta Bread for a buttery Italian take on classic bread recipes.
- Side dishes (for a vegetarian meal): Crisp and healthy, my Classic Caesar Salad and go-to Salad with Spring Mix make excellent pairs with eggplant parm casserole. Short on time? You can also whip up Oven-Roasted Asparagus or Air-Fried Green Beans in just 15 minutes. For a heartier vegetarian side, my Quinoa Tabouli will fill your table with herby, Mediterranean flavors.
- Meat dishes: No combination is as satisfying as this easy eggplant parmesan casserole recipe and a protein-packed main. Meat lovers will adore your classic eggplant parm alongside an elegant Pot Roast, savory Beef Tenderloin, or juicy Turkey Zucchini Meatballs.
Have more questions about this Italian eggplant parmesan recipe? Whether you’re wondering about veggie prep or even “What is eggplant parmigiana?” this guide has everything you need.
Eggplant alla parmigiana (Melanzane alla parmigiana, in Italian) is a traditional Italian dish made by layering fried eggplant, parmesan cheese, and tomato sauce. Though native to Italy, classic eggplant parmesan is famous in America due to versions created by famous chefs and websites like Martha Stewart, Mary Makes It Easy, AllRecipes, Simply Recipes, and Betty Crocker. Healthy and simple, these U.S. versions often bake eggplant slices instead of frying them.
Homemade eggplant parmesan tastes very similar to chicken parmesan. Cheesy, tender, and tomato-rich, this recipe uses many of the same ingredients as chicken parm. Also, because baked eggplant has a very mild taste, it doesn’t interfere with the overall flavor of this basic recipe.
I recommend baking your quick and easy eggplant parmesan at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes to give it a golden brown topping, gooey cheesiness, and warm insides.
It takes 20-25 minutes to bake crispy eggplant parmesan. However, if you bake eggplant parm at 350 degrees F, your casserole will need 40-45 minutes in the oven. Or, set your timer to 30-35 minutes to bake eggplant parm at 375 degrees F.
It is up to you whether you choose to peel your veggies when preparing eggplant for eggplant parmesan. Eggplant skin is safe to eat, but some people prefer to remove it to avoid unwanted toughness.
Some think not salting eggplant during prep will make their oven-fried eggplant parmesan soggy. However, farmers have engineered most modern-day eggplant varieties to eliminate this liquid, so salting them isn’t necessary. If you’re using old-fashioned eggplants (like those from a farmer’s market), you may salt your eggplant and let it sit in a colander to eliminate any excess moisture.
I don’t cover my eggplant parm in the oven. This direct exposure results in a rich, golden-brown topping and a hint of crispiness even though you’re baking the eggplant instead of frying it.
Other Eggplant Recipes You Might Like
Packed with antioxidants, fiber, and potassium, eggplants are one of my favorite healthy ingredients. Now you can satisfy your cravings guilt-free with these crowd-pleasing recipes.
- Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant
- Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta
- Turkish Aubergine Dip
- Baked Eggplant Halves
- Baked Sliced Eggplant
If you try this recipe for Baked Eggplant Parmesan, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan Recipe
For the Baked Eggplant:
- 2 medium-sized globe eggplant rinsed and dried ~1 pound each*
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- ¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
For the Eggplant Parmesan:
- 2 cups Homemade Tomato Basil Sauce or store-bought marinara sauce
- 1 lb mozzarella cheese shredded – approximately 4 cups
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese plus more for serving
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano roughly chopped – optional
- Pinch of red pepper flakes optional
- Prep your equipment: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set them aside.
- Cut the eggplant: Slice eggplant into ½-inch thick slices. Set them aside.
- Set up your dredging station: Place two shallow dishes side by side. Crack and whisk eggs in the first one. Mix panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and black pepper in the second one.
- Prep the eggplant: Dip each eggplant slice in eggs (letting the excess drip off) and then into the panko mixture, making sure that it is coated on all sides. You may have to gently push it down to ensure that the slices are fully coated.
- Transfer to the baking sheet: Transfer onto the parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices. Lightly spray them with cooking spray.
- Bake: Bake for 15 minutes; flip each eggplant round and rotate baking sheets, and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned on top and soft to the touch.
- Cool: Set it aside to cool for 5-8 minutes. Do not turn the oven off.
- Assemble the eggplant parmesan: In a large casserole dish (I used a 9×13 inch baking dish), spread ½ cup tomato sauce at the bottom. Arrange baked crispy eggplant slices on top in an even layer. Spread it with 1 cup of tomato sauce, half of the shredded mozzarella cheese, half of the parmesan cheese, and half of the fresh basil.
- Add additional layers: Add another layer of baked eggplant and spread it with the remaining tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese.
- Bake: Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese has fully melted and the top has turned lightly golden brown.
- Cool, garnish, and serve: Let it cool on a wire rack. Garnish it with fresh oregano and the remaining basil. If desired, sprinkle with a pinch of red pepper flakes and more parmesan cheese when serving.
- Sweating eggplants: If I am buying eggplants from a local grocery store I do not sweat/salt eggplants. The globe eggplants that are widely available in the US markets have their bitterness bred out thanks to modern farming techniques. With that being said, it does not hurt to salt them. I wrote a whole article on when and how to salt eggplants if you want to learn more. If you end up salting your eggplant slices, be sure to dry each slice with a few sheets of paper towels before breading.
- Amount of egg and panko mixture used: Depending on the size of your eggplants, you may have to use a bit more (or less) egg and panko mixture for coating the eggplant slices.
- Taste for seasoning before serving: We intentionally left out salt from the recipe as we use parmesan cheese and tomato sauce that is already salted. However, it is best to give it a taste and adjust the seasoning according to your taste buds.
- Make ahead: To make ahead, you have two options. The first one is to bake the dish the day before you want to serve it, let it cool, and cover it with aluminum foil. Then, store it in the fridge until ready to reheat. Alternatively, you can assemble the recipe the day before, cover it, and remove it from the fridge one hour before baking.
- Store: First, let your leftovers come to room temperature. Then, either cover the leftovers tightly with plastic wrap or transfer them to an airtight container (you can store them as a whole or in individual portions). Your eggplant parmesan can stay in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Reheat: To reheat, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and cook the dish for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
- Freeze: To freeze, assemble the casserole, but don’t bake it. Wrap the dish tightly with aluminum foil and freeze it for up to 2 months. Thaw the eggplant parmesan completely when ready to eat, then bake as usual.
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