Cast iron chicken parmesan is easy to make and delicious! It is breaded, pan fried in just a little oil and then placed in the oven to perfectly melt the cheese on top.
Chicken parmesan is a favorite of mine! I love to make it and I usually order it when we go to Carrabba's for dinner. It has been a favorite since I was a kid, we won't talk about how long ago that was tho.
Making it in cast iron is one of the easiest ways to make it. You pan fry it in a little oil (we do not deep fry it), add the sauce and cheese then the pan goes right to the oven.
We like to bake it until the cheese just starts to brown slightly in spots as shown in the picture.
The ingredients are broken down into 2 sections. We make a simple homemade sauce which we share with you, but it is optional and you can use your favorite!
Chicken breasts - Boneless skinless chicken breasts are best for cast iron chicken parmesan.
Bread crumbs - Use your favorite! Panko or regular will work (and sometimes we use homemade too.)
Flour - We use all purpose flour.
Eggs - Regular large eggs, it is part of the coating for the chicken.
Parmesan cheese - Store bought is best but you can also use freshly grated. It is going into the bread crumbs to coat the chicken.
Garlic powder - No substitutions recommended.
Salt and pepper - Recommended for flavor.
Oil - For pan frying the chicken on the stove. We use olive oil, but you can use your favorite.
Sauce - Use your favorite or the sauce we included in the recipe.
Cheese - We use mozzarella cheese slices, you can cut your own mozzarella if you prefer.
The marinara sauce ingredients
This sauce optional but it's how we make our cast iron chicken parmesan. You can use your favorite homemade sauce or even jarred sauce from the store - you want between 24-29 ounces if using a jarred sauce.
Oil - We recommend olive oil, but you can use your favorite.
Tomato sauce - Usually we use no salt added, if you use regular you may need to adjust the amount of salt.
Diced tomatoes - No substitutions recommended. You can use regular or petite cut. We usually get unsalted for these too, you may need to adjust salt if you do not use unsalted.
Onion - Yellow onion is best here for the sauce, but you can use a sweet onion in it's place.
Garlic - Fresh chopped garlic is best, but you can use garlic powder if needed.
Oregano, basil and parsley - Can substitute with Italian seasoning - 2 teaspoons.
Salt - Adjust as needed to taste. Taste it shortly before adding the chicken.
Making the chicken parmesan
We start the chicken on the stove and only move it to the oven to get a nicely melted cheese. It is easy to make and we will walk you through it!
Prepping the chicken
First thing you want to do is make sure all of your chicken breasts are about the same thickness. I try to get them to be no more then about 1 inch thick so they cook evenly and properly.
Do not use a meat tenderizer for this, but you can carefully use a meat mallet to beat down the chicken (carefully) to even sized pieces. We do not use a mallet here, we just use a heavy pot and carefully flatten the chicken when needed.
Cast iron chicken parmesan is breaded before being fried on the stove.
- Add flour, salt, pepper and garlic to a storage bag - this is our preferred method for an easy even coating. You can do this in a bowl if you prefer.
- Toss the chicken in the flour mixture until it is evenly coated with the flour.
- Dip each piece of chicken in egg mixed with water, one piece at a time.
- Fully coat the chicken pieces with breadcrumbs. I flip the chicken a couple times in the breadcrumbs to get a nice coating. Set aside.
Cooking the chicken
Heat the pan over medium heat. All stoves vary so the times will vary for heating. If it is not hot enough when you add the chicken (it will sizzle), you will likely need to add a couple minutes to cook time. This time can be added on the stove (to the desired crisp on the chicken) or in the oven while melting cheese.
Once the pan is heated, add in your oil. Carefully add in the breaded chicken breasts, it should sizzle and may splatter slightly. We have a splatter shield that we use and love listed in the equipment below.
Cook for about 5-6 minutes and then carefully check to see if it is browning nicely on the bottom. If it is want to flip the chicken, if it hasn't browned much then you want to cook it for another 1-2 minutes before flipping.
After flipping, cook another 5-6 minutes. Carefully check to see if it is browning nicely. If it is, remove from the pan and set aside for a minute.
Pour in the sauce and heat it for about a minute so it is not cold (if you didn't just cook a sauce.) Carefully place the chicken pieces into the sauce and top with cheese. We use 2 slices for each.
Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until the cheese is perfectly melted and the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees. We bake it for about 8-10 minutes here. This depends on the size of the chicken and also you stove/oven will vary from ours.
Remove from oven and let rest at least 5 minutes and serve! We serve cast iron chicken parmesan over pasta here and recommend you try it over pasta as well.
We love a simple marinara sauce and we make this in a separate pot. Then we add it to the pan right after removing the chicken from the pan. This is optional and you can use your favorite sauce in it's place.
We keep the marinara sauce simple that we use for chicken parmesan.
Start by heating up your sauce pot. Add in the oil and chopped onions, sauté for about 3 minutes before adding in the chopped garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes after adding the garlic.
Pour in the tomatoes, tomato sauce and the spices. Stir well and cook at a low simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste and see if you want more spices or not now. Reduce heat to low (or turn off) until the chicken is ready to come out of the pan.
Pour into the cast iron pan and place chicken back into the pan in the sauce. Top with cheese and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until the cheese is melted and the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
Remove from oven and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
What do you serve with chicken parmesan?
We prefer our chicken parmesan served over spaghetti, but you can get pretty creative here with this. Some people like to make sandwiches out of it which is good too. In that case, French fries will go well with it! And then you can dip the fries in the marinara sauce too.
Dinner rolls, garlic bread or Italian bread are other great options too. Don't have dinner rolls? It's ok because you can whip up some cheesy garlic biscuits.
A simple tossed salad always goes great with dinner too, it is simple and delicious.
Frequently asked questions
Yes you can. You can use milk or butter in place of the eggs. Follow steps in the instructions but use butter or milk for the eggs. The flour coating before dipping in the milk will help to create a gummy texture so the breadcrumbs will stick better to the chicken, similar to using the eggs.
Pan frying the chicken so the breading is browned and crispy before adding it to the sauce helps to keep it from getting soggy. When adding the chicken to the sauce, gently place the chicken in and leave the top half out of the sauce.
Try to have your chicken up to or close to 165 degrees before baking in the sauce so it only needs to cook long enough to melt the cheese. The breading will get a little soft in the sauce, but your chicken and breading should not be soggy.
If stored promptly after dinner, it should last up to 3 days in the fridge.
Other great dishes in cast iron
- pan fried chicken - similar to chicken parmesan but no sauce or cheese
- easy breakfast bake with sausage
- cast iron chicken leg quarters
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- Cast iron skillet - We use a 12 inch pan that fits this recipe perfectly. You can use a 13 inch as well, but do not use smaller then a 12 inch pan.
- Splatter shield - This is something I absolutely love! It greatly reduces the amount of oil splattering out all over the stove or all over you. I use it all the time with our pan.
- Meat thermometer - The best way to cook chicken without over or under cooking is to check the temperature after the cook times we provide. It needs to be at 165 degrees. We love this thermometer because it also has a probe for cooking roasts and turkeys.
Cast Iron Chicken Parmesan
- cast iron skillet
- 4 chicken breasts boneless, skinless
- 5 tbsp olive oil see notes
- ⅓ cup flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt see notes
- ¼ teaspoon pepper ground
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1 cup breadcrumbs Italian seasoned recommended
- 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 8 slices mozzarella cheese
Marinara sauce (optional, you can use a 24-29 ounce jar of your favorite sauce)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil enough to barely coat the pot
- 1 small to medium yellow onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- 15 ounces tomato sauce
- 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- ½ teaspoon basil dried
- ½ teaspoon oregano dried
- ½ teaspoon salt see notes
- Preheat oven to 400°FPound chicken down to the same thickness - try for an inch thick. Can skip if chicken isn't too thick.4 chicken breasts
- Mix together flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a gallon size bag.Mix eggs and water in a bowl large enough for dippingMix breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese together in a bowl for dipping1 cup breadcrumbs, 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese, ⅓ cup flour, 2 eggs, 1 Tablespoon water, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- One chicken breast at a time:toss in the bag with the flour to coat it. Put into the egg mix and then into the breadcrumbs to coat the chicken. Set aside.
- Heat up the cast iron pan on medium. Add in the oil and heat for about 1 minute before adding the chicken.5 tbsp olive oil
- The chicken should sizzle when you put it in. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until it is browning nicely on the bottom.Flip and cook another 6-8 minutes, until it is browning nicely.
- Remove from pan and set aside. Add the sauce to the pan and heat it up for about 2 minutes. Gently set the chicken in the sauce, keeping the top out of the sauce.
- Add 2 slices of mozzarella to each chicken breast and place in oven preheated to 400°F. Bake for about 8 minutes until chicken is 165°F and cheese is completely melted.Allow to rest about 5 minutes before serving.8 slices mozzarella cheese
Making the Sauce (optional - you can use your favorite if you prefer)
- It is recommended you make this in a separate pot and I start it before I fry the chicken to make it easier.
- Heat up your sauce pot over medium. Add in the oil and onions, cook for about 3 minutes.Add garlic and cook for another minute.2 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 small to medium yellow onion, 3 garlic cloves
- Add in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt (if using unsalted tomatoes and sauce), basil and oregano.Bring to a slow simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Before removing from heat, taste the sauce to see if you want more seasoning, add as needed. Reduce heat to low (or can turn burner off) until the chicken is ready for the sauce.15 ounces tomato sauce, 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon parsley, ½ teaspoon basil, ½ teaspoon oregano, ½ teaspoon salt