If you love chicken and you love cheese, you will love a good dish of chicken parmesan! Serve this over pasta to make it a complete dinner that is easy to make. This goes right from stove top to oven so it melts the cheese perfectly.
Have you ever had chicken parmesan before? It is a mix of breaded chicken, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. I use parmesan cheese in mine, but funny that a lot of people do not. I mean it's in the name!
Get your cast iron pan (or oven safe pan) out and let's get to cooking this amazing dinner. I used a 12 inch here and it is plenty big enough as you can see.
How do you make chicken parmesan from scratch?
Making chicken parmesan is actually quite easy. It is a combination of breaded chicken, sauce and melted cheese.
There are a few ways to make it, but to keep it with a slight crisp to the breading I fry it first. Some people bake it without frying and that is ok as well, we just think it is better with a little crisp to the breading first!
In this recipe, we bread the chicken first. Then pan fry it a few minutes on each side before making the sauce. The chicken comes out of the pan for making the sauce. Then we place the chicken back in the pan carefully, top with cheese and bake for 8-10 minutes.
Using a pan like cast iron is ideal here because it can go right from stove top to the oven with no worries.
When pan frying grease can splatter. Along with being very cautious, we recommend using a splatter screen to keep it from getting on you or all over the stove. You should use it when frying on the stove.
Prepping the chicken
First thing you need to do is bring the chicken out and pound it down. It will cook evenly if it is pounded to the same thickness. I like to place a long sheet of wax paper over my meat cutting board. As a note, my meat cutting board is bamboo. Do not use a glass cutting board for this! If you only have glass cutting boards, you will have to use another surface that can handle a little bit of a pounding.
I place the chicken one piece at a time on the wax paper and fold the paper over the chicken. Then I take a heavy duty stainless steel pot and pound down on the chicken. Don't judge, it works haha! And well, it is a great stress relief too.
Let the chicken sit out for a total of at least 15 minutes before breading.
Breading the chicken the easy way
Chicken parmesan is breaded with breadcrumbs. This is pretty easy, tho a little messy. I often use gallon storage bags for the flour mix. You can use one for the bread crumb mix too, but I think a dish works better for them.
Mix the flour, salt and pepper together in a bag. Salt is optional here, but I use unsalted bread crumbs and find it necessary to add some. In a bowl big enough to dip chicken in, mix the eggs and water with a fork. Last mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese together in a bowl or gallon size bag. Your dipping station is now set up.
Take the chicken one piece at a time and shake it in the flour bag. Next dip it in the egg mix and immediately into the breadcrumbs to coat well. Place on a dish until ready to go in the pan.
Cooking the chicken
Heat up the cast iron pan for about 2 minutes on medium. Add the oil and let it heat up for another minute or 2. I use olive oil so I am very careful not to overheat. If using stainless steel, you can even add the oil right away. I personally do not heat my stainless steel pans up before adding any fat, but you do want to heat it up before adding the chicken.
Once heated up, add the chicken. It should sizzle when you add the chicken, if not you will need to add a couple minutes to cook time. Cook for 6 minutes and flip. Everybody's stove is different so if you usually cook with cast iron, use your normal heat up times for the pan.
Cook for another 6 minutes and remove from pan. If you are using sauce that is already made, add the sauce to the pan and heat it up for a minute or 2. If you are making the sauce we use, the recipe is below with the rest of the recipe. Place the chicken in the sauce without getting sauce on the top of the chicken:
Add 2 slices (or preferred amount) of mozzarella cheese to the top of each chicken breast and place in the oven preheated to 400 degrees F. Bake about 8 minutes - until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly. Chicken should have an internal temperature of 165.
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.
Other great dishes in cast iron
- pan fried chicken - similar to chicken parmesan but no sauce or cheese
- pork chops with mushrooms in a cream sauce
- cast iron chicken leg quarters
- cast iron skillet
- 4 chicken breasts boneless, skinless
- ⅓ cup flour
- ¼ tsp salt see notes
- ¼ tsp pepper ground
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
- 5 tbsp olive oil see notes
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp water
- 8 slices mozzarella cheese
Marinara sauce (optional, you can use a 24 ounce jar of your favorite sauce)
- ½ cup yellow onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- 15 oz tomato sauce no salt added
- 14.5 oz diced tomatoes no salt added garlic, basil and oregano
- ½ tsp salt see notes
- ½ tsp basil dried
- ½ tsp oregano dried
- 1 tsp parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400°FPound chicken down to the same thickness - try for an inch thick
- Mix together flour, 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 dipping
- 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 for about 2 minutes before adding oil for a minute - keep an eye on the pan if oil just starts to smoke, add the chicken. If using a stainless steel pan, be sure it is oven safe to 400°. Heat the oil (I put the oil right into the pan to heat up - no pan preheat is required) for about 2 minutes before adding chicken.
- The chicken should sizzle when you put it in. Cook for 6 minutes and flip. It should be starting to brown on the bottom.Cook for another 6 minutes.
- Remove from pan and set aside. If using jarred sauce, add the sauce to the pan and heat it up for about 2 minutes. Gently set the chicken in the sauce, keeping one side out of the sauce.If making the sauce, jump to the section for 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.
Making the Sauce (optional - you can use your favorite if you prefer)
- When you take the chicken out, place it on a dish close to the oven so it doesn't lose too much heat. I don't cover or it chances losing the crispy top.
- Keep the pan on medium and add the onions to the oil that is left from cooking the chicken. Cook for about 2 minutes.Add garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt (if using unsalted tomatoes and sauce), basil and oregano.Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken gently keeping one side out of the sauce.
- Place 2 slices of mozzarella cheese on each chicken breast and place in the oven.Bake at 400°F for about 8 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165° and the cheese is melted.Allow to rest about 5 minutes before serving.