Chicken Parmigiana




  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
  • 5 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (powder, not shreds)
  • all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 32 ounces traditional pasta sauce
  • 10 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch chunks


  1. With a sharp knife, split chicken breasts in half horizontally. Pound the breast halves with a meat pounder to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Put the chicken in a large zipper-lock bag.
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups buttermilk and 1 tablespoon minced garlic in a mixing bowl. Season with 2 tablespoons salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Mix everything together then pour into the bag, making sure all the chicken gets coated. Squeeze the air out and seal. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and at most, overnight.
  3. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, mix 2 cups Italian breadcrumbs with 4 ounces of the grated Parmesan cheese until combined fully. Start with 2 tablespoons of buttermilk and drizzle over the mixture, mixing it together with your fingertips. The mixture should be crumbly but if you smoosh it together with your hands, it should hold together in clumps. If it’s not doing that, add another tablespoon of buttermilk and mix with your fingertips until it binds together when you smoosh it.
  4. In a second dish or pie plate, add 1.5 cups flour. In a third pie plate, whisk together the 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon flour and 2 tablespoons buttermilk.
  5. Take one piece of chicken out of the bag with one hand and add it to the flour. Turn to coat with the same hand, shake off the excess, then drop into egg mixture. Using the other hand, turn the chicken to coat in the egg mixture, drip off any excess, then add to breadcrumb mixture. Using your first hand, pile the crumbs on top of the chicken and then press down firmly so a thick layer adheres. Flip and press. Put the chicken somewhere where it won’t stick, like a wire rack or a piece of parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the chicken pieces.
  6. Toss the mozzarella cubes and a tablespoon of parmesan cheese together and set aside.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Take a large non-stick or cast-iron skillet and add 1/2 cup oil over medium-high heat. If you have an instant-read thermometer, get the oil to 375°F to 400°F. Working in batches, add the chicken moving away from you into the oil. Add two if your pan can fit two.
  8. Cook until the chicken is golden-brown and crisp on the bottom side. You’ll see the edges start to get nice and brown. Using a spatula and a fork, carefully flip the chicken over and cook until it’s golden brown on the other side. When they’re cooked, transfer the chicken onto a paper-towel-lined plate and cook the rest of the chicken in the same manner.
  9. Take 1/3 of the pasta sauce and spread it on the bottom of a casserole or other oven-safe serving dish. Put the cooked pieces on top of the sauce. Take the rest of the sauce and cover the chicken with it. Put the parmesan-coated mozzarella over the chicken, right down the center.
  10. Move it to the oven and bake until the cheese is melty and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle a little more parmesan on top. Let it cook for 5 minutes and serve over pasta. Also, apologize to your spouse for the giant mess you made in the kitchen.


The process of swapping hands when breading something is probably the best way to bread things for frying without having to wash your hands every time. Here’s a good video demonstrating how it’s done.

If you don’t have an instant-read meat thermometer, you should get one. They’re very nice. This is the one we have. This is not an affiliate link. Go nuts and give Amazon all your money.

Chicken Parmigiana isn’t named as such because it uses Parmesan cheese—you could easily leave it out. The dish originated from Parma in Italy.