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Eggplant Parmesan


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Eggplant Parmesan is an Italian dish made with baked breaded eggplant, marinara sauce and cheese, all layered together and baked until golden brown. This easy eggplant parmesan recipe is simple to prepare and so delicious!

Serving of eggplant parmesan on a spatula held over the baking dish.

Eggplant parmesan is one of the best comfort foods. It’s similar to Chicken Parmesan, but features slices of breaded eggplant instead of chicken breasts. This eggplant parmesan recipe is surprisingly simple to make.

You start by coating the eggplant in flour, egg and Italian breadcrumbs and then bake it in the oven until the coating is golden brown and crispy. Then the eggplant is layered with marinara sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. The casserole is baked until it’s hot and bubbly, with an irresistible golden brown cheesy crust. You are going to love it!

An Easy Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

This baked eggplant parmesan recipe is easy to make, thanks to these time-saving tips: 

  • You don’t have to salt or sweat the eggplant. Many eggplant parmesan recipes call for salting the eggplant and then letting it rest for an hour or more to “sweat” out excess moisture. I’ve made eggplant parmesan both with this salting step and without, and we could not taste a difference in the finished dish. So we’re skipping the extra step to save time and effort! (I do recommend sweating the zucchini for this Zucchini Casserole recipe, however, since in that recipe it really makes a difference.)
  • Baked, not fried. Instead of frying the breaded eggplant in oil on the stove, this recipe calls for baking the eggplant in the oven to get it nice and crispy. Baking is easier, less messy, and healthier, too!
  • Store-bought marinara sauce is a flavorful time-saver. While I love making a good homemade Marinara Sauce to spoon over pasta, when I’m making a casserole or Lasagna I typically choose to save time by using a jar of marinara sauce from the grocery store. Choose a good quality sauce and it will bring lots of delicious flavor to the meal.

Close up of baked eggplant parmesan in a white baking dish.

Ingredients

The ingredient list for this recipe is relatively short. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Eggplant: Choose eggplant that feel heavy for their size and are slightly firm (not soft) with smooth, shiny skin. Avoid very large eggplant, as they can be more bitter. You do not need to peel eggplant, and you’ll slice it into 1/2-inch thick rounds for this recipe. 
  • Flour: Coating the eggplant in flour helps the egg to stick.
  • Eggs: You’ll beat eggs with a little water and then dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture. The eggs act as a glue to help the breadcrumbs stick.
  • Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs: To make a crispy coating on the eggplant slices. Using seasoned breadcrumbs is an easy way to add flavor to the dish.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Parmesan is mixed into the breadcrumbs and also sprinkled over the eggplant in the casserole before baking. A double dose of Parmesan brings lots of cheesy flavor. 
  • Black Pepper: To season the breadcrumb and Parmesan mixture.
  • Marinara Sauce: For layering with the eggplant and cheese.
  • Mozzarella Cheese: The mozzarella melts as the casserole bakes in the oven, bringing plenty of gooey, cheesy goodness to this baked eggplant parmesan.
  • Fresh Basil: For garnishing the dish before serving. 

Can you make eggplant parmesan gluten-free? To make this dish gluten-free, use a gluten-free flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs.

How to Make Eggplant Parmesan

  1. Gather 3 wide, shallow bowls (such as pie plates). In one, place the flour. In the second, beat together the eggs and water. In the third, combine the Italian breadcrumbs, Parmesan and pepper. Three bowls, one with flour, one with eggs and one with breadcrumbs, parmesan and pepper.
  2. Coat each eggplant slice in the flour and then dip in the egg. Two photos showing how to coat eggplant slices first in flour and then in egg.
  3. Then coat the eggplant slices in the breadcrumb mixture and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Two photos, the first shows coating eggplant in breadcrumbs and the second shows breaded eggplant slices on baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 400° F for 20 minutes, until golden brown. You don’t need to flip the eggplant over during the baking time.
  5. Spread some marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Lay half of the eggplant slices in a single layer in the dish. Spreading marinara sauce over breaded eggplant in baking dish.
  6. Spoon on marinara sauce and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan. Mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top of first layer of eggplant and sauce in baking dish.
  7. Repeat the layer once more: eggplant, marinara, mozzarella and Parmesan.
  8. Bake at 375° F for 25-28 minutes, until nicely browned on top. Serve with chopped fresh basil. 

Serving Suggestions

This hearty vegetarian dish is fairly filling, so I typically serve just a salad on the side. You might enjoy this Caprese Salad, Italian Salad or this simple Arugula Salad. If you want to add one more side dish to the meal, I recommend slicing up a loaf of crusty bread to serve with butter or olive oil, or make a batch of Garlic Bread or Garlic Knots.

Baked eggplant parmesan topped with fresh basil in a white baking dish.

Make Ahead Tips

  • One Day Ahead: You can assemble the casserole up to one day ahead of time and then store it in the refrigerator, covered, before baking. When you’re ready to bake it, take the casserole out of the fridge while the oven preheats, uncover the dish and bake as directed in the recipe, adding a few minutes to the bake time as needed to get it hot through the center.
  • To Freeze: Assemble the casserole (do not bake) and cover with plastic wrap, putting the plastic close to the top of the casserole to minimize air exposure. Then wrap tightly with foil (or cover with a lid if your baking dish has one). Freeze for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to bake it, thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight. Take it out of the oven 30-45 minutes before baking to take the chill off and bake as directed in the recipe.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

  • Refrigerator: Store leftover baked eggplant parmesan in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freezer: Store leftover baked eggplant parmesan in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • To Reheat: Reheat individual servings in the microwave or reheat in a covered dish in a 350° F oven until hot.

Serving of eggplant parmesan on a white plate topped with grated parmesan and fresh basil.

More Favorite Italian Recipes

If you love this eggplant parmesan, try one of these delicious Italian-inspired dinner recipes next:

Looking for more eggplant recipes? Try this Grilled Eggplant.

Eggplant Parmesan

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword eggplant parmesan, eggplant parmesan recipe, eggplant recipes
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Servings 8 servings
Calories 290kcal
This Eggplant Parmesan is a delicious meatless main dish! Breaded eggplant is baked until crispy and then layered with marinara sauce and cheese. The casserole is then baked until the cheese is melty and golden brown.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplant (1 ½ pounds total, sliced into ½-inch thick rounds)
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • fresh basil (optional, for serving)

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Gather 3 wide, shallow dishes (such as pie plates). In one dish, place the flour. In the second, whisk together the eggs and water. In the third, stir together the breadcrumbs, half of the Parmesan cheese and the pepper.
  • Coat the eggplant slices first in the flour and gently tap off any excess flour. Then dip in the egg, fully coating both sides of the eggplant slices. Finally, coat each piece of eggplant with the breadcrumb mixture and place in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown. You do not need to flip the eggplant slices over during the bake time. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 375° F.
  • Spread about 1 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking dish. Lay half of the eggplant slices in a single layer over the bottom of the dish. Spoon half of the remaining marinara sauce over the eggplant, gently spreading it into a somewhat even layer. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella and half of the remaining Parmesan cheese.
  • Repeat the layer once more, using the remaining eggplant, marinara, mozzarella and finally Parmesan on top.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 375° F for 25-28 minutes, until the casserole has browned on top. Serve with chopped fresh basil.

Notes

  • Store leftover baked eggplant parmesan in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • To Make Ahead: You can assemble the casserole up to one day ahead of time and then store it in the refrigerator, covered, before baking. When you’re ready to bake it, take the casserole out of the fridge while the oven preheats, uncover the dish and bake as directed in the recipe, adding a few minutes to the bake time as needed to get it hot through the center.
  • To Freeze: Assemble the casserole (do not bake) and cover with plastic wrap, putting the plastic close to the top of the casserole to minimize air exposure. Then wrap tightly with foil (or cover with a lid if your baking dish has one). Freeze for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to bake it, thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight. Take it out of the oven 30-45 minutes before baking to take the chill off and bake as directed in the recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 971mg | Potassium: 558mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 779IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 285mg | Iron: 3mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
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