Parmesan Crusted Chicken is a healthy weeknight dinner that the whole family will love. Chicken breast coated with Italian breadcrumbs and grated parmesan is perfectly crispy on the outside, and perfectly juicy on the inside.
A Healthy Weeknight Dinner with a Crispy Crunch!
Chicken breast is one of those tricky foods. It seems easy to cook, but all too often, you end up with a dry, sawdust-y piece of chicken that no one really wants to eat. Yuck. But this recipe will put an end to all of that – with a quick sear and bake, the chicken ends up beautifully cooked without that dry texture.
For an added benefit, you get the yumminess of fried chicken without the frying! Breading the chicken and then searing it in coconut oil (or another high-heat, healthy cooking oil of your choice) seals in the moisture, and adds a crunchy bite that everyone will love. The oven does the rest!
What Is Parmesan Crusted Chicken Made Of?
- Chicken Breasts: Look for boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You could use thighs, if you prefer, but I think chicken breasts really shine in this dish.
- Egg: An egg beaten with a bit of water helps bind the breading mixture to the chicken.
- Breadcrumbs: Italian breadcrumbs. You can use gluten-free breadcrumbs to make this a gluten-free recipe, if you like (be sure to check the other ingredient labels, as well).
- Parmesan Cheese: Grated parmesan, both for the breading mixture and to sprinkle on top of the finished dish.
- Parsley: Dried or fresh.
- Salt and Pepper
- Coconut Oil: Or another cooking oil of your choice.
- Marinara Sauce: I used Schiavone’s Marinara.
Is Marinara Sauce the Same as Tomato Sauce?
No, marinara is not quite the same as those boxes or cans of tomato sauce that you see at the store. However, it’s not that different, either! Basically, marinara is tomato sauce that has been “dressed up” with some seasonings, some garlic, that kind of thing. It’s meant to be a light, simple sauce with a zesty flavor.
I use Schiavone’s Marinara, which was my mother-in-law’s favorite. her father (my husband’s grandfather) used to run an Italian grocery store out of Dayton, Ohio, and he sold Schiavone’s in his store because the sauce was made by a local Italian family. Today, I find it in Kroger’s grocery stores on the spaghetti aisle, usually on the top shelf.
How to Make Parmesan Crusted Chicken
I love the way this recipe turns out, but I also love how easy the cooking process is. It’s as easy as falling off a log – but a whole lot healthier. Ha! Here’s how to do it:
- Get Ready to Bake. First, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 400°F. Take your broiler pan, and give it a spray with some nonstick cooking spray. Set this aside for now.
- Prepare the Chicken and Breading. Next, sprinkle both sides of your chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Set the chicken aside, and then combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan, and parsley in a shallow bowl. Stir to combine, and set this aside as well. Finally, whisk the egg with water and set that aside, too.
- Bread the Chicken. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, and add the coconut oil. Bread the chicken, one piece at a time, by dipping it first in the egg (allow the excess to drip off) and then in the breadcrumb mix.
- Sear the Chicken. Lay the pieces of chicken in the hot pan, cooking for 4 – 5 minutes per side or until the breading is golden-brown. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan.
- Bake! Place the seared chicken on the broiler pan, and bake in the preheated oven for about 28 – 30 minutes, or until done.
- Serve and Enjoy! Place the chicken on a serving plate, and top with warmed marinara and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan.
Tips for Success
I hope you’re feeling inspired to try this easy, family-friendly, weeknight meal. If so, be sure to read through these helpful tips, as well – they will help to ensure your dish is a satisfying success.
- Low-Carb Chicken: For a low-carb version of this dish, try using pork rind panko crumbs instead of regular breadcrumbs.
- Marinara: If you don’t want to use marinara, that’s totally fine! This recipe would also be great with barbecue sauce, honey mustard, or even ranch on the side, for dipping.
- Doneness: You can test whether or not the chicken is done by cutting into it, of course – the juices should run clear and the meat should be white without any pink left. But if you don’t want to cut into the chicken, you can use a meat thermometer instead. My favorite meat thermometer is an instant-read one. Chicken should reach 165°F.
What to Eat with Parmesan Crusted Chicken
You can serve this chicken with the marinara and a green salad for a simple, fuss-free dinner. It will be totally easy and restaurant-worthy! For something a little more special than a plain salad, try one or two of these easy sides:
- Radish Salad: Radishes are so under-appreciated, don’t you think? This sharp, fresh veggie is great in all kinds of dishes, but one of my favorites is Orange and Radish Salad. The sweet juiciness of orange perfectly contrasts crunchy, pungent radish.
- Green Beans: Some beautiful haricots verts (small, young green beans) are always a treat, steamed and topped with butter and salt. These Holiday Green Beans with bacon, cranberries, and goat cheese are also amazing, and so easy to make.
- Bok Choy: Speaking of greens, there’s no easier way to eat your greens than by making this ultra-simple, gorgeous Roasted Bok Choy. Roasting truly brings out the best in this crunchy veggie.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Leftover parmesan crusted chicken can be stored for up to four days in your refrigerator. Keep it in an airtight container for the best results.
To reheat, place in a preheated 350F oven until the chicken is warmed through. Don’t cook it too long though, or it will dry out!
Can I Freeze This?
Yes, if you want to freeze your Parmesan crusted chicken, that’s totally doable. Just cool it down, and then place it in the freezer on a baking sheet until frozen solid. Transfer the frozen chicken to freezer bags, and freeze for up to three months. Defrost in the refrigerator before reheating. (It’s best to freeze the chicken without the marinara topping.)
Parmesan Crusted Chicken
- Broiler Pan
- 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2.5 lbs)
- 1 egg beaten
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs (gluten free) (use 1 generous cup)
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese plus extra, for topping
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley or 3 tablespoons fresh
- Pinch kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Marinara sauce I used Schiavone’s Marinara
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Spray a broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
- Place breadcrumbs, parmesan and parsley in one bowl.
- In a second bowl, place egg and water and whisk to combine.
- Heat heavy skillet (I like to use cast iron) over medium-high heat and add coconut oil.
- Place one breast at a time in egg mix, allow excess egg mixture to drip off.
- Place breast in breadcrumb mix to coat.
- Add chicken breast to hot pan. Make sure to not over crowd pan.
- Cook 4-5 minutes until crumbs are browned and then flip and cook an additional 4-5 minutes on second side.
- Transfer chicken to broiler pan.
- Once all breasts are transferred to pan, bake for 28-30 minutes.
- Add chicken to serving plate and top with warmed marinara and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan.
- Storing: Leftover parmesan crusted chicken can be stored for up to four days in your refrigerator. Keep it in an airtight container for the best results.
- Reheating: To reheat, place in a preheated 350°F oven until the chicken is warmed through. Don’t cook it too long though, or it will dry out!