Chicken Eggplant Parmesan is made with breaded, air-fried (or baked) chicken breast and topped with a simple eggplant marinara sauce and fresh mozzarella. It’s high in protein and delicious!
Chicken Eggplant Parmesan
This easy Chicken Eggplant Parmesan is a fun spin on my Chicken Parmesan recipe. I wanted to incorporate eggplant since it’s in season and decided to add it to my sauce, which worked out better than I expected! I made this in the air fryer, but you can also bake it in the oven. It’s so filling and a great way to eat more veggies. I also have a more classic Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan recipe if you don’t like eggplant, and this low-carb Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan recipes if you want to try cooking it a different way and this Lighter Eggplant Parmesan for a vegetarian option.
Why This Recipe Works
- Summer Produce: I love to cook with produce that’s in season because it always tastes the best. With eggplant at its peak right now, adding it to the chicken parmesan sauce is a no brainer.
- Healthy Chicken Parmesan: This meal is lighter than classic chicken parmesan as I use minimal oil and less cheese than most recipes. Plus, using eggplant in the sauce adds extra veggies to every serving.
- Juicy Chicken: The air fryer is my favorite way to cook breaded chicken. It’s always crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
- Filling: It’s high in protein which leaves you satisfied.
Chicken Eggplant Parmesan Ingredients
- Eggplant: Peel and dice one small eggplant into quarter-inch pieces.
- Marinara: Use good-quality or homemade marinara sauce. My favorite brand is DeLallo.
- Salt to season the chicken
- Chicken: You’ll need four small boneless, skinless chicken breasts weighing about six ounces each.
- Egg: Beat one large egg.
- Panko: I prefer seasoned panko to save time and use fewer ingredients. If you only have regular panko, add Italian herbs, onion powder, and garlic powder.
- Cheese: Thinly slice six ounces of fresh mozzarella.
- Basil: Chop fresh basil.
How do you get breading to stick to chicken parmesan?
To get breading to stick to chicken, you must coat the chicken in egg, oil, or butter. These wet ingredients act like glue to ensure the breadcrumbs don’t fall off the chicken.
How to Make Chicken Eggplant Parmesan
- Prep the Chicken: Pound the thicker end of the chicken so they are even thickness. Then pound the entire breast to half-inch thickness and season with salt.
- Dredge the Chicken: Put the panko and egg in large shallow bowls. Dip the chicken in the egg, letting the excess drip off. Next, dip it into the breadcrumbs.
- Eggplant Marinara: Meanwhile, heat the tomato sauce over medium-low heat in a large deep skillet. Once it simmers, add the eggplant, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes until it’s soft.
- Air Fry Chicken: While the sauce simmers, spray the chicken with olive oil and place it in the air fryer basket. Air fry at 370°F for 5 minutes on each side until golden. Repeat the process with the remaining breasts. Once done, put foil in the basket and transfer the cooked chicken, in batches as needed back to the AF basket. Top each with sauce and cheese and air fry about 3 minutes until the cheese is melted. Repeat with the remaining chicken and garnish with fresh basil.
No air fryer? No problem!
- Preheat the oven to 450°F, and spray a large baking sheet with oil.
- Place the breaded chicken on the pan and lightly spray it with oil.
- Bake for 25 minutes and remove it from the oven.
- Spoon some sauce and cheese over each piece, and bake for 5 more minutes to melt the mozzarella.
What to Serve with Chicken Eggplant Parmesan
- Pasta: Serve this chicken parmesan over pasta or zoodles with extra sauce.
- Sandwich: Make a chicken parmesan sandwich with a hoagie roll or baguette.
- Vegetable Sides: Pair this dish with sauteed zucchini, roasted asparagus, or wilted spinach. This easy side salad or lemony hearts of palm salad would also be good.
How to Store Chicken Parmesan
Leftover chicken parmesan will last up to four days in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer. To reheat, air fry the chicken for three to five minutes until warm.
More Chicken Breast Recipes You’ll Love
- Spicy Vodka Chicken Parmesan
- Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Broccoli
- Chicken Breast with Hot Cherry Peppers
- Chicken Parmesan Lasagna
- Baked Pesto Chicken Breast
Chicken Eggplant Parmesan
- 3 cups diced eggplant, from 1 small, peeled and diced 1/4-inch
- 2 cups marinara sauce, homemade or good quality, such as Delallo
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 small organic boneless skinless chicken breasts, 6 oz each
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 cup seasoned panko
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced very thin
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- Heat marinara sauce over medium-low heat in a large deep skillet and bring to a simmer. Add the eggplant, cover and cook about 5 to 6 minutes, until the eggplant is soft.
- Pound thicker end of chicken to even thickness then pound out the whole breast to 1/2 inch thickness, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Place panko in a large shallow bowl and the egg in another. Dip the chicken in egg, letting the excess drip off then into the breadcrumbs.
- Spray the chicken with olive oil and transfer to the air fryer basket.
- Air fry chicken in a single layer 370F about 5 minutes on each side, until golden, in batches as needed. When done set aside.
- Place foil in the basket and transfer the chicken back into the basket, in batches as needed.
- Top each with about 3/4 cup sauce, divide the cheese and air fry until the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining chicken and garnish with fresh basil. Serve hot.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F, and spray a large baking sheet with oil. Place the breaded chicken on the pan and lightly spray it with oil. Bake for 25 minutes and remove it from the oven. Spoon some sauce and cheese over each piece, and bake for 5 more minutes to melt the mozzarella.