Eggplant parmesan is an easy, tasty way to incorporate eggplant into your weekly meal plan.
Packed with flavor and nutrients, this classic Italian dish will be a family favorite.
And here, I have all the best tips for making your own delicious eggplant parmesan. Everything from slicing the eggplant to layering it with cheese and sauce.
I’ll take you step by step through everything you need to know about making this savory, saucy, cheesy Italian favorite.
Eggplant parm is traditional Italian comfort food at its finest. It’s layer upon layer of crisp, breaded eggplant with robust sauce and gooey cheeses.
It’s full of classic Italian flavors and combines various distinct textures.
It’s also hearty enough to serve as a stand-alone meal.
Plus, it’s a gorgeous, high-quality meal perfect for even formal occasions.
Fortunately, it’s simple enough to make for weeknight meals. Whatever the occasion, you’re sure to love it.
Despite the flavorful heartiness of this dish, it requires only seven ingredients:
- Eggplants. They’re the stars of the show. You just can’t have eggplant parmesan without them. Select slightly firm, smooth, and shiny ones with no blemishes.
- Eggs. You’ll dip the eggplant slices in the eggs to help hold the breadcrumbs in place.
- Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs. For breading the eggplant and making it crunchy.
- Spaghetti sauce. Whatever brand/flavor you like best is fine. Be sure NOT to get a meat-based sauce if you want a vegetarian-friendly dish.
- Cheeses. To make your eggplant parm extra cheesy, use both mozzarella and parmesan. They make it ooey, gooey, and delicious.
- Dried basil. For that extra kick of Italian flavor.
How to Make Eggplant Parmesan
Here’s how you’ll make eggplant parmesan:
1. Prepare. Start by prepping your ingredients and equipment.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat two large eggs, leaving them in a bowl by themselves.
Measure out and pour the breadcrumbs into a second bowl. Peel and slice the eggplant, and shred the cheeses if you didn’t buy pre-shredded.
Have everything ready to go, and the process goes much smoother.
2. Bread. Bread the eggplant by dipping it first in the eggs, then the breadcrumbs. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet.
3. Bake. Bake the battered eggplant slices for 5 minutes in the preheated oven. Then, flip them over and bake them for another 5 minutes.
4. Layer. Next, you’ll prepare the dish in its final form. Spread spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a baking dish.
Then, add a single layer of eggplant. Top that with your two cheeses.
Then, repeat the process, layering the ingredients until you’ve used all the eggplant.
The top layer should be mozzarella and parmesan. Add a final sprinkle of basil on top of that layer.
5. Bake. Bake the dish again at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It should take about 35 minutes for the cheese to melt and the eggplant slices to turn golden brown.
6. Serve. Remove the dish from the oven and allow it to cool for a couple of minutes. Then, transfer the eggplant parmesan to individual serving plates.
Top with any desired garnishes, and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks
Here are a few tips to remember while selecting your eggplant and preparing the recipe:
- Buy fresh, smaller-sized eggplants. Smaller eggplants work best for this recipe. Also, look for those especially shiny ones without any soft, dented areas.
- Prepare the eggplant promptly and correctly. Eggplant stays fresh for only a short time, so don’t wait longer than a day after buying it to prepare it. Slice it into relatively thin (1/2-inch) slices so that it cooks properly.
- Salt the eggplant before baking it. Salt your eggplant slices before baking them. (Up to an hour before if possible.) It draws out some of the eggplant’s natural water, ensuring a crispier slice after baking. Be sure to wipe the salt away BEFORE baking, though.
- To peel or not to peel. This recipe advises you to peel the eggplant before slicing it. I don’t always do that. I enjoy leaving the peel on. It tastes great and provides a better overall texture.
- Select breadcrumbs to suit your tastes. The recipe calls for Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs, which are excellent. However, you could swap those for your favorite breadcrumbs or homemade breadcrumbs.
- Don’t over sauce. Ensure each layer of sauce isn’t too thick. If it is, the eggplant will absorb too much of it and become soggy. Less is definitely more in this recipe.
- Swap out the sauce. If spaghetti sauce isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Swap it out for marinara or something else. I prefer red sauces to white, but you could even use a creamy bechamel if you prefer.
As mentioned, eggplant parmesan is an excellent stand-alone dish. It doesn’t necessarily require sides.
Still, a fresh garden salad and garlicky breadsticks never hurt anyone!
Here are some of my other favorite pairings for this Italian classic:
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Roasted Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or cauliflower
- Caesar salad
- Bean sprouts, green beans, or snow peas
- Grilled zucchini
- Grilled portobello mushroom
- A light soup
- Button mushrooms
- Antipasto platter or salad
- Caprese skewers
- Meatballs or Italian sausage
Check out this article for even more ideas about what to serve with eggplant parmesan.
How to Store Eggplant Parmesan
If you have any leftovers, don’t toss them out! Storing eggplant parmesan is simple.
- To store. Transfer cooled eggplant parmesan to an airtight container. Seal it, and pop it in the fridge. The leftovers should remain fresh for 5 to 7 days.
- To reheat single servings. Transfer however much you want to a microwave-safe plate. Heat in 1-minute increments at 100% power.
- To reheat chilled leftovers. Warm the entire dish in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Watch them closely. When the cheese starts to bubble, they’re ready.
- To freeze. Place the leftovers in an airtight container, date the container, and put it flat in the freezer. Use them within 2 months of freezing for best results.
- To reheat frozen leftovers. Reheat the leftovers directly from frozen. Set the oven temp to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and heat for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
- To make ahead. Prepare everything in a freezer-safe baking dish. Follow the recipe, but stop before the final baking. Then, wrap the baking dish in a layer of plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to a month.
- To bake a frozen make-ahead meal. Allow uncooked eggplant parm to thaw completely before baking it. Then, bake it according to the recipe.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?