An oven-fry method creates this crispy Baked Eggplant Parmesan that rivals any fried version. This is an easy, updated take on the classic Italian dish.
More wholesome recipes we love include my Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats and Italian Stuffed Peppers.
Aaahhh, cheesy Baked Eggplant Parmesan. One of my husband’s favorites. I remember making it for the first time ages ago and wondering how my kids would perceive it. I mean, there’s no meat in it! Not necessarily an easy selling point to four teenage boys.
Because it resembles lasagna they dove right in without even asking what it was… and it was love at first bite. So, there you go!
I find this oven-fry method is easier to prepare than the traditional fried version and it’s definitely a little easier on the waistline without forfeiting any of the delicious flavor or texture. Try it and you’ll see.
Table of contents
- Eggplant – You’ll need a couple of good sized eggplant with a total weight of about 2¼ pounds.
- Salt – For sweating the eggplant.
- Eggs – Three large eggs, beaten.
- Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs – Buying pre-seasoned bread crumbs is a great way to limit the number of ingredients and steps needed.
- Marinara sauce – A 24 to 26 ounce jar of your favorite store-bought marinara sauce.
- Cheese – You could mix things up by using different varieties of Italian cheese but for this recipe I always go with sliced fresh mozzarella and a little Parmesan. Fresh mozzarella has such a luscious, creamy quality and layers nicely on the eggplant stacks.
- Basil – Garnish the Baked Eggplant Parmesan with some sliced fresh basil. If you don’t have any on hand, just sprinkle the top with a little dried basil.
Should I Peel the Eggplant?
Whether you peel eggplant is a personal preference. I love the deep purple color not to mention that there are vitamins and additional flavor in the skin so I prefer unpeeled eggplant for this recipe.
I’ve made this Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe with both peeled and unpeeled eggplant with a good result.
Do I Need to Sweat Eggplant?
Don’t sweat the small stuff, but definitely sweat your eggplant! Sweating is the process of salting your eggplant slices and allowing them to rest for about an hour or more. The salt will pull some of the potentially bitter liquid from the eggplant.
Less moisture in the eggplant slices also helps them to crisp up nicely in the “oven-fry” method in this recipe. Once they’ve sweat, just be sure to rinse them well with cool water to remove the excess salt and blot them dry before breading them.
How to Sweat Eggplant
- Sprinkle some salt on both sides of each slice of eggplant.
- Layer the slices in a colander and place the colander in your sink. Set a heavy dish or pan over the top to weigh them down.
- Allow the eggplant to sweat for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Rinse the slices well with cold water to remove any excess salt and blot them dry with paper towels.
How to Make Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- Bread the eggplant – Lightly whisk the eggs in a shallow dish, like a pie plate. Add the bread crumbs to another shallow dish. Dip the eggplant slices in egg, then in the bread crumbs, pressing the crumbs down with fingers to cover them evenly. Place them in a single layer on the greased baking sheet and lightly spray the tops of the breaded eggplant with nonstick cooking spray.
- Oven-fry the eggplant – Bake at 425 degree F for 10 minutes then carefully flip each slice over and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- Assemble – In a 9- x 13-inch baking dish, spread just enough marinara to cover the bottom of the dish. Place a layer of breaded eggplant slices over the sauce. Cover each slice with a spoon full of marinara, a slice or two of mozzarella, and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (reserve half of the cheeses for top layer). Repeat layering one more time, ending with the remaining cheese. If using dried basil, sprinkle it evenly over the top. If using fresh basil, reserve it for later.
- Bake – Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil (f using) before serving.
This is one of our favorite Italian-inspired meals in this house. I’ve made it countless times and it remains at the top of the list!
More Eggplant Recipes You’ll Love
Julia Child’s Eggplant Pizzas | Kayln’s Kitchen
Eggplant Fries with Marinara Sauce | A Family Feast
Garlic and Roasted Eggplant Hummus | Melanie Makes
Stuffed Eggplant | The Little Kitchen
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Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- 2 eggplant (about 2¼ pounds), sliced ¼-inch thick (you'll need 12 slices)
- salt, as needed
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 8 ounces Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
- 24 ounces marinara sauce
- 16 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup torn fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried basil
- cooking spray
- Sprinkle some salt on both sides of each slice of eggplant. Layer the slices in a colander and place the colander in your sink. Place a heavy dish or pan over the top to press them down. Allow the eggplant to sweat for 30 to 45 minutes. Rinse the slices well with cold water to remove salt and blot them dry with paper towels.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet generously with nonstick cooking spray.
- Dip the eggplant slices in egg, then in the bread crumbs, pressing the crumbs down with fingers to cover them evenly. Place them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and lightly spray the tops of the breaded eggplant with nonstick cooking spray. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes then carefully flip each slice over and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- In a 9- x 13-inch baking dish, spread just enough marinara to cover the bottom of the dish. Place a layer of eggplant slices over the sauce. Cover each slice with a spoon full of marinara, a slice or two of mozzarella, and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (reserve half of the cheeses for top layer). Layer the remaining eggplant slices over the top and add another spoon full of marinara on top of each. Spoon any remaining marinara around the edges of the eggplant stacks then top each stack with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. If using dried basil, sprinkle it evenly over the top. If using fresh basil, reserve it for later.
- Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil, if using.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
Slightly adapted from Allrecipes.com
This post was originally published on September 11, 2011. It has been updated with new photos and an instructional video.
Questions and Reviews
3 eggplant sliced into 1/4″ slices? And I’ll need 12 slices? That’s 3 inches total–less than one medium eggplant. What do I do with all the rest?
One medium eggplant will not yield 12 slices. You might be able to get what you need from two eggplant but I recommend picking up three so you don’t come up short. The video in this post might be helpful to illustrate this.
Same thought here. I am in the middle of this recipe and realized three eggplants (all medium-sized regular eggplant, not Japanese) is WAY too much for two layers in a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. I just finished making Thai Eggplant Salad to use up the rest of the “leftover” eggplant. Three is TOO MANY. (Not to mention $$$ when you buy organic.)
Hey, just wondering if you could sweat the eggplant slices the night before and keep refrigerated?
Hi Janice. I’ve never tried it so can’t say for sure if it would be a good idea or not. My concern would be that the texture of the eggplant could change once it is sliced and open to the air if left for too long.
I purchased some smaller white eggplant from a local farmer the other day. He mentioned they don’t grow large and the flavor is better than the purple. Should I sweat the white eggplant as well? Also, bought a few of the purple. Excited to try them both! Thanks for your detailed recipe and amazing pics!
Hi BJ. I’ve never worked with white eggplant but from what I understand they are milder and less bitter than the purple variety. I can’t say for sure whether they would benefit from the sweating process but I did read that they should be peeled for the best result. Also, for anyone else who may come across this comment, there are two varieties of white eggplant, an edible variety and an ornamental variety meant to be used solely for decorating purposes so be sure you’ve got the correct one if you plan to use it in a recipe. I’d love to hear how this works out for you if you end up using the white eggplant. Thanks so much!
Hello Valerie – thank you for sharing this recipe and the info about sweating the eggplant. I made the dish this evening and am very happy with the outcome. I am indulging in some eggplant while I can. The six-week challenge I begin Monday excludes eggplant from the meal plan. Agin, thanks for sharing!!
You are so welcome! Good luck with the six-week challenge. 🙂
What a phenominal dish! I made it last night for my vegetable-phobic parnter. It was complete silence while we devoured the first servicing. I loved it even more the next day for lunch. Salting and sweating the eggplant meant zero bitter taste. Pre-baked the slices@ 450 degrees for 12 mins on each side. They didn’t really brown, but it didn’t matter. Everything came out perfectly. Used Trader Joes marinara. Super good and reasonably priced. My veggie critic just texted to ask when I was making it again. Thanks, Valerie!
Yay, Scott! They really should brown at 450 degress so hmm…. wondering if they just needed to go a bit longer? But anyway, SO glad you both loved it and thanks so much for your comment. 🙂
Making tonight it’s almost done…
This dish was amazing! The only thing I’d mention is that the nutrition is way off. I put each ingredient into a food tracker program to track for my day and it add some up to 482 calories for 1 serving. No where even close to the 126 as posted. So even though it was totally delish and I’ll make again, it was not a low calorie dish as expected. Bummer!
My husband generally turns up his nose whenever I serve eggplant. This year I grew it in the garden. It’s remarably easy to grow. With a bumper crop, and my picky husband in mind, I went in search of new recipies. This was the first one I’ve tried and it was AMAZING! He actually went in for seconds! I can’t thank you enough.
I’m so glad it passed the test! Thanks for the feedback, Cheri. 🙂
Hrew eggplant for the first time this year, it is so amazingly easy -if anything could be easier than tomatoes, this is it! After I picked my three beautiful eggplants I began to realize – I have no real recipes for them! So glad I found this one. Trying it tonight!
The recipe says double layer, but your picture looks like triple layer. Is it up to the individual?
Hi Kathy. I’m not sure which picture you are looking at but it’s just two layers in all the photos and the video.
I often search for recipes but rarely comment unless I’m incredibly impressed. Guess what….this recipe knocked my socks off! I arrived home from work at 5, picked 2 eggplants off of my home garden plants and started the process….amazing results! Thank you…..keep up the great work!
I’m so glad that you did comment, Rebecca! I’m happy the recipe worked out so well for you and really appreciate the feedback. 🙂
This recipe sounds amazing and I’d like to try it, however, I find it hard to believe it is only 126 calories per serving. The calorie count for the fresh mozzarella is 226. Can you let me know how you calculated the calories per serving? Thanks
The nutrition value is calculated automatically through the plugin that is used to create my recipe cards. I always recommend checking nutrition values for any recipe through your own trusted online nutritional calculator or other methods. See my full nutrition disclosure HERE.
This looks very similar to the way my mother used to make her egg plant Parm. Unfortunately my mother recently died and she took her recipe with her. I remember she used to fry her egg plants that were already breaded and mixed with egg batter prior to baking. Is this something I should try prior to taking step one of your recipe?