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
Delicious, I’ll make again. Thank you.
I often go to your site to read a new recipe, thanks for teaching me how to cook delicious and healthy food.
Can i prepare this dish a few days ahead of time.
I wouldn’t recommend it. Anything breaded will have a tendency to get soggy after sitting in liquid for several days.
This recipe was easy to make and delicious. I definitely did not miss the breading. I also loved the sauce! The balsamic was a wonderful addition. Can’t wait to eat the leftovers today!
I have tried and exactly what you described. Frying with the oven is still delicious and easy to make
I made this dish with non-dairy cheese, made it a great VEGAN recipe that everyone enjoyed!
Thank Valerie, Never had eggplant before, i saw this and it looked delicious. I want to try it.
I prepared this last night and it was delicious. I actually only used 1 eggplant. I will definitely make again.
This is the best eggplant parmesan recipe I have ever made! It not only tastes delicious but also looks beautiful when served. The directions were easy to follow and the video was a bonus! I look forward to trying more of your recipes! Thank you
I love to cook and I am always looking for new recipes for my menu, which makes me always interested in my work. Today’s my lucky day, the Baked Eggplant Parmesan is great, just follow the instructions and everything is easy, I like it. Thanks for your sharing
I made this exactly like your recipe instructed. It was the best eggplant parm that I have ever eaten. No more looking for an Italian restaurant after Italian restaurant to find a great one anymore. I have made the best one in my very own kitchen. Thank you so much. The search is over. You’ve made me a happy woman.
I love this recipe. It’s my go to and I freeze the leftovers for lunch at work.
Going to make this right now. My mouth is watering. Thank you.