When your schedule is hectic and you need a hot, comfort food kind of easy dinner, here is the solution. Skip the Italian restaurant and make this easy chicken parmesan recipe the whole family will enjoy. Made with golden chicken breast cutlets, pasta sauce, and parmesan. It’s the answer to what’s for dinner.
The beauty of basic recipes is that they work in a variety of ways, like building blocks, to create different meals. I’ve taken two of my basic recipes, the Golden Chicken Cutlets and 30 Minute Pasta Sauce and combined them to make easy chicken parmesan. If you don't have time to make the sauce, use your favorite store brand.
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- Granulated garlic or garlic powder
- Flour (see below)
- Olive oil or half butter
- 1 ½ cups pasta sauce
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Grated mozzarella cheese
- Fresh chopped oregano or parsley (optional)
- Flour: use coconut flour for gluten-free. If you're not GF, use white whole wheat flour. Some recipes use panko bread crumbs (wheat or GF). Using flour gives you a thinner crispy coating.
- Bread crumbs or flour? If you want to try it with bread crumbs, make homemade, recipe here. Use a food processor them to make them fine. This is not about heavy breading.
- Cheeses: for speed use pre-grated mozzarella cheese, or grate your own fresh mozzarella. For the Parmesan, get a chunk of the real deal and grate a little fresh, or get a container of fresh grated. Not the powdered stuff. Grated. Another option, use an Italian cheese blend.
- Cooking fat: use extra-virgin olive oil or butter. The combination of the two is nice. What not to use? Vegetable oil. It's terrible for you. Toss it.
No Egg Wash
What this recipe is not: it is not a classic breaded chicken parm recipe. It's light crispy chicken. It's less messy, too, as you don't have to set up a 3-stage breading station with egg wash and bowls. No frying, no pounding, and a lot less dishes. Try this method, I think you'll like it.
To create chicken cutlets, use boneless skinless chicken breasts. Trim off tenders. Do them separately or save for another use. Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally. I use a sharp, thin, 7-inch flexible slicing knife, a useful addition to your collection.
Season the chicken, not the flour, for better control over your seasoning. Use salt, pepper, and granulated garlic.Sprinkle the seasoned cutlets with a little olive oil so the seasoning sticks, then dust with flour.
Before cooking, gently shake off any excess flour. A light dusting gives the chicken a golden color, crisp texture, and toasty flavor.
Heat a medium sauté pan or skillet over medium heat and add the oil or oil and butter mixture. Cook until the cutlets are golden brown on the first side, then turn them cook for another minute or two until they are done. The best way to know when they are done is the cutlets will feel firm to the touch, with just a little give to them.
Broil to Finish
Once your cutlets are cooked and your sauce is ready, pre-heat the broiler until hot. Position the rack below the top level. Place cooked cutlets in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet (parchment will burn under the broiler), or place them in a broiler-safe shallow baking dish. On top of the chicken, spoon sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
Broil for a minute until cheese melts. Serve topped with herbs such as fresh basil, oregano or Italian parsley to garnish. Serve extra sauce on the side.
My thirty minute homemade sauce (spaghetti sauce) is made from things you probably have in your pantry, like canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion, garlic and dried herbs. I make a larger batch and freeze it in small jars to thaw for a quick dinner. It works for pasta dishes and nicely for this Chicken Parmesan. Here is the recipe.
Make Ahead and Serve
Make the cutlets up to 4 day ahead of time, refrigerating chicken and sauce separately in an airtight container. When ready to serve, let the chicken rest on the counter for about 30-45 minutes to get the chill off, then top with sauce, cheese and broil.
Serve hot with a side of steamed broccoli, broccolini, fresh green beans, or zucchini noodles (or your favorite pasta) and a simple green salad with Italian dressing. A little garlic bread is good too if you're not concerned about carbs.
More Chicken Recipes
Easy Chicken Parmesan
- 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ¾ cup coconut flour or white whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or half butter
- 1 ½ cups homemade pasta sauce or favorite store brand
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup grated or shredded mozzarella or Italian blend
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil, oregano or parsley optional garnish
- Place the chicken breasts flat on your cutting surface with the rounded, smooth side facing up. Trim any tenders and set aside to cook with the cutlets or freeze for later use. Place the palm of your hand on the chicken breast. Slice the chicken breasts into equal halves horizontally, keeping your knife parallel to the cutting board (see photos in post).
- Rub each chicken piece with just a few drops of oil. Season both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic. Sprinkle flour over the chicken and lightly coat both sides. Shake off excess.
- Heat a large saute or fry pan over medium heat. Add olive oil or oil/butter combination. When it’s bubbling and hot, add chicken cutlets, smooth side down first. Allow the cutlets to cook until they are golden. You can tell when they are almost ready to turn as the edges start to get white. Turn the cutlets and cook another minute or two, depending on how thick the cutlets are. When done, they will feel firm to the touch but still give just a little.
Finish and serve
- Pre-heat the broiler on high. Place cooked cutlets on a foil lined baking sheet in a single layer. Top with sauce and cheeses. Broil briefly until cheese melts. Top with fresh herbs and serve.