Baked Chicken Parmesan is a delicious and healthy alternative to the beloved classic! The traditional recipe has been given a skinny makeover without losing any of its signature cheesy, crispy goodness.
I cooked so much Italian(ish) food my first year of marriage that I’m surprised we didn’t end up speaking with Sicilian(ish) accents.
Most often I turned to quick and easy pasta recipes, but when I was feeling extra fancy or needed a more romantic dinner recipe, I’d make oven baked chicken Parmesan (also known as chicken parmigiana).
Between you and me, the first time I made this baked chicken Parmesan recipe, I was ultra impressed with myself. Self high-fiving was involved.
Here was a recipe I’d seen in restaurants my whole life, right on our plates! (I could say the same for my cheesy, breaded Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu too.)
The Parmesan-crusted chicken was perfectly crispy on the outside and lusciously juicy on the inside, and the cheese topping was hot, bubbly, and every bit as satisfying as I’d hoped it would be.
You see, although I most often associate chicken Parmesan with Italian-American restaurants, I don’t actually like to order it out.
For one, like my Chicken Piccata, healthy baked chicken Parmesan is so easy to prepare at home, I’d rather spend my restaurant dollars on a different dish.
For two, most versions you’ll find when you’re out are for deep fried chicken Parmesan that is so over-the-top heavy, the chicken is lost entirely under a pile of greasy breadcrumbs and slippery cheese.
Why You’ll Love It
Today’s version is a light, healthy chicken Parmesan that’s easy to make and offers the same comfort and satisfaction of a go-big restaurant meal.
5 Star Review
“I had this for dinner tonight and it was absolutely amazing, so flavorful and delicious! Definitely making this again.”— Bee —
How to Make Healthy Baked Chicken Parmesan
The funny thing about baked chicken Parmesan is that even though it seems pretty deluxe, it’s actually one of the easiest baked chicken recipes to make (just like Chicken Cacciatore).
Further, now that I have my own perfect version of a crispy, oven baked chicken Parmesan panko crust, I actually prefer it.
It’s delicious but not overdone and baked instead of fried, and the panko bread crumb crust is satisfyingly crisp, without being so thick you feel like you are eating a slab of breading.
- Chicken Breasts. Lean and protein-packed boneless, skinless chicken breasts stay tender and juicy underneath the breading.
- Breadcrumbs + Panko. Because baked chicken Parmesan no breading just wouldn’t be right! Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs and whole wheat panko create the perfect light, crispy exterior. Like my panko-crusted Chicken Katsu, oven baked chicken Parmesan panko is just as delicious as fried, and it’s so much better for you!
- Cheeses. Part-skim mozzarella turns melty, gooey, and bubbly on top of the chicken, and the Parmesan helps flavor the breading.
- Egg Whites. Making baked chicken parmesan egg white-style is what helps make the breading stick to the chicken breasts.
- Tomato Sauce. To make the recipe especially weeknight-friendly, I took a shortcut by using good-quality store-bought tomato sauce. If you prefer to make your baked chicken Parmesan sauce from scratch, you can check out the simple sauce that’s included with my recipe for Whole30 Meatballs.
- Cut and pound the chicken breasts.
- Stir together the two types of breadcrumbs, Parmesan, garlic, and pepper in a wide, shallow bowl. Whisk the egg whites until foamy in a separate bowl. Slice the mozzarella into 4 pieces.
- Dredge each piece of chicken into the egg whites, then the breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake. The chicken will take about 15 minutes to bake at 400 degrees F. Top the chicken with sauce and mozzarella. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes. ENJOY!
- To Store. This recipe is best enjoyed the day it is baked, but leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. Leftover chicken can be reheated in a lightly greased pan over medium heat and is also good served at room temperature on top of salads.
Try a medium-bodied red wine. Either a Pinot Noir, Merlot, or Sangiovese variety would be delicious.
Recommended Tools to Make Baked Chicken Parmesan
- Pie Plate. Pie plates like this white ceramic one (doubles when you need good presentation) or these simple Pyrex ones are my favorite for any recipe that calls for breading in different dishes. (This Baked Fried Chicken is another great recipe that uses them).
- Baking Sheets. Incredibly useful and essential in my kitchen.
- Whisk. This smaller size won’t splash all over the counter.
I hope this healthy baked chicken Parm adds some extra Italian flare to your kitchen. Add some bread and olive oil for dipping, and you’ll truly feel like you’re out on the town!
Healthy Chicken Parmesan
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 12 ounces each
- 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 large egg whites
- 4 ounces part-skim mozzarella
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce plus extra for serving as desired
- Fresh basil, thinly sliced or chopped
- Optional for serving: prepared whole wheat pasta or zucchini noodles, or just enjoy on its own!
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise so that you have 4 pieces total. Pound each piece to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Set aside.
- In a wide, shallow bowl (a pie dish works well), combine the Italian breadcrumbs, whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan, garlic powder, and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites until lightly foamy. Cut the mozzarella into 4 slices, or grate and divide into four equal portions.
- Arrange your work station in the following order: pounded chicken, egg whites, breadcrumb mixture, baking sheet. Working one at a time, dip each piece of chicken into the egg whites, shaking off any excess, then the breadcrumbs, gently patting the chicken as needed so that the crumbs stick to all sides. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly coat the tops of the chicken with baking spray.
- Bake until the chicken is cooked through (it should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F) and the crumbs are brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, spoon 2 tablespoons of sauce over each piece of chicken, and top with a slice of mozzarella. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, about 3-5 additional minutes. Sprinkle with basil and enjoy immediately, topped with extra sauce as desired.
- TO STORE: This recipe is best enjoyed the day it is baked, but leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight storage container for up to 2 days.
- TO REHEAT: Leftover chicken can be reheated in a lightly greased pan over medium heat and is also good served at room temperature on top of salads.
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