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Baked Eggplant Parmesan is comfort food Italian-style! Layers of crispy panko-coated eggplant, melty mozzarella, marinara, and fresh basil make for a satisfying vegetarian dinner even ardent meat eaters will devour. Forget the mess of frying—crisping your eggplant in the oven gives even BETTER results!

baked eggplant parmesan recipe in baking dish

Why You’ll Love This Baked Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

  • Worth the Effort. Does dinner always have to be easy? Sometimes a dinner that’s a bit of a project makes you feel a sense of accomplishment when you sit down to eat. Eggplant Parmesan is one of those meals. It’s not difficult to make, and store-bought marinara gets it on the table faster, but it does take some time. Your effort will be rewarded with a pan of pure Italian comfort food on par with Vegetable Lasagna (or Eggplant Lasagna).
  • Baked, Not Fried. Traditionally, the eggplant for eggplant Parmesan is fried in oil, but we can get even better results in the oven. The baked breaded eggplant is just as golden brown and crispy, and the insides are tender without being soggy. Best eggplant Parmesan ever!
  • A Multitasker for Holidays and Parties. I like making eggplant Parm when I’m serving a crowd of mixed eaters; those who eat meat can help themselves to a small slice as a side, while the vegetarians in the group can make it their main. With layers of cheese, crispy breaded eggplant, and marinara, baked eggplant Parmesan is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser!
lifting portion of eggplant parmesan from baking dish

How to Make Eggplant Parmesan

The Ingredients

  • Eggplant. While any size eggplant works for Eggplant Pasta, globe eggplant is the best choice for layering into eggplant Parmesan. Choose one with glossy skin free of soft spots and blemishes.
  • Nonfat Milk. Or whatever milk you have on hand. It really doesn’t matter much.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs. I like to use panko because it has more texture than store-bought breadcrumbs, giving the baked eggplant a crispier exterior.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese. It is eggplant Parmesan after all. (Actually, the Parmesan in the name refers to the city Parma, not the cheese. Same is true for Baked Chicken Parmesan.)
  • Seasonings. Italian seasoning, along with salt and black pepper, make the breadcrumb coating flavorful.
  • Marinara Sauce. A worthwhile shortcut. As long as you use a high-quality brand (I like DeLallo and Rao’s), you’re not going to miss making your own sauce from scratch.
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese. Fresh mozzarella is more gooey and stretchy than the bagged shreds. Hello, cheese pull!
  • Basil Leaves. Not just a garnish, but a key player in the overall flavor of this recipe. You need the basil for some brightness and freshness to balance the decadence.

The Directions

eggs and milk in pie dish
  1. Beat the Eggs and Milk. Whisk until the eggs are completely broken up and incorporated.
  1. Season the Breadcrumbs. Combine the panko with the seasonings in another shallow bowl or dish.
dipping eggplant into egg and milk mixture for eggplant parmesan
  1. Dip the Eggplant in the Liquid. Let the excess drip off.
coating eggplant in breadcrumbs for eggplant parmesan
  1. Dip in the Breadcrumbs. Make sure it’s evenly coated.
overhead view of eggplant for eggplant parmesan after breading
  1. Arrange. Set the eggplant on a baking sheet in a single layer.
overhead view of baked crispy eggplant rounds
  1. Bake. Bake at 425 degrees F for about 25 minutes, until golden and crispy.
basil leaves added to eggplant parmesan
  1. Start Layering. Sauce on bottom, followed by eggplant, mozzarella, basil, and Parm.
basil leaves added to eggplant parmesan
  1. Keep Layering. Repeat as above, starting with sauce.
mozzarella slices added to eggplant parmesan
  1. Finish. Add half of the remaining sauce, the remaining eggplant, then the rest of the sauce, followed by the cheeses. Bake for 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly; broil if desired for a crispier topping. Garnish with basil and ENJOY!
overhead view of baked eggplant parmesan

Recipe Variations

  • Spicy Eggplant Parmesan. Add red pepper flakes into the marinara sauce, or start with a spicy sauce like arrabbiata.
  • Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan. Use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs or skip the dredging altogether and just season the eggplant slices before baking.
  • Zucchini Parmesan. Oh yes, you can! Slice large zucchini into rounds or oblong slices (you can do this by slicing at an angle) and follow the recipe as described. Eight-ball zucchini and pattypan squash also work well for this (check out this Zucchini Lasagna too!).

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftover eggplant Parmesan in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F. While the microwave works too, the eggplant will be soggy.
  • To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Prep Tip

You can assemble eggplant Parmesan up to a day in advance, then cover the baking dish and refrigerate it. Let it come to room temperature for an hour, then bake according to the recipe instructions.

eggplant parmesan recipe in baking dish

What to Serve with Eggplant Parmesan

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Peel the Eggplant If You’d Like. You don’t have to, but if you’re not a fan of the skin, you can either peel it all off or peel vertical stripes down the eggplant so you don’t get any large pieces of skin.
  • Cut Uniform Slices. This ensures that all of the eggplant is tender at the same time! A mandoline slicer makes it easy, but if you use a chef’s knife, rotating the eggplant with each cut can help keep the slices even.
  • Use Freshly Grated Parm. Invest in a rasp grater and a block of Parmesan and everything from eggplant Parmesan to Minestrone Soup will be that much tastier.
  • Dredge With Tongs. Tongs will help make sure the egg and breadcrumbs coat the eggplant, not your fingers! 
serving of eggplant parmesan on plate with salad

Eggplant Parmesan

5 from 4 votes
Everyone loves this baked eggplant Parmesan recipe! Crispy eggplant layered with melty mozzarella cheese, marinara, and fresh basil. Delish!

Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes

Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds eggplant unpeeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (about 2 large)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat milk or milk of choice
  • 1 1/4 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese divided
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 24 ounces good quality prepared marinara sauce I like DeLallo and Rao’s
  • 2 8-ounce balls fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves thinly sliced (one of those little .5 ounce packs is perfect)
  • Olive oil mister or nonstick cooking spray

Instructions
 

  • Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat oven to 425° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a wide, shallow dish (a pie dish works well), beat together the eggs and milk. In a separate wide, shallow dish, combine the panko, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper, and set it next to the egg mixture.
  • Working a few at a time, dip the eggplant slices in the egg mixture on both sides, then dredge on both sides with the breadcrumbs (a light coating is fine). Arrange close together on the prepared baking sheets. The edges of the breaded eggplant slices can touch, but they should not be overlapping (save any extra slices to roast separately). Coat them generously with nonstick spray or mist with olive oil.
  • Bake the eggplant slices for 15 minutes on the first side, then remove the pans from the oven, rotate them 180°F and return them to the oven, switching their places on the upper and lower racks so the slices cook evenly. Continue roasting until the breadcrumbs are golden and crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes more.
  • In a 9×13-inch baking dish, spread 1/3 cup of the marinara sauce in a thin layer over the bottom. Add one-third of the eggplant slices, one-third of the mozzarella (which will be 2/3 of 1 ball), one-third of the basil (about 2 1/2 tablespoons), and one-third of the remaining 1/2 cup Parm (about 2 1/2 tablespoons).
  • Now for the second layering: Evenly spread on one-third of the remaining marinara sauce (about 7 ounces), followed by half of the remaining eggplant, half of the remaining mozz, half of the remaining basil, and half of the remaining Parm.
  • Now the final layers (heads up—this one is a bit different): add HALF of the remaining sauce, ALL of the remaining eggplant, then all of the remaining sauce. Add all of the remaining mozzarella and all of the Parm. Reserve the remaining basil for garnish.
  • Bake the eggplant Parmesan until it is hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes. If desired, turn the oven to broil and broil for 2 to 3 minutes to crisp the top. Sprinkle with reserved basil and enjoy immediately.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover eggplant Parmesan in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F. While the microwave works too, the eggplant will be soggy.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 8)Calories: 259kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 15gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.004gCholesterol: 74mgPotassium: 613mgFiber: 5gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 855IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 320mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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8 Comments

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  1. Worth the effort. It was not like other eggplant parm that I’ve had that are too heavy or soppy. Quite the opposite, this one was crispy, flavorful, and took just enough cook time for me to build a solid appetite. Will surely make this again. Thank you!5 stars

  2. Everything about this is absolutely amazing. It was so delicious. I made my own sauce by roasting tomatoes, onions, garlic, fresh basil and oregano. Puréed in a blender. Wonderful flavors as all ingredients were secured at a local farm! I will definitely be making this again. It satisfies my cravings for an Italian dish without the extra carbs of having pasta. Loved it.5 stars

  3. Very well done. I normally fry my eggplant before but this time I tried to bake it as you did and I actually like it, so much better than frying the eggplant. The eggplant was so creamy and the sauce was smooth. I can’t wait to eat these leftovers!5 stars

  4. WOW I literally just finished making this eggplant parm as a meal prep and it is incredible. Flavor 10/10 and I loved the extra kick of the red pepper flakes! It also smelled amazing when I was making it. A new household favorite!5 stars