Eggplant Parmesan

  • This is my favorite way to make eggplant parmesan. The extra prep step may not seem worth it to you, but trust me – it absolutely is and makes a huge difference. You can read the comments below and see that those who took the extra step did not regret it!

    Our all-time FAVORITE way to make eggplant parm! You will want to make it this way forever! #eggplantparm #eggplantparmesan #eggplantrecipe #vegetarian #recipe #italian

    Eggplant parmesan will always be one of my top favorite comfort foods. There is something about the dish that feels like it’s giving you a giant hug.

    Growing up, I was not a huge fan of eggplant. I didn’t like the texture.

    It was soggy and kind of slimey.

    The only time I would ever eat it would be when my mom deep-fried it or she made this one classic Taiwanese eggplant dish with this amazing garlic sauce.

    Any other dish that had eggplant in it, I’d refuse to eat.

    That is until I was introduced to the cheesy gloriousness of something called eggplant parmesan!

    What a great way to have a hearty meal without meat. It’d be a great meatless Monday meal.

    Eggplant is hearty and meaty enough to take place as real protein so I can see why this dish is also a favorite amongst vegetarians and why someone came up with it.

    Basically the vegetarian version of chicken parmesan.

    Our all-time FAVORITE way to make eggplant parm! You will want to make it this way forever!

    The method for the best eggplant parmesan recipe!

    Heads up: once you make it this way, this is the ONLY way you’ll want to make your eggplant parmesan in the future.

    The technique I talk about is 100% worth it.

    So many readers have made it before and have told me that they won’t ever skip the prep step again!

    Okay, so the best method to make eggplant parmesan is to pull the moisture out of the eggplant prior to frying it.

    How do we pull moisture out of the eggplant?

    We sprinkle salt on the eggplant slices!

    The salt pulls out the moisture from the eggplant and therefore, when you cover it with breadcrumbs and fry it, you will have a much crispier and less soggy eggplant parmesan dish.

    Exhibit A:

    All that moisture beading up on top of the eggplant? That’s the salt doing its job! It’s pulling out most of the moisture

    All you have to do is just pat it dry and dust off the excess salt and then you’ll be ready to start making your eggplant parmesan!

    Can you make eggplant parmesan ahead of time?

    Yes! However, the breading might end up a little soggy.

    I definitely encourage you to pull the moisture out of the eggplant as a prep step and if you are going to bread the eggplant, you definitely should fry it up immediately after otherwise the breadcrumbs start to get soggy.

    Even though we’ve pulled out the moisture, there is still going to be some moisture so it’s best you fry up the coated eggplant ASAP.

    After you fry up the eggplant, I would lay it on wire cooling rack so air can get through on both sides.

    Otherwise, you’d be suffocating the breading with the heat and condensation so then it’d turn the breading soggy.

    After it cools, you can place it in a plastic bag and put it in the fridge until you’re ready to use.

    I wouldn’t assemble the casserole dish ahead of time because the marinara sauce will turn the breading soggy and mealy — BUT if you truly do want to prep the eggplant parmesan ahead of time and don’t mind that it’s a little soggy, you can assemble the entire casserole dish at this point then cover it and place it in the fridge.

    Once you’re ready to bake it, I would let the casserole dish sit at room temperature while the oven is pre-heating.

    Sometimes if you stick a ceramic dish or glass dish from fridge to oven, it could crack.

    Our all-time FAVORITE way to make eggplant parm! You will want to make it this way forever! #eggplantparm #eggplantparmesan #eggplantrecipe #vegetarian #recipe #italian

    Can I freeze eggplant parmesan?

    Yes, but if that is what you are doing, I would suggest prepping it all in a disposable aluminum tray so you can pop it in straight into the oven without worries of your casserole dish cracking/breaking.

    If you freeze the eggplant parmesan in a glass or ceramic casserole dish, then you’d have to let it sit out on at room temperature before putting it in the oven and by then, your ingredients will all be melting and soggy.

    Our all-time FAVORITE way to make eggplant parm! You will want to make it this way forever! #eggplantparm #eggplantparmesan #eggplantrecipe #vegetarian #recipe #italian

    If you love this eggplant parmesan recipe, then you’ll love these:

    Watch me make this eggplant parmesan recipe:

    Our all-time FAVORITE way to make eggplant parm! You will want to make it this way forever! #eggplantparm #eggplantparmesan #eggplantrecipe #vegetarian #recipe #italian

    Our all-time FAVORITE way to make eggplant parm! You will want to make it this way forever! #eggplantparm #eggplantparmesan #eggplantrecipe #vegetarian #recipe #italian
    4.96 from 25 votes
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    Eggplant Parmesan

    This is my favorite way to make eggplant parmesan. The extra prep step may not seem worth it to you, but trust me - it absolutely is and makes a huge difference. Those who took the extra step did not regret it and I'm sure you won't either!
    Prep Time: 1 hr 15 mins
    Cook Time: 20 mins
    Total Time: 1 hr 35 mins
    Course: Dinner, Main Course, Main Entree
    Cuisine: Italian
    Servings (adjustable, but please note that results, timing, and cookware may vary when adjusting servings): 4
    Calories: 723kcal
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    Ingredients

    • 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2" thick slices
    • 2 tbsp kosher salt
    • 1 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 4 tbsp vegetable oil, for lightly pan-frying
    • 3 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
    • 2 cups whole milk mozzarella shredded
    • 1 cup parmesan cheese shredded
    • Handful of fresh basil leaves chopped, for garnish (optional)

    Instructions

    • Salt both sides of your eggplant slices and place them in a large colander in the sink. Let the liquid drain for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
    • When your eggplant slices have finished draining liquid, brush off the excess salt, as you don't want it to be too salty!
    • In 2 shallow plates, add breadcrumbs to one and whisk eggs and milk in the other. Dip both sides of eggplant slice into milk/egg mixture then cover with breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess. Place on plate or large baking sheet and repeat until all eggplant slices have been coated.
    • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    • Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil into the skillet. Once the skillet is hot, add two eggplant slices at a time to the skillet and cook on both sides until golden brown, remove and set on a large plate lined with paper towels. Repeat until you've pan-fried them all.
    • In a large casserole dish, add 1 cup of marinara sauce to the bottom of the casserole dish. Add a layer of eggplant slices (I was only able to fit about 3 a layer) then using a 1/4 cup, dollop marinara sauce on top of the eggplant slices. The idea isn't to smother the layers with sauce. On top of the eggplant slices, sprinkle a generous amount of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Repeat the layers until you run out of eggplants slices. Top the casserole with more cheese before you place in the oven :)
    • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and brown on top. I used the broiler for 5 minutes to get the cheese nice and brown - you don't have to, but if you do, watch it carefully!
    • Serve hot and top with chopped basil, if using.

    Video

    Notes

    Nutrition Facts
    Eggplant Parmesan
    Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
    Calories 723 Calories from Fat 396
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 44g 68%
    Total Carbohydrates 47g 16%
    Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
    Sugars 9g
    Protein 39g 78%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    *Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.
  • 347 Comments
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    Comments

  • scott moore says:

    Why in the world would you post a recipe for eggplant parmesan without adding the recipe for the marinara sauce? I always make my own, and would never consider putting store-bought sauce on my eggplant

    • Julie Wampler says:

      well, aren’t you fancy!! not all store-bought is bad…Rao’s homemade is my favorite. not everyone has time to make their own (as easy as it may seem) so you know, store-bought is just fine in a pinch.

    • Annie smith says:

      Boo hoo

  • Lori H. says:

    This turned put great. I used gluten-free plain panko and seasoned them myself. My husband raved how good it was.

  • Sami says:

    Haven’t made this yet but what I’m wondering is a tip I read for making zucchini lasagna might apply here. Salt the eggplant, put on a wire cooling rack & let the moisture pull out. Slightly rinse salt off then pay dry. The tip I read was someone had said then for just a few moments, grill the slices. Same steps you listed and after removing a batch, put them back on a cooling rack kept in a low temp oven. I might see how this works out! Definitely no one like soggy eggplant or zucchini!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I haven’t tried grilling the slices but good luck with that method!

  • Patty St. Germain says:

    This was a BIG hit with my family! Simple steps and soooooo good! thank you for sharing.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      So happy to hear this! Thanks for the feedback!

  • Lori says:

    Making this right now- using Raos marinara!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      The best marinara!

  • Anne Thomas says:

    Is it necessary to peel the eggplants?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Nope, not at all!

  • angelica says:

    Please if i may i would like to advice to look on line and read the recIpe for ” Melenzane alla Parmigiana’ you will be able to see 2 of the original methods. ABSOLUTELY NO BREADING. Your recipe is terrible where did you get the idea of ” ITALIAN STYLE BREAD CRUMBS”.? Do you mean crumbs from the can or box?
    This is a bunch of misinformation. It is because of blogs like your that american have bad habit in term of cuisine and food in general.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      And it’s people like you that ruin it for everyone because you think a recipe “has” to be a certain way. God forbid I don’t make eggplant parmesan the way “real” Italians make it.

    • Annie smith says:

      Rather it be crumbed not every one is the same as you if you like it your way good for you

    • Joy DeNicola says:

      You are a rude snob! My in-laws are from Italy and they breaded their eggplant!

      There is no need to insult Julie, the blogger. What’s wrong with you?!

      If you don’t like a recipe, fine. Just graciously offer another option or alternative without having to you be cruel and insulting.

      Better yet, get off this blog !

    • Penny says:

      Aren’t you the nasty one!

      • Penny says:

        I wish I could edit my original comment to be sure it was directed at Angelica! Made this dish last night and it was delish!! What a difference the salting makes. I’ve never done that before. And the breading is a must of course! Thanks for teaching me about the salting.

        • Julie Wampler says:

          Oh, no worries, I’m sure we all know it was directed at Angelica! Haha thank you :)

  • Lynne says:

    Haven’t eaten it yet but it was fun and easy to make – I LOVED the step of drawing the moisture out. Will let you know how everyone enjoyed it – it smells so good I just invited our friends over!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Ohhh! Enjoy!!

  • Lynne says:

    Ok it’s Lynne checking back in – it took so long to reply with the fantastically good results because it was absolutely fantastical! Nice bottle of cab, good friends and your wonderful recipe made the day an awesome one! Thanks again😎

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Haha, so glad to hear this! Really appreciate you coming back to let me know how it is!!

  • Heather says:

    I made this last night! My husband said he “didn’t like eggplant” but today HE wanted to take the extra leftovers. Great recipe. I didn’t end up using as much of the egg mixture, and I added breadcrumbs as needed by the half cup (I only used 1 cup total). Perhaps because the eggplant I used was smaller? Either way, VERY tasty and will make again.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Ha! That is amazing!

  • Klee' says:

    I just made this last night, it was amazing! The most perfect eggplant parmesan recipe ever. And, YESSSSS, salting and draining the eggplant made all the difference in the world! Delicious! Oh, and make sure to use WHOLE milk mozerella cheese as the recipe lists, it makes for a richer, tastier dish. Yummmm!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Yes!! So glad you followed the recipe!

  • Libby says:

    Im trying your recipe tonight with my Italian Mom ☺ Thanks for the tip on not making it ahead…its always been soggy in the past. I rated 5 stars for all the great info and tips!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thank you!! Enjoy!

  • Lillian says:

    Julie
    My mom came to America when she was 17. Along with her came the receipe for Eggplant Parmesan. That would be approximately 120 yrs ago. Julie your recipe is identical. So you have it. It’s Italian. The salting was very important. She would pile it after slicing salt them and put a heavy object on top. I make it the same way. Oh boy now I’m hungry.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      This is amazing! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Tarryn says:

    Loved the end results, recipe was simple to follow and I appreciate the video also for my time crunch. Debated on going to Olive Garden to order the same dish but found your recipe and was able to make the dinner stretch for 2 adults and 2 kiddos for the price of the one dish at the restaurant! Score! Keep up the great work Julie! I’m excited to look at other recipes you have!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      So glad you didn’t do Olive Garden and made your own at home!!

  • Tiffany says:

    First time making eggplant parmesan, and I chose this one… And WOW I thought it was delicious! Thanks for such a fun and easy way to make this. (Not getting the negative comments here, this is meant to be an easy dinner!) I didn’t have marinara, but used some onion and garlic spaghetti sauce and it was delicious! I would have maybe added some more herbs, but otherwise, thanks for a great recipe!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thanks for the feedback!

  • Inger says:

    Made this recipe for dinner last night. My husband is a big meat eater. If a meal doesn’t have meat hes not satisfied. He loved this recipe and to my surprise was not complaining of hunger. I specifically bought the Rao marinara at our local grocery store. 8.99 for a small jar! I cant speak for anyone else but thats a bit pricey. But, the taste was amazing and i dont think i can go back to prego after this! Thanks for sharing!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Love hearing this! Yes, Rao’s is not cheap (unfortunately) but you definitely get what you pay for! If you have a Costco near you, they have two large jars for like $7.99 (or I think it was $8.99), either way, that’s the place I’ve found the best price for Rao’s and I stock up there!

  • Joy DeNicola says:

    Hello Julie: Today I made your Eggplant Parm recipe.

    I am married to a half Italian half Sicilian man for 50 years. He is an Eggplant Parm fanatic. We both loved your recipe. It is
    the absolute best.

    I made two small casserole dishes of this recipe; one to have for dinner today and one to freeze for another time.

    After finishing our dinner tonight, and completely consuming the entire casserole dish, my husband said, “I sure could go for one more piece. I had not yet put the second casserole dish into the freezer and my my husband decided that rather than freeze the second casserole dish of prepared Eggplant Parmesan, he would bake immediately and have one more slice!
    Looks like we will finish off the second casserole dish tomorrow!

    Kudos to you for such a delicious recipe. All the prep is key to an amazing dish.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed this!!! Thank you!!

  • Brian H says:

    I have my eggplant and cheese ready for tomorrows dinner. I like the idea of using the salt to draw out the water. I had a thought of roasting the eggplant slices in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, has anyone tried this?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Could definitely give it a shot, although 20 minutes sounds a bit long. Exterior might get too brown? Not sure.

  • Michael Ranieri says:

    Hi:
    I think that you have missed two key points.
    One: The salting at the start which you so highly recommend is not necessarily to take out the moisture. The salt mainly takes out the bitterness of the eggplant.
    Two: Most people would not recommend using aluminum pans when there is tomato, lemon and other acidic ingredients. It seems that there is an unhealthy chemical reaction. Please reconsider recommending using aluminum pans.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      hi, this is my own experience so yes, it is to take out moisture and you are correct that it does help take out the bitterness. people can make their own educated decisions on aluminum.

  • Linda Jamshidi says:

    Just found your web page. Thank you for sharing. Loved how the eggplant turned out so [email protected]

  • Teresa says:

    I made this eggplant last night I took the extra step of draining the water with salt for 1 1/2 hours. My daughter who loves eggplant parmigiana says it was the best she had ever eaten.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      thank you!!!

  • Paula says:

    I just wanted you to know this is one of my go to recipes now. Everybody loves it! Thanks for posting it!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      thank you!!!

  • Carolyn Testa says:

    Followed exactly. Fan-tabulous!!! Great advice not to pre-assemble after the breadcrumb step. Happy boyfriend.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Great to hear!

  • Frances says:

    My family loved it! Thank you Julie!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      So glad to hear this!!

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