Top Ways To Make Classic Chicken Parmigiana

In this article, you will discover the top ways to create the mouthwatering classic dish of chicken parmigiana. Whether you are a seasoned chef or an aspiring cook, these methods will guide you in achieving the perfect blend of flavors and textures that make this dish so beloved. From choosing the right cuts of chicken to nailing the crispy coating and luscious tomato sauce, get ready to elevate your culinary skills and impress your family and friends with these top ways to make classic chicken parmigiana. Just follow along, and soon you’ll be savoring a plateful of this Italian-American favorite.

Top Ways To Make Classic Chicken Parmigiana

Choosing the Chicken

When making chicken parmigiana, it’s important to start with high-quality chicken. There are a few options to consider when it comes to the cut of chicken you use.

Fresh chicken breasts

Fresh chicken breasts are a popular choice for chicken parmigiana. They are versatile and easy to work with. Make sure to choose boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. They can be purchased from your local grocery store or butcher.

Chicken cutlets

Chicken cutlets are thinly sliced pieces of chicken breast. They are a great choice for chicken parmigiana because they cook quickly and evenly. If you prefer a thinner chicken piece, chicken cutlets are the way to go. You can either purchase them pre-sliced or slice them yourself at home.

Chicken tenderloins

Chicken tenderloins are small, tender pieces of chicken that are perfect for chicken parmigiana. They are quick to cook and have a tender texture. If you prefer a smaller portion size or want to make bite-sized chicken parmigiana, chicken tenderloins are a great option.

Preparing the Chicken

Once you have chosen the type of chicken you want to use, it’s time to prepare it for cooking. Preparing the chicken properly will ensure that it cooks evenly and absorbs the flavors of the marinade and seasoning.

Pounding the chicken

If you are using fresh chicken breasts or chicken cutlets, it can be beneficial to pound them to an even thickness before cooking. This helps the chicken cook more evenly and ensures that it stays tender and juicy. To pound the chicken, place it between two sheets of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to gently pound it until it reaches the desired thickness.

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Marinating the chicken

Marinating the chicken is optional but highly recommended. It adds extra flavor and helps to tenderize the meat. You can create a simple marinade using ingredients such as olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and herbs like parsley or basil. Place the chicken in a bowl or resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over it. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Seasoning the chicken

Even if you choose not to marinate the chicken, it’s important to season it before cooking. This will enhance the flavor of the dish. You can use a simple combination of salt, black pepper, and garlic powder, or experiment with different herbs and spices to personalize your chicken parmigiana.

Coating the Chicken

Coating the chicken is an essential step in making chicken parmigiana. It adds a crispy and flavorful outer layer that contrasts with the tender chicken inside. There are a few options to choose from when it comes to coating your chicken.

Using breadcrumbs

Using breadcrumbs is a classic choice for coating chicken parmigiana. You can use store-bought breadcrumbs or make your own by toasting slices of bread and then pulsing them in a food processor until they reach a fine texture. To coat the chicken, dip it in beaten eggs and then coat it with the breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere them to the chicken.

Using panko crumbs

Panko crumbs are a type of Japanese breadcrumb that adds an extra crispy texture to the chicken. They are lighter and larger than traditional breadcrumbs. To use panko crumbs, follow the same process as using regular breadcrumbs, dipping the chicken in beaten eggs and then coating it with the panko crumbs.

Using a combination of breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan

For a more flavorful coating, you can combine breadcrumbs with grated Parmesan cheese. This adds a rich and savory element to the chicken. Simply mix the breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan together before coating the chicken.

Pan-frying the Chicken

Pan-frying the chicken is the traditional method for cooking chicken parmigiana. It allows the coating to become crispy and golden while keeping the chicken tender and juicy. Follow these steps to pan-fry your chicken.

Heating the oil

Before you begin frying the chicken, preheat a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to the pan to cover the bottom by about 1/4 inch. Allow the oil to heat until it shimmers or reaches a temperature of around 350°F (175°C).

Dredging the chicken

Take the coated chicken pieces and carefully place them in the hot oil. Be cautious to not overcrowd the pan, as this will lower the temperature and prevent the chicken from frying evenly. Cook the chicken for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and cooked through. Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.

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Cooking the chicken in batches

If you have a large batch of chicken to cook, it’s best to cook it in batches rather than overcrowding the pan. This will ensure that each piece of chicken cooks evenly and gets crispy. As each batch finishes cooking, transfer it to a baking sheet lined with a wire rack to keep the cooked chicken warm while you cook the rest.

Top Ways To Make Classic Chicken Parmigiana

Preparing the Sauce

The sauce is a key component of any chicken parmigiana dish. It adds a rich and tangy flavor that complements the crispy chicken and melty cheese. There are a few options when it comes to preparing the sauce.

Homemade marinara sauce

Making your own marinara sauce from scratch allows you to control the flavors and create a sauce tailored to your taste preferences. You can start with a base of canned crushed tomatoes and add garlic, onions, herbs like basil and oregano, and a touch of sugar to balance the acidity. Simmer the sauce for a while to allow the flavors to meld together before using it in your chicken parmigiana.

Store-bought marinara sauce

If you’re short on time or prefer a convenience option, store-bought marinara sauce is a great alternative. There are many delicious options available in grocery stores. Look for a sauce that is rich in flavor and doesn’t contain any artificial additives or preservatives. You can also enhance the store-bought sauce by adding your own herbs and spices to give it a personal touch.

Adding herbs and spices for extra flavor

No matter which type of marinara sauce you choose, you can always enhance the flavor by adding additional herbs and spices. Experiment with ingredients like dried oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, or even a splash of balsamic vinegar to elevate the taste of your sauce.

Assembling the Chicken Parmigiana

Now that you have your chicken, coating, and sauce ready, it’s time to assemble the chicken parmigiana. Follow these steps to create a delicious and visually appealing dish.

Spreading sauce in a baking dish

Start by spreading a thin layer of marinara sauce across the bottom of a baking dish. This will prevent the chicken from sticking and add flavor to the final dish. Use a spoon or spatula to evenly distribute the sauce.

Layering chicken and sauce

Place the cooked chicken pieces in the baking dish, arranging them in a single layer. Spoon additional marinara sauce over each piece of chicken, ensuring they are well-coated. This will ensure that the chicken stays moist and flavorful.

Sprinkling cheese on top

No chicken parmigiana is complete without a generous sprinkle of cheese. Traditionally, mozzarella cheese is used, as it melts beautifully and adds a creamy element to the dish. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over the top of the chicken, making sure to cover each piece.

Top Ways To Make Classic Chicken Parmigiana

Baking the Chicken Parmigiana

The final step in making chicken parmigiana is baking it in the oven. This allows the flavors to meld together, the cheese to melt, and creates a delicious golden crust on top.

Covering with foil

Before placing the baking dish in the oven, cover it with aluminum foil. This will help trap the heat and ensure that the chicken cooks evenly. Bake the chicken covered for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend together.

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Baking at a moderate temperature

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and bake the chicken parmigiana for 20 minutes. After this time, remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and golden on top.

Adding extra cheese in the last few minutes

If you love cheese, you can add an extra layer of shredded mozzarella on top of the chicken during the last few minutes of baking. This will create a deliciously cheesy and gooey topping that is sure to please.

Serving Suggestions

Chicken parmigiana is a versatile dish that can be paired with a variety of sides and garnishes to create a complete meal.

Garnishing with fresh basil

Before serving, garnish the chicken parmigiana with fresh basil leaves. Not only does this add a pop of color to the dish, but it also imparts a fresh and aromatic flavor that complements the richness of the sauce and cheese.

Serving with pasta

A classic and delicious way to enjoy chicken parmigiana is to serve it with pasta. Cook your favorite type of pasta, such as spaghetti or penne, and toss it with some of the marinara sauce. Place a portion of the pasta on the plate and top it with a piece of chicken parmigiana. You can also sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over the pasta for an extra indulgent touch.

Pairing with a side salad

To balance out the richness of the chicken parmigiana, serve it with a refreshing side salad. A simple green salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a light vinaigrette dressing works well. The crisp and fresh flavors of the salad will complement the savory and cheesy chicken.

Top Ways To Make Classic Chicken Parmigiana

Variations and Additions

Chicken parmigiana is a classic dish that lends itself well to different variations and additions. Here are a few ideas to customize your chicken parmigiana.

Adding sliced mushrooms

If you love mushrooms, consider adding sliced mushrooms to your chicken parmigiana. Sauté them in a separate pan until they are golden and tender, then layer them on top of the sauce before adding the cheese. The earthy flavor of mushrooms pairs wonderfully with the chicken and adds an extra layer of texture.

Incorporating sliced bell peppers

For a pop of color and sweetness, incorporate sliced bell peppers into your chicken parmigiana. Sauté them until they are slightly softened and add them to the sauce before assembling the dish. The vibrant peppers will add a lovely crunch and freshness to the chicken.

Using different types of cheese

While mozzarella cheese is traditionally used in chicken parmigiana, you can experiment with different types of cheese to change up the flavor profile. Try using a combination of mozzarella and Parmesan for a nutty and flavorful topping. You can also use provolone, fontina, or even a sharp cheddar cheese for a unique twist.

Making a Healthier Version

If you’re looking for a healthier twist on classic chicken parmigiana, here are a few tips to consider.

Using whole wheat breadcrumbs

To add more fiber and nutrients to your dish, consider using whole wheat breadcrumbs instead of regular breadcrumbs. Whole wheat breadcrumbs have a slightly nutty flavor and a coarser texture, which adds a nice crunch to the coating.

Grilling instead of pan-frying

If you’re watching your calorie intake, consider grilling the chicken instead of pan-frying it. This will reduce the amount of oil used and create a healthier version of chicken parmigiana. Simply grill the chicken until it is cooked through, and then assemble and bake as usual.

Using less cheese and oil

To cut down on the calorie and fat content of your chicken parmigiana, use less cheese and oil in the recipe. Instead of covering the chicken with a thick layer of cheese, sprinkle a smaller amount over the top for a lighter option. Use a non-stick cooking spray instead of oil when cooking the chicken or consider using olive oil cooking spray for a healthier alternative.

Top Ways To Make Classic Chicken Parmigiana