Last updated on May 14th, 2018.
This is the best Chicken Parm Recipe ever. Follow the easy steps to make the perfect juicy chicken parm every time – I’ll show you a trick to keep chicken breast from drying out!
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We got back from our vacation in Italy several days ago, and I’m still adjusting to normal non-vacation life. What that means, for the most part, is that I am falling asleep very early every night and constantly taking naps.
Our vacation was awesome. We went to Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Florence, and Venice. All in 10 days. So we were very busy. I’ll write about each of the cities in detail in my travel blog (NonstopfromJFK), but for now I’ll just say that each of the cities was very different and beautiful, with so many amazing things to see… and that we ate lots of good food on our vacation.
Eating out in Italy is a bit tricky if you’re on a budget, and a bit different than eating out in the US. Budget-wise, you have to watch out for things like per-person table fees, service charges, bread charges, and per-person wine charges (even if you order the whole bottle of wine, some places still charge you for the number of wine glasses your table needs). Those things can really add up at a couple of Euro each.
But the other thing that ended up being unusual for us was that Italians sit down and eat their meals in courses. The first course generally consists of either soup, pasta, or risotto. The second course is the meat or fish. You can, of course, ask for the two courses to be brought together, but that is not common there. So if you want to enjoy your pasta with your chicken cutlet, tough luck.
The other weird part, was that in most places that second course seemed kind of boring. It would literally be a breaded veal cutlet without any sauce, or just a sausage on your plate, or a chicken breast. So again, if you don’t want to eat just a dry chicken breast by itself, you need to ask for them to bring it out with your first course.
I was also surprised that they didn’t have the things that we consider typical in Italian restaurants (at least on the US east coast Italian restaurants), such as Chicken Parm, or Chicken Franchese.
But the pizza… the pizza was so good everywhere! Each city had their own style of crust, and I would have to say Naples was the big winner.
When we got home and I asked Aldo what he wanted me to cook for his birthday, he said Chicken Parm. Not a surprise, since he orders that at every Italian restaurant (in the US at least).
As I was making this chicken parm, I told Aldo that I think I make the best chicken parm I’ve ever tasted. He agreed. He actually got a little upset, because apparently he’s told me that before, but I didn’t believe him.
So, what makes my chicken parm recipe the best chicken parm recipe ever? I think it’s these 4 things:
- I use chicken breasts instead of thin chicken cutlets, so there is a lot of meat instead of just breading, sauce, and a bit of chicken.
- I dip the chicken into the breadcrumbs twice, so there is a nice crispy breading crust.
- I add a bit of hot sauce to the egg mixture that I coat the chicken in. Not enough to make things spicy, just enough to give everything more flavor.
- While baking the chicken, I place an oven-proof bowl full of water into the oven, so that the chicken never dries out. This is a fool-proof trick – there have been many times when I’ve over baked the chicken and it still comes out tender every time. It never dries out.
Aside from that, the recipe is pretty standard, and you can tweak it to your liking. The recipe below is enough to make 3 large chicken breasts, or 4 small ones.
Best Chicken Parm Recipe
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- hot sauce , to taste (a few drops)
- 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs (see note below)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese for breading
- 4 small chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 cups marinara sauce
- 4 thick slices mozzarella
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese for topping
- Preheat oven to 350F. Place an oven-proof bowl or baking dish full of water on the bottom rack.
- Prepare the egg dipping sauce and the breadcrumbs mixture: In one container, combine the egg, milk, salt, pepper, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Mix well. In another container, combine the Italian breadcrumbs and the crumbled Parmesan cheese. Mix well.
- Bread the chicken: Dip each chicken breast into the egg mixture, and then press firmly into the breadcrumbs on both sides. Then repeat - dip each chicken into the egg mixture again, and press into the breadcrumbs on both sides to get a nice even coating.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Carefully place the chicken breasts into the skillet, smooth side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
- Add 1 cup of marinara sauce to a 13 x 9 casserole pan (or similar size). Carefully place the chicken breasts into the casserole pan. Spoon a quarter cup of marinara sauce sauce on top of each chicken breast and place in the oven to bake at 350, until the chicken is almost cooked. Cooking time will vary depending on the chicken breast size, anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken breast registers 155-160F.
- Spoon more sauce on each chicken breast if you like things extra saucy, and top each one with a slice of mozzarella and a bit of Parmesan cheese. Bake for another 7-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the chicken is fully cooked to 165F.To serve, spoon some sauce onto a plate, and place the chicken on top of the sauce.