This dish is about as 100% Italian-American comfort food as you will find. This is one of those ‘spend-a-few-hours-in-the-kitchen-on-a-Saturday-afternoon’ dishes, but, boy, oh by, is it truly magical.
The eggplant makes the perfect vehicle for this baked dish of yumminess. The homemade marinara sauce puts it over the top. And it can also be made in advance, and then baked an hour or so before serving! I mean, come on…just look at this:
How to Make Eggplant Parmesan
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The Ingredients You Will Need
Although eggplant parmigiana (or parmesan) is vegetarian, it’s not the type of dish you’d probably want to consume every day for every meal. There is a lot of cheese and the eggplant is fried…but for that ‘special’ occasion dish, it can’t be beaten!
We start out with our classic homemade fresh marina. As with so many stellar Italian dishes, the quality of the dish comes down to the quality of the sauce.
Next, breading the eggplant slices and then quickly frying them makes the texture of the dish literally melt-in-your mouth good.
This fried eggplant parmesan recipe produces a dish that is so comforting and classic all at the same time.
We love using fresh mozzarella because it delicious and also melts beautifully.
You can easily purchase a block of fresh mozzarella and slice it yourself.
Or, you can use shredded. No matter what, you’re going to love the cheese results.
The Origins of the Dish
There is so much to love about eggplant parmesan. First, and foremost, of course, is the taste.
But you can easily make this in advance and then just simply stick it in the oven to bake prior to serving. It also freezes perfectly, too. Just let it thaw, and then bake and serve.
The recipe (Parmigiana di Melanzane, in Italian) has its roots firmly planted in Southern Italy and has been served for many, many generations. Learn more about its delicious origins here.
Other Classic Italian Recipes To Try
Eggplant Parmesan is one of our all-time favorite dishes, but here are some other classic recipes that you are absolutely going to love, too:
These are all classic and unbelievably delicious. But, in the meantime, isn’t this dish calling your name?
This is a dish that we feel confident will be one that goes into your regular rotation.
Warm, cheesy, and just so incredibly satisfying.
Folks…the time has come to make this classic baked Italian-American favorite!
Ready to make the best dish this side of Italy? Go for it!
And when you do, be sure to take a photo, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!
Authentic Eggplant Parmesan
- 10"x10" baking dish, or 9"x13" baking dish
- 2 medium eggplants
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- vegetable oil for frying, or heat your deep fryer
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley fresh, chopped, plus extra for garnish
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 4 cups homemade marinara sauce
- 3 cups mozzarella cheese fresh, sliced, or grated
- Prepare the marinara sauce (can be done up to 2 days in advance)
- Cut the ends off the eggplant and discard them. Cut each eggplant into 1/4-inch round slices and sprinkle salt over each of the rounds.
- Place in a colander for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Rinse eggplant rounds under cool water to remove salt. Dry with paper towels.
- Next, in a deep, heavy saucepan, heat the oil to 350°F, or heat your deep fryer to 350°F. (If you don't have a deep-frying thermometer, the oil will be hot enough when it creates a sheen, and a small piece of bread sizzles when tossed in the oil.)
- Meanwhile, spread the flour out on a large platter or in a pan.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs together with ½ cup of the grated Parmesan cheese, the parsley, and the salt.
- Coat each slice of eggplant with flour and shake off excess.
- Dip the eggplant, a slice at a time, in the egg mixture and let any excess drip off.
- Fry the eggplant slices, 3 to 4 at a time, for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until they are golden brown and tender.
- Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on paper towels to drain and cool.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce over the bottom of a large baking dish.
- Arrange a layer of eggplant slices over the sauce (they can slightly overlap, if necessary).
- Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce over the eggplant.
- Sprinkle ½ cup of the mozzarella and a thin layer of Parmesan cheese over the sauce.
- Repeat, layer the eggplant, marinara sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese to top the pan.
- End with a layer of eggplant and about ¼ cup marinara sauce spread over the top of it.
- Sprinkle a good handful of Parmesan cheese on top of the sauce.
- Bake the eggplant for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned on top.
- Let the pan sit for 15 to 30 minutes until cool enough to serve.
- Cut into slices and serve with warm marinara sauce and grated Parmesan on the side.
POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in June 2016, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in September 2023!