Authentic Eggplant Parmesan

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’, and make something truly magical.

The eggplant makes the perfect vehicle for this cheesy, ooey gooey lasagna of yumminess.  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:

A large slice of baked eggplant parmesan being pulled from a dish with cheese being pulled.

How to Make Eggplant Parmesan

And like a lot of really special dishes, this takes a little extra love and care in the kitchen, but it is so worth the time and effort.

We really do believe that you will think the is the best eggplant parmesan recipe there is!  Okay, we’re a little biased, but, still…wait until you make it!

Watch us show you how easy it is to make this amazing Authentic Eggplant Parmesan

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.

A platter of fried eggplant discs for authentic eggplant parmesan

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.

A baking dish of eggplant parmesan with layers of fresh mozzarella being layered in.

The Origins of the Dish

There is so much to love about this classic dish. First, and foremost, of course, is the taste.

But you can easily make this in advance and then just simply stick 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.

Authentic eggplant parmesan on a white plate.

 What to Serve With the Dish

Talk about Italian comfort food at its very best and is perfect for feeding a hungry family or gathering of friends.

And it is absolutely wonderful the next day, too.

It’s a very filling dish, so all we recommend is a nice salad, maybe our Classic Caesar Salad, a crusty loaf of bread, and a bottle of red (or white, whatever you prefer!).

Authentic Eggplant Parmesan in a baking white dish.

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! 

Eggplant Parmesan in a white plate with fresh marinara sauce.

Authentic Eggplant Parmesan on a white plate

Authentic Eggplant Parmesan

This authentic eggplant Parmesan is pure Italian comfort food in a single dish. The eggplant makes for the perfect vehicle for the gooey mozzarella cheese and homemade marinara sauce. Delicioso!
5 from 13 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: best eggplant parm, fried eggplant parmesan recipe, how to make eggplant parmesan
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 420kcal

Equipment

  • 10"x10" baking dish, or 9"x13" baking dish

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • cups vegetable oil for frying, or heat your deep fryer
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley fresh, chopped
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 4 cups homemade marinara sauce
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese fresh, sliced, or grated

Instructions

  • 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.
  • Meanwhile, spread the flour out on a large platter.
  • Coat each slice of eggplant with flour and shake off excess. Set aside.
  • 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.)
  • In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs together with ½ cup of the grated Parmesan cheese, the parsley, and the salt.
  • Dip the eggplant, a slice at a time, in the egg mixture and let any excess drip off.
  • Deep-fry the eggplant slices, 3 to 4 at a time, for about 3 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.
  • Pre-heat 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 1 tablespoon of the 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 50 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned on top (you can place under the broiler for a minute or so to brown the cheese, also). 
  • Let the pan sit for 30 to 40 minutes until cool enough to serve.
  • Cut into slices and serve with warm marinara sauce and grated Parmesan on the side.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 420kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 190mg | Sodium: 866mg | Potassium: 402mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 748IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 544mg | Iron: 3mg
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44 Comments

  • Super excited to try this! We are overrun with eggplants from our garden this year. Could the eggplant be fried in extra virgin olive oil?

    • Hi Teresa!! We think you’ll love it, especially with home grown eggplant!! Sure, you can fry them with EVOO! That will work just fine. Let us know how it turns out and what you think of it! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • Made your recipe for sauce last night and made your recipe for eggplant parm today. We had it for dinner tonight and I was a bit leary because every recipe I’ve ever tried uses breadcrumbs, but I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked it! I thought it was crispier and lighter and you could really taste the flavor of the eggplant!! It was not greasy at all and didn’t get soggy! Love it and will be making again…Thank you

    • Hi Diane!! That is so wonderful to hear! We are thrilled you enjoyed the eggplant parm recipe! We really love the texture, too. Thank you again so much for letting us know!!! Stay in touch!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • I have only one question…do you have a cookbook?
    Made the fresh marinara sauce Thursday afternoon.
    Prepped the eggplant Parmigiana yesterday…hummm…made a nice mess so I decided if this was not the most incredible eggplant I wouldn’t repeat the recipe. And I love to cook but the recipe was different than what I was raised in. (100% Italian)
    First bite…heaven in a 9×13…absolutely delicious. The buttery flavor of the eggplant compares to no other recipe. Thank you the great recipe!!!! My printer is working overtime this afternoon.

    • Hi Mary! We take that as a HUGE compliment coming from you!! We are so thrilled you enjoyed the eggplant parm and thank you so so much for letting us know! And…we’re in discussions with a publisher on starting a cookbook! Coming soon!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • Hi there! I’ve made this exact recipe many times now and love it— it’s my go-to when I want to make a good impression! I wanted to ask- can I freeze it? It wouldn’t be frozen long, but I wasn’t sure if I should assemble it all, freeze it and then bake it later? Or bake it a little then freeze?

    • Hi Taylor!! That is so awesome! We are thrilled you love our eggplant parm recipe! It’s one of our all-time favorites for sure! Regarding freezing it, you could really go either way. But for freshest taste and texture, we’d recommend putting the dish together without baking it. Cover it tightly with foil and freeze. Let thaw before baking and then bake as you normally would. If you do bake and then freeze, just let come to room temp and then cover and bake until hot through, about 20 to 30 minutes at 350F. Hope this helps!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • Happy Quarantine Thursday! I’m making this NOW…like, legit, I just assembled it…BUT, I have a question. Do I bake it covered or uncovered? I’m sure someone asked this already but if I’m being honest, I’m too lazy to lookn thanks so much in advance. ~Jo

    • Hi Jo! Not sure if you got my response. No need to cover! Just keep an eye on it, and if it’s starting to get a little too brown on the top, throw on a foil tent. Let us know how it turns out!!

  • I have been craving this dish. I came across your recipe, and can’t wait to get to the store tomorrow and buy the ingredients. It looks superb, my mouth is watering. I loved the great tips on draining off excess liquid from the eggplant prior to breading it, and frying. I liked the breading process, as bread crumbs are too heavy for my tastes. I know I will love it. As my aunt always used to say, ” It has to be good, it has all good things in it!” Thank you for sharing, for now I feel more confident in making it! Jill

  • My husband and I made this recipe yesterday, followed it exactly, and it turned out perfectly. We’re vegetarian and are always adding new vegetables, never been fans of eggplant, though that has definitely changed with this recipe! Thank you so much for the video too, helped in assembly!

    • Hi Arlene!! We are SO TRHILLED to hear that you had success with the eggplant parm!! Wesley was not a big fan of eggplant, either…until I made him this eggplant parm…now he can’t get enough of it! So glad you found the video helpful, too!! And thank you so very much for taking the time to let us know. That truly means the world to us!! Stay in touch!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

    • Looks delicious !! I want to try but I need a dish that can be prepared the night before . Would this dish work if I reheated the next day?

      • Hi Rebekah! You can make the dish the night before and then bake the next day before serving. It’s often even better that way! Allows the flavors to meld. Let us know how it turns out and what everyone thinks!! And don’t hesitate to ask any questions! We’re here to help! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • I am Slovak but grew up in a very ethnic area of Pittsburgh. I treasure authentic ethnic dishes and this is one of those! I hope that I pass this recipe on to my three daughters and that it becomes that special occasion dish in each of their families. This just turned out perfectly tonight! I can’t wait to make it now for company and see their reaction because this was one of the finest meals I’ve ever had. I chose to use the mozzarella in slices and it made the dish extra gooey and delicious. Thank you so much for publishing this!

    • Kathy, you just made us sooooo happy! Nothing makes us more pleased than to read a comment like this. We are THRILLED that you had success with the eggplant parm. We agree, it’s a special occasion dish, and that just means so much to us that you made our recipe. Thank you for letting us know. We appreciate that so very much. Please stay in touch. All the best, Kris & Wesley

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