Authentic Eggplant Parmesan

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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:

A square slice of baked eggplant parmesan being lifted from the dish with mozzarella strands hanging from the spatula.

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.

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 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.

A white dinner plate with a square serving of eggplant parmesan sitting in thin layer of marinara sauce.

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:

Eggplant Rollatini
Classic Meat Lasagna
Best-Ever Baked Ziti
Stuffed Manicotti
Italian Stuffed Shells
Chicken Parmesan
Shrimp Marinara
Pasta Carbonara
Penne alla Vodka

These are all classic and unbelievably delicious. But, in the meantime, isn’t this dish calling your name?

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.

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!

A white dinner plate with a square serving of eggplant parmesan sitting in thin layer of marinara sauce.

Authentic Eggplant Parmesan

This authentic eggplant Parmesan is pure Italian-American comfort food in a single dish. The eggplant makes for the perfect vehicle for the gooey mozzarella cheese and homemade marinara sauce. You can make it up to 24 hours in advance and then bake just before serving!
5 from 18 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Italian, Italian / American
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
  • 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

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.
  • 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.

Notes

See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. 
The marinara sauce can be made several days in advance. Keep covered in the fridge until ready to use. It can also be frozen for several months. 
If you prefer, you can bake the battered eggplant at 375°F for 20 minutes. You can air-fry them for 6 minutes at 350°F, then open the basket, flip them over, and air-fry for another 2 to 3 minutes.
The dish can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance of baking. Keep covered in the fridge. Let sit out on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour before baking.
Leftovers will keep in the fridge (covered) for up to 5 days. Reheat in the oven at 350°F for about 20 minutes or cook on HIGH in your microwave in 1-minute intervals until hot and bubbly. 

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
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

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!

64 Comments

  • 5 stars
    Delish! I made it today! I had to tinker with the proportions a bit, due to my odd sized pan. The method of cooking the eggplant itself (salting, draining, rinsing, patting dry, flour dust, then egg dip) is marvelous-perfect consistency. I never thought of doing it that way. (Translation: I am not a chef.) It’s not as difficult as one might think. Very grateful for this recipe, since I’ve been intimidated by it and haven’t tried it in 15-20 years. Very flavorful and comforting. Some warm, crusty Italian bread would go well (to mop up the sauce). A nice break from meat. Trying to rationalize: meat-free, tomatoes, egg, eggplant: good. Cheese: ???

    PS – I think the fresh parsley makes a lot of difference in this. Of course, I add oregano to any Italian dish, but it’s just a preference – how I grew up eating it. Thanks, Kris and Wesley!

    • Hi Nancy! Yay!! We are so so thrilled you made the eggplant parm!! We rationalize it, too! LOL! It is a nice break from meat! Sounds like you made it perfectly and we are so happy you had such great success with it! Thank you (as always) for sharing and for the wonderful review! That means so much to us!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Decided – I’m gonna make this tomorrow morning (Sunday). Have all the ingredients. Will add a bit of oregano to the marinara.

    I love the idea of the flour dusting and then egg dip. Never saw that before in other recipes! I love chicken francaise over spinach with lemon and white wine! So I think this will be awesome.

    • Hi Carol! So sorry for the delayed response! It depends on the size of the sturdy pot and skillet, or freyer that you’ll be frying them in. Best rule of thumb is at half way up the vessel for the oil. Don’t over fill the pan, because you don’t want the hot oil to overflow once you start to fry up the eggplant. Hopefully this helps. Let us know if you have any other questions and how it turns out!

  • You guys have an amazing handle on Italian food…Greek food…Mexican food…etc.! This is my favorite recipe website!

    Have you tried, or had any luck with, preparing the eggplant in an air fryer? In my experience, frying in large amounts on the stove top results in kind of a mess. Just curious.

    • Hi Nancy! Sorry for the delayed response! Thank you so so much! That truly means the world to us! We actually have a recipe for air fryer eggplant parm and it’s one of our all-time favorite dishes for the air fryer. Let us know if you try it and how it turns out! Best, Kris 7 Wesley

    • Hi Lorraine! This makes us so happy! Isn’t it true? We have family members who swore up and down they would never like anything with eggplant in it…and then we served this. Boy, did they change their tune! LOL! So so happy you had success with the recipe and thank YOU SO much for sharing and for the wonderful review. That means the world to us!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • Thank you both, for this wonderful, authentic slice of delicious heaven! I have made this so many times and use my homemade, favorite sauce! It’s always a hit and my kids and family want the recipe, Shhhh!

    • Hi Shirley! We hope you love it and please keep up posted! We’re working on a cookbook! It’s a slow, arduous process, but we’re working on it! Thank you for your support! That means so much to us! Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I have made this recipe several times for my family, friends and neighbours. They love it and we love it. It always taste the best with our home grown eggplant from our garden. I also love watching your prep video. Thank you for sharing.
    Mary-Lou from Canada

    • Hi, Mary-Lou from Canada! (We LOVE Canada, btw!). We are so so thrilled you are having such great success with the eggplant parm recipe! And woo! With homegrown eggplant must be AMAZING! Thank you so much for sharing and for the GREAT review. That truly means the world to us! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • I have a quick question. Do I coat the eggplant slices back with the flour after dipping it in the egg mixture before frying them?

    • Hi Roberto, no need to add the slices back into the flour after dipping them in the egg mixture. They’re ready for a quick flash fry at this point! Let us know if you have any other questions and how it turns out!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 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

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