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

Want to make eggplant parm in your air fryer? Here’s a recipe that is truly amazing.

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 19 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


  • 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.


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. 


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!


  • 5 stars
    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

  • Ty so much for posting this I haven’t had real eggplant parm since my nan died many years ago. She was old world, she came over on a boat and never wrote any recipes down. My dad has passed alot of her cooking down to me but we have never been able to nail what we were missing. I can’t believe we both forgot the salt and drying of the eggplant first as you mentioned in a previous comment this is by far the closest maybe exactly how her and my gram made it thank you so much.

    • Hi Melissa! You just made us so very, very happy. Classic dishes such as eggplant parmigiana really bring memories, new and old. So very very thrilled to hear that this reminded you of your Nan and how she prepared hers. We can only hope ours came somewhat close! Thank you for letting us know, that means the world to us! Please stay in touch. All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I made the Eggplant Parmigiana last night for my mother’s birthday.
    This is her favorite dish. I was really nervous that it would not be what she was use to. She was so excited after she tried it. She said that it was the best that she had ever tasted. She made me promise to make the same recipe every year for her birthday. My family agreed hands down that your recipe was the best that they had ever tasted. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe and making it so simple to follow.

    • Susan!! You have no idea how reading your comment makes us feel. That is so wonderful that you had great success with the recipe. And Happy Birthday to Mom!!! And great job and preparing it perfectly!! Please stay in touch and let us know if you make any other dishes. Lots of good ones on the site and lots more coming down the pike!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Wow. Love the way you captured that gooey cheese. Which would be my family’s favorite part of this dish. The aroma alone makes this worth making. Makes such a taste difference to make homemade sauce too. Love those little details that all add up to a super tasty eggplant parm.

  • 5 stars
    Oh goodness gracious. Eggplant parm is hands down one of my most fave dishes EVER. My husband doesn’t like eggplant, but he’ll gobble up an eggplant parm without issue. I usually keep it for dinner throughout the cooler months, but I’m so tempted to rock this recipe SOON. Gorgeous photos, too. I’ve avoided blogging my recipe because by the time it’s ready I’m hangry, impatient, and can’t get good shots. Haha. Well done, fellas!

  • 5 stars
    Well, as an Italian – Italian (no hyphen) I want to grab that pan and run with it, hide, and eat it all. My heavens it should be outlawed how good that looks. We love all of the ingredients but in combination — whew!! They pack quite the punch. BTW, do you have any left??

  • 5 stars
    You had my heart at fried eggplant. I need a stack of this right now! That pull shot you started with is mouthwatering! My partner LOVES eggplant so I’ll have to try this out for him

  • 5 stars
    Love that opening cheese pull photo! Eggplant Parm is one of my favorite dishes. A Sunday dinner staple in my Italian family. I often prefer it to lasagna! Who can resist that wonderful fried eggplant and all of that gorgeous cheese? Such a comfort food classic.

  • 5 stars
    Wow, is this dish ever stunning. I have never made eggplant Parmesan as I’m not a huge eggplant fan but the way I’m droolong over your photos, I’ve fotta fry some up and try this baby out. It looks fresh, delicious and the perfect entree for Italian night!

  • 5 stars
    Oh my goodness. My mouth is watering at the sight of that ooey gooey cheesy slice coming out of the pan. I have never had eggplant parmigiana and now I really feel like I’m missing out. I can’t believe you even make the marinara from scratch! Amazing!

  • 5 stars
    Oh I wish I COULD eat eggplant parm everyday! It has eggplant, a veggie, in it – that makes it ok, right? 😛 You’re so right though, you need the freshest ingredients for the best results – that mozzarella looks divine… as does the whole dish! Growing up my dad used to grow SO many eggplants and I remember our kitchen table full of sliced eggplant rounds salted and sweating all of the time for breaded and pan fried eggplant rounds. Sometimes they’d make it to parm, but a lot of the time they were just put in sandwiches! Thanks for such a great recipe!

    • Hi Tracy! I could live on eggplant parm, but probably wouldn’t live too long! One of those spectacular ‘special occasion’ meals…and it IS vegetarian!! xo Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Holy God! I’m in love with this eggplant parmesan. I’m not even an eggplant fan, but — HELLO? Deep fried and slathered with mozzarella, pecorino and your homemade marinara? I’m on board. Just tell me what time dinner is and I’m bringing the wine… I love your personalities on the video and am wishing, (fingers crossed) that you were my next door neighbors — that would be a hoot!

    • Thank you, Lisa!! We would have BLAST if we were neighbors!! We just moved to Texas (Dallas) from New Jersey. If you are EVER in Big D, let’s get together and have some good eating’!! And thank you for your kinds words…we REALLY appreciate (and this eggplant parm is so sinfully delicious!). xo

  • 5 stars
    I have yet to make this at home. It took years before I even liked eggplant…but I sure do now. This is a great casserole to feed a hungry crowd for sure. Perfect as an entertaining dish.

    • Thanks, Gloria! We got on the eggplant bandwagon a little late, too, but boy are we making up for it now. We really love this recipe and hope you give it a try! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • This recipe is off the hook so very good the best love your recipes and you make it so easy to follow thank you I am becoming a better cook your homemade Marinara Sauce is to die for thanks again on to the next recipe

    • Yay!!! You just made our day!! Thank you so very much and we really do love this eggplant parm, and it wouldn’t be what it is without that freshly made marinara. Sounds like you are doing absolutely fantastic in the kitchen!!! Keep us posted!! xoxo Kris & Wesley

      • I just now saw that you asked me how I liked it. I’ve used your recipe a dozen times and the recipe printout was quite splattered so I came back to re-print it. To answer your question, I LOVE this recipe. Crispy eggplant, tangy sauce and cheesy as heck. BTW – my husband’s ears did wiggle! Thanks again!

  • Just a quick question Kris. I have never seen an eggplant recipe like this with the skins left on. Is that really correct?? Do they soften up enough? Otherwise looks great and will have to make real soon.
    My regards to the Loon..thanks

    • Hi Mitch! Yes, they soften completely. No need to peel. And if you sprinkle salt on the rounds before you quick fry them, it pulls out some of the bitterness, as well as some of the liquid and helps them to fry more quickly and absorb very little oil. This is one of our favorite dishes. Let me know how it turns out and if you have any other questions. Best, Kris (and the Loon).

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