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Eggplant Parmesan

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Here at Delish, we have so many favorite comfort foods (spaghetti and meatballs, chicken pot pie, french onion soup . . .) that it’s seriously difficult for any food to stay at the top of our list for long. But this Eggplant Parmesan is a classic that never gets old. 

Layers of crispy fried eggplant, smothered in rich marinara and topped with gooey mozzarella and parmesan cheese. It might take a little extra time and effort, but it’s so worth it. 

Read on for more tips on making this classic Italian dinner. And if you’re looking for ways to make eggplant shine, check out some of our other favorite eggplant recipes.

What is eggplant parmesan?

Similar to chicken parmesan, eggplant parmesan is a classic Italian American casserole composed of fried cutlets (in this case, sliced eggplant) that’s layered with a simple marinara sauce and cheese and then baked until hot and bubbling.

Why are we salting the eggplant?

Eggplant has a ton of water in it, which can make it difficult to bread and fry. Salting the eggplant slices causes them to release some of their water through osmosis, resulting in eggplant that is firmer and easier to crisp up. For best results, let the eggplant sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature once you’ve salted it– it needs some time for the salt to draw out that excess moisture. 

How are we breading the eggplant?

This recipe uses a typical three-step breading process, which involves dredging the eggplant in seasoned flour and dipping it into beaten eggs before coating it in the panko breadcrumb mixture. We’ve also added little grated parmesan cheese and dried oregano to our panko mix for extra flavor.

What sauce are we using?

A good sauce is key to eggplant parm. This recipe includes instructions for making a simple, but delicious homemade marinara. If you really want to, you can use the jarred stuff. Our honest opinion? Since you’re putting in the extra work with the eggplant, you might as well go the distance with the sauce as well. It only takes a few minutes to throw together, and you can let it simmer on the stove while you prep other things.

Made this? Let us know how it went in the comments below.

Editor's note: This intro was updated to add more information about the dish on June 21, 2022.

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Save Recipe
Cal/Serv: 761
Yields: 8 servings
Prep Time: 0 hours 45 mins
Total Time: 2 hours 45 mins
For eggplant

medium eggplants, sliced into coins

Kosher salt

2 c.

all-purpose flour


large eggs, beaten

1/4 c.

milk (or water)

4 c.

Panko bread crumbs

2 c.

Parmesan, divided

1 tsp.

dried oregano

3 c.

shredded mozzarella

Vegetable oil, for frying

Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish

For the marinara
1/4 c.

extra-virgin olive oil


onion, chopped


cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp.

tomato paste


(28-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes

1/4 c.

torn basil leaves

1 tsp.

dried oregano

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. Season eggplant slices all over with salt and place on baking sheet in a single layer. Top with another layer of paper towels and continue to layer as needed. Let sit for 45 minutes to release excess moisture.
  2. Make marinara: In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and cook until tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in garlic and tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes, basil, and dried oregano to pot. Fill one can about halfway with water, swirl to release excess tomatoes, and add to pot. Simmer 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead.)
  3. Preheat oven to 350° and fit a baking sheet with a wire rack. Add flour to a shallow bowl. Whisk eggs and milk in another shallow bowl. In a third shallow bowl, whisk together panko, ½ cup Parmesan, and dried oregano. Working in batches, toss eggplant in flour, then dip in eggs and dredge in panko mixture. Place on wire rack.
  4. In a large high-sided skillet over medium heat, heat about ¼” oil. When oil is shimmering, add eggplant in a single layer and cook until deeply golden on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to wire rack and blot with paper towels. Let cool slightly.
  5. In a large baking dish, spread a thin layer of sauce. Top with a layer of eggplant slices, trimming as needed, then drizzle with more sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan on top. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients.
  6. Cover with foil and bake on a rimmed baking sheet until the cheese is melted and the eggplant is tender, about 40 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.

Nutrition (per serving): 761 calories, 33 g protein, 88 g carbohydrates, 12 g fiber, 18 g sugar, 32 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 1,242 mg sodium

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Ethan Calabrese

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