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Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Imagine crisp eggplant layered with marinara and plenty of melted cheese. Eggplant Parmesan is a real treat and is fairly simple to make. You’ll love this vegetarian alternative to our Classic Chicken Parmesan.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan slice with melted cheese

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My sister-in-law gave me gorgeous eggplants from her garden and the first thing that came into my head was Baked Eggplant Parmesan. The end result provided a mouth-watering spin on a classic Italian dish that even my children love!

What is Eggplant Parmesan?

Eggplant Parmesan is a traditional Italian dish. Its Italian name is melanzane alla parmigiana. The dish is made in a shallow pan layering baked eggplant with marinara sauce and cheese.

Mouthwatering slice of Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Baked Eggplant Parmesan:

Traditionally, this tasty dish involves fried slices of eggplant to create the crisp layers like chicken parm. In our version, the eggplant is sliced and baked with a panko and parmesan coating. The tasty coating crisps the eggplant slices as they bake giving you a similar result to frying the slices – all with fewer calories, less mess, and still with plenty of delicious flavor.

Ingredients for Eggplant Parmesan:

  • Eggplant: use fresh, ripe eggplant (see tips below on how to avoid bitter eggplant)
  • Flour & Eggs: Dredge in flour and dip sliced eggplant in the eggs to help hold on the crisp topping
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: makes a nice crunchy texture
  • Parmesan Cheese: Adds a wonderful flavor to the eggplant
  • Garlic: Italian food without garlic isn’t really Italian food!
  • Marinara Sauce: we prefer Homemade Marinara, but store-bought works
  • Fresh Basil: Optional, but a nice touch and adds freshness and color
  • Mozzarella Cheese: melts and forms a beautiful crust

Ingredients for eggplant parmesan with eggplant, panko crumbs, parmesan, eggs, marinara, flour, and mozzarella

How to Avoid Bitter Eggplant:

Ripe eggplant has a slight give when you squeeze, but the skin pops back when you release the sides.

Eggplants have a short shelf life, so it is very important to use eggplant that is ripe and cooked soon after being picked or purchased. The older the eggplant, the more likely it is to become bitter. If you have more tips on avoiding bitter eggplant, please share them in a comment below!

Garden fresh eggplant ready for slicing to make baked Eggplant Parmesan

How to Make Eggplant Parmesan:

1. Breading Eggplant: Line of 3 rimmed dishes in order – flour, salt, and pepper; then beaten eggs; and finally panko crumbs and parmesan cheese. Bread eggplant slices by dipping them in each bowl in order.

Flour, egg, and panko/parmesan filled bowls lined up to coat eggplant slices

2. Baking the Eggplant: Place breaded eggplant onto greased baking sheets and drizzle the tops with olive oil or spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake them until tender, be sure to flip them over halfway through cooking.

Eggplant slices after being coated and baked

3. Prepare the Sauce: We like making our Homemade Marinara Sauce adding some fresh garlic and basil.

Delicious homemade marinara sauce garnished with fresh basil

4. Assemble the Eggplant Parmesan for Baking: Spread marinara sauce over the bottom of a pan. Then spread half of the eggplant slices, cover with mozzarella cheese and repeat the process. Bake on 375 until the cheese is melted and slightly golden.

Layering crisp eggplant, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese to make eggplant parmesan

What to Serve with Eggplant Parmesan:

This main course can be a heavy dish with lots of cheese and sauce, so I highly recommend choosing lighter side dishes to balance the entire meal. Here are some of my favorite side dishes to serve with Eggplant Parm.

Eggplant Parmesan with delicious melted mozzarella cheese - ready to serve

How to Store Eggplant Parm:

Eggplant Parmesan is a versatile dish that can be made ahead and frozen before baking or stores easily as leftovers.

  • To Refrigerate: let leftovers cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for 3-4 days.
  • To Freeze: wrap the assembled, but unbaked, Eggplant Parmesan in several layers of plastic wrap and freeze up to 3 months then thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed. The baking process is similar to reheating our Lasagna Roll-Ups.

Mouthwatering Eggplant Parmesan

More Eggplant Recipes:

If you love eggplant recipes, you are sure to find some new favorites in this list. We everything from eggplant casseroles to eggplant appetizers. P.S. That first spicy eggplant recipe is wildly delicious.

Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

4.94 from 16 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Baked Eggplant Parmesan: crisp eggplant layered with marinara and plenty of melted cheese

This Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe fills your mouth with crisp eggplant, flavorful marinara, and plenty of melted cheese to replicate a classic Italian dish.

Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Skill Level: Easy/Medium
Cost to Make: $10-$14
Keyword: Eggplant Parmesan
Cuisine: Italian
Course: Main Course
Calories: 477 kcal
Servings: 6 servings as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs eggplant 2 large/3 medium/4 small, cut into 1/3" thick rounds
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil to drizzle over eggplant and 1 Tbsp for the sauce
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves pressed or minced
  • 24 oz good quality marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves coarsely chopped, (optional, but nice)
  • 1 lb shredded mozzarella grated on the large holes

Instructions

How to Bake Eggplant for Eggplant Parm:

  1. Preheat Oven to 375˚F. Grease 2 baking sheets. Set up 3 rimmed dishes in this order: In the first one, stir together 3/4 cup flour, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. In the second, beat 3 large eggs. In the third combine 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs and 1/2 cup grated parmesan. Dip eggplant slices in flour, then beaten eggs, then in the panko/parm mixture.

  2. Place breaded eggplant onto greased baking sheets and drizzle tops with olive oil or spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake at 375˚F for 32 min, flipping the eggplant rounds and rotating the pans halfway through (my baking sheets didn't fit on one rack so I put them on separate racks in the top third and bottom third of the oven). Once done baking, remove from oven and reposition rack to the center of the oven.

How to Make the Sauce:

  1. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Once oil is hot, add garlic and stir 1 min until fragrant. Add marinara sauce and coarsely chopped basil. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.

To Assemble Eggplant Parmesan:

  1. Spread 1/4 cup marinara sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 or 9x12 casserole dish. Add 1/2 eggplant slices, overlapping if needed to fit, then top with 1/2 marinara sauce and 1/2 mozzarella, Repeat with remaining eggplant slices, marinara and mozzarella. Bake uncovered at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly golden.

Recipe Notes

To avoid bitter eggplant, it's very important to use eggplant that is ripe and cook it soon after it's picked or purchased.

Nutrition Facts
Eggplant Parmesan Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 477 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Cholesterol 149mg50%
Sodium 1728mg75%
Potassium 866mg25%
Carbohydrates 40g13%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 29g58%
Vitamin A 1280IU26%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 546mg55%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

Eggplant Parmesan: crisp eggplant layered with marinara and plenty of melted cheese (and it's baked, not fried!) | natashaskitchen.com

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Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • John Jarret
    September 14, 2020

    Hey Natasha.I have read before that you should use course salt and put some weight on the eggplant slices to help remove some of the bitter juice.This seems like a lot of extra work.Is it necessary?Thanks.John Jarret.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 14, 2020

      Hi John, we don’t think it is necessary for this recipe but a couple of readers did write saying that is how their family made this. If you do try it with the salt I would love to know how you like this recipe!

      Reply

  • Caitlin
    September 13, 2020

    This was perfect!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 13, 2020

      Thank you!

      Reply

  • Sue
    September 6, 2020

    I’ve made many of Natasha’s recipes since I discovered her a few years ago but I have to say, this eggplant parm might be my favorite to date. The oven baked eggplant slices came out nice and crispy (not soggy and grease laden like when frying) and the finished dish was deliciously firm and structured, not mushy. I used my homemade marinara (very similar to Natasha’s recipe), fresh buffalo mozzarella and a shredded Romano/mozzarella blend and it’s truly delish. Can’t wait to make eggplant subs for lunch tomorrow! PS I’m a vegetarian – thanks for the delish veg recipe!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 7, 2020

      You are most welcome, Sue. That is such awesome feedback, thank you for sharing that with us!

      Reply

  • Judi B
    September 3, 2020

    Hi First if all, thank you for sharing your delicious recipes.
    Eggplant. My Italian nana taught me to look for male eggplants because the female eggplants have more seeds and therefore more bitter. She also sliced them and layered the slices in a colander salted lightly for about 45 minutes or so which also gets that brown juice out yielding less bitter tase.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 3, 2020

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me Judi! I’m happy you enjoyed this recipe!

      Reply

  • Karen Berger
    August 23, 2020

    I’ve tried eggplant Parmesan several times before but it never turned out right. This recipe is perfect! I used gluten free flour and gluten free Panko style bread crumbs, and they were fine substitutes. I’ll be making this again. Thanks, Natasha!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 23, 2020

      Fantastic! So great to hear that your substitutes worked great too. Thank you so much for sharing that with us, Karen!

      Reply

  • Charmaine
    June 30, 2020

    This was the BEST eggplant parm I’ve made/tasted. My fiancé loved it so much, and it was very filling.

    Natasha, am I able to make it in advance and freeze for later? If so, what are your suggestions on how to prepare it?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 30, 2020

      Hi Charmaine, I haven’t tested freezing this. I worry it will become soggy upon the defrost stage. If you experiment please let me know how you like that.

      Reply

  • Carol Marcello Casey
    March 28, 2020

    Thank you Natasha for your awesome Eggplant Parmesan Recipe! Being an “old school” Italian cook, I use to make mine the old fashioned way, which was frying it! Even though I salted and removed the liquid, it still soaked up a lot of oil. This version is so much healthier… and just as tasty.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 28, 2020

      Thank you for sharing that awesome review with me, Carol! I’m so glad you enjoyed that!

      Reply

  • Sarah K
    February 19, 2020

    My family hates everything new. I have never cooked with eggplant before, always wanted to try it. All 3 boys and even my picky eater husband all LOVED it. No leftovers is a good night!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 19, 2020

      I know exactly what you mean! I’m so glad your family enjoyed this recipe!

      Reply

  • Mags
    January 14, 2020

    I have made this and it was wonderful!!!
    I do have one question – I’m trying to make this ahead and wonder if it will work to bake the eggplants but not assemble it all together until hours/ next day and finish cooking then? Or will the eggplants be too soggy?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 15, 2020

      Hi Mags, that should work fine.

      Reply

  • HINABEN PATEL
    October 10, 2019

    hi,what can i substitute for eggs. i like your baversion of eggplant perm,

    Reply

    • Natasha
      October 10, 2019

      Hi, I haven’t tried an egg free substitute in the dredging but I found another recipe for a vegan eggplant that is eggless with 1/2 cup almond milk mixed together with 1 tsp corn starch which sounded like a great idea.

      Reply

  • Alyce Michaud
    May 22, 2019

    Love your videos 🥰 — makes cooking with you fun! One of your respondents was searching for a new eggplant parmesan. I make mine with the basic recipe (frying too) but I only use Velveeta cheese. It may be one to try and put your spin on it. This was Mom’s recipe. 🌴🌺 👩‍🍳
    P.S. Thank you to respondents for the info on using Asian eggplants – never heard about the bitterness….

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 22, 2019

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it Alyce!

      Reply

  • Cassandra
    January 14, 2019

    I will be making this recipe later this week, though will adapt it to be gluten free/dairy free. I love to cook, so thank you for sharing this! Eggplant Parmesan is one of a few recipes my mother was unable to share with me before she passed (too loopy from pain meds the last few months).

    Thank you again 💕

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 14, 2019

      I’m so happy to hear that! I hope you love it!

      Reply

  • Tania
    April 2, 2018

    I had all the ingredients except for parmesan cheese so I left it out. When I tried one of the eggplant slices after coming out of the oven I was very worried- it tasted like cardboard! But I finished off the recipe and it was a hit! My husband had three servings and my two year old loved it.
    I read that when an eggplant’s seeds have a different colour (such as brown) to the rest of the flesh it is likely to be bitter. My eggplants had the same coloured flesh and seeds so I didn’t do anything and they weren’t bitter at all.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 2, 2018

      Awesome, I’m glad to hear your entire family enjoys this recipe. Thanks for sharing your wonderful review with other readers!

      Reply

  • Jerry
    January 27, 2018

    I’ve never eaten Eggplant. Since everything i’ve tried from Natasha’s Kitchen has been wonderful, I gave it a try. It was awesome! I did leave it sit salted for an hour to wick the moisture out.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 27, 2018

      I’m happy to hear that you tried the recipe and love it! Thanks for sharing your excellent review Jerry!

      Reply

  • Natalia
    February 4, 2017

    Hi Natasha! I am your new fan) I already made several recipes from your blog and everything was delicious! Today I tried eggplant Parmesan, I’ve never made it with breadcrumbs before. Usually just an eggplant on a grill, some sauce and mozzarella on top. It came out beautiful. Thank you for your work and delicious food- so good and inspiring.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 4, 2017

      You’re welcome Natalia! Thanks for the amazing compliment. I’m so glad to hear how much you love the recipes!

      Reply

  • Allie
    August 11, 2016

    Wow! By far the best eggplant parmesan I have tried, and I’ve tried a few! It was so easy to make and I like that it’s baked, so not greasy at all. Thank you Natasha!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 11, 2016

      I’m so happy you enjoyed it! Thanks for the awesome review 🙂

      Reply

  • Anukampa
    March 17, 2016

    Wow. they look absolutely delicious. Am surely gonna try for friends at home this weekend and will tag you. Thanks for sharing the recipe

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 17, 2016

      Thank you so much! I hope you all love the recipe 🙂

      Reply

  • Maryana
    January 13, 2016

    Natasha, to avoid bitter eggplant sprinkle them with salt and let them sit for 20 min to release some liquid, then wipe them dry with paper towel. It will give eggplant a great super soft taste you will love.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 13, 2016

      Maryana, thank you so much for the tip. I appreciate that you shared that with me 😁.

      Reply

  • Christina
    December 10, 2015

    Natasha thank you for taking your time to put together this FREE and wonderful website. I found you through a Ukranian friend who made your cheese toasts for her daughter’s birthday. I am Italian American and am very hard to please, but your recipes are full of color and explanation and most of all molto bene (very good)!! Thankyou for taking your time to make this site. I hope to see you on Foodnetwork someday!!

    God bless,
    Christina, NY

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 10, 2015

      Thank you so much for your wonderful review and inspirational comment. You’re so nice 🙂

      Reply

  • Robin
    October 11, 2015

    Natasha–I made this eggplant parm tonight, and oh boy, it was absolutely delicious!!!! I basically followed your recipe to the “t” and loved the baked eggplant concept. It was truly one of the better meals I’ve made in a long time. My family loved it. Thanks for sharing. 😊

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 11, 2015

      That’s so great. Thank you so much for sharing your review 🙂

      Reply

  • oksana
    September 26, 2015

    Hi Natasha,
    Do you think if I assemble the baked cooled eggplant with the sauce and everything but bake it a off tomorrow that it will work? Like cover it with foil but bake it off the next day?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 26, 2015

      That should work fine 🙂

      Reply

  • Yana
    September 15, 2015

    Yum!!! Made these today and it turned out delicious! Thank you for this recipe 😄

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 15, 2015

      I’m so glad you liked it! 🙂

      Reply

  • Angela
    August 28, 2015

    This looks great. So far I have made your Napoleon cake, carrot apple salad, and cod in tomato sauce. My Ukrainian hubby loved them all, soi definitely have lot of faith in your recipes! Thank you 🙂

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 28, 2015

      Angela, thank you for your sweet comment and you are very welcome :). Give this recipe a try, you won’t be disappointed :D.

      Reply

  • Eleonora
    August 26, 2015

    I made this last night and it came out great! I LOVE the fact that it is not fried. I was concerned it wouldn’t taste the same as the classic fried eggplant parm but it was amazing! This is a keeper for sure! Thanks for such a simple and tasty recipe!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 26, 2015

      Eleonora, thank you for such a great review, I’m so happy that you love the recipe :).

      Reply

  • Coco in the Kitchen
    August 24, 2015

    Baked, not fried.

    That means I can eat the whole lot, doesn’t it?!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 24, 2015

      Yes Ma’am. 😉 Great minds think alike! 🙂

      Reply

  • Trisha
    August 24, 2015

    I love that these eggplants are baked instead of fried. Such a light take on a normally very “heavy” meal. Thank you for sharing this with us! Can’t wait to try it out!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 24, 2015

      It really is pretty guilt free and you feel very good after eating it 🙂

      Reply

  • Katy | Her Cup of Joy
    August 22, 2015

    Oh yum! I have a few eggplant growing in my garden, I will definitely need to try this skinny version! I love my veggies 🙂 This looks perfect Natasha!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 22, 2015

      Thank you Katy! What else do you grow besides eggplant? I’m aways looking for new ideas!

      Reply

      • Katy | Her Cup of Joy
        August 24, 2015

        My garden is probably no match for your moms garden! I had a lot of veggies and herbs this year. Some new things I tried were okra and tomatillos, they are really interesting to try 🙂

        Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          August 24, 2015

          Oh those are interesting! Have you tried making anything with them? Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever even tried okra! :-O

          Reply

  • Dana
    August 21, 2015

    Hi Natasha,

    Another way of getting rid of the bitterness is sprinkling the eggplant slices with salt. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes (I’ve even let it sit overnight and it came out delicious), then blot the salt and the moisture out with a dry paper towel. The salt soaks the bitter moisture out and leaves the eggplant soft and tender and ready to cook. Hope this helps!
    Enjoy 🙂

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 21, 2015

      Hi Dana! Thank you so much for sharing that. I’ve never let it sit overnight – do you refrigerate if leaving it overnight, or is it just at room temp?

      Reply

      • Dana
        August 22, 2015

        I did refrigerate the overnight ones, but I typically let them sit on the kitchen counter at room temp for 1-2 hours before I use them. It just depends on how big they are. I noticed that the bigger they are, the more bitter they taste. That’s why I prefer Japanese eggplant. But my husband likes the Chinese ones better, the same kind you used in this recipe.

        Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          August 22, 2015

          Thank you so much for sharing that with me Dana!

          Reply

    • Marina | Let the Baking Begin!
      August 23, 2015

      Did you know that if you use the asian eggplants (skinny long ones) they do not have the bitterness?

      By the way, this eggplant parmesan looks incredible!

      Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        August 23, 2015

        That’s great to know!! I wish they always had them in stores for when they aren’t growing 🙂

        Reply

  • Oksana
    August 21, 2015

    Oh yum, yum. Are eggplant the only thing you can use with this? Or will squash or zucchini work ok too? (We grow those, but not the eggplant). This looks totally like something that will be on my menu soon. Also, do you use panko breadcrumbs because they are more crunchier, or can regular breadcrumbs be used instead?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 21, 2015

      Hi Oksana! I haven’t tried with anything but chicken and eggplant but I have seen recipes online that use zucchini so I assume you can use zucchini.

      Reply

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