Eggplant Parmesan

A classic Italian baked eggplant Parmesan casserole with breaded eggplant slices layered with Mozzarella, Parmesan, basil, and tomato sauce.

First cut the eggplant and salt the eggplant rounds. Then prep the rest of the ingredients while the eggplant rounds are releasing their moisture.

  • Yield: Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 lbs (about 2 large) eggplants
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

 

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), tomatoes diced, reserve juices
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

 

  • 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 4 eggs, beaten (more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus more to oil the sheet pans)
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch slices

Method

 

salt eggplant rounds

1 Slice the eggplants into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick rounds. Lay the eggplant slices out on a rack over a rimmed sheet pan (or on several layers of paper towels). Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant rounds lightly with salt. Let the eggplant rounds sit and release moisture for 2 hours.

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2 Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and gently cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and their juices. Increase heat to bring to a simmer, lower heat to maintain a very low simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the minced basil and remove from heat.

3 Combine 1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and place in a shallow bowl or rimmed dish. Set up your station so that you have flour in one shallow bowl, beaten eggs in another bowl, and the breadcrumb cheese mixture in another, in that order.

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4 Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spread a tablespoon of olive oil each over the bottom of two rimmed baking sheet pans. Pat dry the eggplant slices with paper towels. Working one at a time dredge the eggplant slices first in the flour, then dip in the beaten eggs, and then dredge in the breadcrumb parmesan cheese mixture. Place on oiled sheet pan. Drizzle a little oil over the top of each breaded eggplant round.

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5 Place breaded prepared eggplant slices in the oven. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes, turning the slices over at the half-way point, until they are nicely browned. Remove from oven, and let cool to touch.

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6 Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Place a third of the eggplant rounds in a single layer covering the sauce on the bottom of the pan.

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Layer half of the sliced mozzarella on top of the eggplant rounds. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.

Place another third of the eggplant rounds over the cheese. Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the eggplant rounds. Layer the rest of the sliced mozzarella over the sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of grated Parm.

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Add the remaining eggplant in a single layer on top of the cheese. Top with the remaining sauce and the remaining Parmesan.

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7 Bake uncovered at 350°F for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before cutting into to serve.

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Comments

  1. shuna fish lydon

    Eggplant parmesan is one of my favorite things to make and eat. I spend all day making the sauce and the other half frying the eggplant. But I have never drained the eggplant, I just cook it until quite dark. I do presalt, both sides, and I make sure that oil is really hot.

    It is one of the only things that I make that I do not tire of day after day that it stays around.

    An eggplant well done is something few people who say they dislike eggplant have had. i am all for re-introducing people to pleasure in unlikely places…

  2. foodie

    Instead of bread crumbs, it’s a good idea to use panko crumbs ( japanese bread crumbs)

  3. Athina

    This recipe looks basically like my eggplant parm recipe. recently someone told me they were surprised that I didn’t peel my eggplant- and said “isn’t it bitter?” I have never peeled my eggplant, Elise what are your thoughts on that? Is it traditional to keep the skin on? Do you notice a difference in flavor? I always thought the skin imparted a nice flavor.

    I’ve never peeled the eggplant either for this dish. Sometimes the peel can be a little tough, so I can see why someone might want to peel it. ~Elise

  4. Meagan

    This recipe produces a VERY tasty Eggplant Parmesan. I cook the sause on the stovetop, uncovered, for a long time, so that the final product isn’t watery. I dip the eggplant slices in egg first and breadcrumbs last – breadcrumbs then egg works fine. Salting the eggplant slices is critical. I use a mesh collander and make layers of eggplant, placing about a spoon-full of salt between each layer. I then place a heavy stack of plates on top of the eggplant layers and let it rest in the sink for at least two hours. When done soaking, just wipe the salt off – it will not be too salty. If you are worried about too much salt, you can run each slice under the tap to quickly rinse. Either way, dry the slices off with paper towels. Thanks for the recipe, Elise. I will be making this recipe for a potluck on Thursday.

    • Mia

      i did this salt treatment just as you described – even rinsed each slice after the salting…it ruined the recipe for us – so salty we threw it away. Cant figure that out…

      • Elise

        Sounds like a spoonful of salt between each piece is way too much. Could be that what she uses is kosher salt, which is a much bigger crystal, which would not penetrate as much and rinse off more quickly.

        • terri

          She said she uses a colander and it takes a spoon of salt between each LAYER laying in the colander – not each slice. LOL I bet 1 tsp of salt per piece of eggplant would be a memorable experience. I’m only laughing because I would do something like that too. :-)

  5. Demetra

    The best way to make sure you have a prefect eggplant parmesan is to sprinkle the eggplant slices with a little salt and then grill them for a few minutes. This also adds to the taste of the final dish with the smokey taste.
    You should go easy on the basil. another way i do it is to brush them with pesto before grilling. Yummy….

  6. Joy Morris

    I’ve been making Cook’s Illustrated’s Eggplant Involtini lately which is nice for the summertime because it’s mostly on the stovetop. When it starts getting cooler and I can stand to have the oven on longer I’ll be sure to give this a try.

    I’ve been enjoying the conversation on to peel or not to peel. I’ve been wondering about that myself. I’m coming away with “You don’t have to peel but it might be bitter and/or tough so you may wind up leaving it on the plate.”

  7. Sherry Copeland

    I am making this tonight with fresh tomatoes. Only a half recipe. Do you think this can be frozen?

    • Elise

      I don’t recommend freezing fresh tomatoes. But if you cook those fresh tomatoes into a sauce you should be okay with at least the sauce. As for freezing the whole thing? Hmm. I’m told it’s not a good idea to freeze cheese, and this casserole is loaded with cheese. That said, they sell plenty of frozen dinners with cheese in them. So your guess is as good as mine.

  8. Natalie @ Paper & Birch

    This recipes sounds delightful Elise! Thanks for the tip on preventing mushy eggplant, that may explain my last attempt at an eggplant lasagne I made. Definitely going to be trying this! :)

  9. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Such a yummy recipe. I love eggplant parm!

  10. sue/the view from great island

    This is such a classic, I haven’t made it in years. I just bought eggplant at the farmer’s market to make Moussaka…I might have to change my plans!

  11. CARMELA

    I prepare this very similar the way you do it ; ) delicious!!

    • Cat g

      They really over complicated this…just bake they sliced and breaded eggplant (no need to wait 2 hours). When it is finished, assemble the casserole and broil it till the cheese melts.

  12. Uly

    What’s really delicious, if you can get it, is to replace the regular mozzarella with smoked mozzarella. Mmmmmm!

    • Elise

      Hi Uly, I’ve used smoked mozzarella in dishes, and it is strong! If using in this recipe, I would recommend only swapping a small amount with the regular mozz.

  13. Kiersten

    My family’s solution to soggy eggplant was to peel and slice the eggplant and layer it in a colander. Then place a plate over the sliced eggplant, and place something heavy over top to press out the water. Let them sit like this overnight, and you will have no soggy eggplant ever again! :)

  14. The Ranch Kitchen

    Love not frying and baking the eggplant instead! Much healthier and look absolutely delicious! I have eggplant out our kazzo this year in our garden and can’t wait to try this tonight!

  15. Lori @ RecipeGirl

    This is incredibly delicious! I need to make it for my family!

  16. Katie

    Made this last night and it was AMAZING! My parents who joined us for dinner declared it’s the best eggplant parm they’ve ever had! And, I agree! Can’t wait to make it again!!!

  17. Carol at Wild Goose Tea

    Simply one of my lifetime all time favorite meals to eat. My darling daughter in law makes it for me for every birthday. Your is absolutely the perfect way to make it. Smiles—

  18. Angie | Big Bears Wife

    I really love the idea of using the eggplant instead of noodles!

  19. Maureen

    I always get excellent results with this recipe. If I make a double batch, should I bake everything at once and then refrigerate leftovers, or can I hold in the fridge, waiting a few days to bake the extra?

  20. JoAnn

    This is fantastic! I love baking the eggplant instead of frying it! I’m allergic to wheat, so made breadcrumbs from Udi’s GF bread and used a GF flour and it was still wonderful. Thank you so much!!

  21. Chuck

    I grew eggplant in my garden for this first time this year and I am trying this recipe tonight. I actually completed steps 1-5 last night (due to time constraints today) and then left them in the refrigerator over night. I hope this doesn’t mess up the recipe. I will post again tonight and comment on how it came out.

  22. Leslie

    I made this Eggplant Parm today; it was my first try. Everyone loved it! The recipe was easy to follow (love the graphics). My husband said it was the best he has ever had. I was worried that the eggplant might come out mushy, but it didn’t. I plan on making this again very soon.

    Thank you for the great recipe.

  23. Nora Garnett

    Nice recipe! I used brown rice flower which worked well. It was the first time baking the eggplant vs frying, SO MESSLESS!
    Thanks1

  24. Sherry Copeland

    Hi again! I asked about freezing, still don’t know, because I ate all of it! I am making a full recipe tonight, so I will put some in the freezer. Fresh tomatoes work well, since they are cooked down in the sauce. (My tomatoes have outdone themselves this summer!) I am using eggplant out of my garden and I like the skin on it. The eggplant I have bought in previous years from big box stores, I do not like the skin. I think that they are old and that is why they don’t taste good. I know that they have been almost twice the size (from the store) of what I am using. This is a fantastic recipe! I have to freeze, because my husband does not eat eggplant among a lot of other things (mostly green).

    • Joann Brown

      I made eggplant parmigiano for my husband 42 years ago, we were newlyweds. He is not Italian and never ate eggplant and he didn’t like the look or sound of an egg…. plant!! Without knowing this, I went ahead and made it…..he cleaned his plate and thought it was chicken or veal. Now it is one of his favorites. Plenty of cheese….he will eat anything! PS, dinner tonight….eggplant.
      Maybe after reading this your hubby will at least try a bite. Good Luck.

  25. Maxia Severino

    Hello, Elise!

    What’s a good side dish for this recipe?

    Thank you!

  26. Bast

    I made this today. Since mozzarella was out of my budget, I borrowed a trick from certain varieties of lasagna, which is to use a bechamel sauce to stretch some grated cheese. The result is a very creamy eggplant parmesan.

  27. Hiba Fennelly

    Elise, one suggestion if I may (actually 2): swap out the flour for cornstarch and the bread crumbs for panko. I season the panko with garlic salt, italian seasoning, sweet paprika and black pepper. The cornstarch and the panko ensure a super crunchy eggplant slice provided the oil is really hot and the salted eggplant slices have had at least 2 to 3 hours to drain. Panko is light and also, does not absorb oil as much as bread crumbs do. That said, I’ve been a fan for YEARS. Hope you are well :)

  28. Sandy

    Made this yesterday and had it today for lunch. It was delicious even without the soft mozarella (only had grate mozarella and parmesean on hand).

  29. Kelly

    This is the first recipe I’ve made from your site. I just made this yesterday, along with a recipe I found on another site for breaded eggplant parm sticks (which I made for my two year old, who has refused to try eggplant in other forms before). Well, my meat eater hubby and my (sometimes) picky vegetarian toddler BOTH devoured your recipe! I totally wasted my time (and some of my eggplant…) making the sticks. Lesson learned–thank you for creating an eggplant parm recipe with a simple flavor profile that is amazingly delicious! I just want to encourage other parents with little ones to consider giving this recipe a try–it’s a great way to get your child to eat some vegetables (tomatoes, garlic AND eggplant!).

  30. Jodi

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was wonderful! I’d previously been pretty ambivalent about eggplant parm; now I’m sorry I didn’t make this sooner, with eggplant season about to end. I used just a pound of fresh mozzarella and it didn’t seem to be lacking for it. Thanks!

  31. Alicia Etzel

    This recipe was delicious the day we made it and even better the second day as leftovers!!! Now I’m making a new batch with my last eggplant to put in the freezer. I’ll bet it’ll be great!!!

  32. Sondra Patton

    I am making this dish tonight for the second time, my family loves it! I am currently drowning in Eggplant from my CSA box, has anyone tried freezing this? Before or after cooking?

  33. Riva

    I made this yesterday and it was great. It was really very flavorful and the eggplant came out perfectly – cooked exactly as directed. Maybe I cooked down the tomatoes too long but I ran out of them by the time I got to the top layer and only had a spoonful left. Next time I will stretch it with a half cup / cup of sauce.
    Thanks for the recipe.