Chicken Marinara

Baked Chicken Marinara - chicken pieces coated with Parmesan and bread crumbs, fried and covered with a tomato basil marinara sauce, and topped with melted Mozzarella. A flavorful alternative to chicken parmesan.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 6 servings



  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 shallots, peeled, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil


  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 9 boneless chicken thighs (skinless or skin-on, your preference), if large pieces, then cut in half
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese


1 Make the sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.

Add the tomatoes, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes. Simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2 Bread the chicken pieces: Combine the grated Parmesan and the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. Put the flour in another separate bowl, and the beaten eggs in another bowl.

Dredge each piece of chicken first in the flour, then dip in the beaten eggs, and then dredge in the breadcrumb mixture.

3 Preheat oven to 350°F.

4 Brown the chicken on the stovetop: Heat 4 Tbsp of olive oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Working in batches if necessary, add chicken and sauté until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.

5 Bake the chicken with the sauce and cheese: Place chicken pieces on an oven-proof serving dish. Spoon sauce over chicken pieces. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 10 minutes at 350°F, or microwave on high heat for 10-20 seconds, just until the cheese has melted.

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  • Joanie Ferrell

    Delicious!! Thank you!


  • Mark

    This sounded like a great family friendly meal. I feel that I followed the instructions exactly, but had the same problem as some other reviewers – the breading layer burned in the skillet well before the chicken was cooked.


  • Michelle

    I made this recipe according to directions except I did pound the chicken breasts thinly, changed cooking time to 20 min. to bake the sauce even thicker and it turned out awesome!!! Going to be my tried and true.


  • Mark K

    The timing for this recipe was terribly wrong for us – 10 minutes in the oven is NOT ENOUGH time unless you’ve really cut these pieces up into very small chunks. Had we done it next time, we would have definitely used flour (we tried to without flour, and the breading kept falling off), and we would have done the sauteeing step with very small pieces of chicken – then baked for 10-15 min. It ended up tasting good, but it took forever to cook the chicken properly (and by then, we had basically wasted the marinara sauce, breading, and cheese). Nonetheless, I’m sure we will crush it on our second time around.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Mark, sounds like you needed to cook the chicken a bit longer on the stovetop before it went in the oven. If you are getting it good and brown on the stovetop on both sides, you just shouldn’t need much time in the oven.

  • RainDrop

    Thank you for sharing this recipe, the chicken turned out delicious :)


  • Jenn

    Elise, this is such a wonderful recipe. I’ve made it twice now and each time we’re really loving it. Thank you!


  • Shelby

    Elise, I made this dish a few weeks ago. It was outstanding with the sauce and cheese, but the chicken by itself, OMG amazing! We decided that the breaded chicken recipe was one of the best ways to prepare chicken EVER. So good on a bun. Now it’s a regular dish in our house. Thanks again. Love this website.


  • Matt

    I made this last night and used skinless boneless breasts (force of habit).
    I did everything as mentioned above and had no problem with the breadcrumb outer layer burning. I left the chicken breaded at room temp for about 15 mins before putting into the pan though and also covered the pan for the last few mins of cooking. Was excellent. This will be my new pasta sauce from now on also.


  • lynn

    This dish was so good. I made it last night and it was perfect. Did everything it said and my family loved it!!!!


  • Janelle

    I made this for dinner tonight, and we had the extra sauce over penne (only cooked 5 thighs instead of 9). Delicious! I didn’t have a problem at all with the crust cooking/burning before the chicken was done. I did put a lid on the chicken for the last couple minutes of cooking time to make sure they got cooked through. Another winner, thanks!


  • Wendy

    This Chicken Marinara Recipe is awesome thank you for sharing, I made it without the flour because I didn’t have any and it tasted fantastic. Thank you for your Moms recipe.I can’t wait to make it exactly as it’s suppose to be.

  • Greentea

    This is a wonderful recipe. I tried it earlier this week. I didn’t have breadcrumbs so i toasted white sandwhich bread and cut it with a knife into tiny pieces. After pan frying the coated chicken thighs, I placed it in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees, then placed the delicious tomato sauce mixture on top and stuck it in the oven. Its great for leftovers too, and the chicken is so soft! Thanks for the great recipe!

  • AP

    I tried this last week for a surprise dinner for my wife and it was FANTASTIC!!

  • Sara

    I made this last night as I needed to make a quick dinner. It was delicious, really tasty but I’m afraid it wasn’t very quick at all. All the prepping, sauce making and crumbing left me rather exhausted!

  • Amazon3d

    I had a rough idea on how to make this but really wanted a guide. I found this to be one of the simplest recipes I stumbled upon. I used Bertolli marinara sauce, bowties, and chicken breast and I must say it tasted fantastic. Click my username to see the finished result, I only made 1 serving.

  • Heather

    Chicken Marinara? This is actually a recipe for chicken parmesan, although normally the chicken is put in a baking dish with the marinara and mozzarella and baked, rather than microwaving. Incidentally, the oven baked version works best if you use cuts of meat that have been pounded very thin.

  • betsy b

    I made this tonight, and I suggest to SKIP the flour. I tried it once and the crumbs and cheese mixture did not adhere well, so I dipped it only in the crumbs and cheese, and that worked fine. I also made mine in an eletric skillet, cooked it longer to be sure it was cooked through. I put a lid on it to help melt the cheese and skipped the microwave. All three of my kids liked this!!

  • Marie / Paris

    I made this recipe last night – we loved it.
    It’s absolutely delicious and easy to make.
    A great heartening winter recipe!
    Just one tip : Wene’s comment about the breadcrumbs and parmesan burning before the chicken cooks (I had the same concern) : so I dipped the raw chicken thighs in the flour, egg, parmesan and breadcrumb mixture and then baked them in the oven for about 40 minutes – I covered them for about 30 minutes so the breadcrumbs wouldn’t burn and then took off the cover to left them get golden for the last 10 minutes.
    Turned out a treat !!

  • Wene

    Hi, I’m thinking of making this. However, my only apprehension is that, after dipping the chicken in the flour, parmesan, breadcrumbs, and mozzarella, the ingredients now covering the chicken may burn before the chicken itself cooks… the only solution I could think of is steaming the chicken before dipping it in the ingredients. Do you think the chicken might lose some flavor if I were to steam it first? please advise. But, dont get me wrong, the recipe looks absolutely sumptuous.

  • Linda


    When I fry pork bacon for breakfast, I save the drippings which I store in a glass jar in the fridge. When I roast chicken I melt the bacon dripping with some butter and a little lemon juice and inject this into the bird. The extra fat keeps the chicken moist and yeah tasty too.


  • Daniel

    I did something like this a while back, only I wrapped the chicken in bacon before dipping it in batter and frying it. Bad for the heart I’m sure, but it’s good for the tongue. Might want to cook the bacon a little before hand if you like it crispy.

  • Chris Cardinal

    I made this tonight, and it turned out fantastic. Seriously, a great recipe all around and a big hit, especially with fresh mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Fantastic, really.

    Thanks for this!

  • Linda

    Hi Elise

    Thanks for the great recipe!

    It is easy to debone a thigh or chicken breast.
    I have a sharp boning (curved blade) knife I use to debone meats with. I learned not to take off every bit of meat on the bones while trying to cut a chicken thigh or breast. I do not mangle the meat now. The small amount of meat left on the bones and the bones goes into my stock pot to make chicken broth. I use the broth instead of cream or milk when I make chicken gravy for roasted chicken.


  • Elise Lafosse

    This looks excellent. Am going to try it this weekend. Question though, is it easy to debone chicken thighs? Or can you serve it with the bones in it. I will ask the butcher if he will do it but I doubt it. Thanks. Elise

  • Rathi Varadarajan

    Hi. Chanced upon this site and have become a regular visitor.
    Made this recipe but using Fish fillets. Was a big hit with family and friends. Of course being from India, had to add more of the red pepper :-)