Eggplant Parmesan

Family-FriendlyCasseroleItalianVegetarianEggplant

Classic for a reason, Italian baked Eggplant Parmesan is comfort food at its best. Breaded eggplant slices are layered with mozzarella, Parmesan, basil, and tomato sauce, and baked until bubbly.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Eggplant parmesan is one of those great Italian comfort foods—a layered casserole much like lasagna but with slices of globe eggplant taking the place of pasta.

The two things to keep in mind when cooking eggplant, especially firm globe eggplants, is that not only do eggplants hold onto moisture, they also absorb oil like a sponge. So if you’re not careful you can end up with something mushy and oily.

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In this recipe, to tackle the first challenge we lightly salt the raw eggplant slices and let them sit out for a while. The salt helps draw moisture out of the eggplant.

To deal with the oil absorption issue, instead of frying the breaded eggplant slices, we bake them in the oven, before assembling the casserole to be baked again.

The result? Wonderful! Cheesy, tomato-y eggplant parmesan that doesn’t weigh you down with too much water or oil.

From the editors of Simply Recipes

Storing the Leftovers

Like many good casseroles, Eggplant Parmesan makes great leftovers. It will keep in the fridge for up to five days and can be reheated in the microwave.

Try These Eggplant Recipes!

Updated August 31, 2020 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe. Enjoy!

Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

  • Prep time: 1 hour
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Eggplant Prep time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Serves 8

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

Inspired by a recipe in the New York Times by chef Gabrielle Hamilton, recounting a recipe from her Italian ex-mother-in-law.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 pounds (about 2 large) eggplants
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin 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 shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, beaten (more if needed)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more to oil the sheet pans)
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch slices

Method

1 Prepare the eggplant: 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.

Slices of eggplant are on a cooling rack to show how to cook eggplant.

2 Make the sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon 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, breaking up the tomatoes as you add them to the pot. 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.

Olive oil and minced garlic are in the bottom of a mixing bowl to make an eggplant recipe. A dutch oven is on the stove with a marinara sauce cooking inside for easy eggplant parmesan.

3 Prepare a dredging station: 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.

4 Preheat the oven to 425°F.

5 Dredge the eggplant rounds: 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.

Slices of eggplant are dredged in flour to make eggplant parmesan. A slice of eggplant is dipped in a bowl of eggs to make a baked eggplant parmesan.A slice of eggplant is coated in a mix of breadcrumbs and parmesan to make easy eggplant parmesan. A baking sheet has thick rounds of eggplant coated in breadcrumbs and drizzled with olive oil to make baked eggplant.

6 Bake eggplant rounds: Place breaded prepared eggplant slices in the oven. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes at 425°F, turning the slices over at the half-way point, until they are nicely browned. Remove from oven, and let cool to touch.

Sliced eggplant baked on a baking sheet until golden brown for an eggplant recipe.

7 Assemble the casserole: 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.

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.

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

Marinara sauce coats the bottom of a glass casserole dish to make baked eggplant parmesan. Slices of eggplant are golden brown and set on top of a layer of marinara sauce in a casserole dish for an easy eggplant parmesan.Eggplant parmesan being layered in a casserole dish with sliced mozzarella set on top of the sliced eggplant. How to cook eggplant for eggplant parmesan. A casserole dish has eggplant with slices of mozzarella and parmesan sprinkled on top.Baked eggplant layered in a casserole dish with mozzarella, tomato sauce and parmesan. The eggplant is crispy on top. Easy eggplant parmesan layered in a casserole dish and sprinkled with shredded parmesan.

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

Baked eggplant parmesan in a casserole dish sitting on the stove.

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How to make Eggplant Parmesan

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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383 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Gus

    A fair amount of prep, but worth it every time. Even better the second and third day. I usually make a homemade sauce for this recipe the day before. I’ve made it five or six times. Removing the moisture from the eggplant is definitely the most critical step to do correctly. This makes for crisper rounds that will hold well during the final bake.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Chrissie

    Where can I find the nutrition info? Could this be made keto style?

    Show Replies (1)
  3. Doug

    Followed the recipe now for the third time with no changes. Added some chopped Italian parsley since I had it.
    Will do again and again. Freezes well for the two of us and with a salad makes a great meal.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. SALLY

    Needlessly complicated recipe, but end result delicious.

  5. Roslyn

    It was simple and delicious

    xxxxxyyyyy

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