This Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is lightened up a bit with baked (instead of fried) panko-crusted roasted eggplant, and layered up with a zesty combination of marinara, cheeses and fresh herbs.
I will be the first to admit that I’m still on the fence about how much I really love eggplant.
But when it comes to eggplant Parmesan, count me in anytime. ♡
Yes, all of those layers of cozy marinara sauce, gooey melted Mozzarella, sweet fresh basil, and of course, lots and lots of freshly-grated Parmesan probably have something to with my love of this eggplant Parm. But I’m also especially partial to the zesty toasted breading used to coat the roasted eggplant rounds in this particular recipe. It’s not authentically Italian (melanzane alla parmigiana in Italy actually doesn’t include any breading for the eggplant), but it’s the delicious American-style version of eggplant Parmesan that I grew up loving. And — bonus — this crispy breading in this recipe is baked instead of deep-fried. And most importantly, super delicious.
Over the years, thousands of our readers have made and loved this baked eggplant Parmesan recipe. So now that eggplant season has begun again here in Barcelona, I thought I would snap some fresh pics and bump this recipe back to the top of the blog for any of you who have yet to give it a try. Trust me, it’s a winner!
baked eggplant parmesan | 1-minute video
Baked Eggplant Parmesan Ingredients:
To make this baked eggplant Parmesan recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
Eggplant: 2 medium fresh eggplants (about 2 pounds), sliced into 1/2-inch rounds.
Panko breadcrumbs: Which I recommend briefly toasting on a baking sheet in the oven before adding to the casserole, so that the breadcrumbs are extra-crispy and golden.
Seasonings: A mixture of Italian seasoning, garlic powder, fine sea salt and black pepper.
Eggs: Which we will use to help bind the breadcrumb mixture to the eggplant rounds.
Marinara sauce: Either homemade or store-bought. My original recipe here called for 3 cups (approximately one 25-ounce jar) of marinara, but I typically use a double batch of my homemade recipe which yields closer to 4 cups.
Mozzarella cheese: I typically just use shredded mozzarella, but sliced fresh mozzarella balls would be extra-delicious too.
Parmesan cheese: The more, the merrier! I recommend grating a generous layer to add in the middle of the casserole. And then don’t forget to also grate or shave extra Parmesan to sprinkle on top of each serving.
Fresh basil: The same goes for the fresh basil as for the Parmesan. I recommend a generous layer in the middle of the casserole, plus extra to sprinkle on top of each serving.
How To Make Eggplant Parmesan:
Here is a basic overview of the steps for how to make Eggplant Parmesan. Detailed instructions in the recipe below!
Sweat the eggplant (optional). If you have the extra time and would like your eggplant to taste a bit less bitter, I recommend slicing, salting, and letting the eggplant “sweat” out its potentially-bitter juices before adding it to the casserole. Just leave the salted eggplant slices to rest on paper towels for 30-60 minutes, then rinse off the salt with cold water and pat dry.
Toast the Panko (optional). This step is also optional, but if you would like the panko to be more golden and crispy, I recommend spreading it out on a baking sheet and briefly toasting until golden.
Bread the eggplant. To bread the eggplant slices, dip them in an egg wash followed by the seasoned breadcrumb mixture. (I have included a pro tip in the recipe below for how to do this without getting your hands too messy!) Then bake until the eggplant has softened and is mostly cooked through.
Layer the casserole. Next, we will layer everything up in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish! The basic order for this casserole is: marinara sauce, eggplant, marinara sauce, Mozzarella, Parmesan, basil, eggplant, marinara sauce, and Mozzarella.
Bake. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and starts to turn slightly golden around the edges and the eggplant is cooked to your liking. Sprinkle with extra basil and Parmesan.
Serve. Then dish it up nice and warm…and enjoy!
Possible Recipe Variations:
Want to customize this easy Eggplant Parmesan recipe a bit? Feel free to…
Make it spicy: I love sprinkling some crushed red pepper flakes into this casserole to give it a bit of extra heat.
Make it gluten-free: Use gluten-free Panko. (And as always, double-check that all other ingredients are certified gluten-free too.)
Make it faster: If you are in a hurry, you can skip the step of sweating the eggplant and toasting the breadcrumbs. The eggplant may just be a touch more bitter and the breadcrumbs less toasty.
Use long eggplant slices: Instead of cutting the eggplant into rounds, you are also welcome to cut it lengthwise into long slices. Then bread, bake and add to the casserole as directed.
Use traditional breadcrumbs: If you don’t happen to have Panko breadcrumbs on hand, traditional plain breadcrumbs will also work.
More Classic Italian Recipes:
Looking for more classic Italian recipes to try? Here are a few of my faves:
2/3 cup finely-grated or shaved Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Sweat the eggplant (optional). If you have extra time and would like to remove some of the bitterness of the eggplant, line a large sheet pan (or two half sheet pans) with paper towels and place the eggplant rounds on the sheet in an even layer. Sprinkle evenly and generously with salt, then let the eggplant rounds rest for 30-60 minutes so that the sometimes-bitter liquids inside can sweat out. Transfer the eggplant rounds to a colander and rinse with cold water to remove the salt, then pat the eggplant dry with a clean paper towels.
Toast the Panko (optional). If you would like your Panko breadcrumbs to be extra crispy and golden, spread them out in an even layer on a sheet pan. Bake at 400°F for 4 minutes or until golden, then remove the baking sheet and give the Panko a stir. Bake for another 2-3 minutes or until golden, then remove, stir and set aside. (The Panko will start to brown quickly, so keep a close eye on it while cooking to ensure that it does not burn.)
Bread the eggplant. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the Panko breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and (1 teaspoon) fine sea salt and black pepper until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs with 2 tablespoons water. Dip an eggplant round in the egg mixture so that is evenly coated on all sides, then transfer to the breadcrumb mixture and coat on all sides, then place it on the prepared baking sheet.* Repeat with the remaining eggplant rounds until they are all coated and evenly spaced on the baking sheet(s). Bake for 25 minutes, until the eggplant is softened and mostly cooked through. Transfer baking sheet(s) to a wire rack and set aside.
Layer the casserole. Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce evenly across the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Place half of the eggplant in an even-ish layer along the bottom of the dish, topped evenly with 1 cup marinara sauce, 1 cup Mozzarella, all of the Parmesan, and half of the basil, the remaining eggplant, remaining marinara sauce, and the remaining Mozzarella.
Bake. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and starts to turn slightly golden around the edges and the eggplant is cooked to your liking. Transfer pan to a wire cooling rack and sprinkle with the remaining basil and extra Parmesan.
Serve. Serve warm, garnished with extra Parmesan (and basil, if desired).
Marinara sauce: If using store-bought marinara sauce, you can purchase one (25-ounce) jar which will yield closer to 3 cups, which will still work great for this recipe. If using homemade, I recommend making a double batch of this marinara sauce recipe.
Pro tip for breading: In order to avoid getting your hands super messy while breading the eggplant rounds, I recommend setting up an assembly line going right to left. With your right hand, pick up an eggplant round and dip it in the whisked eggs until coated, then transfer with your right hand to the breadcrumb bowl. With your left hand, gently scoop the breadcrumb mixture on top of the eggplant and press it down lightly so that it is coated on all sides and sticks, then transfer the eggplant with your left hand to the baking sheet. Or — you can just do all of this with a pair of tongs, whichever works for you!
Recipe updates: When updating this recipe in the spring of 2020, I have included recommendations for toasting the Panko (to make it extra golden and crispy), I have added garlic powder to the seasoning, and have increased the recommended amount of marinara sauce and basil used.
Looks delicious! Thanks for the tip for how to reduce bitterness. I like eggplant but find that it can be too bitter when cooked sometimes. This step seems easy and helpful!
Thanks Ali, and of course! We hope you enjoy this. :)
I’m such a sucker for eggplant! Love that you made this recipe healthier. Beautiful! :)
Thank you Sue, we hope you enjoy this!
What a great vegetarian version! I will definitely have to this :)
Thanks Medeja, we hope you enjoy!
So, so, so wish I could have been the taste tester on this one. Eggplant parm is always my go-to thing to order at Italian restaurants. Yours looks amazing!!!
A perfect dinner recipe! I love baked eggplant parm and yours looks superb!
Thanks Katrina, we hope you like this recipe!
Brilliant as always. I’m intrigue by the sucking out the moisture idea. I bet that makes a huge difference. Pinned to make! Yummy!
Thank you Malia, we hope you enjoy!
I’ve been craving something Italiany all dayyy and now I’m drooling.
This looks delicious! I don’t think i’ve ever tried baking with egg plant. I must try this recipe, looks pretty easy! :)
I am so making this, looks out of this world delicious!
Thanks Celeste, we hope you love it as much as we do! :)
I’m afraid I don’t have those pesky problems..I LOVE fried eggplant! But I like this version too, it’s less mess and more healthy than in a fryer. Thanks for the tip to make it less bitter!
Sure Shawn, we hope you enjoy it baked like this! :)
¡Fantástica receta! muy rica y fácil de preparar, te sacará de algún apuro. Gracias por compartirla.
Eggplant parm used to be one of my favorite dishes. Haven’t had it in forever.
Might have to try this one.
And for Ali @ anything you want, I’ve read/heard that soaking in salt water, as mentioned in this recipe, helps with the bitterness.
Thanks for sharing Jack, and we hope you’ll give this one a try and love it as much as we do! :)
I LOVE this! I love eggplant, but Hubby does not. I’m hoping this will bring him over to the eggplant side!! One question, what is a Misto for the olive oil?
Thanks, we hope you’ll like the recipe, and who knows, maybe it’ll even convert your husband! ;) A misto is just a spray canister for the olive oil:
Loving this healthier version. Eggplant is something I’m always on the quest to love more. I always sweat the eggplant. Takes a bit of extra time/planning, but so worth it.
Thanks, we hope you’ll enjoy it! :)
I love eggplant and this is one of my favorite dishes. I love the way you baked the crumbs. Good Job.
Thank you Carol, we hope you enjoy this!
Do you peel the eggplant before cooking ?
Nope, I didn’t. But you’re welcome to if you’d like.
Oh my word! This looks amazing!
My mouth is watering! I love anything with brinjal and Parmesan. Nice that you baked them too. Thanks x
Thanks Deidre, we hope you like the recipe!
This sounds amazing! Going to make this verrrry soon!
Thanks Amber, we hope you enjoy!
I am TOTALLY with you on the eggplant…but I have been resolved to eat it more as well. For some reason it intrigues me :)
but I think I will leave the any experimenting to you, Ali, and just whip up this recipe! Thanks :D
Thanks Brittany, we hope you enjoy this recipe!
oh my goodness please share this drool making yumminess at my Thursday blog hop ( you can link up and share through Saturday midnight) xo
How fun! We hope you enjoy the dish! :)
Well, it seems you are a genus! I shall make this in the near future. Thank you!
Haha thanks, we hope you love this! :)
I feel the same way about eggplant but we decided to grow it this year. I followed your recipe and it was very good. I think I’ll peel it next time but I really liked it. I’m new to your site and very excited to try more of your recipes. Thank you!
Hi Cathy! That’s awesome that you’re growing your own eggplant! Also, we’re so glad you liked this dish, and we thank you for checking out the blog! :)
WOW! I just stopped by Foodgawker and saw this picture featured first and it really blew me away, it pops right out of my screen! I love it, nice job- the recipe sounds delicious too, I love baked eggplant parm!!
Thanks Stephanie! We hope you enjoy the eggplant parm as much as we do! : )
I made this for my family, and we all liked it. I sliced the eggplant in 1/2″ slices, per the directions, but thought they were too thick. Next time, I will slice them much thinner, and have more layers.
Overall, it’s worth making again!
Thanks for sharing Kristy! We’re glad you and your family enjoyed this, and yes, you could totally slice the eggplant thinner! :)
I have tried numerous recipes from your website and have loved them all! This dish looks amazing and I plan on trying it soon. However, my son is allergic to egg, so instead of dipping the eggplant in the egg whites can I use buttermilk? Or do you have any other suggestions for substitutions? Thanks!
Thanks Alison! Although we haven’t tried using buttermilk instead of the egg whites, we think that’s a good call, and that it should probably work! That’s probably the closest consistency. We hope that works for you guys, thanks for your interest in the recipe!
It turned out to be extremely salty, I’m gessing because of the first step that i did because I had the time….. The dish is ruined :(. :(
Hi Daniela, we’re really sorry to hear this came out so salty! We understand you did the first step, but did you rinse the salt off as well? That’s the only reason we can think of as to why it came out so salty. :(
Made this a couple of weeks ago. Absolutely scrumptious!!! Japanese eggplant tastes almost meaty. LOVED it!!! Best Eggplant Parm I have ever tasted!! Nice to bake instead of fry!!
Thanks Carla, we’re so glad to hear you enjoyed this!
Ali, i made this recipe last week and it tasted absolutely delicious! You are clever to make eggplant taste that good.
Thanks Kelsey, we’re so glad to hear that!
It was delicious! Made it tonight for our family of five. It wasn’t quite enough for a main meal by itself but we actually had just caught and cleaned two fish and coated them in the breadcrumbs too and fried in coconut oil as an appetizer. With both of them, it was perfect. Thanks for the yummy recipe!
The only thing I changed was instead of doing Panko crumbs, I found a gluten-free option. Worked just great!
Yay, we’re so glad you and your family enjoyed this! And that fish sounds absolutely amazing! :)
If you buy heirloom eggplants not the big purple ones you don’t need to remove bitterness. They are not bitter. Their skins are softer and flavor is better. And they are the farmers’ markets. now.
Thank you for sharing Susan, we appreciate the tip!
Looks delicious! I’ve never had eggplant before but am definitely thinking of trying this out. Did you find that the eggplant got soft/mushy? Or did it manage to stay pretty firm? I’m definitely a texture person and don’t love soggy
Thanks Madi! The eggplant shouldn’t be soft or mushy, it should still retain some of its firmness. We hope you enjoy the recipe!
Your leaving the skin on? Have always peeled it off. Guess it gets soft, but not sure how it tastes.
So excited to try this, Ali!
Thanks Julie, we hope you love it! :)
My whole family loved this! Totally surprised because they generally hate veggies and I’ve never made eggplant before. I only had one eggplant so I used flattened chicken breasts (with panko coating) for the bottom layer but did everything else according to your recipe. Thanks!
We’re so happy to hear that Alana! :)
My belly is full because this was great. Leftovers for lunch, I only had 1 eggplant so I also used roasted tomatoes minus the panko for them.
Thanks Terri, we’re happy you enjoyed this! :)
OmG! I made this recipe last night for my fiancée and I and it was absolutely amazing. Definitely a hit! Must do again!… In the near future! Thanks!!
We’re happy to hear you and your fiancée liked it Jasmine! :)
OMG, I made this dish tonight for dinner. It came out Delicious! My husband doesn’t really like eggplants and Loved it! I added a layer of chicken slices and made Quinoa as a side dish.
Thank you for the Delicious recipe!
That’s great to hear Marisol, we’re happy you and your husband enjoyed it! :)
I made this tonight, and it was a big hit! My two teenage boys loved it and had seconds. My husband already has it packed and ready to go for tomorrow’s lunch. I just used my own tomato/veggie sauce I canned a few months ago, and fresh basil right out of our garden! Delicious! :)
That’s so great Cyndy, we’re glad to hear that! :)
I just made this ( though I have had my eye on it…) and its perfect!!! I definitely let it drain for about half an hour, it wasn’t bitter at all and came together beautifully!!! Absolutely fab. I forgot the fresh basil, because life is crazy, but it was still to die for ! Its recipes like this that give me hope for humanity ( or at least meatless mondays..)
Awesome Justine, thanks for sharing with us! :)
Luv this recipe
Thanks Jannette, we’re happy to hear that!
This recipe looks delicious, so good that I tucked it into my meal plan for the week and will actually be making it TONIGHT! :)
Would it be okay with you if I feature this recipe on my blog and do a review of how it turns out for me? It will be all linked to this original post if that is all okay?!
Thanks for sharing and especially for the bitterness reduction tip, do I need to soak it before I drain it or does it have enough moisture to just drain as it is?
Bailey |One Thousand Joys
I made this over spaghetti squash, amazing. Feels so indulgent, but all in all not too bad for you!
Oooh, I love the idea of serving this over spaghetti squash. Delish!
What’s the calorie count and serving size please?
Hi Gina! This recipe makes about 8-10 servings. Unfortunately though, we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!
Is it possible to make this up to the last step of baking the whole casserole and refrigerating and then baking the next day? Also, what oven temperature is the assembled casserole baked at for 15-20 minutes?
That might work Caitlin, but we’d be concerned about the eggplant getting soggy and mushy, so we’re not too sure. You will bake it at 425. We hope you enjoy!
Could you put this together except the baking and freeze it and take it out and thaw and bake it at a later date?
Hi Ron, yes, that should work fine! We hope you enjoy!
This looks amazing! Is this something that could be prepared and frozen for another time? If so, would I complete all the steps including baking and then freeze and reheat later? Thanks!
Thanks Jen, we hope you enjoy it! You can definitely assemble this without baking it and then freeze and reheat later. :)
I made this for myself tonight, in anticipation of making it again for my company’s Christmas potluck in a few weeks, figure I’ll freeze leftovers for lunches.
Putting it over spaghetti squash was perfect. I used Trader Joes arrabiatta sauce. Baking eggplant instead of frying was inspired, and I made the slices plenty thick, baking a little longer until they were nice and puffy. I appreciated the salt trick too. Whole thing held together well – this is a great dish, simple and inexpensive to make, and my guests will love it.
Thanks for sharing Barbara, we’re happy enjoyed it! :)
Hi! Looks delicious! I always peel eggplant when I make the fried version (husband doesn’t like the skin). Have you ever tried to make it like that? Thanks!
Thanks Marsha, we hope you enjoy the recipe! We haven’t tried peeling it, but you certainly can! And we love it fried, this one is just a little healthier. :)