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.
This was a GREAT recipe! I like eggplant Parmesan but I hate frying it, so this was a perfect option. I made a small modification. I cut the skin off the eggplant. It’s the only way my family will eat it and it also removes some of the bitterness. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Melissa, we’re so happy you enjoyed this! :)
i did the eggplant dish it was delicious
i want to know if i have to grind the dried herbs or keep it as it
Thanks Manal, we’re happy you enjoyed it, and you don’t have to grind the dried herbs. :)
This dish is so delish! Was easy to make..I followed it to the T..I didn’t have any basil but still awesome!
I just made this and oh my goodness! IT WAS SO GOOD! I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a while and finally made it and I was surprised by how easy and simple it was to put together (and that I could do it too)! I didn’t have italian seasoning, or everything needed to make one myself, so I kind of improvised using the spices I had on hand but it still came out really delicious. I also loved the tip of salting the rounds for an hour beforehand- definitely cut away the bitterness that I’ve usually tasted with eggplant parm. Will definitely be making this again!
Thanks for sharing Sofia! We’re so happy to hear you enjoyed this! :D
I use italian bread crumbs gives a it a better taste.
Instead of bread crumbs, I buy the zesty Italian breadcrumbs and put them in my food processor. It gives a TON more flavor. :)
This is fantastic! I absolutely love eggplant parmesan! It’s baked so it’s not greasy. This is so easy and so yummy! Thank you for the recipe! I’m keeping it forever!
Thanks Melba — we’re glad to hear you enjoyed it so much! :D
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. Since I’m single I halved the recipe and it was just as good on the fourth serving as it was on the fourth.
I have posted your recipe on my wordpress site and have given credit to you. You can check it out at https://wordpress.com/post/parsleyandsage1.wordpress.com/1327.
Hi Carrie! You’re welcome, we’re glad you enjoyed it! Unfortunately we aren’t able to see your blog via the link you provided though.
Great recipe great flavors. I peeled my eggplants and added some light seasoning to my bread crumbs but other than that awesome recipe. I love the way they the eggplant was nice and crispy without frying. This was my first time making eggplant and I loved it. Definitely will be making again. Thanks!!
Thanks for sharing Victor — we’re glad you enjoyed this! Thanks for giving the recipe a try! :)
This was absolutely delicious! I have tried to perfect my recipe for 20 years. This is a wonderful recipe that I can tweek to my taste. Thank you so much for sharing your love of cooking!
Thank you Janice — We’re so glad you enjoyed this! :)
Eggplant parm is my favorite thing, last time I made it I didn’t know about using the salt on the eggplant and it turned out bitter, I was not happie.. thanks for the great tip and recipie!! I’m making it as we speak!!
You’re welcome Alyshea — we hope you enjoyed this! :)
Love the recipe, hate frying. Thank you
Thanks Zena — we hope you enjoy! :)
Made this once and loved it! Wondering if it can be made ahead of time?
We’re so glad to hear that Diane! And we think you would be fine to prepare this ahead of time (up to a day in advance), and refrigerate before baking. We wouldn’t prepare it too far in advance though, as we’d worry it would get soggy. We hope this helps!
I made this reciper wow. It was delicious!
We’re so glad you liked it Jen! :)
This was so yummy!
Thanks Sandy — we’re so happy you enjoyed it!
I made your eggplant parmesan tonight! It was delicious! Even my daughter said it was a KEEPER! Thanks for the recipe! YUM!
Thanks for sharing Jennifer — we’re happy you and your daughter enjoyed it! :)
Today is the 2nd time I’ve made this recipe. It’s even better this time and my family loves it. Thank you for posting.
Thanks for sharing with us Pam — we’re so glad you and your family enjoy it! :)
Hi. Just wanted to know if eggs can be substituted with something else
Hi Tina! Yes, you could brush the chicken with melted butter, olive oil, plain yogurt, or buttermilk to help the crumb mixture adhere. We hope this helps!
This was my first experience eating or making eggplant parmesan and this came out great!!!! It was DELICOUS. The only modifications I made were substituting italian breadcrumbs for panko & making my own marinara but the eggplants came out perfect. I will be making this again :)
Thank you for sharing with us Lauren, and for giving this a try! We’re so happy you enjoyed it! :)
Excellent recipe, even my husband, who is a carnivore, liked it, 2 thumbs up!
Thanks Lis — we’re so glad you both enjoyed it! :)
I made this last night while my wife was away since she doesn’t care for eggplant. The recipe was simple enough for me to follow successfully and the results were delicious. Looking forward to eating the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I am saving this recipe so I can make it again.
We’re so glad you enjoyed this Lee — thanks for letting us know! :)
This came out so good!I used white eggplant and it tasted so yummy. Thank you so much for posting this recipe….I have made several of your recipes before and they’ve integrated their way into repeated recipes.
We’re so glad to hear that, Amanda! And we’re so glad you’ve enjoyed the other recipes you’ve made — thanks for sharing with us! :)
I too think eggplant is underwhelming. When it comes in my CSA box; I need to use it, because I do not waste fresh organic veggies! Thanks for the yummy recipe. It is great reheated for lunch.
We’re glad you enjoyed this Sam!
Loved it, will def add it to the repetoire.
Awesome, we’re glad to hear that! :)
A five star recipe, highest rating I have ever given a internet recipe. Brine’d the eggplant for 1 1/2 hours and rinsed. Not a bad bite in the whole meal.
Thanks for your compliment, Edward — we’re so happy you enjoyed this! :)
This was my very first time making eggplant parmigiano and it was so yummy I added some garlic because that is my family’s favorite seasoning but that was the only thing I did different.I am so glad I tried this it will most definitely go in the rotation
Thanks for giving this a try, Shannon — we’re happy you enjoyed it!
Delicious! Made this last night for dinner. My husband REALLY liked it (and he’s a carnivore to the max) . I found it to be super tasty. I was missing one ingredient — fresh basil. Once trick I use which is even faster in dealing with the bitterness of eggplant is to slice up the eggplant, place in a bowl of cold water, swirl the slices around, and dry with paper towel. Then proceed with the recipe. NO bitterness at all. I will definitely be making this again and again! Thanks for the recipe!
Thanks, Dianne — we’re so glad you and your husband enjoyed it! Also, thanks for sharing that eggplant tip with us, that’s great! :)
Great taste! TY for sharing this recipe. Made it tonight for dinner & dislike frying so I was very anxious to give it a try…
I added some sliced mushrooms which was great but found the eggplant to be a bit tough. Should I reduce the cooking time? I have a gas stove which heats up really quick & hot?
Thanks, Maile — we’re glad you enjoyed it! If the eggplant was tough, it sounds like you might need to reduce the cooking time a bit. We hope this helps!
Can this dish be frozen?
Hi Judy! Yes, here are some tips we think you’ll find helpful: We hope you enjoy! :)
I LOVE this recipe. Tonight was the second time I have made it. I don’t like eggplant. At all. However, this recipe seemed like a great vegetarian option so I tried it one night, and I loved it. It is so easy to make, even with how time consuming it is.
We make our own spaghetti sauce with crushed tomato, basil pesto, garlic, and a McCormic seasoning packet. Our spaghetti sauce is sweet and compliments this recipe perfectly.
I always make sure to peel the eggplant and add salt to draw out the bitterness.
Thanks for sharing with us, Terra! We’re so glad you enjoy this! :)
This is the third time I have made your eggplant parm recipe! It is the best version we have tried and my new go to, and one of my husband’s favorite meals. Can’t wait to try some more of your recipes!
Thanks for sharing, Nikki — we’re so happy you and your husband enjoy this! :)
I have made eggplant parm over the years and was sometimes satisfied. But this after following this easy recipe I was very happy. Came out great not soggy but very tasty. I even used my homemade tomato sauce that I grew in the garden.
Glad I found your recipe.
Awesome, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Homemade tomatoes are the best!! :)
I think I will try this! Never had eggplant, much less prepared it. My Mom gave me one to try and my sister said to try eggplant parmesan. My husband is turning up his nose, but who knows? Maybe even he will like it!
Awesome! We hope you and your husband enjoy this!
Hi! Quick question — does the EP need to be covered when baking to prevent it from drying out?
Hi Tina! No need to cover this, it won’t dry out. We hope you enjoy!
I have no parchment paper. Can I just grease the pan?
We think that should be fine — we hope you enjoy!
I am making this recipe tonight however I’ve been to 2 grocery stores (Walmart and Publix) and can’t find the Delallo tomato basil sauce. Is there another sauce I can substitute it with? Maybe a spaghetti sauce of some sort? That’s what I’m thinking of trying and hope it turns out ok. ?
Hi Donna! We’re sorry you had such a hard time finding the Delallo sauce, but definitely feel free to use whatever marinara sauce you can find that you like — it will still be delicious! :)
I’ve tried several versions of eggplant parm and didn’t find one I truly loved until this one. It’s perfect. I may start making my own tomato sauce for it, but that would be the only variation. Thanks for a great recipe!
Love this recipe! I’ve made it twice and it’s delicious. Thanks for sharing!
We’re so glad to hear that, Lisa!
This was absolutely delicious! I love that you used plain Panko and added the spices to it. That is what I like to do so I can control the sodium. My husband thought it was better than any he had ever eaten at a fine restaurant. Thanks for sharing this.
Thank you, Victoria — we’re so happy you and your husband enjoyed it!
I’ve always wanted to try an eggplant parm. I made this last night when some vegetarian friends came for dinner. It was awesome! No bitterness in the eggplant, thanks to the salting.
I served it on fried rounds of polenta to soak up the sauce. It made for an elegant plating too!
Funny how most of my favourite recipes come from gimmesomeoven! Thanks for another winner.
Thanks for sharing with us, Renee — we’re happy to hear you enjoyed it!
Made this today for my parents they said it turned out really good I think next time I will use only one eggplant I had two really big ones and add more sauce I would make it again.
We’re glad it was a hit, Amanda! :)
My Family loved this. I prepared this before church as far as the baking of the breaded eggplant. Then when we came back from church I put the eggplant in the casserole dish with cheese and sauce as recipe calls and then cooked pasta while eggplant was in the oven. Yummy!!!
We’re so happy to hear that, Stacy, thanks for sharing with us!
Hi, Do you salt both sides of the eggplant rounds or just one side? Thanks
We salt both sides. :) We hope you enjoy!
I hope this works and links the photo of my Baked Eggplant Parm
Sorry I forgot to mention that my family loved this! My husband went back for 3rds and my 4 1/2 yr made a happy plate and tools me it was yummy!
We’re so glad to hear that, Michelle! :)
I made this dish for a crowd and everyone loved it! Definitely will make it again!!
Thanks for sharing, Carla, we’re so glad it was a hit!
Delicious recipe!! Hit with even the boys in my house who didnt even know they were eating veggies!
Thanks for sharing, Kelly, we’re happy this was a hit with your family! :)
This looks great and am going to try tonight! How do you suggest reheating this? Microwave? Or can I put the uneaten portion in the oven? Thank you!
Hi there! We’d suggest reheating it in the oven for best results. We hope you enjoy!
I made this today and it was amazing! Saved it to my board.
We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Nancy!
Love this recipe. Does it work if you layer the night before, freeze and then bake the next day?