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.
Hi Ali, fantastic blog, fantastic recipe, fantastic images! Did I say it was a fantastic recipe?! Thank you so much for sharing this. I have just made my own Eggplant Parmesan and was wondering what other peeople have com up with – you did such a fantastic job! Check out mine, too, please, if you have a minute. Have a wonderful day! :)
Thanks, Elaine! :)
Your Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe was outstanding! Very light texture that did not compromise on taste. The only modification was I added grated parmesan to the Panko breadcrumb mixture. This will be my “go to” recipe for large meatless gatherings!!
Yes,I did make this fabulous recipe, everyone loved it! Actually, another batch is in the oven right now. Best eggplant parm ever. Thank you.
This recipe was very good and super easy to make! The only addition I made was that I sprinkled a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder in between the eggplant layers. Great recipe!
Oh man, this was delicious!! One suggestion though for the recipe instructions. Most of the parchment paper I’ve seen in the stores (and that I own) has a burning point of 400. I thought perhaps I was mistaken, so I decided, against my better judgement, to follow the instructions exactly and use parchment at 425 degrees. This caused the whole oven to smoke up and my fire alarm to go off! I used aluminum foil instead and had no issues. I’d suggest adding a note/warning in your recipe.
Otherwise, it was great!
This is wonderful! I made my own bread crumbs from a leftover baguette, where I brushed each piece with Italian seasoned butter and baked until crisp. Then the pieces were put into a food processor to create crumbs. I skin my eggplant and cut it into 1/4″ slices and made four layers instead of two. We loved the extra crunch from the breading. The sauce was to die for. The only thing I did differently was instead of adding water, I added a cup of good red wine. I doubled the recipe, making two dishes full, freezing one for another meal. This is now a permanent part of my recipe book.
I read the Recipe many times and saw no ‘Water’ in the ingredients so didn’t know where to replace that with ‘Red Wine” sooo, I added it to the sauce. All is good. I added basil and because all goes better with fresh garlic and mushrooms they too, were added. Plant based is working well .
SO good! Made this for my kids & parents (non-vegetarians) and they ALL loved it!?
Should I bake it before I put it in the freezer for later?
Question! Is the eggplant cooked and edible after it’s baked, before adding the sauce and baking again? I love eggplant parmesan, but I find that no matter what once sauce is on it and its bathed in the oven, it loses the crispiness. I was wondering if after the first baking I could just eat it with some sauce on the side for dipping?
Samantha, if you sprinkle salt on your eggplant, leave 30 minutes, then blot with paper towel (both sides). Then bake as instructed. Left overs will remain crisp if heat back up in the oven. It is the mositure in eggplant that makes it soggy.
I love your recipe! I make it all the time. I make my own sauce and add a good Chianti to the sauce. I grate my Romano cheese or Parmesan. I layer it and it always turns out so good!
This is definitely. and absolutely. my favorite eggplant parm recipe. This recipe has become my go to for home and pot lucks!
This recipe was delicious! I didn’t use the sauce you recommended as I can’t get it here so I subbed Raos spicy arrabbitia sauce and I added spicy Italian sausage. It was awesome. Thanks for sharing.
I am a HUGE fan of eggplant parmesan. Baked option, even better. Loved how quick and easy it was to prepare. Mine came out SUPER salty though. I did salt the eggplant first, but I rinsed as well. If I made again, probably wouldn’t add any more salt.
Just wonderful! I baked the eggplant rounds a little longer so they’d be really crispy. Instead of tomato sauce I used Trader Joe’s garlic marinara in a bottle. I also drizzled olive oil instead of misting. It’s baking as I write this. This recipe is a keeper.
Incredibly delicious and so easy to make. Never liked eggplant Parmesan until this recipe! This is a great meal for my family and for company I usually assemble it earlier in the day so all I have to do is pop in the oven right before it’s time for dinner
Came out great! Only used 1 eggplant and filled the pan. Next time I’ll cut the eggplant and salt it before I grate the cheese.
This sounds so delicious. I have to watch every tiny bit of sodium. I’m wondering if rinsing the eggplant after sweating will remove enough of the sodium for me to have it. Do you know anything about the sodium content?
This receipe was so easy to make and delicious. I will definitely make this again.
I’ve been making this recipe for a few months now, almost a year, and my husband goes crazy on it!!! I found it on Pinterest only to discover last night it was from you!! That’s why it was delicious :P I served it on orzo flavored with olive oil, fresh parsley & lemon juice!! SOOOO GOOOD!!!!
I love your blog and your recipes. You’re part of my family’s favorite and we cook your recipes a minimum of 3 times per week! Thank you so much for your amazing hard work! :)
Made this recipe – I added a layer of fresh spinach on top of the first layer of eggplant; it was most delicious when I tested it right out of the oven. When I reheated it in the oven it was really good too and then the next day as an appetizer – great recipe!
This turned out AMAZING. It was my first time trying it out, so I was a bit skeptical, but I couldn’t be more happy with how it turned out. My sisters and I loved it! My 11 year old nephew even enjoyed it and he’s a pretty picky eater. Thank you!! :)
Wow!!!!! This recipe is awsome…very easy to make…..did I mention very delicious!!!!! Oh my where has this recipe been hiding???
Thank you very much for sharing!
Ali — I just made the Eggplant dish. It was so awesome and easy, though I had four trays but could only fit two at a time in my oven. Thank you so much for posting the recipe with all your helpful comments! I’m putting it on the rotation, so still be making it plenty more!
This was amazing! Thank you!
This was awesome. I too dislike frying eggplant and this recipe was exactly what I was looking for. I used Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Marinara, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. This one is definitely going into the rotation. This has turned into one of my favorite websites for recipes…thank you Gimme Some Oven!
I love this recipe with a little change up. Years ago a gentleman I knew made the best eggplant I had ever tasted. I asked him what he did and was told he uses mozzarella cheese and provolone. Wow, what a difference. Give it a try
Made this yesterday and it was excellent. I will always salt the slices from now on. I used a homemade meat sauce. We loved it.
Easy, quick and delicious. Thanks so much.
I like your eggplant parmesan recipe for 2 reasons. 1. I’m watching my weight and your recipe uses a lot less oil. 2. Frying the eggplant makes a big mess and your recipe creates an easier cleanup. Thank you.
Oh my goodness – I love this! Best idea ever & the best part – even my 2.5year old loves it! So full of goodness & he just gobbles it up. Now this is the best way to get Veges into you & the little ones! I’m pretty good at getting him to eat good foods. I’m quite lucky because the little guy just loves salad but ever since he turned 2 he has averted to veges. I have to literally mash them up & through them into sauces just to get the kid to eat a carrot but this is amazing. He loves it. I love it. Even my 8 month old loves it so thank you! ?
So, I was shopping a few days ago and saw a display that eggplant was on sale. I am 55 and had never bought one before – only now and then eaten eggplant. So, I bought it and got home wondering, “What in the world am I going to do with THAT?” I found the recipe and tried it tonight. We had a big snow yesterday so I couldn’t run out to get the basil (I’ll plan ahead next time), so omitted that. Everything else just as written and it was so very yummy. Saving the recipe to make it again soon.
I was so excited for this recipe but the eggplant turned out super salty! Was it because of the step I did to salt it in order to take the bitterness out?? Did anybody else have this problem? I rinsed it really well… Please let me know what I did wrong. Thank you!
Very good and easy to mske
I’ve been making eggplant parm for many years and my family LOVES it! But, I’ve found, that in order to feel them and have left overs, I have to make a double or triple decker’s worth in a huge casserole dish. I even got my neighbor hooked on it so I always make some extra for her. The problem I have is while I’m frying the eggplant (I have to buy 5-6 large ones), as fast as I can get it out of the frying pan, and put another load in, I’m eating what is already fried. I LOVE fried eggplant, it’s so yummy! I tell you, this is an all day job. I’m going to try the single layer oven fried recipe and see what my family thinks. I think I know what they’ll say, but I’m going to change it up on them anyway.
This was perfect! There was no frying and it went together in a snap! This will be a regular at my house!
First time making Eggplant Parmesan….this was very good. The only thing I did differently was used gluten free Panko crumbs and I added a little garlic salt. It’s a tad labor intensive, still way easier than a traditional recipe, but it’s not something I’ll make on a regular basis. But all in all it was very good. Husband gobbled it down…well, me too, actually!
Switched out Italian seasoning; oregano & garlic powder sprinkled on before the cheese covering, instead of the chopped basil, for a more Italian flavor & it turned out perfect. Thx.
I needed a meatless Lenten meal and found this recipe. It was so easy and amazingly delicious!! My family ate every bit of it. We all loved it. Thanks for sharing your recipe. ?
Can I make this one day ahead?
I made this recipe last night, and it was nothing short of AMAZING! I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a meal so incredibly much, as did my husband.
I paired it with some lemon Parmesan spaghettini and a cucumber salad and the flavours all worked together fabulously. This recipe will go into my favourites folder for sure! Thank you so much for making up this outstanding recipe!
The skin of the eggplant is where the bitter taste comes from. So instead of soaking it in salt try peeling it!
uh …. YUM!!
Made this recipe on a whim because we had the ingredients on hand and are COVID semi-shut-ins.
I used Mezetta Truffle Porcini Cream tomato sauce [because pantry shopping] and the two leeks from our fridge that were nearing end of life. I did the salt prep, which I have never tried previously, and have to say that it is worth the 30 minutes. Have another glass of wine while you wait. :)
Absolutely a Keeper! Thanks!
The recipe needs to be edited to add that the olive oil is sprayed on the eggplant rounds before baking.
Excellent! Perfect the first time. Easy and delicious. I did add a little ground venison between the layers and a slight bit of jalapeno because we like our food a bit spicy and I wanted it to be a complete meal.
This was delicious and easy to make! My husband hates eggplant and said “this isn’t bad!” I can’t believe it; I’ve tried every eggplant recipe there is because I love it and finally we met in the middle. I made this layered with sauce, cheese, and ziti pasta and my picky twin 18 month old toddlers were picking out the eggplant to eat it! Usually they pick out the pasta and throw any other ingredients on the ground. So thank you! Will be making this again.
Made this tonight. Everyone loved it! Added a little more cheese and baked it for about 30 mins vs 15. Delicious! Thank you!
so delicious! I’ve never even had eggplant parm before making this (got eggplant in a farm share box) and now I love it!
I made this for last night’s dinner. It was absolutely delicious and filling without being heavy at all. Family asked that I make it again soon. I had used a different brand of tomato sauce but next time will try the one you specify.
Absolutely fantastic and so easy to make!!!!
LOVED this recipe! It was easy to make (even with an infant on me!), without too many steps or ingredients (as soon as I see a long list of either of these, I’m out!), AND super yummy! My husband asked me to add this to my ‘go-to’ rotation of meals and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, my super picky toddler didn’t even know he was eating eggplant and gobbled it up (sans eggplant skin)! Will definitely be making this again :)