Baked Eggplant Parmesan

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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.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

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

Crispy Oven-Fried Panko-Crusted Roasted Eggplant

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 In The Oven

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Serve. Then dish it up nice and warm…and enjoy!

Best Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

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.

Healthy Eggplant Parmesan Recipe with Basil

More Classic Italian Recipes:

Looking for more classic Italian recipes to try? Here are a few of my faves:

Eggplant Parmesan with Basil

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Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 -10 servings 1x

Description

This Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is made lighter by being baked with a crispy Panko breading, yet still has all of the delicious and comforting flavors of the classic dish!


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. Prep the oven and baking sheet(s). Heat oven to 425°F. Line a large sheet pan (or two half sheet pans) with parchment paper, and set aside.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Serve. Serve warm, garnished with extra Parmesan (and basil, if desired).


Notes

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.

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Recipe rating

366 comments on “Baked Eggplant Parmesan”

  1. First time of making this recipe! I must say it is absolutely delicious!! My family loved it ! Thank you for sharing !

    • I made this yesterday and only ate a small portion as it was extremely richly flavored. This morning I ate another small portion when it’s cold. Easy to follow recipe, thank you.

  2. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS.

    I have never cooked anything before, but during this lockdown i had no other choice but to start cooking and to make healthier eating options for myself.

    This recipe and tips is amazing! I have never liked eggplant before, but this has changed my my mind about it. And even my husband who hates eggplant loved it!

  3. Asking it now! But unsure of temperature as others noted. 400 degrees when baking the eggplant, should specify temperature for the whole dish!

  4. Made this tonight for a second time. Came out excellent!! Flavor is top notch !!Try to slice your eggplant as thin as possible.

  5. This is my 3rd time making it!! Easy, and delicious. And every bit of the tip worked so well!

    Thank you for sharing the recipe

  6. i cooked the assembled dish an extra 30 minutes and the eggplant (after sweating) was definitely not cooked through when i served it. it was the worst main dish i have served in decades. very disappointing. i did sweat the eggplant, i did cut the eggplant lengthwise, i did toast the panko crumbs. too much work and not a happy result.

    • Defending the recipe. Following the temps and times, unless you cut the eggplant super thick, it would be hard to make this not right. I’m sorry you did not get the result you anticipated. Have done this 3 times and each time have had great compliments on the result. My favorite, quick and delicious recipe.

    • Eileen, after sweating the eggplant did you also bake it for 25 minutes BEFORE assembling the casserole and baking an additional 20-25 minutes?

    • I believe you might have missed the step of cooking the eggplant first before assembling.

    • Adding this to my rotation! I made this tonight for dinner, and I’m stuffed! Really easy, really delicious. I used regular Italian breadcrumbs, and they worked just fine. My store was out of fresh basil, so I used penzeys pizza seasoning instead and it added another layer of flavor. Thumbs up!

    • I’ll go out on a limb and guess you did not do a “pre-bake” of the eggplant as directed.

  7. absolutely delicious recipe, thank you so much. we opted to do individual egggplant parms and once they cooked, put some sauce, cheese and basil on each slice and everyone devoured them.

  8. Easy to make, delicious!

  9. I made this tonight. I loved this recipe! I followed it exactly and it came out great. Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite meals and I always breaded and fried the eggplant but a few years ago I gave up fried foods and this is the first healthier version that I have liked. I’ll stop searching. This will be my go to from here on out!

  10. Oh man is this tasty. Have made it several times and shared the recipe.
    I sweat the eggplant for sure. Haven’t noticed a significant difference if I toast the panko.
    Use Rao’s Arrabiata sauce.
    Thanks for the recipe and all the helpful hints that go along with it.

  11. Made this tonight- so easy and delicious- loved how you bake uncovered so it stayed a bit crispy. Used a mix of fresh mozzarella and regular mozzarella because that’s what I had in on the house. This one’s a keeper!!

  12. I made this 2 times already and it is chef kiss good!! Even my meat loving family loved it! Question what’s the nutritional value of this dish?

    • Absolutely THE BEST eggplant parm I’ve had! Even my pickiest child loved it! I had to add a bit more panties when I was breading them so I would recommend toasting 3 cups of panko instead of 2. Also, I used the panko with cheese in it so the total toasting time was 4m. It browned in 1m and 30 seconds!! Love, love, love it!!

  13. I copied this exactly except I had one small to medium eggplant and I shredded some pizza-flavored fontina instead of the parmesan. It came out great! I’m not sure it will last the night!

  14. My go to for eggplant parm! Thank you!

  15. Delicious!

    • Wondering if I can bake the eggplant already assembled for longer as I missed the prior step of baking the eggplant plant first.

  16. First time making eggplant parmesan. This recipe did not disappoint! My family loved it.

  17. Can I use a spaghetti sauce instead of marinara?

  18. LOVE this recipe! Cooking the breadcrumbs in advance and bleeding the breadcrumbs makes the world of difference. You have such fabulous recipes and am so glad you share them with all of us to cook and enjoy!! Many thanks!!!

  19. I made this tonight and it was a little dry and I used 4 cups of sauce. I also cooked it on 425 for about 20 minutes and it was a little overcooked. It tastes good but will need a lot more sauce. Not sure what I did wrong?

  20. Every tip in this recipe is spot on!!! I will be adding this exact recipe to my GO TO dinners. Thank you for the recipe! The sweating made a huge difference And toasting the breadcrumbs was genius!

  21. Can you freeze the leftovers?

  22. First time making this dish and very pleasantly surprised. Will definitely make again.

  23. This was delicious, but the bread crumbs came out soggy on the eggplant! It was beautiful and crispy when I took it out after breading, but when I assembled the casserole, added the marina and cheese, and baked it – it came out soft. Any tips on how I can avoid this next time?

  24. So delish! One of our favorites, we always gobble right up. I’ve made 3 times and have definitely found the eggplant is much more tender once cooked if sweated first. Plus, the salt adds plenty of extra flavor! I do prefer to use regular Italian breadcrumbs instead of panko. I’ve found that even after pre-toasting the panko, it tends to absorb a lot of moisture while baking and gets a tad soggy.

  25. Delicious! Best eggplant recipe! I would like the nutritional information, please.
    Thank you

  26. Thanks Ali. I love your recipe, this is my favourite dish so I certainly can’t miss it!
    I would replaced panko with regular breadcrumbs, I don’t know if it was that specific brand I used but I didn’t like the taste of Panko, it smells also which was not pleasant smell. In the past I have used regular breadcrumbs and this recipe works great.
    Thank you for sharing this vegetarian version. I do eat eggs but for this recipe I used all purpose flour with little milk in it with seasoning of garlic powder, Italian seasoning, sea salt and black pepper powder. It just tasted too good!!

  27. Found this while searching for an eggplant parmesan that doesn’t fry in oil first, just to be simpler and healthier. This was a work of art that tasted as good as it looked. I cut the slices probably half as thin, that was my only change. Next time I will try toasting the breadcrumbs first. Thank you!

  28. WellbI had high hopes for this recipe but the end results were bad. The pictures were beautiful, the instructions were very clear and Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite dishes to serve since you can entertain vegetarians and omnivores together. But this recipe was dud. The eggplant was inedible tuff disks with surrounding.leather watch bands. I added 15 minutes more baking but still they remained hokey pucks. I will revert back to sauteing the eggplant in lots of olive oil. The oven method was a failure.

  29. This was the best eggplant parmesan I have ever tasted ! Excellent recipe!

  30. I followed the instructions to the letter and got the worst eggplant dish I have ever tried. Who wants to eat a dish of soggy Panko? Breading the eggplant was a huge mistake, a waste of a beautiful eggplant, ingredients and time.

  31. It was a little time consuming to make, but we’ll worth it. It turned out great! Thank u for the recipe.

  32. OH. MY. GOSH. I just made this and it AMAZING. I have never made Eggplant Parm before. I have had it at pizza places– and it has been kind of heavy and greasy. This was absolutely perfect. I was worried about my first attempt so I only made 1 eggplant instead of two. It might have been a larger eggplant. I used roughly 1.5 of all of the other ingredients called for (breadcrumbs, cheese, spices.). I used Rao’s sauces. I was really worried that I had cut the eggplant too thin. So I knocked 5 minutes off the original “oven frying” time. But used the same time once the sauce and cheese was on. I sprinkled fresh basil on top. My partner and I loved it so much we are stuffed to the gills right now. This is so good because restaurants sometimes fry the eggplant in poor quality/half rancid oils. This eliminates the extra oil. The cheese and sauce is fresh. It is delicious and satisfying. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe! We are officially hooked. PS–I did sweat the eggplant for over an hour while I was doing other things.

  33. I love Italian food, can’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you

  34. I did it today follow the recipe as you said excellent! I made my marinara sauce with Italian sausage gave it a Nice kick!Yes it was time consuming, but at the end it was worth it! Thank you!

  35. Super simple and delicious. I used some TJ’s arrabiata sauce and worked out just fine (for those who are asking about using jarred sauce – my guess is that any red sauce you enjoy will work). Thanks for a quicker and easier recipe than my usual go-to. Cheers!

  36. Hi there-

    This recipe looks great, I’m excited to try it out. Question: the the description for the baking pan you suggest from Crate and Barrel indicates it can stand heat up to 400 degrees. Your recipe calls for 425. Do you think it would be okay to use anyway?

  37. Sliced, sweated, and breaded the eggplant using seasoned breadcrumbs. While they were baking, I got the rest of ingredients together, only to find that I had no mozzarella cheese. Layering, I used strips of sliced provolone covering the first layer, and sliced Gruyere cheese on top layer. This was the best, most delicious eggplant dish my wife and I ever put in our mouth. It is going to be our #1 side dish for family and friends get-togethers and “covered dish” events. It was out of this world.
    Going to make it next with the mozzarella cheese and Panco breadcrumbs, which I know will also be super delicious.
    Thanks, will be using more of your recipes in future!

  38. Tips for making this a day beforehand?

  39. First time making eggplant Parmesan….delicious recipe!

  40. Love this recipe! My husband isn’t a huge fan of eggplant, but he loves this recipe. So flavorful and super easy.

  41. Easy. Delicious.

  42. This is sooo good! As we are plant based – I roasted nutritional yeast with breadcrumbs and used dairy free mozzarella! Love love love this – I will confess that I sprinkle olive oil (just a little) on the eggplant before initial baking. Will try and skip that next time. If you like eggplant Parma – this is a must!

  43. I made this recipe prior to the 2020 updates and it’s the first eggplant parm I’ve liked. However I’ve never had an issue with it burning, before. Is the temp 425 for both cook times? And is it 20-25 minutes each time for a total of 40-50 minutes?

  44. I love this recipe! The method is awesome. Followed most directions, only changes or omissions: I didn’t toast the panko separately, my oven is high enough at 425 to toast breaded eggplant and for only 20mins. Also had to lower final bake to 375 and check at 15-20. I think I used a little less sauce but my eggplant was on the smaller side :) taste and texture wonderful, thanks for sharing 😊

  45. thank u for this recipe! incredible flavors & so many healthy veggies. the cheese is a perfect balance to the acidic marinara.
    definitely revisiting this soon.

  46. I didn’t have any basil, but it was still delicious. I was wondering if I can freeze the leftovers.

  47. Great recipe! Turned out the delicious even tho baked instead of fried. Great idea to pre bake the panko to make the dish more crispy!

  48. This recipe is amazing!!! So flavorful and delicious! I had hangry kids waiting but it was so worth baking the bread crumbs and letting the eggplant sweat. This will be my go to recipe for our favorite Italian dish!

  49. We loved this recipe! Can the dish be layered and set aside to bake later?

  50. Very tasty and healthier. We’ve made this recipe a few times now. I add fresh oregano with the basil between layers as I have lots in my garden. I wish the calorie count was included though. Thanks for a nice recipe!