Crispy Chicken Parmesan is breaded chicken breasts that are pan-fried and topped with homemade tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. If this sounds good to you, be sure to try my Chicken Parmesan Sliders, too!
Crispy Chicken Parmesan
Traditionally, the chicken was not part of this recipe. Eggplant Parmigiana was an eggplant, fried, then topped with cheese and tomato sauce. Then, it would be baked, ready to eat! Later, eggplant was replaced with chicken, and Chicken Parmesan (or chicken parm) was created!
There are four main parts to this recipe–the marinated chicken, tomato sauce, chicken coatings (like my chicken tenders recipe), and mozzarella cheese topping. It starts with the buttermilk marinade.
Buttermilk: Use full-fat buttermilk for marinating the chicken breasts. The buttermilk helps break down protein in the chicken for a more tender piece of chicken. It also helps the breading stick to each piece. If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, I have homemade buttermilk you can make.
Sauce: The homemade sauce is made with onions, garlic, tomato sauce, oregano, and basil. You could also make this recipe easier by using a jar of your favorite tomato sauce.
Panko: Not only will you be dredging the chicken breasts in a flour and cornstarch mixture, but also a panko mixture. Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb that is lighter and will stay crispier longer. Look for panko in the Asian food aisle of the grocery store.
Cheese: I went with mozzarella cheese. You could also use parmesan or provolone cheese.
Oil: I fried the chicken in olive oil. Be sure to save the leftover oil to use again; check out How to Clarify Used Cooking Oil so it doesn’t go to waste!
Why is the Chicken Not Crispy?
When pan-frying the chicken breasts, make sure the oil has reached the temperature of 350°F. In addition, if you are working in batches, double-check the temperature of the oil before frying another chicken breast. After each batch or piece of chicken, the temperature of the oil will get cooler, which could affect the crispiness of the chicken.
How to Store Chicken Parmesan
If you have any leftovers, they can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container. If you store the sauce separately, the chicken will stay crispier. I would recommend reheating in the oven, if possible. You can also freeze the leftovers for up to 3 months, either after it has all been assembled and baked or by separating the fried chicken and the sauce in different containers.
Crispy Chicken Parmesan
- 3 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons water
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup olive oil, for frying
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- fresh basil, for garnish
- Season chicken breast fillets with salt and pepper and add them to a large bowl. Top with buttermilk. (The chicken should be fully submerged.) Cover with plastic wrap and transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour, up to 48 hours. When ready to cook, first, allow the chicken to come back to room temperature.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil.
- Add onion, cooking until softened (3-5 minutes). Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
- Add tomato sauce, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper.
- Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened.
- Keep the sauce warm while you prepare the chicken.
- Set out 3 large baking sheets. Line one of the pans with parchment paper. Set a wire rack over the second pan. Line the third pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
- On a large, shallow plate, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, and garlic powder.
- On a second shallow plate, add eggs and water. Whisk to combine.
- On a third plate, add 1 cup of the flour mixture and parmesan cheese. To this bowl, add the panko. Toss to combine.
- One at a time, remove a fillet of chicken from the buttermilk mixture. Dredge it first in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, and finally the panko mixture. Place on the parchment-lined pan. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
- When ready, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the oil reaches a temperature of 350°F.
- Add 2-3 pieces of coated chicken (or as many as your skillet can hold) to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side for another 4-8 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F. The chicken should be crispy and golden brown.
- Remove the chicken from the oil and place on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken.
- Preheat the oven to broil (550°F).
- Transfer the fried chicken from the wire rack to the baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
- Top each chicken breast with ⅓ cup of tomato sauce and 1-2 slices of fresh mozzarella.
- Broil for 1-2 minutes, watching carefully, until the cheese is melted.
- Serve immediately.
Did you make this recipe?
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