Learn how to make the BEST Baked Eggplant Parmesan with a crispy coating, tender middle, and SO much Italian flavor! Thick slices of eggplant are tossed in breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, lightly fried in oil and then baked in the oven with marinara sauce and mozzarella. This simple Italian meal will please the whole family and is healthy, vegetarian, and can easily be made gluten-free!

Vegetarian eggplant parmesan is served for a healthy dinner option.

Eggplants have been in abundance at the grocery store recently and the very first thought that came to mind…

Eggplant Parmesan!!

I’d had it in Italian restaurants numerous times, but had never attempted making it on my own. Chicken Parmesan had been on our weekly dinner rotation for years, so it couldn’t be much different than that, right?!

Wrong. And boy was I wrong.

What I had forgotten is the delicate nature of eggplant. If you don’t follow JUST the right steps you’ll end up with a watery and mushy texture instead of a perfectly meaty bite.

After a bit of research the secret was discovered… a sprinkle of salt! Yup – that’s it! This nifty trick helps to pull out excess moisture from the eggplant before you bake it in the oven. Then it comes out tender but still firm, not a soggy mess.

And that breadcrumb and Parmesan cheese crust? Don’t worry about it falling off.

We’ll be using a 3-bowl breading technique that ensures those delicious crumbs stay adhered throughout the entire process. You’ll also lightly fry the eggplant slices in a skillet before baking so you get a delightfully crispy crust.

Feeling a little nervous? No need to worry – this one is going to be SUPER easy. Let me show you how it’s done!

Eggplant, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, flour, egg, cheese, seasonings, and tomato sauce are the ingredients for this recipe.
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  • Eggplant. You need just shy of 2 pounds, this equates to roughly 2 medium-sized eggplants. Try to find ones that are no larger than 4-½ inches in width so they can fit into a 10 x 15-inch baking dish.
  • Breadcrumbs. Plain is all you’ll need as seasonings will be added. Avoid using Panko as they’ll have a crunchier texture and won’t hold together as easily. You can also buy Italian breadcrumbs if you don’t want to season them!
  • Parmesan cheese. Grated is a must. Either grate it yourself or buy it already done.
  • Eggs. These help bind the coating.
  • Milk. You can use regular milk, or a plant-based one such as cashew, oat, almond, or soy.
  • Italian seasoning. Make your own Homemade Italian Seasoning or find a store-bought brand. If purchasing, double-check the label to see if salt is used as you may need to adjust the amount added.
  • Marinara sauce. Pick your favorite jar of spaghetti or marinara sauce. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even make this Pomodoro Sauce from scratch, too!
  • Mozzarella. Freshly shredded is used, but a ball of freshly pulled mozzarella cut it into slices would work as well.

How to Make

The basic steps for making eggplant Parmesan are simple to follow:

  1. Cut the eggplant into ½-inch slices. Try to make them all the same size so they cook up evenly.

    You should end up with 12 slices. If you have extra, use it up in this Air Fryer Eggplant or this Roasted Eggplant recipe!
    An eggplant is sliced on the cutting board.

  2. Sprinkle with salt and let sit 30 minutes.

    This draws out the extra moisture and ensures it doesn’t come out soggy. Once you see tiny bubbles of liquid, dab it off with a paper towel.
    Salt is added to the raw eggplant.

  3. Coat the eggplant slices.

    One at a time, dip each eggplant slice in the flour bowl and shake off excess; then dredge in the egg wash; finally coat with the breadcrumb-Parmesan mix. Press in the coating so it really sticks.
    Eggplant slices are dipped in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs.

  4. Lightly fry coated eggplant in a skillet. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 3 minutes per side.

    Make sure to use enough oil so that it coats the pan. Use a mildly flavored and high-heat oil such as avocado oil for the best results.
    The eggplant slices are pan seared.

  5. Layer up eggplant parmesan in a 10×15-inch baking dish.

    To create two layers, use half of the ingredients at a time. Arrange 6 eggplant slices in a single layer, pour half of the marinara over the top, and then sprinkle with half of the mozzarella. Repeat these layers and dust with remaining Parmesan cheese.
    Mozzarella cheese is placed on top of the eggplant.

  6. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 350° for 40 minutes.

    Covering with foil allows the eggplant to get nice and tender, while not burning the cheese. You can uncover during last 5 minutes to brown the cheese slightly.The eggplant parmesan is baked in the oven.

To Serve

Garnish with fresh parsley, basil, and extra Parmesan cheese.

Serve over spaghetti noodles or Zucchini Noodles for a low-carb option.

You can also pair with light salads such as a spinach salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette or a Massage Kale Salad.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: You can make this a couple of hours in advance before baking. However don’t wait too long to bake as the eggplant will get soggy.
  • To Store: Keep in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days in the fridge.
  • To Freeze: While it is possible, freezing is not recommended as the texture will change drastically.
  • To Reheat: Pop leftovers back in a 325° oven for 15-20 minutes. You can also microwave but you will lose the crisp texture.
Eggplant parmesan is served with a spatula.

Dietary Modifications

The recipe you’ll find below is already vegetarian as written. Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:

  • Gluten-Free – Find gluten-free breadcrumbs and flour for the coating.
  • Dairy-Free – Substitute the mozzarella and Parmesan for dairy-free cheeses.
  • Vegan– Use flax or chia egg and dairy-free cheeses.
  • Low-Carb – Swap out for a low-carb breadcrumb.


How do you make eggplant Parmesan not soggy?

You need to pull out the moisture before cooking. Do this by sprinkling with salt, letting it sit for 30 minutes, then dab it off with a paper towel.

Do you peel eggplant before cooking?

It is not necessary. In fact, the skin offers a nice texture and helps to add fiber and nutrients.

Is eggplant Parmesan healthier for you than chicken parmesan?

Both dishes are prepared similarly. However, eggplant is lower in fat and calories, and packs in plenty of nutrients which makes it the healthier option.

Why isn’t my eggplant Parmesan tender?

The eggplant was either sliced too thick or didn’t cook long enough. Try to keep the eggplant about ½-inch thick.

Italian eggplant parmesan is served for a meatless meal.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Pull out the ruler. You want the eggplant no thicker than ½-inch thick.
  • Slice them evenly. This is super important to ensure all of the pieces bake up at the same time.
  • Sprinkle with salt. Pull out the extra moisture so it’s not mushy and soggy.
  • Fry until golden. Get a crispy golden crust before baking.
  • Pick the perfect oil. A high smoke-point oil such as avocado is best for frying.
  • Clean between. Pick out any of the breadcrumb pieces from the oil between frying the batches so they don’t burn.
  • Cover it up. The cheese will brown before the eggplant is done cooking if aluminum foil is not placed over the top.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 3 votes

Baked Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Learn how to make the BEST Baked Eggplant Parmesan with a crispy coating, tender middle, and SO much Italian flavor! Thick slices of eggplant are tossed in breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, lightly fried in oil and then baked in the oven with marinara sauce and mozzarella.
Yield 6
Prep 40 minutes
Cook 50 minutes
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  • 1 ¾ lbs. eggplant about 2 medium-sized
  • ½ cup flour or a gluten-free 1-to-1 blend
  • 2 eggs large
  • ¼ cup milk cashew, oat, or soy can be used
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs plain*
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese divided
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning homemade or store-bought*
  • ¾ tsp. salt plus additional
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. oil avocado, divided
  • 24 oz. jar marinara sauce
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
  • Fresh parsley or basil optional


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Slice eggplant into ½-inch slices.
  • Sprinkle the slices with salt and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
  • Dab the eggplant with a paper towel to remove the excess moisture that has been pulled out.
  • In three separate shallow bowls, prepare the following:
    Bowl 1: Add flour.
    Bowl 2: Add egg and milk. Whisk until well combined.
    Bowl 3: Add breadcrumbs, ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Toss until combined.
  • Dip one eggplant slice in the flour mixture and shake off any excess, dredge in the egg wash, and then coat with the breadcrumbs. Be sure to press in the coating so it really sticks. Repeat this process with the remaining eggplant slices.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add half of the coated eggplant slices. Cook for 3 minutes per side, or until the breadcrumbs become golden. Place fried eggplant on a paper towel-lined plate to drain and repeat with the remaining eggplant. Wipe out any extra breadcrumbs from the skillet and then repeat the pan-frying process with the remaining eggplant slices.
  • Spray a 10×15-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and place half of the eggplant slices in a single layer. Pour in half of the marinara sauce and sprinkle on 1 cup of the Mozzarella cheese. Add the remaining eggplant, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Cover the dish with a piece of aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Remove the foil during the last 5 minutes of cooking to lightly brown the cheese.
  • Serve with fresh parsley or basil and additional Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 3 votes


*You can also use 1 cup of Italian-style breadcrumbs. If you do, make sure to double-check the amount of salt already in the crumbs.
  • To Store: Keep in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days in the fridge.
  • To Freeze: While it is possible, freezing is not recommended as the texture will change drastically.


Calories: 459kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 95mg, Sodium: 1504mg, Potassium: 811mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 1026IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 513mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Celeste! I love to hear you had to go back for me. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!