Easy baked chicken parmesan – and help me choose a subtitle: cheater weeknight version! ready in less than 30 minutes! no dipping/breading required! with crispy cheesy bits on the side of the pan!
This easy baked chicken parmesan is actually a descendent of the very first recipe I ever posted – squash casserole. I still make it, and you should, too – such a great summer side dish! The casserole is made with a cheesy breadcrumb topping, and I wanted more of that topping in my life. So I decided to put it on chicken, and put the chicken on pasta + marinara, and call it chicken parmesan. And it’s a winner!
Instead of pounding chicken and dipping it in egg and coating it in breadcrumbs and frying it…we’re just cutting it into bite-sized pieces, and searing it in a skillet for a couple of minutes. Flip the pieces over, then add a mixture of breadcrumbs and cheese right over the top! A little drizzle of oil, and bake – it finishes cooking and gets bubbly and brown and beautiful in the oven in about 15 minutes (which gives you time to cook some pasta and maybe even
do the breakfast dishes you forgot about make a salad).
It’s easy to serve and eat because the chicken is already cut up, and it helps to maximize the crunchy/cheesy-to-chicken ratio. I may or may not have stood at the stove popping a few more of those little cheesy chicken nuggets after dinner even though I was technically full!
I served it over angel hair because I forgot to start boiling the water until after I put the chicken in the oven, so I needed something quick-cooking. (Success – pasta finished with just enough time to drain before the chicken was done.) This was marinara sauce from a jar, but I love this simple basil marinara sauce if you want a homemade version! And…I’m strangely a bit embarrassed to tell you this…but if you want comfort food all the way, try this easy baked chicken parmesan on top of homemade spaghettios. Basically a hug in a bowl.Print
3 chicken breasts (about 1.5 lbs), cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup breadcrumbs, such as panko
3-4 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400. Heat a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil, just enough to lightly coat the pan. Season the chicken pieces with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper, then add them to the pan in a single layer. Let the chicken cook without stirring for 2-3 minutes, until the pieces are partly cooked and getting brown on one side. Remove the skillet from the heat and quickly flip the chicken pieces over. Sprinkle with cheeses and breadcrumbs (I had mixed mine in a bowl but I don’t think it really matters), then drizzle the top with olive oil. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melty and the topping is nicely browned in spots.
Serve with pasta and marinara sauce!
This recipe is adapted from cheesy squash casserole.
Skillet notes: I made this using a 12-inch cast iron skillet, but any oven-proof skillet should be fine. I also made it in my 10-inch skillet, by browning the chicken in 2 batches (brown half the chicken for 2 minutes and remove to a plate; brown the other half for 2 minutes, then remove skillet from heat, add first batch back in, and then add topping and bake). If you don’t have a skillet that can go in the oven, just brown the chicken first and then put it in a casserole dish (like a 9×13 pan) to top and bake.
I tried just baking the whole dish, putting uncooked chicken directly in a casserole dish with the cheese/breadcrumbs on top, but the chicken juices made the topping softer/less crispy, so I don’t recommend that route for best results.