This easy no fry baked eggplant parmesan is the best homemade Italian dinner. Sliced eggplant is breaded and baked till crispy. Then, they are layered with marinara sauce and both mozzarella and parmesan cheeses!
This post was originally published in January 2021 and has been updated for content.
One of my husband's favorite dishes is homemade eggplant parm. We started baking the eggplant in the oven instead of frying and it's our new favorite. Not only is it less messy, but breaded baked eggplant stays super crispy.
🍆 Ingredient notes
- Eggplant - Ripe eggplants will have smooth shiny skin that leave an imprint when you lightly press your finger into it.
- Breadcrumbs - Panko breadcrumbs are a Japanese style breadcrumb that are lighter and crispier and work great for this recipe. Regular breadcrumbs can be also be used as an alternative.
- Olive oil - I like using an olive oil sprayer to lightly coat the breaded eggplant before baking. This gives the breadcrumbs a light even coating of oil to help them be extra crispy. If you don't have spray, regular olive oil can be drizzled on them instead.
- Marinara - Either homemade or your favorite store bought marinara will work!
- Cheese - I like using a combination of both mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese for this recipe. The mozzarella cheese adds a creamy taste, while the parmesan adds a nice sharpness.
- Gluten free - Use gluten free breadcrumbs instead of regular panko breadcrumbs.
- Dairy free - Replace the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses with your favorite dairy free cheese. Final cooking times may need to be adjusted depending on the type of cheese.
🔪 Step by step instructions
First, wash and slice your eggplants into ½ - 1" thick rounds. Lay them on a paper towel or cooling rack and generously salt them. Let them sit for an hour to sweat out any extra moisture and bitterness.
After they have sweated, wash them thoroughly to remove any excess salt, then pat them dry.
Get ready to bread them by scrambling the eggs with water and seasoning the breadcrumbs. Dip the eggplant into the egg mixture first, allowing the excess to drip off, then press them in the breadcrumbs so they are evenly coated.
Spray or drizzle the breaded eggplant slices with olive oil and bake at 400˚ for 25-30 minutes till browned and crispy.
Now it's time to layer! Add some of your sauce to the bottom of a baking dish and top with half of the breaded eggplant slices.
Top with more sauce and half of the cheese. Layer with the remaining eggplant, then sauce and then cheese.
Bake the layered eggplant parm uncovered in a 375˚ oven for 20-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
⭐ Expert tips
- Don't skip sweating the eggplant slices. It really helps to make the crispiest slices that have both the best flavor and texture for this dish.
- Make sure to wash off the eggplant slices after sweating them with kosher salt otherwise they will be too salty.
- Allow the excess egg to drip off of the eggplant before adding it to the breadcrumbs. This will help to make sure the breading sticks well.
- Use an olive oil sprayer to make the eggplant slices bake up super crispy!
- Sheet pans may need to be rotated on the shelves halfway through baking to ensure all of the slices brown evenly.
💭 Frequently asked questions
The peel on eggplant is completely edible and does not need to be removed before slicing and sweating.
You do not have to sweat the eggplant before breading it, however it does remove excess bitterness and moisture that the eggplant has. If you do not have time to sweat the eggplant, cut the slices thinner and pat dry as best as you can.
⏲️ Make ahead instructions
- Breaded baked eggplant slices will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Pop them in the oven for 5-10 minutes to crisp them up before layering.
- Breaded baked eggplant slices can also be frozen on a sheet pan and then transferred to a ziptop bag for up to 3 months. Pop them in the oven for 10 minutes to crisp them up before layering.
- Eggplant parmesan can be assembled ahead of time and then baked later. I don't like assembling it more than 12-24 hours beforehand because the longer the breaded eggplant sits in the sauce, the soggier it will become.
- To freeze eggplant parmesan, simply assemble the entire dish, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake, take it out of the freezer and let it thaw completely in the refrigerator. Cooking times might be longer, depending on how cold the dish is.
- Baked eggplant parmesan with keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days when stored in an airtight container.
🍅 More Italian recipes
If you loved this recipe for no fry eggplant parmesan, check out these other italian recipes that I know you will love too!
For a quick overview of this recipe, check out my web story for this easy baked eggplant parmesan!
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