This No Fry Eggplant Parmesan this the best Italian Sunday dinner. Sliced eggplant is breaded with seasoned panko breadcrumbs and baked till crispy. Then, these delicious crispy medallions are layered with marinara and of course lots of cheese! This tasty dish is all of the flavors that you love, without all of the extra grease.
Eggplant Parmesan in the Oven
One of my husband's favorite dishes is eggplant parmesan for Sunday dinner. We started baking the eggplant in the oven instead of frying it in oil and we are hooked! For one, it is definitely a less messy and easier process. Instead of having to fry the individual slices in oil, you simply place them on a sheet pan and bake them in the oven till browned and crispy. Baking the sliced eggplant is also a healthier option for this dish since you are eliminating the frying oil. Lastly, it definitely holds up better after layering and baking it, especially if you decide to make it ahead of time. Because there isn't the added moisture from the oil, the breading stays crispier and doesn't get as soggy.
How to Prepare Eggplant Parmesan
Here are basic steps for preparing eggplant parmesan in the oven:
- First, prep your eggplant by slicing it and sprinkling each side generously with salt to allow it to "sweat" out the extra moisture and bitterness.
- After you allow the eggplant to sweat for an hour, you will then rinse off the leftover salt and pat the slices dry to get them ready for breading.
- Next, you will bread the eggplant slices by dipping them in an egg mixture and then in seasoned breadcrumbs.
- Then, place your breaded eggplant slices on a sheet pan. I like to spray them with olive oil to make sure they turn out nice and crispy, but you can also drizzle them lightly with olive oil too or eliminate the oil altogether.
- Now bake the eggplant slices in the oven till browned and crispy, about 25-30 minutes should do.
- After the eggplant slices are baked, you will layer them in a baking dish with marinara and cheese. I like to use my Old School Italian Gravy for this and then both mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
Tips for Making No Fry Eggplant Parmesan
If you want to make sure your baked eggplant parmesan comes out perfect every time, here are a few tips to ensure success:
- It's important to "sweat" your eggplant slices by sprinkling them generously with salt and letting them sit for about an hour. Salting them draws out any bitterness in the eggplant as well as some of the moisture. Less moisture in the eggplant = crispier eggplant. I like to place them on a baking rack when doing this, but if you don't have one, paper towels will work as well.
- Make sure to rinse your eggplant slices thoroughly after sweating them to remove any excess salt and then pat them dry to remove any excess moisture.
- When breading the eggplant, I recommend using panko breadcrumbs. They are lighter and crispier in texture and work well for baked eggplant. Make sure you press the breadcrumbs into the eggplant after dipping it in the egg mixture. This makes sure the breadcrumbs stick well to the eggplant to form a crispy crust.
- Lastly, I like to spray the breaded eggplant with an olive oil sprayer to make sure the breadcrumbs come out nice and toasty, but don't soak up too much oil.
Can Eggplant Parmesan Be Made Ahead of Time?
Eggplant parmesan can be made ahead of time to help shorten the prep time on the day of serving. You can either bread and bake the eggplant slices ahead of time or you can prep the entire dish ahead of time.
- Breaded and baked eggplant slices will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days. Pop them in the oven for 5-10 minutes to crisp them up before layering.
- Breaded and baked eggplant slices can also be frozen on a sheet pan and then transferred to zip top 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. Cooking times might be longer, depending on how cold the dish is.
More Italian Dishes...
If you enjoyed this recipe for my No Fry Eggplant Parmesan, check out these other Italian inspired dishes:
- Braciole with Marinara
- Creamy Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage
- The Perfect Classic Italian Lasagna
- Italian Style Meatloaf with Marinara
- Creamy Mushroom Risotto
If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and give it a rating. I love to hear from each and every one of you! Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as well, if you make any of my recipes. It makes my day to see all of your photos of the food you have made.