Dinner for Two: Skillet Chicken Parmesan
This skillet chicken parmesan is the sort of food that cures the January blues.
Otherwise known as that sad, sluggish feeling you get when spring is FOREVER away. And you’re still five pounds heavier from Christmas.
Between the short days, cold temps, and my appallingly pale complexion (send help), I’ve officially had it with winter. So considering I have WEEKS to go before any of the above improve, I decided some comfort food was in order. But since this year has been fairly well-behaved — more gym, less wine, yada yada — I didn’t want to go overboard. All I needed was a cozy little splurge that’s healthy enough for a weeknight while still tasting like a treat.
This skillet chicken parmesan was it.
Like all of my recipes I’ve made this several times now, and I swear it gets better with each installment. This recipe is unique to others in that it delivers all the flavor and texture of traditional chicken parmesan, but with barely half the guilt. That’s because I half fry, half bake the chicken inside a pre-heated skillet, rather than deep-fry it in oil. Doing so doesn’t just save on calories and fat, it results in a juicier, more tender cutlet. One that marries the crispy, crunchy taste of frying with the lighter, airer texture of baking.
In short, it’s amazing. And it’s portioned for two. skillet chicken parmesan.
With a recipe like this every step is important, so try to follow it to a T. You start with two 4-6 oz chicken breasts, pounded thin — I did this myself, but your butcher can do it if need be. Dredge each breast in a whisked egg, then generously coat with breadcrumbs. Traditional recipes use flour prior to the egg bath, as well as sharp cheese in the breadcrumbs. But I decided to skip both, seeing as doing so felt counterproductive to my “lightened-up” goals. Luckily, neither was missed one bit.
While you dress the cutlets pre-heat the oven with a cast iron skillet inside. When you’re ready, coat the bottom of the skillet with a few teaspoons of olive oil, then add in the breaded chicken. Bake for 30 minutes, turning midway so that each cutlet is golden on either side. Once cooked, lastly smother with sauce and cheese, and before you know it you’re swimming in comfort food heaven.
Saying this chicken parmesan is restaurant-quality is a pretty cocky statement to make, but I’m doing it anyway. The flavor, texture, and aroma are exactly what you’d expect of an old-school red sauce joint. And since I’m Italian, I’m allowed to say that. As written I’ve obviously called for homemade sauce, but if you have to use the jarred stuff, so be it. I also suggest using the freshest full-fat mozzarella you can find, because if you’re going to eat cheese, eat cheese, ya know?
This dinner for two is also perfect for Valentine’s Day. So if you need ideas, here ya go. Xo
Skillet Chicken Parmesan
- 28 oz can peeled or crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/4 tsps basil
- 1 1/4 tsps oregano
- 1 tsp crushed or minced garlic
- several dashes salt
- a few pinches black pepper
- a few pinches granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 1/2 tsps oregano
- 1 1/2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil + more for greasing
- a pinch of salt & pepper
- 1 large egg, beaten
- (two) 4 – 6 oz boneless/skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
- 4 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
- a few tbsps grated parmesan cheese
- fresh basil to garnish (optional)
- Begin by preparing the sauce. In a large saucepan combine all sauce ingredients over a medium-low flame, adjusting the seasonings as needed and mashing the tomatoes with a potato masher if using peeled tomatoes. Cover and simmer, occasionally stirring and mashing as appropriate.
- Pre-heat oven to 425F. Place a cast iron skillet or oven-proof skillet in the oven while heating.
- In a mixing bowl combine the breadcrumbs, oregano, EVOO, and salt & pepper, tossing until well combined — Transfer to a large plate. Next, working one at a time dip the chicken breast in egg, allowing the excess to run off. Dredge in the breadcrumbs until evenly coated on both sides and around the edges, then transfer to a clean plate. Repeat with the remaining breast.
- Remove the heated skillet from the oven and grease the bottom with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil, swirling to coat. Transfer the breaded chicken breasts to the skillet, then immediately return to the oven and bake on the oven middle rack for 15 minutes. When ready, drizzle the top of each cutlet with a touch more olive oil, then flip and bake 15 minutes more. Once the chicken is nice and crisp, lastly spoon the sauce around and on top of the cutlets, then layer with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 5 – 10 minutes more until the cheese has completely melted, broiling for 1 – 2 minutes at the end if you prefer a browner finish. Cool slightly, then garnish with parmesan, basil, and serve!
skillet chicken parmesan for two.
I don’t think saying it’s restaurant quality is cocky- ok it is, but I often say my stuff is BETTER than a restaurant because I totally think it is. Finally got an iron skillet and loving the look of this!!
This looks SO delicious! Pretty sure you just answered my what am I making for Vday dinner question. Love your blog!
it’s a must!!! xo
Christine, Do you have a wine suggestion to serve?
I love a chianti with this! it’s nice and balanced — not too heavy, not too light, not too dry, not too sweet 🙂 enjoy!
Super funny two years later and Im here because im making this for vday this year!!
YAY!! that makes me so happy 🙂 enjoy!
For the sauce, are the herbs dried? Looks like a great recipe, my hubby says I always cook too much for the two of us.
yes, dried herbs! much easier to work with this time of year 🙂 — I hope you love it! xo
Help! I don’t have a can of tomatos I forgot it and need it like now. Will spaghetti sauce work??
it would! I hope it worked out Chelsea 🙂 xo
Tried this recipe tonight for valentines day. I had everything in my house except the fresh mozzerella, and I knew I couldn’t skimp on that! Your directions were clear and your pics were gorgeous! I made some bucatini and served this over the pasta with a little side salad with raspberries, walnut and fat free vin. Thanks for the perfect meal!
ahh this is so wonderful to hear, I’m glad you loved it Kelly!! xo
what if you don’t have a cast iron skillet? Is there anything you can use as substitution?
you can use an oven-proof skillet! the difference is that cast iron is an extremely efficient conductor of heat, so your standard oven-proof skillet won’t get as hot or heat as evenly as a cast iron one. because of this, I’d add a touch more olive oil to the skillet, as well as increase the cooking time by a few minutes to compensate. otherwise, follow the recipe as is! xo
I made this tonight, it’s delicious! I subbed 4 chicken tenderloins, and used fresh herbs (from my aerogarden). I definitely think there’s a certain taste to the sauce that only the cast iron skillet could get. Thanks!!
The arugula mix looks delish under. Care to share how this was made? I can’t wait to make this!
that’s great Kristen! it’s arugula tossed in a light dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and sugar! I always eyeball it, but it’s roughly 1/4 – 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 lemon (juiced), and a tsp or two of sugar. add a dash of salt & pepper once dressed, a sprinkle of parmesan, and you’re set 🙂 xo
I never thought to add sugar! I actually went to the store last night and bought what my pantry lacked in order to make this masterpiece. I can’t wait to make dinner tonight!
I came across this recipe weeks ago and it has been on my mind since. I decided to give it a shot tonight since I have a new cast iron skillet that needs to be broken in. OH. MY. GAWWWD. This is a fantastic recipe. I cheated and used a jar of pasta sauce that I doctored up with some chili flakes and other herbs. I also used the Italian breadcrumbs and added some Italian spices. I served with a side of arugula tossed in balsamic and olive oil and garlic bread that I threw in really quick right after it was done and resting. So great!!!! Definitely will be making again. Thank you!
I LOVE hearing feedback like this Hollie, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! thanks for sharing 🙂 xo
Can I use plain tomatoes?
I’m not sure I understand — Plain tomatoes for the sauce as opposed to canned San Marzano? of course! if that doesn’t answer your question let me know 🙂
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This is so wonderful!
Your recipe looks delicious and I plan to make it soon. But I didn’t see where the recipe called for Parmesan cheese. Did I miss something?
I simply sprinkled the parmesan at the end for the photos! so at the end when serving, just sprinkle as much as you’d like 🙂
Exactly my question, why even call it “Parmesan” when there is no parmesan in the recipe or recipe list?!? Very misleading!
chicken parm is made with mozzarella, provolone, or parmesan cheese, so if you’d rather use all parmesan instead of mozzarella, feel free to do so! the recipe does in fact direct you to sprinkle everything with parmesan before plating too 🙂 xo
Hey Christine, I would love to make this recipe. May you please provide how much time you would add if there is no cast iron available?
Using a regular, oven-proof skillet shouldn’t add too much extra time — In step four, I’d say that you’ll be baking the chicken closer to 20 mins on either side as opposed to 15, but the rest of the recipe should stay the same! good luck 🙂
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I totally want to try this! But am confused.. at the start of the article, you wrote you “That’s because I half fry, half bake the chicken inside a pre-heated skillet, rather than deep-fry it in oil.” When does the frying happen? I’ve read the recipe over and over.. and all I see is baking in the oven. When do you fry it?
I mean that I “fry” it in the OVEN with oil, then bake the chicken the rest of the way smothered in marinara — follow the recipe as it’s written and you’ll be set! sorry for any confusion 🙂
Will Panko breadcrumbs work just as well?
I’ve never tried it, but I don’t see why not!
First of all my name is Roland and I’m a man. 😀
I stumbled upon your recipe as I was looking to find something to make as dinner for my girlfriend. I have to say from the first moment on as I saw the photos of the food you made I knew I was going to make these as well. Before I only made easier dishes like pasta with nice sauce etc. but somehow the creativity was missing. I am so glad that I found your post and let me say, the dinner worked out amazing! My girlfriend loved it and said this was my best dish that I made so far, so yeah, thanks for your help! 🙂
I will definitely go through your other posts and hope to find other gems like this, thanks again! 🙂
PS: I even put some mozarella “under” the meat before laying onto the ruccola salad, giving it an “under-texture” as well. 🙂
I made this a few months ago and it was DELICIOUS!!!!
My husband was impressed!
It’s cold here in the Chicago area, so I am making it again tonight! I followed the directions to a tee! Thank you!!!!! It was easy but tasted like it was difficult!!! The perfect recipe!!
aw thank you so much Kim! I’m so glad it’s become a recipe you love 🙂
Two things! First, Made this for my bf who hates to eat healthy but loves chicken parm. I oven fried some wings recently that he refused to eat (more for me!), so I sneakily oven fried these breasts. He asked if it was fresh chicken (which we usually get around the holidays) bc of the texture and how moist the meat stayed.
Second, I have a boatload of GI issues and haven’t had chicken parm in almost a year. I decided to try this though, bc of the miniscule amount of oil and the no flour. Girl. Yes. I only oiled the pan, didn’t put oil in with the breadcrumbs, and I am happy to report my gut did not complain!
Anyway, you’ve changed two lives; he will now at least try my healthier recipes, and I have a chicken parm recipe that won’t kill my insides.
this is SO wonderful to hear Ally, I’m thrilled it was such a success!! thanks for letting me know, and I hope you find more content to love on WRY 🙂 Xo
My family can’t get enough of this! Thank you for sharing. Awesome recipe!
that’s so wonderful!! I’m thrilled you’re all enjoying it 🙂
So delicious! Easy to make and so yummy!
yay! so glad you like it 🙂
Do I need to add more canned tomatoes if I want to serve it over pasta?
you should be fine as the recipe is written! Xo
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