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How to Make Eggplant Parmesan

print recipe card posted in Main Dishes by Kathy Maister
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Eggplant Parmesan is a tasty and popular dish found on menus everywhere. Making your own Eggplant Parmesan involves several steps, but it is so worth the effort!

Curiously enough, the eggplant is actually a fruit and not a vegetable. Even though it looks robust, the eggplant is fairly delicate.

Buy one that weighs about 8 ounces, and be sure to use it within a day or two of purchase. As it ages, it gets bitter and the skin gets tough.

Making Eggplant Parmesan is very similar to making Chicken Cutlets except – of course – that we are using eggplant instead of chicken.

There are six steps involved in making Eggplant Parmesan:

  1. Sweating the eggplant
  2. Shredding the cheese
  3. Preparing the coating for breading
  4. Breading the eggplant
  5. Frying the eggplant
  6. Assembling and baking the Eggplant parmesan

1. “Sweating” the Eggplant:

“Sweating” an eggplant means to get out any bitterness that may have developed by making it sweat.

Start by slicing an 8-ounce eggplant in slightly larger than ¼-inch thick slices.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, over all of the slices of eggplant, being sure to salt both sides. Set the salted, sliced eggplant into a colander and let it rest for about 30 minutes.

By then the eggplant should begin to sweat. (Notice the little droplets of moisture being extracted by the salt from the surface of the eggplant.)

Remove the eggplant from the colander, and place the slices on a paper towel. With a second paper towel, blot off all the excess moisture which has formed.

2. Shredding the Cheese:

While the eggplant is resting, get the cheeses grated. The (1/4 cup of) Parmesan should be finely grated.

And the (8 ounces of) mozzarella needs to get shredded.

3. Preparing the Coating fro Breading:

There are many different types of bread crumbs available at the grocery store, or you can make your own. The post script on the bottom of this page will explain which ones work best for this recipe.

Put the flour, egg, and bread crumbs into three separate flat, rimmed dishes.

Add 1 teaspoon of water to the egg and with a fork, beat the egg and water together.

If you set everything up in a row it will be easier to do this next step. Be sure to get a plate out for the breaded eggplant.

4. Breading the Eggplant

Put one slice of eggplant into the flour and coat both side with the flour.

A huge time saver is to put the flour in a plastic bag instead of just dipping it one-by-one in the rimmed dish.

The 10 slices of eggplant can all go into the bag at once. Gently shake the bag so that all the slices are coated with a fine dusting of flour.

Now, one-by-one, shake off the excess flour and place the slice of eggplant in the beaten egg.

Turn it over so that both sides get coated with the egg.

Now put the slice into the crumbs….

…and turn that over too.

Press some of the crumbs into the eggplant making sure it is completely coated. This is where an extra pair of hands would be great!

5. Frying the Eggplant:

Once the eggplant is all breaded, preheat your frying pan on medium high heat. Add 3 Tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil to the pan and let it get hot.

When you add the eggplant to the pan you should hear a serious sizzle! If you don’t, then the pan is not hot enough. Remove that one slice and let the pan heat up some more. Do not over crowd the pan.

Once the eggplant is golden brown, flip them and fry the other side. It will take about 4-5 minutes in total to brown both sides. FLIP THEM ONLY ONCE!

Place the eggplant on a plate that has been lined with a paper towel.

Before frying the second batch, clean the pan out with a paper towel and a pair of tongs.

Add the remaining 3 Tablespoons of oil to the pan and…

…fry the remaining eggplant.

6. Assembling the Eggplant Parmesan:

This recipe requires 12 ounces of spaghetti sauce. You can make your own or buy a jar of your favorite sauce.

Spread the sauce in a baking dish…

…large enough to hold the eggplant in a single layer. (A little bit of overlapping is fine.)

Sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese….

…and the parmesan cheese.

Bake the Eggplant Parmesan in a preheated 425º F ( = 220º C = gas mark 7- hot) oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden and the sauce is bubbly.

Dinner’s ready!

P.S.

I tried several different types of breading for this recipe.

In the photo above, the bottom left shows an attempt to fry the eggplant without first “breading” it. Unbreaded eggplant is like a sponge. It will get very “greasy” done this way.

The top right was breaded with just egg and then flour. The texture, taste and appearance were all wrong on that one as well.

The remaining two were perfect! The bottom right (my favorite) was done with flour, egg and “panko” bread crumbs which made a very crunchy coating. The top left was made with flour, egg, and dry breadcrumbs which made a tasty and very traditional coating on the eggplant.

“Italian” rather than plain-flavor panko or dry crumbs add a nice flavor to the final dish.

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41 Comments

Stefani said:

Great pics! I would love to make these one day.

Kathy Maister said:

This dish in not only tasty, but quite economical to make as well! I always buy the smallest eggplant I can find as it seems to go a long way. Plus the skin is really tender on smaller eggplant.

Mello said:

My mom has made eggplant parm. for years. If you take the eggplant, dip it in flour, dip in egg, then dip back in flour and then the breadcrumbs, it tastes way better. One little change does make the difference.

Kathy Maister said:

Mello, I’ll bet the texture must me nice and crispy!

miesha williams said:

i love the pics im gonna have this for dinner it looks so great it makes my mouth water yyyyuuuummm!!!!!!

Jessica said:

Hello Miesha,

Eggplant Parmesan is definitely a classic recipe and a good one to know. Let us know how it turned out for you!

Carol said:

Mt husband and I love Eggplant Parm, but I have never attempted to make it. Mostly because I was actually scared to. But after doing a web search and coming to this site, I now realize just how easy it is to make. So tonight…… Eggplant Parm is on the menu. Thanks!

Kathy Maister said:

Good Luck Carol!
I hope it turns out well!

NoOven said:

This looks delicious!!! Is there a way to make it in the microwave instead of baking it?

startcooking.com said:

You could give it a try but I have serious doubts that you would be very happy with how it ends up looking. The cheese will melt but not brown very well.

Alex said:

Great photos and very clear instructions, Kathy. I’m planning this for dinner with my girlfriend this weekend, and your efforts will make my efforts very successful. Thanks!

Supporting Our Soldiers Overseas said:

I’ve always wanted to learn how to make these. The photos are a big help. Reading your site is such a fun way to learn how to cook.

Anonymous said:

great , clear and easy to make

startcooking said:

Thanks Everyone! I don’t usually make this very often as my husband is not a big fan of eggplant. Pity. This dish is really tasty!
Cheers,
Kathy

Kimberly Chuchua said:

My husband & I went to the Olive Garden and had Eggplant Parmesan. I thought I could make it so I bought all the ingredients. I was looking for a website that would give me good instructions and I found this website. The instructions look easy so I’m going to try it. I hope I do a good job!

startcooking said:

Hi Kimberly,
Just be sure to use DRY bread crumbs and you should be fine!
Enjoy!
Kathy

Kimberly said:

It turned out great! My husband loved it… Thank You…

startcooking said:

Congratulations Kimberly!
Happy Cooking,
Kathy

Stacey said:

My husband was disgusted by the idea of trying anything with eggplant. I explained that I really wanted to try this recipe. I asked him to commit to at least one bite. Well, one bite turned into 3 servings. It was great! I served it with a nice salad and whole grain spaghetti. Thank you for your wonderful explanations. It was easy to follow, and I had a lot of fun making it!

startcooking said:

Stacey – great story!

It never ceases to amaze me when people say they do not like something when the last time they tried it was a lifetime ago!

Congratulations to your husband for even giving it a try!

Cheers,
Kathy

D Rue said:

I was hankering for some eggplant and ended up on your site. Thanks for the recipe and very helpful photos…it truly helped this first time cook! My husband and I really loved it. It was totally yummy….I will have to make it again soon!

Thanks again!! :)

startcooking said:

Hi D Rue,

Welcome to startcooking.com! I am delighted to hear that the eggplant was a hit.

BTW, I have over 60 videos and 250 photo-tutorials all designed for beginner cooks.

Happy Cooking!
Kathy

Alex said:

Hi again, Kathy. I’m late in getting back to you, but wanted to let you know what a hit the eggplant parmesan was. I made enough for us to have one big dinner right away, and another equal size amount was put up in the freezer. We enjoyed it all over again last weekend. YUM!

startcooking said:

Hi Alex,
Great!
How and when did you freeze your Eggplant Parmesan? Did you bake it and then freeze it or freeze it unbaked? Thanks for sharing!
Cheers,
Kathy

sylvia vega said:

Can you make eggplant parm without frying the eggplant?

Alex said:

Hi Kathy,

I originally made it back in mid-December, and had enough to bake two casseroles. I froze one in its Pyrex baking dish and then removed it into a Zip-Loc freezer storage bag. We thawed it out and reheated it about 7 weeks later and it was still just great!

startcooking said:

Sylvia, your eggplant Parmesan would end up very mushy and would not hold its shape if you did not fry the eggplant first.

Alex, many thanks for sharing your experience with all of us! Now we know that you can successfully freeze eggplant Parmesan!

Cheers,
Kathy

Jade said:

I am SO HAPPY i stumbled upon this website! I’ve been wanting to try eggplant parmesan and bought an eggplant and decided to look a recipe up. I found one, but realized I really didn’t know what I was doing – I googled “how to slice an ggplant for eggplant parmesan” (that should tell you how much I really can’t cook!) and found this website.
I browsed the website and couldn’t be happier with the simple, easy instructions & recipes, with photos! and videos! Someone gave me a Rachel Ray cookbook as a wedding gift and it horrified me out of cooking. This website actually makes cooking seem fun! THANK YOU!!

startcooking said:

Welcome Jade!

I often tell people that once they have mastered my site they are then ready for some of Rachel Ray’s recipes! My 60 videos and 250 photo-tutorial are all designed for the beginner cook.

My compliments to you for tackling Eggplant Parmesan as it is a really complicated recipe for someone new to cooking!

Congratulation on getting married and happy cooking!

Cheers,
Kathy

jessicasikes said:

i love the format of this recipe, its easy to read and remember if i wanna do somethying simple and quick. im a working mom and that really helps. and thanks for making the photos realistic, not like those fancy culinary photos that are impossible to recreate in my kitchen at home

startcooking said:

Hi Jessicasikes,
Thanks! This is actually one of the most complicated recipes on my site. I am delighted to hear that you find in easy to follow – what you see is what you get!
Cheers,
Kathy

taahirah said:

hi this was my first time making this and my son inlaw said it was excellent

Home food recipes said:

Thanks for the pics. It simplifies the cooking so an amateur or beginner can easily follow. I know about commercial Eggplant Parmesan but this one is really home made recipe.

wood furniture said:

Thanks a lot for this healthy and beautiful recipe! I would love to make this one day and by the way, the pictures are lovely!

heather h said:

Super pictures! I have never made this but I’m going to give it a try.

Anonymous said:

I’m going to try this tonight. However my favorite all time is from a restaurant here in Tampa. The chef serves it crispy like this, but somehow theres a layer of smooth ricotta cheese between the eggplant and the motz cheese. Always served with a side of spag and a nice caesar salad. I’m going to “try” and recreat it now that I know about how to bread it and fry it crispy like hers. Thanks.

startcooking said:

Make sure that the pan is hot enough before adding the eggplant to it.

You should hear it sizzle! If it does not sizzle, remove the slice of eggplant and let the pan get hotter.

This will guarantee a nice crispy outer edge!

Brandy said:

My hubby loooves eggplant parm but ive never tasted or tried to make it..im a pretty decent cook so i thought i would buy the stuff and google a recipe this is the 3rd site and i need look no further ur recipe makes me feel totally confident in making it…so tonight it is and im gonna kill it yay :) i will be back to let u know how it went…hopefully im not overconfident hahahhahaha and i make my hubby proud :) and you too for this super easy recipe!!

startcooking said:

Good Luck Brandy!
K.

Shirl said:

Your recipe looks wonderful, pictures are great. I make it very much the same but fry the eggplant in the deep fryer. It is excellent this way. Very crispy ands soooooo good.

Ricardo said:

It was amazing the 1st time I made it. Already made twice. All I could say is, bravo!!!!!