In this Easy Chicken Parmesan recipe, crispy cracker crumb coated chicken breasts are smothered with a simple marinara, topped parmesan cheese and melty mozzarella! Serves 4.
This recipe was the first successful recipe that I can remember making in my kitchen.nI was in my early twenties and I would receive, what seemed like every single day, a stack of recipe cards in the mail. There’s a good chance I didn’t even sign up for them, but free recipes? OKAY!
But because so many called for canned soup, I didn’t make all of them, but I remember this particular recipe catching my eye. It seemed pretty easy enough; chicken breasts, a can of tomato sauce, seasonings. And being that it was in my early cooking days, it was something I knew that I could tackle.
And I remember being AMAZED at how good it tasted and even more amazed that I actually made it.
This easy Parmesan chicken recipe has made it through the years, albeit with a few (okay a lot) changes but a classic nonetheless.
And you guys, I’m not joking when I say this recipe is incredible. The smell of chicken, parmesan and garlic fill your home with such an inviting and intoxicating aroma that I promise will get everyone excited for dinner. After school, our girls would bust through the front door and said “MOM! Oh my gosh what smells so good?” <—true test
And when it comes to this easy chicken Parmesan, it never fails that we always, always clean our plates.
To Make This Easy Chicken Parmesan You Will Need:
- boneless skinless chicken breasts
- black pepper
- crackers (like Ritz)
- kosher salt
- olive oil
- tomato sauce
- parmesan cheese
- dry pasta like spaghetti or your favorite
- fresh parsley and /or fresh basil
In a nutshell, you need some pretty basic ingredients in order to whip up this dish.
Take two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (that are on the larger side, weighing in at about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds total weight) and slice them in half horizontally. I did notice that my grocery store sells “thin cut” chicken breasts, but that usually comes with a price mark-up and the breasts are sometimes on the smaller side. If that’s all you can find then six smaller chicken breast halves will work in this recipe just fine.
I’ve butterflied a few chicken breasts in my day and at first I was a hot mess. But with a little practice and a sharp chefs knife you too can master it. Or just buy it pre-sliced. Up to you.
I place an entire sleeve of crackers into a resealable bag and crush them by hand. It takes only a minute or two and is surprisingly therapeutic. Then pour the cracker crumbs into a shallow dish and season with a half teaspoon of kosher salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.
I swear it’s these buttery crackers (I use Ritz- always have, always will) that give this chicken the crunchy golden layer. Now, these are store bought crackers.
Because I am not willing to make my own crackers just to crush them all up and coat chicken.
Crack two eggs into a separate shallow dish, season with a couple grinds of black pepper and beat with a fork. Dip the chicken breast halves into the beaten egg, coating both sides and letting any excess egg drip off back into the dish.
Working with one chicken breast (halve) at a time, press both sides into the cracker crumbs.
Until both sides are coated well.
Pile them on to a plate and bring them over to the stove.
Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large 10 to 12-inch skillet.
Once the oil is good and hot, work in batches and lay two of the breaded chicken breasts into the hot oil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes a side. You’ll know it’s a good time to flip when you see the deep golden crust along the edges of the chicken.
Flip and repeat for another 3-4 minutes.
Transfer the browned chicken breasts to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any extra oil.
Once all the chicken breasts have been browned, place them in a lightly greased (I use olive oil spray) 9×13 baking dish.
Now check out that crispy golden goodness!
With the chicken now cooked, reduce the temperature to medium. Carefully wipe the excess oil out with paper towel and allow the pan some time to cool down a tad. Then squeeze in two cloves of fresh garlic through my garlic press and into the pan, stir that around for about 30 seconds to a minute.
Pour in 30 ounces or bout 3-1/2 cups (or two 15-ounce cans) of tomato sauce and measure in 1 teaspoon kosher salt, a half teaspoon of dried basil. You could totally use fresh basil in this as well, about a tablespoon would do.
Then add in 1/2 teaspoon sugar and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Once the sauce has simmered and thickened, drop in two tablespoons of unsalted butter and let that melt. The butter not only adds flavor but a nice velvety-ness to the sauce.
Lastly, stir in a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.
Pour about a third of the sauce over the chicken leaving some of the crispy chicken exposed.
You don’t really want to drown the chicken in sauce, but each piece of chicken should have a generous bit of sauce.
Sprinkle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese.
Then cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30 minutes.
While that is going on, bring a pot of water to boil, seasoned it with a generous tablespoon of sea salt. Then drop in about a half a box of spaghetti noodles, cook as directed on the package.
Once the pasta is done, use tongs to transfer into the pan with the remaining sauce.
Toss to coat every so often and keep on low-heat so the pasta stays warm.
After the 30 minutes are up remove the foil and breeeeeathe that goodness into your lungs.
I fold a slice of mozzarella in half and place it on top of each chicken breast. Slide the pan back into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until melted and slightly golden.
Seriously look at that CHEESE! This Easy Chicken Parmesan seriously smells so darn good and there’s only one thing left to do.
Serve this Easy Chicken Parmesan on some of that spaghetti pasta and EAT IT UP!
Feel free to sprinkle some freshly chopped parsley or fresh basil over top for a pop of green! I hope you add this delicious and easy chicken parmesan recipe to your recipe repertoire. My family absolutely LOVES this recipe and I’m so happy to finally share it with all of you!
Enjoy! And if you give this Easy Chicken Parmesan recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!
Easy Chicken Parmesan
- 4 thin-cut boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- 2 large eggs
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 sleeve crackers, about 14 to 18 (I like Ritz)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more if needed
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or squeezed through a garlic press
- 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 6 slices mozzarella cheese
- 8 ounces spaghetti noodles
- parsley, chopped
- Preheat your oven to 350° and lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish with olive oil.
- In a shallow dish crush up the crackers into small pieces and season with the half teaspoon of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- In a separate shallow dish whisk together the two eggs and some black pepper. Dip the chicken breast halves, one at a time coating both sides, allowing any excess egg to drip back into the dish.
- Then press both sides of the chicken into the crushed crackers, then place on a large plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.
- In a large 10-inch non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, work in batches adding two of the chicken breast halves at a time and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Flip when you notice the edges of the chicken are a deep golden. After each batch, remove to a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil and then arrange in the prepared 9x13 baking dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Once all of the chicken has been cooked, reduce the heat to medium and wipe the pan out with paper towel so only a trace of oil left in the pan. Squeeze in a couple cloves of garlic through a garlic press and cook for a minute or two. Slowly add in the tomato sauce, a half teaspoon of dried basil and sugar. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes and then drop in the two tablespoons of butter and stir. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce over top of the chicken leaving pieces exposed. Evenly sprinkle with the Parmesan, cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, bring a pot of water to boil. Season with a generous pinch of kosher salt and add in the spaghetti noodles and cook as directed on the package. Drain and add to the remaining marinara, toss and heat on low to keep warm.
- After the 30 minutes, remove the foil and top with mozzarella slices. Slide the pan back into the oven for 10-15 more minutes more until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Dish out warm spaghetti into bowls and top with the Parmesan chicken.
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Looks SO good Laurie!
Wait. You got DOUBLE yolks out of both eggs? What you are the dang Easter bunny? That’s freaky! TWINS. TWICE. TWICE TWINS.
Also, that looks ridiculously yums.
This looks fantastic and I don’t even like tomatoes 😉 I should make a tomato-less version sometime for me.
Double yolks! That is crazy! I have never had a double yolk! This looks crazy good, I LOVE the ritz!
Ohmahgoodness, I can see why this recipe has withstood the test of time. SO MUCH YUM.
I had the same experience right after I got married! I just kept getting these recipe cards with red and white gingham boarders and I had no idea where they were coming form (I’m pretty sure they wanted me to buy something) but I made a few of them and stuck them in these folders I used to keep recipes I tore out of magazines. This is a great classic dish, beautiful job 🙂
YES! They were “grandmas kitchen” or something. I can’t remember… but that’s too funny!
Love it!!! Simple, hearty and satisfying!!!
HOLY GOLDEN BROWN! Feed me woman! 🙂
Double Yolks not once but twice?! Your gonna have a lucky month. Dipping the chicken breast in ritz crackers is a fabulous idea! So much more buttery and delicious then plain bread crumbs. I want this Chicken Parmesan for breakfast.
Comfort food begins and ends with chicken parmesan to me. Yours is perfect, Laurie!
Looks incredible! I know my family would love this! I am putting this on the menu!
the pictures have one me over, dear lord!
Thank you friend!
double yokes is good luck! I would do anything to have been in your kitchen breathing in all of this deliciousness while you cooked. Yum!
I absolutely love the crust. I never think to use crackers rather than breadcrumbs. Great idea!
Just to make sure…some terms are used liberally so when the recipe calls for six chicken breasts, it seems that three chicken breast halves are being used and they are cut in two thin pieces each which yields the six pieces described.
Is this correct?
Hi Jeff! It’s three whole chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally to make it 6 chicken breast halves. I hope this helps 🙂
Excellent, thank you Laurie. I was so excited for my husband to get home so I could serve him dinner. It was just as delicous as I anticipated. Meijer had no mozzarella so I had to substitute with garlic jack cheese, not a bad replacement.
Hi Monica!! I’m SO SO glad! I’ve never heard of garlic jack cheese… but that sounds amazing! 🙂
What a great recipe! Your photos are Clear, Beautiful and very easy to follow.
Love this and I am anxious to make your recipe::)
Chicken parm is my favorite comfort dish! Definitely have to give your version a try – haven’t had chicken parm in ages!
I am dying to make your chicken parm, and must tell you very simple way to prepare thanks for sharing.
Just wanted to mention that you can also put your crackers in a ziplock and
Smash them with a rolling pin. This is how my grandma taught me. If you
Have crackers in your pantry, you can usually substitute for a recipe with
Bread crumbs. Even saltines will work, but I like your choice of buttery
Ritz crackers. Looks delicious!
Great point Kay! I don’t usually buy those big-o bags and just use saved produce bags.. and those are so thin that the crumbs just destroy it if I do it that way! Glad you mentioned it because that’s an excellent suggestion:)
I just got to work and opened up my personal email, (bad me), and noticed this delicious, yet easy seeming recipe. I guess I must be hungry at 8:40 in the morning, but I read through it and decided that I will, definitely be trying this one. Thanks so much for posting. I love your site, by the way.
Thanks Teresa! I just know you will love this one.
This looks AMAZING! I will be doing it this week for sure. Thanks 🙂 Also, I absolutely adore your website and recipes. Love seeing your name pop up in my inbox 🙂 Keep up the good work!
Thanks so much! 🙂
Great recipe for a classic! I’ve made this many, many times but never with Ritz crackers. I’ll definitely be trying that soon!
Look at that glorious crispy chicken! Want this for dinner tonight!
I have never had chicken parm in my life….that will be changing….very soon. Looks sooooo delicious! Thank you for sharing.
Double yolks? Woman go buy yourself a lottery ticket!! L ove a good chicken parm! Gorg!
I know right!? 🙂
Hey! So I just discovered your blog recently and I absolutely love it! 🙂 I was thinking of trying out this chicken parm recipe, but I don’t have Mozarella cheese slices, so could I just substitute it with grated mozarella?
Hi Rabeea! Yes… totally!
I tried this recipe on Wednesday night because I hadn’t cooked Chicken Parm before and it looks soooo delicious on your website! Needless to say, it was a hit! My fiancé loved the texture of the chicken and the flavor of the sauce. He took it to work with him the next day and all of his co-workers were drooling over the smell! Haha thanks for giving me new recipe ideas because I haven’t always been the “chick who cooks”, so trying new things, being proud of my culinary skills, and impressing my fiancé are so important to me! Thanks again for the umpteen time because I have cooked soooo many of your recipes and they are all to die for!!!
Chicken parmesan is a simple joy to both cook and then devour 🙂 It was one of my first successes as well and still one of our favorites. I love your blog and frequently visit to see what you’ve been up to in your kitchen! One of my families favorite recipes is the Homestyle Baked Chicken… even my picky 3 year old loves it!
I made this last night!!! SOOOOO tasty! LOVE the Ritz instead of flour, I used the Wheat Ritz and put 1 can tom sauce and 1 can petite diced instead of the 2 cans of sauce…excellent
YAY! So glad to hear you liked it! 🙂
Another awesome dinner, thanks to you!
We had this last night. My husband raved over it. Thank you so much for teaching me to cook! ha!
I’m so glad! Have a great weekend!
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I’ve made this at least 10 times now and my family absolutely, positively LOVES it!! Thanks for having it here! I love all the recipes here because they are broken down and make it easier for me to add in organics and whole foods for my family. Thanks again!
Aw thanks Crystal! It’s one of those perfect recipes ya know! So glad you liked it!
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I made this tonight for dinner, following the recipe exactly, and it was incredible! Even my 5 year old picky eater ate it up. Thank you so much for sharing such a delicious recipe!
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I made this at a friends house where I am spending a bit of a vacation and not only was I pleased but so were they. Very moist and tasty chicken. I did not have crackers so used Italian Bread Crumbs and turned out very good. I have added this to my recipes so I can make it again and share it with other friends. Also added it to my Pintrest page.
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Yes! Cooking this for my girlfriend and I right away!
I just wanted to thank you for the perfect recipe, I made it last night for my wife and we LOVED it.
Thanks again. I’m gonna try your other recipes now 😀
btw, I found your recipe among all other millions of recipes because of the wonderful picture, IT LOOKS and TASTES AMAZING!
I prepared the Parmesan with cheese but I used chicken thighs,and it worked. I used angel hair pasta and that worked as well. This is a great dish. My son had three helpings. I love this recipe. Instead of using Ritz crackers for bread crumbs I used the pre made a garlic Italian bread crumbs which is tasty and worked out a little easier for me.
I’m so glad! Thanks for leaving a review Karen!
I’m thinking of trying this for the first time tonight… Any last minute tips you’d like to share, Laurie? I have the same cast iron skillet as you, so that should ensure success, right? 😉
Oh wait. This recipe doesn’t call for cast iron skillet!!!
Was thinkin’ of your latest recipe with the red potatoes, which sounds equally tempting.
This is so delicious you just have to try it! Absolutely amazing!
Both times I made this, I found that I only needed one egg. And… I always struggle with the ounce conversion, for the cans, and more often than not find that US and Canada rarely share can sizes. Argh. Aside from that, perfection!
Thanks again Laurie for this fabulous recipe!
Yay! I’m so glad you like this! It’s a family favorite over here too! Is there anything I can do on my end to make converting easier? As always, thanks for leaving a review! 🙂
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What alterations would you recommend if a person were to make a batch to freeze?
Think it would be something quick so the teens could pull one out of the freezer & toss in the oven while they cook the spaghetti.
Hi Kay! It may be easier if you prepped and freeze my One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Casserole. Here’s the link: http://www.simplyscratch.com/2017/01/one-pan-chicken-parmesan-casserole.html