Baked Eggplant Parmesan

5 from 71 votes

This Baked Eggplant Parmesan is a lighter twist on the classic Italian recipe. It's coated in panko breadcrumbs, then baked with layers of cheese & marinara

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This Baked Eggplant Parmesan is Italian comfort food with the familiar marinara and cheese layers baked between slices of perfectly oven-roasted eggplant slices. It’s a lighter take on the classic recipe because instead of frying the eggplant, I bake the  eggplant. Serve it with a side salad and breaded chicken for a delicious meal!

Baked eggplant parmesan after coming out of the oven

The great thing about this recipe is that there’s no deep frying involved. Baking the eggplant at a high temperature with the panko breadcrumbs still gives you a fantastic crispy factor while keeping the eggplant tender on the inside. It’s low-fat twist on a favorite Italian comfort food that I know everyone will love!

How do you make baked eggplant parmesan

Prepare the eggplant

Prepare the eggplant by slicing it, placing it on a baking sheet and salting generously. Then place large paper towels between the layers to help remove the bitter liquid from the eggplant slices. This will take about 45 minutes and you will be surprised how much liquid gets extracted! You can do this step a day in advance.

Eggplant slices on a baking dish with salt and paper towels over them to drain out the bitter liquid

Next, you’ll create the baked eggplant parmesan dredging station:

  • All-purpose flour (or you can use a gluten-free flour of choice)
  • Egg wash (3 eggs and a tablespoon of water)
  • Panko bread crumbs mixture with parmesan cheese and olive oil (the olive oil is key here to creating a beautiful golden crust on the breadcrumbs)
Three bowls for dredging the eggplant: flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs/olive oil/parmesan mixture

And then you’re ready to dredge the eggplant slices. Start with the flour, then the egg wash and finally the breadcrumbs mixture. Repeat for all the eggplant slices and bake the eggplant in the oven. You should have about 18-20 slices, so you’ll most likely need two baking sheets.

Eggplant slices after dredging in flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs mixture about to get baked

Make the marinara

This is the easier marinara you’ll ever make, but it’s one that I recently learned and now use all the time for a homemade marinara taste with minimal effort! You’ll need only three ingredients and you don’t even need olive oil.

  • Sweet onions: You can large dice them or finely dice.
  • Sliced garlic: Make sure they’re fresh and remove any green sprouts for best freshness.
  • Crushed tomatoes: If you can find the San Marzano brand, they have the best flavor, but any crushed tomatoes will work here.
3 ingredients for making marinara sauce: onions, garlic and crushed tomatoes

Assemble the eggplant parmesan

  1. Start with marinara on the bottom of the baking dish and add half the baked eggplant on top.
  2. Add half of the remaining marinara on top of the eggplant.
  3. Sprinkle half the cheese on top.
  4. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices.
  5. Follow it with the remaining marinara.
  6. Top the dish with the remaining mozzarella cheese.

Cover with foil and bake the eggplant parmesan in the oven for the first 25 minutes. Then uncover for the remaining 20 minutes to allow the cheese to get lightly golden.

Process shots showing how to layer the baked eggplant parmesan

Tips for making eggplant parmesan

  1. Don’t peel the eggplant. Most eggplants you’ll find in the US have soft thin skin, which is not only edible but full of fiber and nutrition. It also helps to keep the eggplant slices in tact and adds great texture to the recipe.
  2. Make sure to salt the eggplant to remove the bitter liquid from it. If you can also apply weight to the salted covered eggplant using a baking sheet, the pressure will also help draw out the liquid and help bring a creamy custardy texture to the eggplant.
  3. Skip a step by using store-bought marinara. I make my homemade marinara sauce with no sugar and no salt, so I definitely prefer it if time allows. If you’re in a pinch, choose a low-sodium and low-sugar store-bought variety to keep this baked eggplant parmesan healthy.
  4. Prepare a day in advance for convenience. You can assemble the eggplant parmesan in your dish, and then cover it and keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours until you are ready to bake it. This is ideal if you’re serving to guests.
Eggplant parmesan when it comes out of the oven

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use regular breadcrumbs?

I highly recommend that you use panko breadcrumbs for this recipe. Not only do the panko breadcrumbs stay crisp after baking, but they are lower in calories, sodium and fat compared to regular breadcrumbs. The crispy texture of the baked breadcrumbs means that you can skip the unhealthy frying.

Can you freeze baked eggplant parmesan?

This eggplant parm freezes really well. If your casserole dish is freezer proof, you just need to wrap it with a few layers of foil, and you can bake it right from frozen. Any leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge. They will be good for about 3 or 4 days.

What do you serve with eggplant parmesan?

This dish can be served in a variety of ways, if you like you can serve it in a sandwich, that’s always a crowd pleaser! It’s great to serve alongside a salad, potato side dish or steamed vegetables. Try it with:
Pickle Chicken
Grilled Lemon Chicken
Quinoa Avocado Salad
Mediterranean Chopped Salad
Green Beans with Almonds

Serving a slice of the eggplant parmesan with the cheese pull showing

For more eggplant recipes:

If you’ve tried this feel good Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

This Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe was originally published on March 5, 2018. I’m updating the recipe today slightly and re-sharing it today with more step-by-step photos. Here’s the original photo!

Not your usual fried eggplant Parmesan, this is one is Baked Eggplant Parmesan with no oil! It's coated in gluten-free panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, and baked in the oven until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Serve it with a side of pasta or salad for a healthy, flavorful weeknight dinner!

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

This Baked Eggplant Parmesan is a lighter twist on the classic Italian recipe. It's coated in panko breadcrumbs, then baked with layers of cheese & marinara
5 from 71 votes
Servings 6 servings
Course Main Course
Calories 462
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins

Ingredients
  

For Marinara Sauce

  • 1 sweet onion large diced
  • 3 garlic cloves sliced
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

For the Baked Eggplant

For Assembly

  • 2 ¼ cups low moisture mozzarella

Instructions

Make the Marinara

  • In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, sweat the onions for about 4 minutes, add garlic, and cook until lightly golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.

Prepare the Eggplant

  • Place the eggplant slices on a baking sheet lined with a clean towel, salt the eggplant generously then apply another clean paper towel on top of the eggplant; let it rest for 45 minutes. Then use the paper towels to pat dry and remove the excess salt and moisture.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F, lightly grease a baking sheet. Combine bread crumbs, olive oil and parmesan cheese in one bowl. Beat eggs in a separate bowl with 1 tablespoon of water. Place flour in a third bowl.
  • Toss the eggplant with the flour, then dip into the egg wash, and then into the breadcrumbs, making sure to press the breadcrumbs onto the eggplant firmly. Place onto the prepared baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining slices. Bake until the eggplant coating is browned, about 30-35 minutes.

Assemble the Eggplant Parmesan

  • Apply enough marinara to cover the bottom of a casserole dish, place half of the eggplant on top of the marinara. Spoon another layer of marinara over the top followed by ¾ cup mozzarella. Apply the remaining eggplant on top of the cheese followed by the remaining marinara and one remaining cheese.
  • Lower oven temperature to 375°F. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese has lightly browned, about 20 more minutes. Broil for 2-3 minutes if necessary.
  • Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve with fresh herbs, if desired.

Video

Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.
Freezing Instructions: You can also freeze the baked eggplant parmesan for up to 3 months. To re-heat, thaw in the fridge overnight and bake in a 350°F oven until heated through. You can also freeze the uncooked eggplant parmesan as I often do. Follow the baking instructions but leave it in the oven for an extra 10 minutes.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe.
  • Instead of making the marinara sauce, you can use store-bought pasta sauce.
  • Instead of all-purpose flour, you can bread the eggplant with almond flour or any other flour of choice.
Nutrition: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.

Nutrition

Serving: 2g, Calories: 462kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 116mg, Sodium: 729mg, Potassium: 558mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 540IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 584mg, Iron: 3mg

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Eggplant parmesan when it comes out of the oven

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Comments

  1. I made this last night and it was delicious. Even though there was multiple steps, I did not feel that the steps were lengthy or difficult by ANY means. In fact they were key to the overall dish coming out as great as it did. I plan to make this again! My 10 year old even loved it and requested the leftovers for lunch today. Thank you!

  2. Eggplant Parmesan is my absolute favorite Italian dish. Thank you ever so much for a recipe that bakes it 1st for that nicely browned flavor. I’m disabled and can no longer stand at the stove to brown each and every piece of eggplant. I can sit and do all the prep-work, then pop it in the oven, then sit again to put it together and pop it back in the oven. Now I don’t have to buy it ready-made frozen, which is expensive and has too much sodium. Thank you🙏

  3. So glad I went with this recipe when looking around to make eggplant parmesan. The step-by-step instructions and pictures were so helpful! I prepared the dish exactly as instructed and baked it the following day and it came out soooo yummy 😋. Only suggestion I’d make would be to spray the casserole dish before filling.

  4. Just tried this recipe last night! This was my first time making eggplant parmesan! Definitely takes time but is very easy!!! Also, I like that this recipe is healthier (without the frying).

    Thank you for sharing!!!!

    (Oh, I used fresh mozzarella slices between my eggplant and shredded mozzarella on top and it turned out fine).

  5. Delicious! I prepared this dish at night and cooked it the next morning. The recipe prep of the eggplant was right on. No salty issue here.
    I tweaked it a bit by adding dried oregano, garlic and Italian seasoning to the bread crumb mixture. I also used store bought Marinara. Give it a try you won’t regret it. Again delicious!

  6. First time making eggplant anything and it was delicious. Not for the inexperienced cook though due to all of the steps involve. My family loved it. I made my own marinara and it deepened the flavors.

  7. I’ve made this recipe before and it turned out great! Even my picky 7 year old loved it. I currently have an abundance of eggplant that I need to use quickly so I’d like to follow your directions for freezing. If I bake the eggplant, assemble, bake again and then freeze, how long does it need to bake after being thawed? Should it be covered or uncovered? Thank you for sharing this great recipe!

  8. I just threw out an entire pan because the recipe didn’t say to rinse the salted eggplant before dredging it. So please rinse before you dredge!

    1. Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear that! Actually you just need to wipe off the excess moisture that comes out and the salt comes out with it. I would not recommend rinsing the eggplant. Just dab it dry with a paper towel after sweating it.

  9. Looks good but this is NOT a 50 minute recipe:
    -45 minutes to get the bitterness out with salt
    -5 minutes minimum to assemble the dredged and breaded eggplants
    -30-35 minutes to bake them
    -5 more minutes to assemble layered in pan
    -25 minutes baking plus
    -20 minutes more uncovered plus
    -2-3 minutes under broiler =

    135 minutes!!!!

  10. Are the times off somewhere? Above it says prep time is 20 minutes and cook time is 30 minutes. However as you read the recipe you have leaving the eggplant out for 45 minutes, cooking the sauce is 15 minutes, cooking the eggplant is 30 minutes and then two other cooking times of 25 minutes and 20 minutes once assembled. I was excited to try this when I say it was under an hour of cooking time, but now that I read it it is actually going to take me at least an hour of prep and 2 hours of cooking time. Is there something I’m missing?

    1. Hi there, you’re right the summary shows incorrect calculations. So there’s actually about 1 hour and 10 minutes total of cooking time because you can cook the sauce while baking the eggplant alone first. And you can also use marinara from a jar to make it easier. There are a few steps required though so it’s definitely not a quick recipe. I hope you do have the chance to try it sometime though. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thank you for asking for clarification though.

  11. This was so easy and so good! I have an abundance of eggplant so I am using this recipe to prepare eggplant to freeze. Crossing my fingers that this will be good this winter 🙂 yum!

  12. What did I do wrong? It was so salty I had to dump it. Outside of that I could see it would be good. It’s a ton of work and time though.

    1. Oh noooo!! I’m so sorry to hear that. Did you make sure to pat the eggplant dry after salting it. After patting it, most of the salt goes away and it shouldn’t be salty at all. Sorry you had to throw it aout…that’s the worst feeling!

  13. Such a nice recipe. This is the second time I have made it. Using my fresh herbs so the aroma is nice. Thanks for posting.

  14. We tried this recipe out last night and it was surprisingly easy to make and so satisfying for a vegetarian meal. The ingredient list was accurate too (no one used the salt shaker). Everyone had seconds! I found the tip of cutting/salting/and paper towel layering to remove the bitterness really helpful too and we also chose to add shreds of basil once we took it out of the oven. Definitely going to be a recipe we’ll use again and again in this house!

  15. It was amazing, perfectly crisped and easy to make! My dad, who doesn’t love eggplant, loved this recipe!!

  16. Seriously, the BEST! It was a lot of work to make it in one day, but I had an eggplant I really needed to use. While making it, I thought, this is way too much work, but then when I tasted it, it all made sense! I used one eggplant, and got six very generous portions from it. The layers were not “overlapping” as it would be, had I used two eggplants, but I stacked two slices thick (so it looked like little layer cakes in my pan), and it worked great. I had to stretch my panko crumbs with regular breadcrumbs (the bread heel, put into my coffee grinder) and it worked well. It’s the kind of recipe you can really make your own, and can’t get wrong! Just give it some time to prepare. I will definitely put this in my monthly rotation!!!!!!!!

    1. Yay! I’m so glad to hear that! I was worried about all the steps as well given that I usually share easy simple recipes, but when I tasted the final product, I seriously believe it’s restaurant quality and so worth all the steps. I’m so glad you enjoyed it too! THANK YOU!!