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This Healthy Baked Chicken Parm Recipe Is One of My Weekly Go-to Dinners

December 7, 2023
Courtesy of The Clean Eating Couple

Is there any meal more comforting than chicken parmesan? I think not. Smothering chicken in breadcrumbs, savory marinara, and ooey-gooey cheese makes for a satisfying dinner — particularly on a chilly fall or winter night. But since this recipe traditionally calls for breaded chicken that’s fried in oil, I’ve long been on a quest for a healthy baked chicken parm. Then I stumbled upon The Clean Eating Couple’s recipe — which entails breading the chicken with whole-wheat flour and whole-wheat breadcrumbs and then baking it in the oven.

There are several reasons why I love this recipe:

  • Thanks to the whole-wheat flour and breadcrumbs, the meal is higher in fiber.
  • Since the chicken is baked instead of fried, it’s lower in fat — most notably, saturated fat.
  • Despite the fact that it’s baked, the chicken still turns out just as crispy and satisfying.

Read next: This Is The Best Beef Stew Slow Cooker Recipe I’ve Ever Made

Pro tips

Whatever you do, don’t skip the first step: pounding the chicken breasts. The second time I made this recipe, I forgot to do this and I definitely noticed a difference. Whether you use a meat mallet, rolling pin, or even an empty wine bottle, pounding the chicken breasts will help to ensure a more even thickness throughout so they cook more evenly. It also breaks up the muscle fibers in the meat, resulting in a more tender texture.

Buying chicken breasts that have already been thinly sliced will help to cut down on the prep time, but you can also butterfly them yourself by slicing them in half lengthwise.

While this healthy baked chicken parm recipe calls for whole eggs, you can definitely use just egg whites to coat the chicken instead. The breadcrumbs will stick just as well.

There are two different kinds of breadcrumbs: traditional and panko. I used Pereg Premium Whole-Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs for maximum crunch, but you can really use any whole-grain bread crumbs. The Clean Eating Couple recommends mixing them with fried basil, parsley, salt, and pepper, but to simplify things — and boost the flavor even more — I used a combo of garlic salt and Italian herb seasoning. When I want to kick things up a notch, I use Mezzetta’s Calabrian chili-infused spicy marinara.

It’s also crucial to flip the chicken cutlets halfway through cooking — around the 15-minute mark. This ensures that the breading gets golden and crispy on both sides.

What to serve it with

Another thing I love about this healthy baked chicken parm recipe is that you can mix up the sides depending on what you’re craving or have on hand in the pantry and fridge.

I’ve served it with:

  • Roasted broccoli in olive oil and garlic
  • Red lentil spaghetti with marinara
  • Air-fried Caesar-style Brussels sprouts

An arugula salad with balsamic dressing or sauteed green beans would work great, too.

Storing and reheating the leftovers

Leftover chicken parm is rarely quite as good as it is fresh out of the oven. That said, the leftovers can make a super easy weeknight meal. I’ve experimented with several different ways of storing and reheating this chicken parm, and here’s what yields the best results:

  • Only top the chicken cutlets that you plan to eat immediately with marinara and cheese. In other words, right after the chicken is finished baking, set aside any cutlets that you plan to save, and don’t pop them back under the broiler. This prevents the leftover chicken from getting soggy.
  • Store the dry leftover chicken cutlets in an airtight container in the fridge. Make sure to use them within three days.
  • Once you’re ready to reheat the chicken, place it in the oven or air fryer at 300 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. Then, top your cutlets with sauce and cheese before popping them under the broiler for a few additional minutes.

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