Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe- Melanzane alla Parmigiana

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Best Italian Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe, or melanzane alla parmigiana, is a classic Italian dish! This is my Nonna’s recipe, a staple in our home. Thin slices of eggplant are lightly fried, then topped with a simple tomato sauce layered with delicious cheeses, and baked until golden brown. Buon apitito!

Serve with Easy Ciabatta Bread.

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Best Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe

Eggplant parm is similar to lasagna without the pasta. My nonna would make parmigiana di melanzane often, and everyone would come running! It’s the best eggplant parmesan recipe for its simplicity and authentic Italian flavors.

Some traditional eggplant parmigiana recipes use breaded eggplant slices- we skip that part in this recipe. Trust me, you won’t miss it! The layers of eggplant nestled in the homemade sugo and cheese

If you love eggplant, you will also love- baked eggplant and tomatoes, eggplant caponata, and baked eggplant stacks.

Simple Ingredients

ingredient shot.
  • Eggplant: Select firm, glossy eggplants for slicing. The eggplant serves as the hearty base for the dish, contributing a rich, meaty texture when cooked.
  • Olive Oil: Use good-quality olive oil for frying the eggplant. The oil adds a depth of flavor and helps achieve a crispy exterior during frying.
  • Flour: For dusting the eggplant slices before frying, flour adds a light coating that helps create a golden and crispy exterior during cooking.
  • Mozzarella Cheese (shredded): Shredded mozzarella cheese contributes a gooey, melty layer to the dish, binding the other ingredients together with its creamy texture.
  • Provolone Cheese: Provolone cheese, with its mild and smoky flavor, adds an additional layer of richness to the Eggplant Parmigiana, complementing the other cheeses.
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano (freshly grated): Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano brings a nutty, salty richness to the Eggplant Parmigiana, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
  • Tomato Sauce: A flavorful tomato-based marinara sauce provides a saucy and savory element. You can use store-bought or make your own with fresh tomatoes, garlic, and herbs.
  • Salt and Black Pepper: These common seasonings are used to enhance the flavors of the eggplant and cheeses. Season each layer to taste for a well-balanced dish.
  • Fresh Basil Leaves: Fresh basil adds a burst of aromatic freshness to the Eggplant Parmigiana, complementing the other flavors.

See the recipe card for quantities.

How to Make Eggplant Parmigiana (step-by-step with photos)

Easy for all home cooks, enjoy a taste of Southern Italy with this classic baked eggplant parmesan recipe.

how to make eggplant parmigiana step-by-step: coating both sides of eggplant in flour.

Prepare the homemade tomato sauce and set aside. 

how to make eggplant parmigiana step-by-step: all eggplant slices coated in flour.

Prepare the Eggplant: Slice the eggplants into 1/2-inch rounds. Sprinkle salt on each round and let them sit for about 30 minutes. This helps draw out excess moisture and bitterness. After 30 minutes, rinse with water to wash off the salt and pat the eggplant slices dry with paper towels.

how to make eggplant parmigiana step-by-step: frying the eggplant on both sides in olive oil.

Fry the Eggplant: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat make sure there is enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Lightly dust the eggplant slices with flour, shaking off any excess (the flour prevents them from getting soggy and absorbing too much oil).

how to make eggplant parmigiana step-by-step: all slices of eggplant fried in oil.

When the oil is shimmering, hot fry the eggplant slices until golden brown on both sides- about 2 minutes per side. Place them on layers of paper towels to absorb excess oil. 

how to make eggplant parmigiana step-by-step: layering the fried eggplant on top of the homemade sauce.

Assemble the Layers: Preheat the oven to 350°F (190°C). In a 9×13 casserole dish, spread a thin layer of prepared homemade tomato sauce. Arrange a layer of fried eggplant slices in a single layer over the sauce.

how to make eggplant parmigiana step-by-step: adding layers of both cheeses on top of the eggplant.

Sprinkle a portion of shredded mozzarella, provolone cheese, and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano over the eggplant. Repeat the layers until you run out of ingredients, finishing with a generous layer of cheese on top.

how to make eggplant parmigiana step-by-step: final layer of eggplant in the casserole dish and repeating process finish with cheese layer.

Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the edges are golden brown.

cooked eggplant parmigiana in a white dish.

Serve: Remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

This recipe emphasizes the natural flavor of the eggplant without breading, and the combination of shredded mozzarella, provolone, and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano adds a rich and authentic taste to the dish.

slice of eggplant parmigiana lifted out of the pan with a cheese pull.

Variations

  1. Add a little red pepper flakes to the sauce for heat
  2. Pesto Eggplant Parmigiana:
  3. Roasted Red Pepper Eggplant Parmigiana:

Equipment

How to store and reheat

Store – To store Eggplant Parmigiana leftovers, allow it to cool to room temperature and refrigerate within 2 hours, covering the dish with plastic wrap or transferring it to an airtight container. For freezing, tightly wrap portions in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, labeling with the date; it can be frozen for 1-2 months.

Reheat – When reheating, either use the oven at 350°F, covering the dish with foil for 20-30 minutes, microwave on medium heat in 1-minute intervals, or heat in a skillet with a touch of olive oil for a crispy texture. Alternatively, utilize an air fryer preheated to 375°F for 5-8 minutes. Ensure the leftovers reach 165°F internally before consuming; refrigerated leftovers can last 3-4 days. Thaw frozen portions in the refrigerator overnight.

close up of slice of eggplant parmigiano on a plate with a slice of bread on the side. Fork on the plate ready to eat.

Top tips for best results

  • Selecting Eggplants:
    • Choose firm, glossy eggplants with no soft spots for the best flavor and texture.
  • Prepping Eggplants:
    • Slice the eggplants evenly for consistent cooking. Salting and draining excess moisture before cooking can enhance the texture.
  • Frying Technique:
    • Use a good quality olive oil for frying. Ensure the oil is hot enough to create a crispy exterior without absorbing too much oil.
  • Cheese Selection:
    • Opt for high-quality cheeses such as fresh mozzarella and genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano for authentic flavor.
  • Layering and Sauce Distribution:
    • Evenly distribute tomato sauce between the layers to ensure every bite is well-flavored. Layering is key for a balanced dish. Use a good quality tomato sauce when making the sugo al pomodoro.
bite taken out of the eggplant parm slice. Bread on side of the plate.

FAQs

Can I make this dish ahead of time?

You can prep this whole dish ahead of time and store it covered in the fridge until you are ready to bake it. Add 10 minutes to the cooking time and cover the first 10 minutes with foil.

Can I make Eggplant Parmigiana without breading the eggplant?

Absolutely! The recipe provided avoids breading the eggplant for a simpler preparation. Frying the slices in olive oil without breading allows the natural flavor and texture of the eggplant to shine.

Should I peel the eggplant before cooking?

No, it’s not necessary to peel the eggplant. Leaving the skin on adds to the dish’s texture and provides additional nutrients.

Can I freeze Eggplant Parmigiana?

Absolutely! Wrap the dish tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil before freezing. It can be stored in the freezer for 1-2 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:

Serving Suggestions

Ideas to serve with this classic Italian dish:

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Best Eggplant Parmigiana (Parmigiana di Melanzane)

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5 from 5 reviews

A simple and authentic eggplant parmigiana recipe that the whole family will love. This is my Nonna’s recipe, so you know it’s a keeper. Enjoy! 

  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • Olive oil for frying
  • All-purpose flour, for frying
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup provolone cheese, sliced
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 4 cups homemade tomato sauce or your favorite store-bought
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Instructions

  1. Prepare the homemade tomato sauce and set aside. 
  2. Prepare the Eggplant: Slice the eggplants into 1/2-inch rounds. Sprinkle salt on each round and let them sit for about 30 minutes. This helps draw out excess moisture and bitterness. After 30 minutes, rinse with water to wash off the salt and pat the eggplant slices dry with paper towels.
  3. Fry the Eggplant: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Make sure there is enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Lightly dust the eggplant slices with flour, shaking off any excess (the flour prevents them from getting soggy and absorbing too much oil) when the oil is shimmering, hot fry the eggplant slices until golden brown on both sides- about 2 minutes per side. Place them on layers of paper towels to absorb excess oil. 
  4. Assemble the Layers: Preheat the oven to 350°F (190°C). In a 9×13 casserole dish, spread a thin layer of prepared homemade tomato sauce. Arrange a layer of fried eggplant slices in a single layer over the sauce. Sprinkle a portion of shredded mozzarella, provolone cheese, and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano over the eggplant. Repeat the layers until you run out of ingredients, finishing with a generous layer of cheese on top.
  5. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the edges are golden brown.
  6. Serve: Remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
  7. Enjoy: Serve the Eggplant Parmigiana hot on its own or with a side of pasta or crusty bread.

Notes

You can prep this whole dish and store it covered in the fridge until you are ready to bake it. Add 10 minutes to the cooking time and cover the first 10 minutes with foil.

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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8 Comments

  1. This was an outstanding recipe. It was not difficult to make. Elena’s directions are very clear and the results taste so authentic. Thank you! And my family thanks you!