Healthy Chicken Parmesan is the perfect comfort food. This lightened up version keeps all of the flavors of this classic, but makes things easier and lighter by cooking it in the oven rather than frying it in oil.
2020 UPDATE: RIP Trader Joe's Lite Mozzarella. I now use Wegman's thinly sliced mozzarella which can be found where the other cheese slices live--they're 2sp on each plan and it melts like a dream.
Chicken Parm will always be fancy to me
Let me tell you – chicken Parmesan was my favorite thing to order growing up. It felt fancy, and it was something we never had in our house for dinner. We did sometimes have those frozen, breaded “patties” topped with sauce and cheese, but I’m not counting those.
There’s an Irish Pub we would go to (you know, where one would take a family of small children), and we’d all order chicken parm. Each one of us.
It was kind of weird, and my wife still chuckles at it each time she witnesses it. The best part about the Irish Pub is that the default side was a baked potato. Culinary perfection.
To this day, most of my siblings and mother will order chicken parm if given the option. Have you ever made chicken parm for 6+ people? It’s a pain in the ass if you’re pan-frying the chicken.
It’s messy, and God only knows if you’re going to give everyone salmonella… and that’s not even thinking about the whole fried food part.
How to Bake Chicken Parm in the Oven
The key to making crispy chicken in the oven is baking them on a wire rack so the air can circulate. This method mimics what happens in air fryers, but allows you to do a larger batch at once. If you bread chicken and bake directly on a sheet pan, the top will be crispy but the bottom will get soggy. Since this chicken will have sauce and cheese on top, you can risk having all your breading soggy and falling off. This method ensures crispy breading.
Once the chicken is thoroughly cooked, simply top with your sauce and cheese, and finish in the oven. I like to bake my sauce for a few minutes before adding the cheese because the heat concentrates the sauce and thickens it a little. If you are trying to make a healthy chicken parmesan but want the feel of a restaurant quality chicken, these steps are essential.
Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan
Cooking Healthy Chicken Parmesan in the air fryer is super simple and quicker than the oven. For my air fryer version, you are going to reduce the time by five minutes compared to the original recipe. The air fryer does the work on a broiler it comes to making cheese bubbly, but it can be a little more challenging if you cannot see into your air fryer.
Compared to the oven version, the air fryer version definitely is crispier. That being said, most air fryers cannot accommodate more than 4 pieces of chicken. This healthy chicken parmesan is so good, that I would be making a big batch even if it is just my wife and I. I love my air fryer, but I still prefer the oven method.
- 4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, and butterflied into eight 4oz breasts
- 3 eggs
- 3 oz panko breadcrumbs
- 2 oz seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 oz grated parmesan cheese
- 1 oz all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp dry parsley
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt divided
- 2 tsp ground pepper divided
- 2 cups (or more) of your preferred sauce
- 8 slices of mozzarella (I use Wegmans sliced mozzarella)
Set up your breading stations
- In bowl #1, add about a half a cup of flour and 1 tsp each of salt and pepper.
- In bowl #2, add 3 eggs and dijon. Whisk to combine.
- In bowl #3, add breadcrumbs, parmesan, and all remaining seasonings.
Bread your chicken
- Dredge chicken in bowl #1 and pat chicken breast so excess flour comes off. Coat chicken in egg from bowl #2, then toss in bowl #3 until fully covered. Place breaded chicken onto a plate until all chicken breasts are coated.
Baked Cooking Method
- Set an oven safe wire rack (the kind you would let cookies cool on) onto a baking sheet. Give the rack a healthy spray of cooking spray so the chicken won't stick. This will allow air to circulate around the chicken and make all sides crunchy. Spray both sides of chicken with cooking spray and place on the wire rack.
- Cook at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Chicken should be cooked until 165 degrees. Juices will run clear when cut.
- Once chicken is cooked, add about 1/4c of sauce to each chicken breast. Optional step, place the chicken back into the oven for an additional 5 minutes so the sauce can cook down a little. Remove chicken and top with mozzarella.
- Finish with a broil until cheese starts to bubble all golden and delicious. If you are afraid to use your broiler, just heat in the oven until cheese is melty.
Cheese: If using shredded cheese, I typically use about 1 oz of cheese per chicken breast. The sliced mozzarella I use is low moisture mozzarella that is found pre-sliced and near other prepackaged cheese. You can also substitute sliced provolone.
Serving Size:1 chicken breast
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 447Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 202mgSodium: 1281mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 51g
Love this Weight Watchers Chicken Parm and want more healthy Italian recipes? I got you.
Here are some of my favorite healthy Italian Recipes.