3 Cheese Chicken Parmesan

Mama mia! Chicken Parmesan makes me think of red and white checkered tablecloths and drippy candles. And maybe a little Dean Martin playing in the background. If you love Chicken Parmesan as much as I do, but can’t afford to eat at your favorite Italian restaurant once a week, this recipe may be as special to you as it is to me. Sometimes when I try to make restuarant favorites at home they’re a disappointment, but this recipe makes it easy to turn out results just as good at a fraction of the cost.

The key to a great Chicken Parm is all in the crust on the chicken — and not just because the crust is where the Parmesan cheese gives the dish its flavor. It’s important to start with a chicken breast pounded thin, this allows you to pan-fry the chicken at high heat very quickly. That way the chicken forms a good, crispy golden brown crust. I always remove the chicken from the pan some paper towels for a few moments until I’m ready to top with the sauce and the cheese in a baking dish.

Parmesan cheese.

Parmesan cheese, or Parmigiano-Reggiano, gives this dish its name, and its rich, salty flavor helps create the signature golden crust on the chicken. But this is a 3 Cheese Chicken Parmesan, and fresh mozzarella and provolone also get their moment to shine. The average grocery store may only have sliced provolone available in the cheese section, or in the deli. If that’s the case, it’s easy to just break the slices up into large pieces to fit on the chicken breasts with the mozzarella. Grated or sliced, it tastes the same!

Other cheeses I occasionally use in place of provolone are taleggio or fontina. Both melt excellently and offer different, interesting flavors. It’s really the mix of the three cheeses, the mozzarella, the provolone, and the parmesan that sets this dish apart from other Chicken Parmesan recipes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment a bit to find your own personal favorite three-cheese cobmination!

3 Cheese Chicken Parmesan

4 from 3 votes

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, divided

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce

  • 1/4 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

  • 1/2 cup provolone cheese, grated

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Grease 9×13 baking dish.
  • Preheat oven to 450° F (230° C).
  • Pound chicken breasts to ¼ inch thickness. Make clean up easier by placing chicken in a plastic freezer bag. Sprinkle salt & pepper to taste on both sides of chicken.
  • Mix ½ cup Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs in shallow bowl. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
  • In a another shallow bowl beat eggs and set aside.
  • Place flour in shallow bowl, dredge chicken in flour.
  • Dip chicken breast in egg mixture, then coat chicken breast in breadcrumb mixture. Turn twice in breadcrumbs to ensure even coating. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until golden, about 2 minutes on each side. The chicken will finish cooking in oven.
  • Arrange chicken in pre-greased baking dish. Spoon marinara sauce onto each chicken breast, distributing evenly to each. Add mozzarella cheese and provolone cheese atop marinara sauce. Sprinkle fresh basil and equal shares of remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese on each chicken breast. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over top.
  • Bake 20 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown, and chicken breasts are no longer pink in the center and have internal temperature of at least 165° F (74° C).

Notes

  • Use your favorite jarred or pre-prepared marinara sauce for a zesty result. Or substitute with your favorite prepared tomato-based pasta sauce.
  • Provolone can be substituted with more mozzarella, or other softer, melty cheese like taleggio, fontina, or gouda. If you’re unable to find a large piece of provolone you can grate, you can use an equivalent amount of pre-sliced provolone instead.
  • To kick your chicken up a notch, try adding more seasonings to your breadcrumb mixture like garlic powder, onion powder, or a dry Italian herb blend.
Marinara sauce.

I buy a jar of my favorite marinara sauce to use for this recipe. While the chicken is in the oven, I put a pot of water on to boil and cook a pound of spaghetti. Then I throw the remaining marinara from the open jar into the pan I used to fry the chicken, and over medium heat, I add the cooked spaghetti for a quick toss once it’s al dente. Serving Chicken Parmesan over pasta is pretty classic in most Italian American restaurants, and thanks to the ready-made pasta sauce it’s easy to add it on to the homemade version as well.

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