Lighter Baked Chicken Parmesan

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If you’ve been missing the recipe portion of CanYouStayforDinner?, the only person I can blame it on is, you know who, my mother.

Though I can’t quite put my finger on what it is exactly, I’m sure there’s some misstep she took as a parent that lead me to my Intermittent Recipe Posting Dysfunction (IRPD).

Working through it,

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The best part about this dish, as with all of my Italian recipes, is the marinara. In fact, it’s not even my recipe; it’s one I openly shoplifted from PJ, my stepdad. And it’s the thickest, sweetest, most full-bodied red sauce. If you love a hearty, rich sauce with a highly concentrated tomato flavor, you will never spend another second fiddling with other recipes once you try this one: My Favorite Sauce

The secret to achieving the authentic taste of your favorite breaded and shallowly fried chicken cutlets- to achieving the rich flavor of that oil drenched crust- is searing it in a thin pool of olive oil and then baking it in the oven to cook it all the way through.  What most baked versions of traditionally fried foods lack is that lovely and satisfying fatty flavor. Here, you don’t have to sacrifice; you don’t have to forego flavor for lightness’ sake.

Another secret? Marinating the chicken in buttermilk. Tender, tender, tender.

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Lighter Baked Chicken Parmesan

Servings: 2 Servings
Calories: 299kcal


  • 2 6- ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup low-fat buttermilk
  • ¼ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup of Perfect Marinara Sauce or your favorite store-bought
  • 1 ounce fresh mozzarella
  • ¼ cup packed fresh basil chopped


  • 2 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup low-fat buttermilk
  • ¼ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup of Perfect Marinara Sauce (or your favorite store-bought)
  • 1 ounce fresh mozzarella
  • ¼ cup packed fresh basil, chopped
  • In a gallon-size resealable plastic bag or shallow bowl, combine the chicken and buttermilk. Marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade and dredge them in the bread crumbs, pressing to coat both sides.
  • In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, just until browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Remove the chicken to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 12 minutes, then take the chicken out of the oven and divide the sauce and mozzarella among them. Return the chicken to the oven and bake until the sauce is warm and the cheese melts, 4 to 6 minutes.
  • Sprinkle each chicken breast with fresh basil and serve with pasta or, for a really low-cal option, Shirataki noodles!


Calories 299, Fat 7g, Carb 16g, Fiber 2g, Sugars 5g, Protein 41g


Serving: 1g | Calories: 299kcal | Fat: 7g


34 thoughts on “Lighter Baked Chicken Parmesan

  1. Damyon

    I wonder if you have an answer to a question that has been bugging me for years? Why are dishes like this one called “Parmigiana” when mozzarella cheese has a much larger presence? Parmigiana usually means from the city of Parma which this dish is not. Is this another American misnomer like King Crab?

  2. Lauren C

    Oh Andie, you are so correct about the buttermilk! I don’t know what happens but it yields the most tender and amazingly moist chicken in the world. Yes. Please.

  3. Sophie

    I tried this out for dinner last night and what can I say but wow! It’s so light and so tasty and I didn’t feel guilty about it being ‘fried’ when I was eating it – more of the same please :)

  4. Halley

    Dude! Recipe synch I made chicken parm last night (stuffed with a cream cheese, chives and sun dried tomatoes) but this! This is glorious! Look at that crispy crust.


  5. Samantha

    Mmmm totally need to try this, like all of your other recipes it looks delish! Also want to thank you for going back to putting nutritional values with the recipes, saves me the time of working it out ;)

  6. Jennifer

    I just made the sauce recipe for a quick spaghetti dinner last night. I didn’t make the meatballs, though (I used some frozen turkey ones from Trader Joe’s, but I really-really-really missed PJ’s homemade meatballs…you’re right, they’re the best ever). That is my go-to recipe for when I want to make spaghetti and meatballs, and I love you for it!

    Anyway, now I can’t wait to try the chicken. It looks delish.

  7. Suzanne

    IRPD, LOL! That’s very creative and so is this recipe. It’s a treat to find a delicious, traditional dish that doesn’t have the traditional fat calories. Whoopee! Fixing this soon! Thanks :-)

  8. Miss McBooty

    Hooray! I bought eggplant this weekend at the market and I cannot WAIT to make eggplant parm. I’m going to try baking it like you did with your chicken. Have you tried that before?

  9. Cadi

    HOLY COW. This looks so good! It’s so going to be dinner this weekend, served on a bed of spaghetti squash-as-noodles. I’m seriously salivating right now. *Slurp*

  10. johnny

    I fell in love with that sauce the very first time you posted it! It is the staple in this family. Thank you Andie (and PJ) for a new way to use it. Just had baked lemon chicken last night, but this is the next way we do chicken! Keep um coming! Love you Andie!! :)

  11. kace

    YES I’ve been waiting for this : ) Can’t WAIT to try it.

    Question – do you beat the chicken to get it flat, or do you go to a butcher to get the perfect cutlets? That’s one thing that always escapes me; the purdue breasts I buy aren’t that ideal, flat, even shape.

    1. admin

      Hey Kace! Yes, I cover each chicken breast with plastic wrap or wax paper and then pound them down with a meat mallet or anything heavy and blunt. Sometimes the chicken breasts I buy are massive and they can simply be cut in half lengthwise to get two perfectly sized, thin pieces.

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  15. Ruthie D

    I LOVED this recipe!!! Everything about it was perfect!!! The marinara is some of the best I’ve EVER tasted (now that’s saying something)!! I took a picture of what I made and sent it to my Mom and now I’m making it this WEEKEND for my parents.

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  17. Stacey

    This looks to die for! I’ve recently lost 90 lbs and transitioned back to regular meals and have been looking for low carb high protein alternatives. This would be a hit with my family! Thank you for sharing!

  18. Elaine

    I LOVE this chicken parm! But every time when I sear the chicken in the pan the beautiful and delicious breadcrumb coating just comes right off! I can’t figure out what I am doing wrong. Is the pan not hot enough? No enough oil? Help!

  19. Joe

    this sauce was absolutely amazing. Will never buy jar sauce again! the chicken parmesan recipe was also to die for, I cannot wait to try the meatballs

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