Eggplant Parmesan combines lightly battered slices of fried eggplant layered with marinara and mozzarella cheese and baked until bubbly. This version hails from the Campania region of Italy and is wonderfully cozy!

Overhead shot of Neapolitan style eggplant parmigiana in baking dish.


There are many versions of eggplant parmesan, but this is the version that hails from the Campania region of Italy and is characterized by the egg and Pecorino batter that encases the eggplant slices.

The American version usually includes this batter, plus a coating of breadcrumbs, while other versions have nothing but eggplant like this no breadcrumb eggplant parmigiana.

Eggplant parm is great served with a side of sauteed broccoli rabe with garlic and oil, or broccoli salad and leftovers are great to turn into eggplant parm heroes!

Ingredients shown: olive oil, mozzarella, parmesan, pecorino, parsley, basil, garlic, eggplants, flour, tomatoes, and eggs.

How to make it

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Slice 3 large eggplants into 1/4-inch thick discs. Place the discs on a wire rack and salt each slice liberally, then top with paper towels and repeat the process with another layer of eggplant. Once done, place a plate on top of the discs along with some tomato cans to weigh down the eggplant and encourage the release of their water. Allow the eggplant to sit for at least 1 hour but 2 or more works better, then wipe the pieces with a damp towel to remove the excess salt. After the eggplant has released its water, rinse with water and pat the pieces dry and set aside.
  2. Alternatively, you can place the slices in a colander to salt, layer, and drain.
Eggplant parmigiana Neapolitan style process shot collage group number one.
  1. While the eggplant is draining, slice 5 cloves of garlic and add them to a large saucepan over medium-low heat with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Once the garlic is golden (about 2-3 minutes) add 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds.
  2. Add 2 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes and bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste, then add 3 fresh basil leaves and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Set the sauce aside and cover to keep warm until you begin to assemble the eggplant parm. Note: Alternatively, you can keep the sauce at the lowest setting of your burner.
  3. Mince 1/4 cup of fresh parsley and grate 1 cup of Pecorino Romano. In a large bowl, beat 10 eggs together with the Pecorino, parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
  4. In a large heavy pan, pour olive a 1/2 inch high and heat to 360-370f. Add 1 cup of flour to a shallow bowl and set up your batter and frying station.
Recipe process shot collage group number two.
  1. Pat the eggplant slices dry, then dredge in flour and pat the pieces to thoroughly shake off the excess. Place the pieces into the egg mixture and allow them to drain for a few seconds before gently placing them into the hot oil.
  2. Fry the eggplant until golden, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  3. Once golden, place on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
Recipe process shot collage group number three.
  1. Blot the eggplant discs with paper towels to remove excess oil and continue to work in batches until all the eggplant is fried. Note: Between batches remove leftover batter pieces with a slotted spoon.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400f and set the rack to the middle level. Grate 1/2 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano, and shred 1 pound of mozzarella cheese. Hand-tear 1/4 cup worth of fresh basil. Place a thick layer of marinara sauce into a 9×13″ baking dish. Note: you’ll need about 5 cups of sauce in total and may have some leftover once you’re done assembling.
Recipe process shot collage group number four.
  1. Add 1 layer of eggplant slices, then add more marinara, basil leaves, and Parmigiano Reggiano.
  2. Add some shredded mozzarella.
Recipe process shot collage group number five.
  1. Continue layering until all the eggplant is gone.
  2. Place into the oven and bake for 30 minutes in the middle of the oven.
Recipe process shot collage group number six.
  1. For a browner top, broil the eggplant parm for the last 2 minutes, but watch carefully to avoid burning. Allow the eggplant to rest for at least 20 minutes before serving and enjoy!
Spatula pulling out piece of eggplant parmesan from baking dish.

Top tips

  • Salt the eggplant. While salting the eggplant is optional, it is highly recommended. Eggplants have a lot of water and salting them will help extract a lot of water, (you will be amazed how much comes out after a couple of hours!) yielding a better fry. Be sure to rinse or wipe the eggplant with damp towels to remove the excess salt, followed by a good drying with paper towels, prior to frying.
  • Frying station. Setting up a station where you can easily flour, batter, and fry will help the process go smoother. After frying, allow the eggplant slices to drain on paper towels and blot to remove any excess oil.
  • Baking. To get a great brown color, broil the eggplant parmesan for 1-2 minutes at the end but be sure to watch to prevent burning. Be sure to allow the eggplant to settle for at least 20 minutes before serving.
  • Sauce. If you’d like to serve your eggplant parmesan with a side of pasta, make some extra sauce. This recipe yields just enough to have a touch of extra sauce to serve on the side of the eggplant.
Large table with baking dish of Neapolitan style eggplant parmigiana.

More eggplant recipes

If you love eggplant as much as we do, try these favorites!

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Eggplant Parmesan

5 from 6 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes
salting time: 1 hour
Total: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Eggplant Parmesan combines lightly battered slices of fried eggplant layered with marinara and mozzarella cheese and baked until bubbly.

Ingredients 

For the marinara sauce

  • 5 cloves garlic sliced
  • 2 28 ounce cans plum tomatoes hand crushed or blender pulsed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 3 basil leaves

For the eggplant

  • 2 cups olive oil or enough to fill up pan at least 1/2-inch high
  • 3 large eggplant sliced into rounds 1/4-inch thick or less, salted for 1 plus hours – see notes below
  • 1 cup flour for dredging only
  • 10 large eggs plus more if needed
  • 1 cup Pecorino Romano grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley minced

Assembly ingredients

  • 5 cups marinara sauce from recipe above, you will have leftover sauce!
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated
  • 1 pound mozzarella shredded
  • 1/4 cup packed basil leaves hand torn

Instructions 

Salt the eggplant

  • Salt the eggplant slices then place in a colander to drain with a plate beneath. Also, place a plate on top of the eggplant and a weight (canned tomatoes work well) to aid in water removal. After a minimum of 1 hour, rinse or wipe the pieces with a damp towel to remove most of the excess salt. Pat the pieces dry. They are now ready for frying.

Make the marinara sauce

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan to medium-low and add the garlic.
  • Once the garlic turns golden (about 2-3 minutes) add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the tomatoes and bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • Season the sauce with salt to taste and add the basil leaves. After 15 minutes of simmering, set the sauce aside covered to keep warm, or keep it cooking over very low heat.

Fry the eggplant

  • Heat a 1/2 inch of olive oil in a large heavy pan to 360-370f.
  • In a large bowl mix together the eggs, Pecorino, black pepper, and parsley.
  • Pat the eggplant pieces dry then dredge in flour and shake off the excess. Place the eggplant into the egg mixture then let it drain for a few seconds on the side of the bowl before gently adding to the hot oil.
  • Fry the eggplant until golden (about 3-4 minutes per side) then place on a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet to drain. Blot the eggplant with paper towels to remove excess oil. Work in batches until finished.

Assemble and bake

  • Preheat oven to 400f and set the rack to the middle level.
  • Note: You will need roughly 5 cups of sauce. You might have a bit of extra sauce left over. Place a thick layer of marinara sauce into a 9×13" baking dish then add 1 layer of eggplant. Dividing roughly equally between the layers, add more sauce, torn basil leaves, shredded mozzarella, and grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Repeat in layers to the top of the baking dish.
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 400f in the middle of the oven. For a browner top, broil for the last 2 minutes. Check at all times so it doesn't burn.
  • Let the eggplant parmesan rest for at least 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Peeling the eggplant is optional so feel free to leave the skin on if you’d like. The eggplants can be sliced into rounds or lengthwise.
  • Salting is optional, though it’s highly recommended.  The salt removes excess water from the eggplant which helps achieve a much better fry.  Make sure to remove the salt before frying.  Wipe the eggplant with a damp towels or run them under water.  Either way, make sure to thoroughly dry the pieces before dredging and frying. 
  • After frying be sure to let the eggplant drain on a wire rack or paper towels.  In addition, make sure to blot any excess oil from the eggplant before assembling the parmigiana.
  • Extra sauce is great to serve on the side.  Leftover sauce can be saved for up to 5 days in the fridge or frozen for up to 6 months. 
  • Leftovers can be saved in the fridge for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the oven at 350f until warm.

Nutrition

Calories: 573kcal | Carbohydrates: 25.1g | Protein: 24.5g | Fat: 44.2g | Saturated Fat: 13.7g | Cholesterol: 176mg | Sodium: 528mg | Potassium: 774mg | Fiber: 7.8g | Calcium: 439mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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10 Comments

  1. Louise A Tripoli says:

    5 stars
    This is one of my favorite meals; although my grandmother usually used breadcrumbs. I like it both ways; and haven’t made it in years and years ever since living alone, which is roughly 20 years. There was an Italian Deli near where I lived in Glen Cove, L.I. ( A.Razzano’s Salumeria Latticini )that used to make eggplant parm heros every Friday. My favorite lunch!

  2. janet czajkowski says:

    5 stars
    Love this method! It’s the way my Italian Mom taught me.
    I am making this for a family gathering so I have to make a lot!
    How far in advance can I make this before assembling and baking?
    I am using 8 eggplants so I have my work cut out for me.
    Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and the clear way you demonstrate how to prepare them!
    Janet

    1. Tara says:

      Hi Janet, you can assemble a day in advance, then bake. Hope you enjoy!

  3. Lois Sabatino says:

    I make eggplant the same way, but years ago, one of my aunts taught me to add a half cup of cream to the egg mixture. It makes a wonderful batter for the eggplant to be dipped in before frying. Give it a try! And if you don’t have cream, you can use half and half or even regular milk… but the cream or half and half work best. Lois Sabatino, Naples, FL

  4. Patti Weiss says:

    This was fantastic!!!!!!! Thank you so much for all your great content!

    1. Tara says:

      Hi Patti, we’re so happy you enjoyed and appreciate your comment!

  5. W G Stout says:

    5 stars
    Simple fresh summer ingredients and tasty.

    1. James says:

      Hi WG, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed!

  6. Terry says:

    5 stars
    I would like to layer zucchini in this Eggplant Parmesan recipe.
    Would I salute the zucchini first or put it in raw?
    Maybe even green pepper and onion? Add more cheese between layers. I could lightly saute or roast those. Looking for a multi veg one dish treatment more casserole than stew. What do you think?
    Thank you!

    1. Tara says:

      Hi Terry, thanks for the comment. If you plan to add zucchini to the recipe, we’d recommend salting, then roasting the zucchini strips (similar to how Jim did it in the zucchini alla parmigiana recipe). Hope you enjoy!