Parmesan Chicken Bake is my most popular recipe because it is an easy dinner recipe using baked chicken breasts. This Parmesan chicken recipe only has a few ingredients, a quick prep time, and tastes amazing. These tender chicken breasts bake in the oven with mayo and parmesan cheese until crispy, but don’t be fooled by the simple list of ingredients in this recipe. It just might be the best (and simplest) chicken recipe you’ve ever made!
Why I Love this Easy Chicken Recipe?
This recipe for oven-baked parmesan chicken casserole brings back so many fun (and delicious) memories of the trips I’ve made to visit with all my family who live far away. When we are together there are A LOT of us and, we always make this cheesy chicken, usually on the first night. It’s the perfect dinner for our big crowd and hits all the required family-friendly notes: crispy, cheesy, and easy to throw together.
Visiting family is such a bittersweet experience for me. While it is so amazing to spend time with those I love most, I also suffer from such depression once it is over. After two weeks visiting my parents in Ohio, we are currently heading back home to Minnesota. Yes, it will be tough on me, but it is heartbreaking to see how tough it is on my kids. They have had two weeks packed with wonderful memories that I hope will get them through until next summer.
Do me a favor. If you are blessed to have family close by (and by that I mean under a 2-hour drive), be grateful and spend more time with them. Those of us who only get to see family a couple of times a year are very jealous!!!
Once we are back home, my children will expect me to cook them meals. How dare they! Like you, I am always on the hunt for great chicken bake recipes and this is definitely one. You won’t be disappointed! It is delicious hot from the oven and even better the next day as leftovers. I often make two pans at a time because we love this parmesan chicken that much.
What is Parmesan Chicken Bake?
As the name implies, a Parmesan Chicken Bake is a meal assembled in a casserole dish, starting with boneless chicken breasts on the bottom. Then, a sauce of mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, and seasonings gets slathered on top. The casserole is baked in the oven until the top gets golden brown and crispy, resulting in very tender chicken due to the mayo in the sauce. The cheesy recipe is a popular low carb, keto-friendly alternative to chicken parmigiana because there are no breadcrumbs or deep frying involved in the preparation.
Baked Parmesan Chicken Ingredients
The first time I ever made this recipe, it was a leap of faith. I took a look at the underwhelming list of ingredients and misjudged how the chicken bake would taste. I’ve fine tuned the recipe over the years until it is now perfect!
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts – simple to find at any grocery store and often the least expensive cut of chicken as well. Boneless chicken thighs would also work, as would bone-in breasts but remove the skin first. Any skin would only end up mushy under the sauce.
- Mayonnaise – don’t go cheap with this important ingredient. It is the base of the whole sauce and must be a quality brand. I recommend Hellmann’s (aka Best Foods) or Dukes. Do not use Miracle Whip!
- Fresh parmesan cheese – skip the fake stuff in the green can and grab a triangle of real parmesan cheese then grate it yourself. If possible, skip the containers of pre-shredded parmesan as well. The manufacturer covers the cheese in cellulose (wood pulp) and won’t melt into the sauce at all.
- Seasoned salt – *important note* this is not the same as regular salt so don’t make that mistake, or the finished dish will be too salty. Seasoned salt is a mixture of various seasonings, as well as salt. Lowry’s brand works well in this recipe and you’ll find it easily at your store.
Can I use powdered parmesan cheese in the green can?
Sorry, but this is a big no! The powdered parmesan cheese in the green cans is mainly buttermilk powder, salt, and then a bit of parmesan cheese. Not only will the finished chicken breasts be way too salty, but this “cheese” will leave a sandy, gritty texture in the sauce. Instead, grab a triangle of fresh parmesan cheese from the refrigerated section of the store, grate it up at home, and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Using real parmesan results in the best parmesan chicken you’ve ever tasted.
What is the difference between “seasoned salt” in the recipe and regular salt?
There is a big difference and it is very important to understand so the chicken bake doesn’t end up much too salty. Seasoned salt is exactly as it sounds, a combination of salt and various seasonings like paprika, garlic, onion, and chili powder. The recipe below calls for 1 ½ teaspoons of seasoned salt but only about 25% of that is actual salt. If you use regular salt, in combination with the salty parmesan cheese, the finished casserole will be extremely salty, as some commenters on this post have complained about.
Can Parmesan Chicken Bake be frozen?
Unfortunately, this is not a recipe that works well as a freezer meal. The mayo in the sauce reacts in funny ways as it freezes. It creates an unpleasant grainy texture once it thaws and goes in the oven. Instead of freezing the chicken bake, assemble it a few days ahead of time, cover it tightly with foil, and keep it in the fridge until ready to serve. It can safely stay prepped in the refrigerator for 3-4 days before baking.
Can I use Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise?
Unfortunately, this parmesan chicken casserole will not work well if you use Miracle Whip. Mayonnaise is the emulsification of water, oil, and eggs, while Miracle Whip adds high fructose corn syrup and seasonings. The end result is much too sweet for this chicken recipe and the sauce becomes thin and runny because the Miracle Whip doesn’t do well in the oven.
How to keep the chicken from getting watery
Because the chicken does get a bit crowded in the 9×13 pan, it creates a bit of a pan sauce. If you would prefer your end result without the pan sauce at the bottom of your dish, simply use a bigger pan or baking dish, or even a rimmed half-sheet pan. This creates room for the moisture to evaporate while it is baking. If you do this, you will need to reduce the cooking time by 5-8 minutes. The chicken cooks quicker being farther apart.
How to store leftover parmesan chicken
This recipe is one of those rare dinners that actually gets better tasting after it sits for a night in the fridge. Any leftovers will not last very long. Transfer the uneaten parmesan chicken into an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up 5-6 days. Leftovers reheat very well in the microwave and make for a great lunch to bring to the office.
Parmesan Chicken Recipe Variations
Being a home cook provides endless opportunities to experiment with recipes, personalizing them to your tastes and creativity. Any of the following variations would be great spin-offs of this cheesy chicken bake:
- Add fresh vegetables to the pan with the chicken and sauce, but be sure to use a bigger casserole dish, or a rimmed baking sheet. This will give the chicken room for the excess moisture to evaporate from the pan.
- Add marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese to the top of the chicken for a tasty Italian spin on the recipe.
- Add buttered Panko breadcrumbs all over the top of the casserole. They will become golden brown and crispy as the parmesan chicken bakes. And even better, add some fresh garlic to the breadcrumbs as well.
- Serve it over rice or pasta with the pan sauce and some chopped fresh herbs like Italian parsley or basil.
Parmesan Chicken Bake Step by Step Video
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- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 C light mayonnaise or greek yogurt (I have done 1/2 of each as well)
- 1/2 c fresh parmesan cheese, plus more for the top
- 1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt (Not regular table salt)
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray the inside of a 9×13 glass pan. Lay the chicken inside the pan.
- Mix together the remaining ingredients and spread evenly over each piece of chicken, being sure to cover all the exposed raw meat (so it doesn’t dry out.) Sprinkle on a bit more fresh parmesan over all the chicken.
- Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. This dish is even better the next day, so just reheat in the microwave!
Some have commented that this dish was way too salty. Please be sure you are using fresh parmesan cheese, not the stuff from a can. Also, use seasoned salt, NOT table salt. I have made this multiple times and have never had trouble with the salt level. If you are worried, use less.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 1 chicken breast
- Calories: 500
- Sugar: 0 g
- Sodium: 953 mg
- Fat: 22 g
- Saturated Fat: 4 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 10 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 3 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 70 g
- Cholesterol: 193 mg
Keywords: easy chicken recipes, parmesan chicken bake, chicken breast recipes