Lightened Up Chicken Parmesan

This is a favorite in our house and something that the kids LOVE to get involved in. Probably because they get to play with their food before it cooks. It’s inevitable that one or both kids ask to play with the leftover eggs and panko and create some ‘soup’ from it that no one will be eating… but they have fun (and then thoroughly wash their hands because… raw chicken!).

I do the breading part up to an hour before cooking. Between that and putting the chicken on a sheet pan then throwing it in to broil just before serving, this recipe really gives you some flexibility to get all of the elements of dinner out at the same time. And using these tenderloins helps to ensure everything will cook up quickly and evenly… win!

Little tip for success… since this chicken recipe has multiple steps and can feel time consuming (depending on your multitasking kitchen skills)- keep it simple with the rest of the meal! I’ll seriously just serve this with some broccoli and call it good! Or this is a great time to take advantage of a good salad mix and just dress it before serving. It’ll set you up for success when trying to get everything on the plate together.

Lightened Up Chicken Paremsan

Print Recipe
By Serves: 4 Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes


  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ c flour
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, more if needed
  • 2 c Panko breadcrumbs**
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced*
  • 2 cups marinara sauce of your choosing
  • 2 tbsp parsley/basil, chopped (optional)
  • red pepper flakes (optional)



Create a little assembly line with three medium, shallow containers (I just use my little lunch tupperware containers for ease). Add the flour and half of the salt and pepper to the first container. Stir to combine. To the second, add the 2 eggs and beat until yolks and whites are combined. To the third, add the Panko breadcrumbs and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.


Working with one tenderloin at a time, dredge in flour. Shake off excess flour for a light coating. Go directly into the beaten egg. I like to use a fork for this part so my hands don’t go from wet to dry to wet and I end up with massive claw looking crumb hands! Completely coat the piece of chicken with egg, let the excess egg mixture drip off, and move into the breadcrumbs. Lightly coat the chicken with the breadcrumbs and set aside. Repeat this process of flour, egg, breadcrumbs for all of the chicken tenderloin pieces.


Heat a large nonstick pan with 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Once heated, add the prepared chicken tenderloins to the pan. Make sure not to overcrowd so that they can brown and crisp properly (I do mine in two batches). Cook the tenderloins 2-3 minutes each side, turning once until light to medium browning on each side and slightly firm to the touch. Remove from the pan and set aside on a sheet pan. If doing a second batch, add more oil if needed and repeat the cooking until all the chicken tenderloins are cooked.


While the chicken cooks, pour the marinara sauce in a medium pot. Heat on medium-low until heated through.


Turn the oven to broil. Top each of the chicken pieces with a little mozzarella (I break up the slices to fit on each piece). Take the sheet pan filled with the mozzarella topped chicken pieces (that’s a mouthful) and stick it on the top shelf of the oven to broil. Broil 2-3 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on it while it broils. It goes from deliciously browned to burning pretty quickly. Remove when the cheese is slightly browned and melted.


Top the cheesy, crispy chicken with the heated marinara sauce just before serving.


Sprinkle red pepper flakes and fresh herbs over the top if using and dig in!


*Since mozzarella is a soft cheese, it doesn’t exactly slice easily. Throw it in the freezer for 15-30 minutes before slicing to make it easier. And remember, no one will care if it’s cut perfectly once it is all melty on the chicken! Shredded mozzarella can be used as a substitute if you already have that in your fridge. We do it all the time. **If you’re interested in making this recipe carb/gluten reduced, gluten free Panko breadcrumbs are a good substitute.

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  • Kyle Gosselin
    March 11, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    love it

  • Lindsay Gosselin
    March 11, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    yeah you do! 😉