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Easy Chicken Parmesan-A Make Ahead Freezer Dinner

Chicken Parmesan is a favorite dinner in the Just One Donna house because it is a delicious dish that can satisfy your cravings for Italian food. It's also easy to make at home with simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry. 

But what if you don't have time to cook on a busy weeknight? Don't worry, you can make Chicken Parmesan ahead of time and freeze it for later. I like to prepare Chicken Parmesan to have on hand in my freezer for those busy weeknights when we might be tempted to head to a restaurant instead of eating at home. 

How to Make Freezer Chicken Parmesan for Busy Nights

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Chicken Parmesan for Dinner
Easy Freezer Chicken Parmesan for Dinner

Chicken Parmesan, also known as Chicken Parmigiana, is a beloved Italian-American dish that features breaded and fried chicken cutlets smothered in marinara sauce, melted cheese, and served over pasta. It's a comforting and hearty meal that is loved by kids and adults alike. Today I'm sharing my freezer-to-table Chicken Parmesan recipe so you can make this delicious dish ahead of time, store it in the freezer, and then easily bake it to perfection when you're ready to serve.

With a few simple steps, you can have a homemade Chicken Parmesan ready to impress your family and friends without the stress of last-minute cooking.

Why You'll Love This Recipe

Make-Ahead Convenience: One of the biggest advantages of this recipe is that you can make it ahead of time and store it in the freezer until you're ready to cook. That makes it perfect for busy weeknights or when you have guests coming over, as you can easily pull it out of the freezer and bake it to perfection with minimal effort.

Delicious and Comforting: Chicken Parmesan is a crowd-pleasing dish that combines crispy breaded chicken with tangy marinara sauce and gooey melted cheese. It's a comfort food that's perfect for satisfying those Italian food cravings.

It's Versatile: This recipe can be easily customized to suit your preferences. You can use different types of cheese, marinara sauce, or even add additional toppings like sliced mushrooms or pepperoni to make it your own.

It's Family-Friendly: Chicken Parmesan is a kid-friendly meal that is sure to please even the pickiest eaters. It's a great way to introduce children to Italian flavors and get them excited about trying new foods.

The Chicken Parmesan Ingredients

This Chicken Parmesan recipe is made with everyday ingredients in the spirit of semi-homemade. You may already have the ingredients you need in your pantry.  

Chicken Parmesan Ingredients
Chicken Parmesan Ingredients

That makes this an easy recipe for any mom or dad to prepare in advance for those busy weeknight dinners.

To make Chicken Parmesan, you need the following ingredients:

- Boneless chicken breasts
- Seasoned Italian bread crumbs
- Parmesan cheese
- Eggs
- Salt and pepper
- Oil for frying
- Marinara sauce, use your favorite jarred sauce for semi-homemade
- Shredded mozzarella cheese

You also need a meat mallet, a shallow dish, a skillet, a freezer-safe baking dish, plastic wrap, and aluminum foil. 

How to Make Chicken Parmesan

The first step is to pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness. This will help them cook faster and more evenly. Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and use the flat side of a meat mallet to pound them gently.

The next step is to coat the chicken breasts with bread crumbs and cheese. In a shallow dish, combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. You can adjust the ratio according to your preference, but I like to use half and half. In another shallow dish, whisk eggs with a little water. 

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then dip them in egg, letting any excess drip off. Finally, coat them with the breadcrumb and cheese mixture, pressing lightly to adhere.

The third step is to fry the chicken breasts until golden and crisp. Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the chicken breasts in batches for about 4 minutes per side, or until golden and cooked through. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain.

Watch the Video

How to Freeze Chicken Parmesan

To freeze Chicken Parmesan, you have two options. You can either assemble the dish before baking or freeze the fried chicken breasts separately.

If you want to assemble the dish before baking, follow these steps:

- Spread some marinara sauce on the bottom of a freezer-safe baking dish.
- Arrange the fried chicken breasts on top of the sauce in a single layer.
- Spoon some more sauce over each chicken breast.
- Sprinkle some mozzarella cheese over the sauce.
- Wrap the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil.
- Label the dish with the name and date and freeze for up to 3 months.

If you want to freeze the fried chicken breasts separately, follow these steps:

- Let the fried chicken breasts cool completely on the baking sheet.
- Transfer them to a freezer bag or an airtight container.
- Label the bag or container with the name and date and freeze for up to 3 months.

How to Reheat Chicken Parmesan from Frozen

To reheat Chicken Parmesan from frozen, you have two options. You can either bake it from frozen or thaw it first.

To bake it from frozen, follow these steps:

- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Remove the plastic wrap and foil from the baking dish.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
- Enjoy!

If you want to thaw it first, follow these steps:

- Thaw the baking dish in the refrigerator overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Remove the plastic wrap and foil from the baking dish.
- Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
- Enjoy!

Tips for making Chicken Parmesan
Here are some tips for making Chicken Parmesan even better:

- Use fresh or grated Parmesan cheese instead of pre-shredded cheese for more flavor and texture.
- Add some fresh herbs like basil or parsley to the marinara sauce for more freshness and color.
- Serve Chicken Parmesan with pasta, salad, breadsticks, or garlic bread for a complete meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does chicken Parmesan freeze well?
Yes, it does.   You can definitely freeze chicken Parmesan.  Like anything you freeze, just be sure to wrap it well. Use both plastic wrap and aluminum foil.

I like to use ceramic or glass dishes when I freeze my chicken Parmesan. Pie plates work well, as long as you won't need them for baking pies.

What is the best way to freeze chicken Parmesan?
Prepare your chicken Parmesan just as you would prior to baking in the oven.  Layer the fried, breaded chicken with sauce and cheese in a freezer-safe pan. Wrap well, first in plastic wrap and then with foil.
Alternatively, you can cook the breaded chicken breasts, let them cool, and freeze them for later dish assembly.

Should I freeze the Chicken Parmesan before or after baking?
It's best to freeze the Chicken Parmesan before baking it. The breaded chicken may become soggy if frozen after baking, resulting in a less crispy texture.

Can I use store-bought marinara sauce for this recipe?
Yes, I recommend you use your favorite store-bought marinara sauce for convenience.  Homemade marinara sauce will give this dish your signature flavor. but we don't always have time to make it from scratch. If using store-bought sauce, look for a high-quality brand with natural ingredients.

Can I use a different type of cheese for the Chicken Parmesan?
Yes, you can use different types of cheese depending on your preference. Mozzarella is the most commonly used cheese for Chicken Parmesan, but you can also use other types of cheeses like provolone, Parmesan, or a combination of cheeses for added flavor. Experiment with different cheeses to find your favorite combination!

Can I use frozen chicken breasts for this recipe?
You can use frozen chicken breasts if that's what you have on hand. Just be sure to thaw them completely before breading and cooking to ensure even cooking.

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
Yes, you can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free breadcrumbs or crushed gluten-free crackers for the breading. You can also use gluten-free pasta for serving. Just be sure to check all the ingredients for any hidden sources of gluten.

Can I bake the Chicken Parmesan directly from frozen?
Yes, you can bake the Chicken Parmesan directly from frozen, but you'll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. It may take longer to ensure that the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Use a meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked.

Tips for Success

Use Good-Quality Ingredients: Since this recipe uses simple ingredients, it's important to use good-quality ones to ensure the best flavor. Use fresh chicken breasts, high-quality marinara sauce, and good-quality cheese for the best results.

Properly Bread the Chicken: The breading is a crucial part of Chicken Parmesan as it adds a crispy texture. Be sure to coat the chicken breasts thoroughly with eggs and breadcrumbs, and press the breadcrumbs onto the chicken to adhere well.

Freeze and Store Properly: To ensure that the chicken Parmesan freezes well, be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Label it with the date and store it in the freezer for up to three months.

Adjust Cooking Time: If you're cooking the Chicken Parmesan from frozen, be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly. It may take longer than the regular cooking time to ensure that the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Prepare the Chicken: You want the chicken to have a uniform thickness. Pound the chicken breasts between double pieces of plastic wrap.  The plastic wrap keeps the chicken from falling apart. Pound using the flat side of a metal meat mallet.  
Pounded chicken breasts for chicken Parmesan
Pound the Chicken Breasts


Control the Mess: Using one hand, coat both sides of each piece of chicken in the breadcrumb mixture. Using just one hand keep your other hand clean.

How to coat a chicken breast with bread crumbs.
Coat the Chicken with Breading

Use Hot Oil: When is the oil hot enough? Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the breaded chicken breasts.


Browning the chicken breasts for chicken Parmesan
Brown the Chicken in Oil
Coat the bottom of a baking dish with the prepared tomato sauce.  Add the breaded chicken breasts and top with more sauce.
Breaded chicken cutlets.
Place Chicken in Baking Dish

The Chicken Parmesan Recipe


family dinner, chicken dinner, freezer dinner
dinner
Italian
Yield: 4
Author: Donna Urso
Weeknight Chicken Parmesan

Weeknight Chicken Parmesan

Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 45 MinTotal time: 1 H & 5 M
A semi-homemade, easy recipe for Chicken Parmesan to serve now or freeze.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Pound the chicken breasts between double pieces of plastic wrap. Pound using the flat side of a metal meat mallet. Cut each breast in half, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  2. Break the egg into a pie plate. Add the water, salt, and pepper and mix to combine. Place the chicken breasts in the egg mixture to coat.
  3. On a plate, mix together the Italian-seasoned bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and the grated cheeses.
  4. I like a 50/50 mix of bread crumbs and cheese. Keep this in mind if you adjust the recipe for more people. You may want to adjust the mixture.
  5. Using one hand, coat both sides of each piece of chicken in the breadcrumb mixture.
  6. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan, over medium-high heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the breaded chicken breasts.
  7. Cook until one side is browned. Turn the chicken and continue cooking until golden brown.
  8. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels.
  9. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with the prepared tomato sauce. Add the breaded chicken breasts.
  10. Top each breast with additional sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.
  11. Cover first with a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook.
  12. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  13. Bake for 45-50 minutes, covered with foil, until bubbly and heated through. Serve with your favorite pasta and a green salad.

Nutrition Facts

Calories

610.34

Fat (grams)

39.98

Sat. Fat (grams)

6.92

Carbs (grams)

24.65

Fiber (grams)

3.26

Net carbs

21.39

Sugar (grams)

6.91

Protein (grams)

37.55

Sodium (milligrams)

934.27

Cholesterol (grams)

153.41

Nutritional information is approximate.


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