Food

Extra-Fast Chicken Parm

Skillet Chicken Parmesan

Chicken is the ultimate dinner staple. It’s delicious, versatile and makes any dish feel like a hearty meal. So, this month, we’ll be sharing easy chicken recipes. First up is this one-pot recipe from Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion, authors of The Dinner Plan. Here’s how to make it in less than 30 minutes…

Skillet Chicken Parm
By Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion from The Dinner Plan

It took some trial and error to adapt this Italian favorite into a weeknight-friendly recipe, but we think we nailed it. We skipped breading the chicken to save time and keep things more healthful (and surprisingly didn’t really miss it). The sauce, which cooks for only about 15 minutes, is also lighter and fresher tasting. There’s still plenty of gooey cheese, though, and the garlic, pepper flakes and oregano lend big flavor. We like to serve it alongside pasta or in a hoagie roll with the sauce (there’s lots of it) spooned on top.

Skillet Chicken Parm
Serves 4

You’ll need:

2 tbsp olive oil
4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, patted dry
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
Large pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cups shredded packaged mozzarella or sliced fresh mozzarella, patted dry
Freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (optional)
Handful of fresh basil leaves (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400F, with a rack in the middle position. In a large high-sided sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper, add to the pan, and cook until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Flip the pieces over and cook 1 minute more.

Sprinkle the garlic around the chicken, followed by the pepper flakes and oregano. Pour the tomatoes evenly over the chicken, season with salt and pepper, then gently shake the pan to distribute the sauce (you can also do this with a small spoon). Top the chicken with the mozzarella and Parmesan (if using) to taste.

Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the chicken is just cooked through, about 12 to 14 minutes. (Brown it under the broiler, if you like.) Once it’s off the heat, top with the basil leaves (if using), tearing any large ones. Let the Parm rest for about 5 minutes before serving and keep the pan’s handle covered with an oven mitt; it’s easy to forget it’s hot. Serve with more Parmesan cheese, if you like.

Note: If you want to make the recipe ahead of time, skip preheating the oven and refrigerate the dish after adding cheese (covered, for up to one day). Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before baking, uncovered. We prefer to do this rather than reheating the finished dish because chicken breasts dry out very easily.

Thank you so much, Kathy and Caroline! Your new cookbook is a game-changer.

P.S. Chicken parm meatballs, and pan-fried beans and greens.

(Recipe excerpted from The Dinner Plan, by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion. Published by Abrams. Photo by Maura McEvoy. This series is edited by Stella Blackmon.)

  1. Hilary says...

    Loved this! My husband and I didn’t even miss the breading. On the table in 20 minutes- the perfect weeknight meal!

  2. My boyfriend loves this dish, but it usually takes so long to make. What a perfect recipe to come across this morning!

  3. Kaela Bergquist says...

    This sounds tasty but when I get home from work I don’t like cooking anything too involved. I default to eggs poached in marinara sauce when I’m hangry for something like chicken parm. I make little wells in some heated marinara sauce and crack in eggs. Cover until the eggs are a desired consistency. You can add cheese, but it doesn’t need any. Just crusty bread if it is on hand.

  4. I made this the same day it was posted and it really hit the spot; it truly is super-speedy, ridiculously-easy, and satisfying. (I also don’t hate that it’s low carb — traditional chicken parmesan is one of my favorite things of all time, but can be a bit of a gut bomb.) I’m thinking of trying it with big planks of sliced eggplant next, a la eggplant parm.

    • Kim says...

      I was also thinking of making this with eggplant. Eggplant parm is one f my favorite dishes, but I need a quicker, simpler version for weeknights- or any night really.

  5. Kate says...

    Thank you so much. I can make this happen.
    Love,
    A Young Newly-Married with a Sparse Selection of Ingredients

  6. Rachel says...

    I made this last night (in a cast-iron skillet). It was SO easy and tasty! Thank you for this great recipe which we’ll definitely be adding to our meals for busy-week-nights rotation.

  7. Beth says...

    This looks good – I’ll try it!
    I love that this skips the breading to speed things up and reduce the raw chicken-handling – the cleanup and salmonella scaries sometimes deter me from doing much with chicken.
    BUT, If you’re carb-friendly (I am!), I think this would benefit from some toasted breadcrumbs on top! I mix with some oil and seasonings and toast in the toaster oven. For more specific and slightly fancier directions , Smitten Kitchen: https://smittenkitchen.com/2015/02/spaghetti-pangrattato-with-fried-eggs/

    • AliG says...

      I’ve recently discovered toasted pine nuts are also a great substitution for breadcrumbs as a topper (not because of gluten, but because I ran out of breadcrumbs!). Toast them, crush them up, but leave some chunks, and use just as you would breadcrumbs. They get even more nutty when cooking and their natural oils come out. So good!

    • What a great idea — I also really like Alig’s suggestion to top with crushed toasted pine nuts. Either way, a little textural contrast would be nice. I also keep both pine nuts and toasted breadcrumbs in my freezer so that I always have them on hand (and especially for the pine nuts) they don’t don’t go rancid/stale.

    • Beth says...

      AliG – Yum!

  8. Maranda says...

    This looks amazing! Going to have to keep this in mind the next time I need dinner inspiration.

  9. Liz says...

    I’m a little confused. At what point do you put the skillet in the oven? From the beginning, and just keep taking it out or moving the rack out to do each step?

    • Rachel says...

      You fry the chicken on the stove, after which you add the rest of the ingredients and then pop it in the oven.

    • Kali says...

      I was confused by this too and just cooked it on the stovetop. What’s the advantage to baking it in the oven?

  10. Whaaaa looking at this half an hour before lunch time is a killer. Saved hte recipe for later. thanks :)

  11. lyla says...

    Would love some vegetarian alternatives if all month is gonna be chicken! Maybe eggplant? mushroom? not sure what would work for this.

    • Meghan Edwards says...

      I was thinking eggplant as I read the recipe, but now that you mention it I think an eggplant/portobello combo would be awesome!

    • AliG says...

      I think some nice big portobella’s would be great in this! Scoop out the gills, season and heat on both sides and then follow the same directions.

  12. Sarah says...

    Just made this this evening – it’s delicious & so quick & easy to make! Thanks so much for the recipe everyone loved it even my toddler!

  13. Julie says...

    Made this for dinner tonight; it was sooo easy and tasty! I wished I had some spinach on hand– I would have tossed that into the mix to add some green… also, wish I would’ve had some wine on hand…. next time :)

  14. This looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it!!

  15. Dinner solved. Thank you!!!

    Alina

  16. this just made me really hungry.

  17. didn’t have dinner planned and wanted to make something that was quick and easy – this is perfect! making tonight!

    • Just made and it was amazing. And so so easy. After a long day of work, it was the perfect quick and easy recipe!

  18. Anja Blau says...

    i really like your food series here. though chicken i find pretty difficult regarding how most chicken are held. maybe you could write a post about which chicken is held animal friendly, what to consider and where to buy it?

    • Ellen says...

      Seconded! I agree, chicken is really versatile and this sounds delish, but I cant bring myself to buy the chicken in the first place (vet student who has learnt about animal production and now buys meat from farms I’ve been to)

    • Allison says...

      one option is to join a CSA/Farm Share where you purchase directly from a family farm or collective of family farms. I’ve been using 8 O’Clock Ranch and I love love love their meat, and its all pasture raised on their farm in upstate NY.

    • Julia says...

      Same in Germany: we stopped eating chicken years ago because of the terrible conditions.

    • Keely says...

      I’m so glad to see this mentioned here. I love this blog for its progressive, compassionate outlook on so many topics; it would be great to see that carried over into acknowledgement of the humane and environmental issues surrounding eating mistreated animals.

  19. Emma says...

    Question for someone better at cooking than me: is it a good idea to use a cast iron skillet for this?

    • Katie Larissa says...

      If it’s a well-seasoned skillet (note: I don’t mean spices kind of seasoned:)) then I usually find that a cast iron works well for almost anything!

    • I used a cast iron which was perfect.

    • Absolutely! I cooked some chicken in a cast iron this weekend: it sears the chicken breasts so well, and then you can finish cooking it in the oven.

    • Allison says...

      i’ve had the same question on skillets in the oven for a long time and can’t seem to figure it out – what kinds of skillets can go from stovetop to oven? just cast iron or can you put aluminum in there? help!

  20. Michelle says...

    Skip the frying on the stovetop and bake the breaded chicken turning once to brown and cook the chicken. Then top with jarred pasta sauce and cheese, bake until melted

    • This is exactly what I do, too!

  21. Lily says...

    Yum! Want to try tonight!

  22. This looks fabulous! Can’t wait to try it!

  23. Sam says...

    I’ve tried this recipe with eggplant in place of chicken and it works splendidly!

    • agnes says...

      thanks for the great idea!

    • Kim says...

      Thank, Sam!

  24. Oh this looks so delicious! Definitely going to give this a try soon. It’s been so cold and rainy already here in D.C. Some comfort food is definitely on order.

  25. Joanne Kang says...

    Using chicken thighs may help with dryness if you’re planning to reheat in the future or meal-prepping for work (which is my case)! It’s always a good substitute for chicken dishes and tastes way better than breast in my opinion.

    • Thank you for the tip!

  26. C G says...

    this looks delicious, as do all of the recipes you post. i’d love to see some vegan recipes included as well :)

    • Sasha says...

      Yes please! Me too :)

    • Charlotte says...

      I second (third?) that!

    • Laura says...

      one more vote! :)

    • Florrie says...

      So would I.

    • Ditto!

    • Sophia F. says...

      Me too! Really, I’d love to see some new weeknight meals that are vegetarian and NOT pasta… need some inspiration as we head back to school!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good idea, thank you!

    • Abbey says...

      amen!

    • Sophia, I just picked up Josh Mcfadden’s new veg cookbook, Six Seasons, and it’s AMAZING for exactly that reason — easy, tasty vegetarian weeknight dinners. Highly recommend!

  27. Brooke Anderson says...

    My mom made chicken parm similar to this way when I was growing up. SO good! I was confused when I had my first taste of chicken parm with breading because it was strange to me.

    Skip the pasta/bread and serve with green veggies – you have a perfect low-carb meal!