Chicken Champions

I Tried Our Food Editor’s Favorite Chicken Parmesan Recipe — Here’s My Honest Review.

updated Mar 13, 2020
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chowhound's chicken parm on a plate
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones; Design: Kitchn

Chowhound (formerly has been around since the early days of food blogging. What began as a niche message board now services a wide-reaching audience, and, for the first time, one of their recipes is a contender in one of our celebrity recipe showdowns.

We opted to include Chowhound’s chicken Parmesan recipe based on the recommendation of Kitchn’s Food Editor-at-Large, Christine Gallary. Their recipe for chicken Parm is her all-time favorite, thanks to the crispy, Parmesan-flecked breading that, she says, remains crisp even when nestled atop tomato sauce. The recipe certainly sounded like a winner, but I headed to the kitchen to try it out for myself.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones; Design: Kitchn

How to Make Chowhound’s Chicken Parmesan

You’ll start off by making Chowhound’s Easy Tomato Sauce. Cook the onion until it begins to brown, then add the garlic. Once the garlic is golden, add crushed tomatoes and simmer until thickened, adjusting the salt and adding sugar to balance the acidity, if necessary. The sauce can be made up to one day in advance, which the recipe notes may improve the flavor.

For the chicken, you’ll halve boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, then layer them between plastic wrap or in a zip-top bag. Use a meat mallet or heavy pan to pound the chicken to an even thickness, then season with salt and pepper. Toss flour, salt, and pepper together in a shallow dish, mix milk and eggs in a second, then combine panko breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese in a third. Dredge the chicken in the flour first, then the egg mixture, then the panko-Parmesan mixture.

Pan-fry the chicken in olive oil until golden brown on each side. While the final batch fries, bring the sauce to a simmer in a saucepan, adding fresh basil when it’s warm. Place the chicken on a baking sheet, arrange slices of fresh mozzarella overtop, and broil until the cheese is gold and bubbly. To serve, ladle tomato sauce onto each plate, top with chicken, and garnish with fresh basil.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones

My Honest Review of Chowhound’s Chicken Parmesan

Some of my all-time favorite recipes are ones recommended to me by friends and colleagues. And while this recipe for chicken Parmesan isn’t my new go-to, it does check most of the boxes on my list for the perfect Parmesan-crusted chicken.

Here’s what I liked. Pounding the chicken using a meat mallet and plastic wrap is an easy and effective way to evenly flatten the pieces, and results in a reasonably-sized serving of chicken. The chicken is seasoned directly (some recipes call for simply seasoning the flour), which results in a far more flavorful dish. There’s not as much Parmesan in the breadcrumb coating as there is in other recipes, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — it means the breading browns more deeply and evenly, but isn’t as intensely Parmesan-flavored.

Where this recipe lost points is mostly on aesthetics. The fresh mozzarella melted under the broiler, but it never bubbled or browned. I kept waiting for the color change, which ultimately resulted in slightly-overcooked chicken. And although the breading on the top of the chicken did remain crispy, the bottom became soggy in the sauce.

Credit: Patty Catalano

If You’re Making Chowhound’s Chicken Parmesan, a Few Tips

  1. Add herbs to the sauce from the start. As written, the sauce is very tomato-forward and relies on high-quality canned tomatoes for flavor. There’s no reason not to include a sprig of basil as the sauce simmers from the start. Taste and adjust the sauce to your taste, adding salt, a pinch of sugar, or even some vinegar, depending on the brand of tomatoes you choose.
  2. Start warming the sauce first. I don’t like to walk away — mentally or physically — from hot oil, so start heating the sauce before you begin frying.
  3. Broil until the cheese melts. Don’t try to wait until the cheese browns and bubbles as the recipe instructs. Slide the chicken under the broiler until the cheese melts, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Wait until ready to eat to assemble on the plate. The bottom of the chicken cutlet gets soggy quickly, so wait until ready to serve before placing the breaded cutlets atop the sauce or spoon the sauce over the top of the chicken.

Rating: 8/10

Have you ever made Chowhound’s Chicken Parmesan? Let us know in the comments!

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones; Design: Kitchn