Chicken Champions

Gordon Ramsay’s Clever Restaurant Trick For Better Chicken Parmesan

updated Jun 21, 2021
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gordon ramsay's chicken parm on a plate
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones; Design: Kitchn

Pro chef and fiery TV personality Gordon Ramsay is perhaps best known for his Beef Wellington. But when we saw that his video for chicken Parmesan from his TV show The F Word has over nine million views on YouTube, it was clear that Ramsay had to be a contender in our chicken Parmesan celebrity recipe showdown.

Ramsay is no stranger to culinary competition. He expects nothing less than perfection from his contestants on shows like Hell’s Kitchen, Masterchef, and Kitchen Nightmares, so I certainly wasn’t going to show him any mercy. After all, he’s a total pro, and I expected great things from his recipe. Here’s what happened when I made it at home.

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

How To Make Gordon Ramsay’s Chicken Parmesan

You’ll start by making the sauce. Sweat the onion and garlic in grapeseed oil, then add diced Roma tomatoes and cook until broken down. Stir in canned, crushed tomatoes and fresh basil, then cook until thickened.

Next, move on to the chicken. Trim the tenderloin portion from the chicken breasts and reserve them for another use. Butterfly each boneless, skinless chicken breast, then use a rolling pin to flatten them to an even thickness between two sheets of parchment paper. You’ll follow with a standard breading procedure, dredging the chicken in seasoned flour, dipping in beaten eggs, and coating in a mixture of panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Roll the breaded breasts again between parchment paper sheets to set the breading.

Pan-fry the chicken breasts one at a time in grapeseed oil until brown and crisp on the first side. Add a pat of unsalted butter to the pan, flip, and continue cooking. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet and arrange sliced fresh mozzarella down the center of each piece of chicken. Season the tops with salt and pepper, then broil until the cheese melts. Spoon some of the tomato sauce onto a plate, top with the chicken, and finish with grated Parmesan cheese.

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

My Honest Review of Gordon Ramsay’s Chicken Parmesan

This recipe is as straightforward as it comes, and likely uses the same techniques and ingredients as your neighborhood Italian joint. It featured some smart tips, but also some cumbersome steps. I’ll start with my least favorite parts.

I docked this recipe a few points due to the oversized, under-seasoned breasts and the complicated pounding procedure. The instruction to remove the tenderloin from the boneless breast is frankly unnecessary, and butterflying the chicken, rather than halving it, meant each serving of chicken was too large. Using a rolling pin to flatten the chicken between parchment was awkward and difficult, and the pieces of chicken were unevenly thick. Dealing with parchment paper that had been exposed to raw chicken, in addition to all the numerous bowls and pieces of equipment required, proved cumbersome.

The chicken was also not well-seasoned — no surprise since salt and pepper were only added to the flour and not directly to the meat. The breading was crispy and light, but the smoked paprika was out of place, overwhelming the delicate panko breading and Parmesan flavors.

Where this recipe gained points was in its frying technique. This was the only recipe that specified grapeseed oil, and I was skeptical that I would be able to distinguish a difference in taste when compared to a neutral oil like canola. But the flavor was clean, which let the Parmesan and caramelized flavor of browned breadcrumbs come through. The best tip gleaned from this recipe was adding butter to the frying oil. This restaurant trick made the dish taste decadent and rich.

The sauce was also a total home run. It uses both fresh and crushed tomatoes, and the addition of fresh tomatoes (even in the dead of winter) was key to the flavor and texture of the sauce. Ultimately, this was the best sauce from the entire recipe showdown. For the best results, use the highest quality tomatoes you can find.

Credit: Patty Catalano

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

  1. Leave the tenderloin intact and halve the chicken breasts. Removing the tenderloin is unnecessary and potentially wasteful. Leave the tenderloin intact and slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally for a more manageable serving size. You can always go back for seconds!
  2. Pound with a meat mallet. It wasn’t easy to flatten the chicken breasts between sheets of parchment with a rolling pin. The flat side of a meat mallet or heavy skillet is a better option for evenly flattening the meat. Cover the chicken with parchment or plastic wrap, or slide into a large zip-top bag.
  3. Season the chicken before breading. Season the chicken all over with salt before breading. Just adding the seasoning to the flour doesn’t do enough to flavor the flattened chicken breasts.
  4. Omit extraneous spices. Parmesan should be the dominant flavor in the breading, and shouldn’t have to compete with other spices or seasonings. Save the smoked paprika for another dinner dish.
  5. Don’t skip the butter. For a truly rich, restaurant-quality meal, pan-fry with butter in the oil. You won’t regret it.

Rating: 7/10

Have you ever made Gordon Ramsay’s chicken Parmesan? Tell us what you thought!

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