Recipe Review

I Finally Tried Martha Stewart’s Famous Eggplant Parmesan

updated Jul 28, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Tara Donne; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell; Design: The Kitchn

I first heard about Martha Stewart’s eggplant Parmesan recipe during the 2019 Super Bowl, when it was featured in a commercial for T-Mobile. You might remember it: A dad is mistakingly texting his daughter like she’s Google, and she helps him by looking up the best eggplant Parmesan recipe and sending it to him. The link she sends is none other than Martha Stewart’s baked eggplant Parmesan.

I’ve been curious about this recipe ever since the ad aired, and when I went to check it out, I realized it has a serious fan base. The recipe has more than 2,500 reviews, many of them raving about the results. I was curious if it would live up to its hype, and also to see how a baked version would compare to a fried version. Here’s what happened when I gave it a go.

Get the recipe: Martha Stewart’s Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Credit: Photo: Tara Donne; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell; Design: The Kitchn

How to Make Martha Stewart’s Baked Eggplant Parmesan

You’ll start by preheating the oven and brushing two baking sheets with olive oil. Then you’ll mix together two eggs and a bit of water in one shallow bowl and plain dry breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, dried oregano and basil, and salt and pepper in another.

After peeling and slicing the eggplant, you’ll dip both sides of the rounds into the egg mixture, followed by the breadcrumb mixture. Place them on the prepared baking sheets and bake, flipping once, until they’re golden-brown on both sides, about 40 minutes total.

Next, you’ll assemble the eggplant Parm by layering your favorite jarred tomato sauce with the baked breaded eggplant, shredded mozzarella cheese, and grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes, until everything is bubbling and the cheese is melted.

Credit: Photo: Tara Donne | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

My Honest Review of Martha Stewart’s Baked Eggplant Parmesan

I was feeling good about this recipe because I truly hate the mess of frying — skipping it in place of baking seemed like an immediate win. Ultimately, however, this recipe proved why so many of the best eggplant Parmesans are indeed fried. This version was dry and dense, rather than silky and decadent.

The recipe has you slice the eggplant into 1/2-inch rounds, which was practically double the thickness of the other recipes I tried and meant they didn’t layer on top of one another nicely. The uneven layering made it hard for the eggplant to absorb the sauce, leaving them pretty dry and flavorless. It also meant the casserole was difficult to slice.

Overall, this recipe won points for being so mess-free, but the flavor and texture just didn’t add up to something that would win this eggplant Parmesan showdown.

Credit: Sheela Prakash

If You’re Making Martha Stewart’s Eggplant Parmesan, a Few Tips

  1. Slice the eggplant more thinly. After testing four eggplant Parmesan recipes, I can confidently say thinner is better; it makes for easier assembling, slicing, and eating. It also helps all the ingredients marry. Aim for more like 1/3-inch thickness, rather than 1/2-inch, here.
  2. Double the egg wash and breadcrumb mixture. Despite the fact that I was diligent about lightly coating the eggplant, I ran out of both the egg wash and the breadcrumb mixture. Starting with double will ensure you have enough.
  3. Use low-moisture shredded mozzarella (and use more of it). The recipe doesn’t specify what type of mozzarella to use — only that it should be shredded. I took that to mean the bagged, low-moisture stuff, either whole milk or part-skim, and it worked well. A mere 1 1/2 cups for the whole dish didn’t give me the gooey cheese pulls I wanted, so I’d use more without hesitation if I made it again.

    Rating: 6/10

    Have you ever made Martha Stewart’s Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe? Tell us what you thought!
Credit: Photo: Tara Donne; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell; Design: The Kitchn