I Tried Every Frozen Chicken Parmesan I Could Find — And I’ll Be Stocking the $4 Winner in My Freezer Forever

published May 14, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Overhead view of chicken parmesan over spaghetti on a white plate with a blue outer rim.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

Don’t you wish we lived in a world where a piping-hot plate of really good chicken Parmesan (or chicken Parmigiana) magically appeared in front of you whenever you wanted? The just-saucy-enough crispy cutlet blanketed with a layer of melty mozzarella — when done right, few things are better than this classic dish. But being that my top hat and wand are permanently in the shop, I headed to the next best place to turn this wishful thinking into a reality: the grocery store.

Over the years, I found many homemade equivalents (or better) just waiting for me in the  freezer aisle. The meatballs! The French toast! The cheesecakes! The shelves are packed with shockingly good versions of beloved recipes — all neatly wrapped and ready to eat, after a quick trip to the oven. I was curious to see if any of the many chicken Parm meals I’d spotted could stand up to the ones we might have at our favorite restaurant or a nonna’s table. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

So I bought every single one I could find and spent an afternoon reheating and rehashing the highs (and lows) of these saucy cutlets. I judge each frozen chicken Parmigiana across the following three criteria:

  • Saucincess: One-note sauces are a snore. I’m looking for a bit of herby sweetness to balance out the melted cheese and crispy coating. There should be enough to coat the cutlet, but not so much that it’s become soggy.
  • Breading: Is it crispy? Is it well-seasoned? Is it perfectly browned? Does it fully stick to the cutlet? The answer to all should be “yes.”
  • Cutlet quality: I’m no snob for cutlets over patties when it comes to chicken Parm, but the chicken itself should taste as close to freshly made as possible (no plastic taste or artificial saltiness to the meat). 
  • Cheesiness: It’s in the name, so hopefully some sort of Parmesan is more-than-present here, with plenty of mozzarella, for good measure.
  • Pasta: While it’s a bit too much to ask for an al dente noodle, I still judged the texture of the noodles, how well they were coated in sauce, and the proportion of noodles to chicken. 
Credit: Mackenzie Filson

With all this in mind, one such frozen chicken Parmesan — Michael Angelo’s chicken Parmigiana — was the clear winner. It beat out the fancy one that’s double the price! 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

Best Frozen Chicken Parmesan: Michael Angelo’s Chicken Parmigiana

Where all of the other boxed frozen chicken Parms fell short, the Michael Angelo’s shined: The chicken itself was a tender, well-seasoned cutlet covered in an oregano-laced red sauce that didn’t interfere with the breading. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

Admittedly, none of the frozen chicken Parms I tried are as crispy as the freshly made kind. That’s a bit too much to ask, sadly. However, Michael Angelo’s came the closest, with well-seasoned breading that didn’t feel like an afterthought and bits of oregano that complemented the sauce. There were no soggy pieces drifting away from the cutlets, either. It also reheated nicely, when all the others veered into too-overly-toasted, verging-on-burnt territory.

Plus, there was no denying that Michael Angelo’s chicken Parmigiana had layers of flavor between the sauce, chicken cutlet, and plenty of melty, creamy-salty mozzarella. I’d almost go so far as to say that this one is way better than the more expensive restaurant name brand and for basically half the price. 

Buy: Michael Angelo’s Chicken Parmigiana, $3.89 for 10 ounces at Kroger

Do you have a go-to brand of frozen chicken Parmesan? Tell us about it in the comments below!