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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Classic Eggplant Parmesan

Gooey, cheesy savory goodness - what's not to like? Eggplant Parmesan is definitely a labor of love, so be sure to give yourself enough time to enjoy the process. This is a perfect meal for a Sunday supper with family or a special occasion.

The secret lies in the balance of being able to taste the creamy eggplant, the sauce and the cheese all at the same time. You really don’t want too much sauce in the layers or you will end up a bit soggy - less is more!

Classic Eggplant Parmesan


Classic Eggplant Parmesan

Rated 5.0 stars by 1 users

Prep Time

45 minutes

Cook Time

75 minutes


Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Classic Eggplant Parmesan


    For the sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 (20 ounce) jars tomato passata
  • 4 sprigs basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the eggplant:

  • 3 medium Italian eggplant, about 2 1/2 pounds, sliced into 1/3inch rounds
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups gluten free panko breadcrumbs, pulsed in a food processor
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for frying
  • 1/2 cup torn basil leaves
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, not in water, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


  1. For the sauce, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and heat until the oil moves freely in the pan, another 30 seconds. Add the garlic and onion to the oil and cook stirring often until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the passata. Nestle the basil sprigs in the sauce and season with the salt. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce is slightly reduced and the flavors have infused into the tomato, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard the basil sprigs. Set aside.
  2. For the eggplant, lay the eggplant slices on a paper towel lined tray. Season the slices evenly on both sides with 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Allow the slices to sit with the salt for 20 minutes. Dry the slices very well with a clean dish towel.
  3. Prepare a breading station by putting the rice flour in shallow bowl, the eggs in another and the pulsed gluten free panko in another. Season the flour and the eggs each with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan by 1/2 an inch. Dredge an eggplant slice in the flour and then the egg shaking off excess as you go. Lightly bread the eggplant in the panko and place the slice in the hot oil. Cook on the first side until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the eggplant and cook until evenly browned all over, an additional 2 minutes. Remove the crispy eggplant to a wire rack. Continue with the remaining eggplant adding more oil to the pan as needed and skimming the oil for any dark breadcrumbs.
  4. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. Drizzle a 9 x 13 baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Coat the bottom of the pan with 1/2 cup of the sauce. Shingle half of the eggplant over the bottom of the pan. Spoon about 2 cups of sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle the basil leaves over the sauce. The eggplant does not have to be perfectly covered in the sauce. Tear half of the sliced mozzarella over the basil and sprinkle with half of the parmesan. Continue with the remaining eggplant, 1 3/4 cups of sauce leaving a few of the crispy eggplant pieces poking out for crunch and the remaining mozzarella and parmesan. Bake until the dish is bubbly around the edges and the cheese is melted and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with additional sauce if desired.
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