Chicken Parmesan is one of my favorite dishes, but it can be labor intensive and let’s be honest – at the end of a busy day, I am not really in the mood to spend more than 20 minutes on dinner. 😉
I love this dish because I can toss it all together and let it cook – very little effort on my part, but it tastes like I have spent all day making a delicious dinner.
The Secret Ingredient to this recipe
This recipe uses a secret ingredient: CROUTONS.
Yep- you read that right. No dredging each chicken breast in butter or eggs and then dipping in bread crumbs and frying. You just layer all the simple ingredients in a pan, sprinkle with croutons, and you are good to bake!
I know that croutons may sound like a strange topping for Chicken Parmesan, but here’s the thing – they are loaded with flavor and when they are baked in the oven, the top layer of croutons get crunchy while the bottom layer gets warm and soft like garlic bread (from touching the sauce and the cheese). Buttery, garlic-y flavor in every bite!
How to make this easy casserole
Pour olive oil in the bottom of a 9×13″ baking pan. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and spread around so that it covers the bottom of the dish evenly.
Place chicken breasts in bottom of the pan.
Pour marinara sauce on top of chicken breasts. Sprinkle fresh basil on top.
Add half of the cheese on top of the sauce, then dump all of the croutons on top of the cheese.
Finish by sprinkling the remaining cheese on top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-55 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken breasts), then let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Tips for making this Chicken Parmesan Pasta Casserole:
- If you have any leftovers, the croutons tend to get soggy after sitting in the fridge overnight. When reheating this dish, I will sometimes put it in the oven on broil for a minute or two to help crisp up the croutons.
- Because this dish has so few ingredients, using high quality and fresh ingredients whenever possible will make a HUGE difference in the taste and quality. I would recommend using fresh basil and fresh grated Parmesan cheese for the best results! This also prefer using this bottled marinara sauce or this one.
- This dish can easily be doubled if you are feeding a crowd or want to save one pan for another night.
- If you are freezing this dish, add all the ingredients except the croutons and then stick in the freezer. Add the croutons right before you bake it.
- You could also add in a layer of vegetables, if desired. Sliced zucchini, diced green bell pepper, or chopped broccoli would all be delicious.
- Serve over cooked noodles to make this a hearty meal.
Need a quick and easy side dish to serve with this casserole?
Make our Homemade 30 Minute Rolls – they really only take 30 minutes from start to finish! Watch how to make them here:
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What to serve with Chicken Parmesan Casserole:
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