A delicious and classic chicken parm sandwich, with crispy chicken, marinara sauce, fresh basil and cheese, all on a toasted bun.
Why I love this chicken parm sandwich
- The classic chicken parm sandwich is great comfort food. Simply add a green salad and you have a delicious dinner.
- This delicious sandwich features crispy chicken cutlet, pounded thin and breaded with Italian dried bread crumbs mixed with some Parmesan. On top, is some marinara sauce, some fresh basil and a couple of Provolone cheese slices. I finish it with another dollop of marinara, to make it extra saucy.
- I’m serving mine on my Homemade Hamburger Buns, with my homemade marinara sauce, fresh basil and lots of melty cheese.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Marinara Sauce: You can use a homemade marinara sauce or a good quality, store-bought marinara is also a good and easy option.
Chicken: You can usually find thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken filets at the grocery store, but if not, simply start with regular boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cut each breast into 3 thin pieces, slicing lengthwise from the sides.
Bread Crumbs: I love simple Italian seasoned dried bread crumbs for my chicken coating. Be sure to grab the Italian seasoned dried bread crumbs and not the plain one, for extra flavour.
Parmesan: You can use either freshly grated (my preference) or pre-grated Parmesan cheese for the chicken coating.
Basil: I love adding fresh basil leaves under the cheese. If you don’t have any fresh basil, simply sprinkle a bit of dried basil over the sauce before adding the cheese, for an extra bit of flavour.
Cheese: Either Provolone or Mozzarella cheese works nicely here. I prefer Provolone myself, for better flavour, but it doesn’t melt quite as nicely. If you want the full-on melty cheese experience, go with mozzarella. I go for the pre-sliced for this dish, as it melts quickly and evenly.
This is a visual summary of the steps to make this recipe. Always refer to the complete instructions in the Recipe Card below when making the recipe.
After halving and pounding the chicken, it is breaded first in seasoned flour, then dipped in egg and finally into an Italian dried breadcrumb and Parmesan mixture.
Once breaded, place onto a plate and pop into the refrigerator for 1 hour, uncovered. When ready to fry, heat some cooking oil in a frying pan over medium high heat and cook the chicken until golden brown. Top with marinara sauce (just a dollop in the middle, so the crispy bits don’t get soggy). Top that with a fresh basil leaf, then cover the basil with cheese. Pop into the preheated oven until the cheese has melted.
The trick to keeping the breading on the chicken is to bread, then refrigerate uncovered for 1 hour before frying! The extra bit of time pays off with perfectly crispy breading that stays on the chicken!
Hamburger bun, ciabatta bun, garlic bread baguette, cut into large slices.
I love to pair the more casual Chicken Parm Sandwich with a salad. Classic Caesar salad makes a nice side or just go for a green garden salad with Italian vinaigrette.
You can. While freshly cooked will always be nicest, you can bread, refrigerate and fry the chicken parmesan ahead. Allow to cook, then loosely cover and refrigerate. Re-heat/re-crisp on a baking sheet in a 350F oven for 10 minutes or so before topping.
A Few Tips
- Sometimes when you have halved the chicken, you will end up with a too-large piece of chicken, which you can just cut in half. Likewise, you will often end up with a piece that breaks apart into two smaller pieces. That’s ok, too. Just bread the smaller pieces and you can use two small pieces on a sandwich, instead of one larger one.
- Take some time to make sure your pounded chicken is relatively even thickness, so it will cook evenly, but don’t pound too much or the chicken will turn mushy. I find it pounds best when pounded on the outside side, rather than on the cut side. Just pound enough to make it evenly thick.
- Make sure your fresh basil leaves are covered with cheese before broiling, or they will turn black and/or burn.
- Brush bun with olive oil (and some garlic too, if you like) and toast cut side down in a dry skillet.
Get the Recipe: Chicken Parm Sandwich
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
- Cooking oil for frying
- 4 hamburger or ciabatta buns, or try a garlic bread baguette sliced Butter or olive oil, for buns
For Breading Chicken:
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup Italian dried bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup marinara or tomato sauce , homemade or store-bought
- Fresh basil leaves, or a bit of dried basil
- Sliced mozzarella or Provolone cheese
- Cut the chicken breasts in half, by slicing in half from the long sides and across. (Tip!! This is easier if the chicken is still slightly frozen). Pound the chicken a bit until it is evenly thick. Don't pound so much that it becomes mushy. I find it is better to pound the outside surface, rather than the cut side. Pat dry with a paper towel.
- Set up 3 bowls. To the first bowl, add the flour and some salt and pepper. Add the eggs to the 2nd bowl, and whisk with a fork. To the 3rd bowl, add the dried Italian bread crumbs and the Parmesan and stir together. Take one piece of chicken and coat in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip into the egg and let the excess drip off. Place into the bread crumb mixture and press the crumbs onto the chicken until you have an even coating. Place onto a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken, placing onto plate without over-lapping. Place plate, uncovered, into the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 400F. and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside. Heat marinara sauce in a small saucepan and keep warm.
- When chicken has chilled, add enough oil in a large skillet to come up about half the height of the chicken (1/2-3/4-inch-ish). Heat over medium-high heat. Add a small piece of breading to the oil to test. It should sizzle. Add chicken to the skillet and cook, turning several times, until evenly golden. Remove to a cooling rack to rest for a few minutes. (*Can be done ahead to this point, then covered loosely and refrigerated. Re-heat/re-crisp later in a 350F oven for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through. Add toppings, increase oven temperature to 425F, add toppings and finish.)
- Place chicken on baking sheet. Place a dollop of marinara in the centre of the chicken. (*You don't want to spread it entirely over the top or the breading will get soggy. It's nicer to keep as much crispy as we can.) Top with a fresh basil leaf and cover with a slice of cheese (be sure to cover the basil with cheese, so it doesn't burn). Place into preheated 425F oven and cook until the cheese is melted.
- While chicken is in the oven, brush insides of your bun with butter or olive oil (or garlic-infused olive oil, if you like) and toast, cut side down, in a dry non-stick skillet until golden.
- Place chicken onto toasted bun. Add a bit more marinara to the bun, if you like, either on top of the cheese on the chicken or on the bottom bottom before placing the chicken on top.
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Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!