simple eggplant parmesan

Last year I told you that despite it being the opposite of eggplant season, I crave eggplant parmesan incessantly each winter. I mean, who doesn’t want an aromatic, cheese-stretchy, cozy casserole of ziti-like flavors, but without the heaviness of the pasta sometimes, right? What this post omitted was my recipe, which was kind of rude. The truth is that I wasn’t completely comfortable sharing the recipe because it’s not a True eggplant parmesan, or so I believed. It’s not breaded, it’s not fried, and there’s definitely no ricotta. Even the title of the recipe as it was saved on my computer was self-conscious: (Not Really) Eggplant Parmesan.

So what changed? Going to Italy this summer! We ordered eggplant parmesan (parmigiana di melanzane) almost every time we saw it on the menu and do you know what would come out? A dish that looked like this — no breading, no crumbs, no ricotta. It made more sense when I read about the history of the dish from Emiko Davies which I’ll simply link to rather than poorly summarize (it’s fascinating!) but it also gave me the nudge to finally spring the recipe from my kitchen to yours.

simple eggplant parmesan-13

I think it’s heavenly: Thick slices of fresh eggplant are salted, dabbed dry, and roasted in a generous application of olive oil at high heat until deeply brown on both sides — i.e. almost like fried but without the oil splatters and spread of paper towels to drain the grease. While they roast, you make a simple tomato sauce on the stove with onion, garlic, and pepper flakes softened in olive oil. You fan the slices of eggplant in a dish with sauce under and over them, cover it with a heap of mozzarella and parmesan, and bake it until blistered, cozy, and absolutely spoonable, with stretches of cheese trying to drag each spoonful back to the pan. Spoiler: It will fail; you will win.

simple eggplant parmesan-14

Today: Hey NYC, what are you doing tonight? I’ll be chatting with Leah Koenig this evening in celebration of the launch of her fantastic cookbook, Portico, at Powerhouse at the Archway at 7pm. Some tickets remain — they could be yours! The Events page is currently quite empty but keep an eye on it — a lot more is coming this fall, soon to be announced!

The Smitten Kitchen Classroom Wishlist Project 2023 It’s the first day of school in NYC (hooray!) and the Classroom Wishlist Project continues. In the US, a tremendous number of teachers don’t get the funding they need to set their classrooms up for success. Most will end up paying out of their own pockets to buy educational materials, which feels all wrong and makes me sad. I’ve asked teachers to send me their wishlists in hopes that we can help clear as many as possible, as we did last summer. Help out if you feel you’re able — you will unquestionably make a teacher’s (and their students’) day! [Project information. Direct link to spreadsheet.]



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Simple Eggplant Parmesan

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen
  • Print

  • 2 pounds eggplant, cut into generous 1/2-inch slices
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • 8 ounces grated or thinly-sliced mozzarella

Prepare the eggplant: Arrange eggplant slices on a large (half-sheet) baking pan in one layer. Sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons kosher salt and set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat oven: To 425°F (220°C) degrees.

Roast eggplant: Transfer eggplant slices to paper towels and blot them of as much excess water as possible. Dry the baking sheet, too, and coat it with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle the oil with several grinds of black pepper. Arrange eggplant slices in one layer. Drizzle with 2 more tablespoons of oil and more grinds of black pepper. Roast until nicely browned underneath, 20 to 25 minutes. Use a thin spatula to turn eggplant slices over and roast until browned underneath on the second side, another 10 minutes. It’s okay if they’re not cooked through yet. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F (175°C).

Meanwhile, make sauce: While eggplant roasts, open your can of tomatoes and use kitchen shears or very well-washed scissors to chop the tomatoes into small bits. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium/large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onion and cook until it softens, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook another minute. Add tomatoes (beware the splatter!), oregano, and season with 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste. Let mixture simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you’d like the sauce smoother than it is now, you can mash the tomatoes further with a potato masher as it cooks, or use an immersion blender for a completely smooth sauce. Stir in basil then taste the sauce; adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble: In a 1.5- to 2-quart baking dish (holding 6 to 8 cups; I’m using this), spoon about 1/2 cup of the sauce. Arrange about half of the eggplant slices, slightly overlapped, in one layer. Spoon another 1/2 cup sauce over and spread it evenly. Arrange remaining eggplant slices, then ladle more sauce over it so it’s as saucy as you like. [Keep unused sauce in fridge for another day; it will keep for 4 to 5 days.] Sprinkle top with mozzarella and parmesan.

Bake: For 30 minutes, until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbling all over. For more color on top, you can run it briefly under your oven’s broiler.

To serve: Once baked, let the eggplant parmesan rest at room temperature, if you can bear it, for 15 minutes before digging in — this helps the ingredients settle and come together more. It’s not mandatory, but this is excellent with a side of garlic bread.

Do ahead: Eggplant parmesan keeps fantastically in the fridge for up to 5 days. Rewarm in a 350-degree oven, covered for the first half of the time, for about 25 to 30 minutes. You can also freeze it, well wrapped, for a few months.

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164 comments on simple eggplant parmesan

        1. Debby

          Thank you so I much for this recipe! I made it last night for guests and it was a huge hit. Because I had extra eggplant, I made a third layer. Will definitely make this again!

        2. Jonathan

          Made this tonight. The texture of the eggplant was incredible. It was totally soft but didn’t fall apart. There was also no pool of water or oil on our plates. This one is going on repeat for sure. Thank you Deb.

  1. joelfinkle

    While I love the creaminess of fully cooked eggplant (and don’t you dare serve it to me slightly raw)… for me Eggplant Parm needs the crisp and crunch of fried breading, Ideally, you have sauce, topped with fried rounds, and a little cheese, popped under the broiler to melt the cheese and preserving as much of that crispiness as possible. I like my chicken/veal parm the same way.

    1. Erin

      Alison Roman has an eggplant parm recipe with a very similar technique (i.e., roasted not fried eggplant, a layer-y casserole type situation), and hers includes layers of deeply toasted breadcrumbs which gives the crunch without the sogginess. There’s no reason you couldn’t do the same with this recipe as well!

  2. Lauren

    Interestingly, this is almost exactly how I’ve made eggplant parmesan for years! Though I broil the eggplant slices instead of baking and layer mozzarella between each eggplant layer. A huge hit in my house.

    1. G

      I’ve made it a similar way since my 90s college vegetarian days, mozz layers, then parm and pecorino on top, sometimes with toasted bread crumbs. I believe dredging and frying is best left to those who love to/are paid for their time, AND washing dishes. I don’t want to get eggs to make red sauce supper, I’m lazy!

    2. Rachell

      I *also* make eggplant parm this way, thanks to an Italian cookbook by a Japanese chef. It’s an interesting book to cook from because he uses *very* traditional techniques, but then has recipes that incorporate ingredients more familiar in Japanese cuisine.

  3. BoFiS

    Sounds like a great simplification. If you do feel like you miss the breading, what we usually do is spread a little mayonnaise on each side of the eggplant slices, press each side into a plate full of bread crumbs, and then bake on a sheet pan ahead of assembly.

  4. Connie L

    I just got back from Italy and was looking for a non-breaded/fried eggplant parm just like I ate so many times during my trip. This will fill the bill!

  5. Chris

    After years of breading and frying eggplant I tried just roasting the slices like you, but something was missing. I think I’ve found my happy medium. First of all, I ALWAYS salt and drain the eggplant slices. I roast them on high heat like yours, Deb, but usually when I’ve got something else in the oven, then save them for another day for easy assembly with my homemade sauce that I usually have on hand in the freezer. But to make up for the loss of all that breading, I sprinkle each layer lightly with panko after adding the cheese. The result is much less oily than the fried version, it has a bit more of the texture of breaded eggplant, but it’s easy.

  6. Isabel

    Have you tried using caciocavallo in place of the mozzarella, as the Emiko Davies blog post mentions? Aged cheeses tend to play better with my lactose intolerance… So I may give it a shot (:

    1. deb

      Yes, I absolutely love it as a partial swap with mozz — it makes it stretchier and smoother — but the swap if you can’t find it here is usually provolone, and sadly we mostly sell provolone in deli slices, and I didn’t want people to end up with a bland or inferior dish. I might overthink things a little.

        1. Isabel

          Notes to self for next time (:
          1. It was delicious! We added some crumbled hot sausage (cooked in the sauce pan and then scooped out) between layers, which was very good. Made the sauce in a deep, oven safe pan and then used that to bake everything, to save on dishes.
          2. Caciocavallo is tasty, but definitely still has lactose 😬
          3. Next time, I’ll mix maybe 3oz mozz and 3oz caciocavallo to get a gooier cheese situation.

  7. Mary

    This is the way I always make eggplant! It is so delicious and much healthier too. My husband grows way too many eggplants and way too many tomatoes for the two of us, so after we give away as many as we can get friends and neighbors to take–and give many more to our grown children–we eat this for days. And I roast slices with olive oil and then freeze them for winter deliciousness. No eggs, no breadcrumbs, no mess–just delicious!

    1. flitcraft

      I believe that when salt is used to draw moisture out of veggies, it dissolves in the liquid it pulls out and thus can be rinsed away. Do blot the eggplant well, though, rinsed or otherwise.

    2. deb

      The eggplant won’t be mushy if you skip the step, but you can use less salt if you’re concerned, or rinse it. I don’t salt the eggplant again; I use this for the eggplant’s seasoning throughout the dish.

  8. KathyD

    My Italian grandmother had a similar recipe, passed down to my mom and us kids. No ricotta; no breading. She would dredge the eggplant slices in flour: then dip them in eggs; then fry. She claimed this got rid of the bitterness in much the same way salting did; she didn’t like that much salt. Then layer the fried eggplant with sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan and bake. I sometimes do this and it’s delicious; more often do exactly what you do, which is almost as good and much easier.

  9. Elisabeth in Vienna

    I love this! The breading has alway seemed unneccessary to me. I was taught somewhere – decades ago, forgot where – to pour an egg over the roasted eggplants in the baking dish, then add the mozzarella. one of those dishes that even hard-boiled carnivores admit don’t lack meat.

  10. Suzanne M

    How lucky! My daughter just asked for eggplant parm for her birthday sleepover dinner. I have used a similar recipe with roasted eggplant from food52 but the slices are too thin for her taste. This looks like perfect–hands off but with thick, plush slices.

  11. Anna W

    This looks delicious. Whenever a recipe calls for whole tomatoes cut with shears, I automatically substitute chopped tomatoes. But is this a mistake? Is it worth the extra effort?

    1. Lisa

      I have also done that, but the thing with chopped tomatoes is they never break down. They are treated to keep that square shape. The whole ones also still have their innards, so they sauce ends up thicker.

      If you have one, an immersion blender can make quick work of a can of whole tomatoes in maybe 3 blitzes (drain out the liquid first or it will splatter). If not, I think crushed tomatoes work better than diced.

    2. deb

      It’s totally up to you. I find purees from cans (and even jars) inconsistent. Some are very thick and some are more of a fine mince, which is preferred. This allows the amount of tomato texture you prefer.

        1. deb

          Depending how particularly you want to be. The perfect match method would be to skin the tomatoes, remove the seeds, and blend them. But I don’t see why if you’re less picky you can’t just blend a few fresh tomatoes until you have an equivalent amount — actually I’d go higher since they’ll cook down more than canned would.

  12. carolyn herz

    I brown all my eggplant in the garden in this way, then freeze it on wax-papered covered trays, then store frozen in freezer bags. Makes for a quick simple eggplant parmigiana all year.

  13. Allie

    So after I picked 24 eggplants from my garden this morning I thought, I’d love to make an eggplant parmesan casserole to freezer for the winter. And then I thought, let me check out smitten kitchen….I knew the eggplant archives didn’t have exactly what I wanted but I thought maybe there would be a recipe I could adapt. Lo and behold….

  14. Carrie

    For those who might prefer a smoother sauce, is there any reason not to use a can of crushed tomatoes instead of using whole and blending?

  15. Eggplant Parm

    I’m Italian American, grew up in New Jersey, and don’t think I’ve ever had eggplant parm that involved ricotta. Is that normal?

  16. Tulin

    Is there a reason to use canned whole tomatoes, which are then broken up, instead of buying a can of crushed tomatoes? I realize the crushed has no “pieces” of tomatoes at all, but is it also in the end too liquidy?

      1. Katherine

        I love eggplant parm but I’m always too lazy to bread it.. so then I end up not making it. Trying this version out this week, thank you!

      1. Bonnie C.

        I don’t know about Deb, but I cook my Eggplant Parm first, let it cool completely, & the cut it into serving-size portions. Wrap each portion snugly in plastic wrap & then tuck the portions into large Ziploc bags & freeze. They defrost/reheat beautifully in the microwave.

  17. Lulu

    Yes! This reminds me of our British friends’ interpretation (charmingly called “Aubergine Parmesan”). A gorgeously light and melty tomato-onion-basil-red pepper flakes in olive oil, layered with thinly-sliced roasted eggplant, then altogether baked with a generous cap of melty mozzarella and Parmesan. A revelation! One of the few things I could stomach in early pregnancy.

  18. Pat

    I live alone. I cut my eggplant parm into servings for me. Then I vacuum seal them and freeze them. During the winter when I want some I take the package right from the freezer and place the package into a pot of boiling water for up to 20 minutes. Comes out nice and warm and ready to eat.

  19. Tarrah Young

    So, so delicious. I will never make eggplant parm any other way now. The tomatoes I used were roasted in advance then frozen.

  20. Leslie

    This is simply scrumptious and easy to prepare as the name of the recipe suggests. I have always thought that eggplant for Parmesan preparation needed to be thinly cut. Not true for this recipe. Baking the eggplant for this amount of time and at a high temperature collapses the rounds. Thin rounds cannot withstand the heat and time to brown and melt to almost nothing. Stick to the 1/2 inch slices. The quick marinade is flavorful and combines with the cheese and eggplant to make delicious goodness. I will never egg, bread and fry eggplant again for Parmesan, this is my new recipe.

    1. RG

      For the “make ahead” do you think you have to cook it all the way first and just reheat? Think it would get too mushy if you assembled it in the morning?, then cooked it for the first time at dinner

  21. Celia Ceruolo

    Great minds do think alike! Milk Street Kitchen took a very similar approach to eggplant parm this summer. I can’t wait to try yours.

  22. Carrie

    So good! Made exactly as written, except I put paper towel on the baking sheet before salting the eggplant slices to absorb the liquid, and salted both sides. Definitely a keeper!

  23. Beth Eisenberg

    I know this is a great departure but I used Japanese eggplant but didn’t have enough so I threw some wonderful sweet peppers i to roast and then cut them in chunks and layered with the eggplant. Inauthentic as it was, it was remarkably delicious. Served it with whole wheat orchiette and it was delicious.

    The smaller eggplant slices roasted in about 15 min total and required no salting, so I did add a little salt as I layered.

  24. Nancy

    Made this tonight. It really was the simplest eggplant parm. But the simplicity did not impact the flavor. It was delicious! A keeper for sure. Thank you!

  25. Claire

    Turned out fantastically (like all of your recipes!), and so easy to make, thank you!
    I ended up making far too much for to be eaten in the next week, do you think it would be possible to freeze a portion? I baked it in several different dishes, so wouldn’t have to cut it.
    I see your freezing directions at the bottom but not sure if that’s for assembled or baked, assuming it’s for assembled since it’s under do ahead but would appreciate any tips for saving it post-bake!

  26. Bonnie C.

    I had to laugh a little when I read this, since this is the way I’ve been making Eggplant Parm for many DECADES – lol! Can’t imagine making it any other way. I grew up never caring for the breaded pan-fried versions except for sometimes on commercial sub sandwiches.

    I like to let the leftovers cool, & then cut them into individual portions, wrap each portion snugly in plastic wrap, & pack them into a Ziploc bag to tuck into the freezer & pull out for impromptu meals. They defrost & reheat quickly/easily in the microwave with little to no lack in quality.

    1. Bonnie C.

      I cook a lot of zucchini & I don’t think it would work in this. It has a lot more water than eggplant & also gets a lot softer when cooked. I think you’d end up with glop.

    2. Lex

      You certainly can make this with zucchini. Slice the zucchini length-wise one-half-inch thick. Salt it, then let rest until it releases moisture, and then pat dry. Continue with Deb’s recipe.

  27. Dana G

    I’ve been making a very similar recipe from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone for years, and it is a game-changer (she broils the eggplant slices instead of baking them, but otherwise no major changes). Lots of steps, but it feels so much healthier, and way more delicious IMO without all the oil and breading.

  28. Judy S.

    Hi Deb,
    This looks perfect: it can be made ahead, isn’t fussy, and isn’t fried, so no oily splatter! I have been craving eggplant parmesan. A question: can this be made with fresh tomatoes? I have been…overenthusiastic…in my tomato purchases recently, and I would love to use up some very ripe heirlooms. Thanks!

    I’m reading National Dish, which is leading me to conclude that nothing is as sacred or as long-lived as we think when it comes to food traditions.

  29. Becka Freed

    I was going to make a very similar recipe from Mark Bittman, but it was missing the mozzarella and that felt wrong. This couldn’t have arrived at a better time, thank you!

  30. Jean

    I made this last week and it is now my new favorite way to offer eggplant. That’s saying something because heretofore your Stuffed Eggplant was tops! I followed the recipe exactly but didn’t have quite the size pan you do so ended up with two layers from two locally grown eggplants in a 9×13” pan. Incredibly tasty nonetheless. The spices and herbs are perfectly matched. Thank you!

  31. Emily C

    So if I am reading this right you don’t layer any cheese in between the eggplant and sauce layers ? I kinda like that effect. Could I do that instead of dumping it all on top or did I misunderstand ?

  32. Amanda

    Delicious recipe! I followed exactly as written and it was just as the title promises – simple eggplant parmesan. Really good on a rainy day. I served with some pasta.

  33. Claire

    I went very far off of the assignment and made it with zucchini since I had 5lbs in the CSA box. It was a little mushy on its own but fabulous over pasta! I always roll my eyes when someone goes so off prompt but thought I’d write it up in case anyone else is still drowning in zucchini!

  34. Sarah from VA

    Made this and loved it so much. Even my tyrant picky eater declared it “okay” (high praise).

    I think serving it with garlic bread — or at least toasted bread or crusty, crunchy bread of some kind — is essential. If it’s just on a plate by itself it’s too much gloop. But as a topping on toast it’s amazing.

    I loved that it was super easy as well. Takes a good amount of time but most of it is hands-off, making it a good work-from-home weekday meal.

  35. karen garber

    Lovely recipe! made it over two days due to time constrains. We decided to accompany it with spaghetti and we enjoyed every piece of it. Thanks!

  36. Michele

    Bought two eggplants today, came to the site and *bam* there was this recipe at the top of the page! Made it with some homemade marinara we had in the freezer and it was really delicious. Very silky and tasty. Thanks for another winner!

  37. Becka Freed

    Update: I made this! OMG how silky and luscious the eggplant was. I even agreed to give a taste of my leftovers to my very judgy Italian co-worker.

  38. Shelley

    Made this tonight . Delicious. I cheated and used Rao’s marinara because I’m moving into my remodeled kitchen. Deb never never fails!!

  39. jjjeanie

    Had this last night—as yummy as expected! Made in 9×13, for more cheesy topping. (Reminds me of my Dad asking for more “top part” of my mom’s Mac&cheese–which she always made in a sort of souffle dish; I learned my lesson, and now only make it in a flat-type, like 9×13). I had a tiny bit (1/2 cup or less) of ricotta left over from something else, so I threw it in anyway, but I didn’t even notice it. I also threw some frozen wine into the sauce. (great for cooking if there’s just a wee bit left). Served with brown rice to sop up all the extra sauce I used (heh-heh). Way good.
    btw, I always roast my eggplant without salt or oil, and it’s still great.

  40. Nicole Becker

    I always thought I didn’t really like eggplant parmesan because of all the things “missing” in this recipe. I found it too heavy. But THIS. THIS is perfect. I loved it. I actually didn’t salt the eggplant and just went straight to roasting because it was already late and I was so hungry already and didn’t want to wait that extra time, and it turned out perfectly! I also baked it for shorter (15min) at the higher temp and it was just fine (again, trying to get it to my mouth faster), though it was quite brown on the top (not in a bad way though), so I’d likely go with the lower temp and longer next time……and start cooking earlier ;) Thanks again Deb!

  41. Jenna

    Delicious! I think I do prefer the eggplant’s juicy beautiful texture over breaded eggplant! We’ll be adding this to our repertoire. Thank you Deb!

  42. Hi Deb, You have inspired me! We have an abundance of eggplant and tomatoes in our garden that I have been wondering how I could put them away to enjoy this winter. I plan on making this recipe and freezing it to enjoy when we are missing our fresh from the garden veggies.
    Do you have a suggestion on how to reheat it?
    Thank you!!

  43. margaret

    My grandma makes something quite similar to this and it’s SO good! She actually layers in some torn slices of american cheese, they melt into the tomato sauce and add a wonderful creaminess. Another delicious addition she does is to layer in slices of hard-boiled eggs, which also adds another texture and is honestly one of my favorite parts of the dish! I never cared for the typical breaded parm at most restaurants, give me the casserole version any day!

  44. Marla greene

    Absolutely delicious! I did add basil to the sauce as well and added zucchini since I only had a small eggplant. I love your stuffed eggplant parm and this is equally as delicious. I remember in Italy, eggplant is not coated in anything. Also, sometimes it is just served with parmesan no mozzarella.

  45. Leah

    This was absolutely delicious, though it spawned a massive debate between my husband and me about whether eggplant parmesan is properly served over pasta. Thoughts? Deb?

      1. Bonnie C.

        I agree. In the decades I’ve been making different versions of Eggplant Parm, I’ve never served it over pasta, but frequently with a small side of any type of short pasta, lightly tossed in a little extra-virgin olive oil & dry Italian seasoning.

  46. This was fantastic. I only had fire roasted tomatoes and Japanese eggplants, both of which worked beautifully. I made and assembled everything earlier in the day, then increased the baking time to 40 minutes, easy peasy. This was warming and cozy without being a total gut bomb. This will be in heavy rotation.

  47. Aditi

    A little bit time consuming but if you double the recipe, then for marginally more work you get a whole second pan for tomorrow! I found that drizzling the oil was very uneven distribution so I used my sprayer and evenly oiled all the slices.

    For a double batch I used about 30 oz of sauce and they both are super juicy.

  48. Kristie

    I don’t believe the recipe says when to add the cheese. Does it go between the two layers of eggplant and on top, or only on top? Thanks!

  49. Sylvie

    Love this simplified way of making eggplant parm. I had one small-medium sized eggplant and erroneously cut it the long way before consulting the recipe. It worked well for two, layered in separate stacks. I thought the roasted eggplant was too dry when it came out of the oven but when bathed with sauce (and a little low-fat cottage cheese between the layers) it baked into a luscious, lightweight dinner.

  50. Sarah Gee

    Things I did that Deb did not say to do that did not work:
    – use more than 1/2 cup sauce per layer
    – add cheese per layer

    In case any one else has similar urges!

    1. Anna K

      This should be a tagged section on all SK recipes! Because we’ve all done it to mediocre results! #thingsididthatDebdidnotsaytodothatdid notwork

  51. Waffler

    So good! My husband doesn’t like eggplant so i made half the pan with whole portobello mushrooms (pre-roast about 10 min each side) instead of eggplant. Delicious and easy. Thanks!

  52. Thiska

    I made this with roasted cherry tomatoes and basil from my garden and it was sublime. I ate a whole panful myself (admittedly over the course of about 5 days). So so good!

  53. Tammy Gamble

    My husband recently had throat cancer surgery and was craving eggplant. This recipe is perfect as eggplant is soft I.e. no edges, spices were no over the top, and the sauce was delightful.
    Thank you!

  54. CHRSF

    Just made this & am holding for tonight’s dinner. Three questions. I used tomatoes from my garden, which are delicious, but very juicy. (On Deb’s reco, I used more than 28 oz. – used 50 oz. just to be sure it was sufficient – and ended up with 5 c. of sauce.) First question: since my sauce contained lots of liquid after the 10 mins. of simmering, would the sauce have suffered from longer simmering to produce a result that was thicker and more like what is pictured in the recipe? Second question: for salting the eggplant, should both sides be salted, or is one side sufficient? Last question: approximately how much, in cups, is a “handful” of roughly chopped basil? Many thanks.

  55. Leslie Stout

    Oh. My. God.
    Huge fan, longtime reader/follower, I’ve made gazillions of your recipes and thank you every time — but this?!?! AMAZING
    I added a schmear of ricotta/egg/garlic/Italian seasoning between the two layers of eggplant, which may or may not have been gilding the lily — but all in all this is the ABSOLUTE BEST eggplant parm ever.
    Thank you, Deb!

  56. Tobie

    I love this much simpler recipe! However, I have been put on a low sodium diet. I have always salted eggplant. Do you think it will be too watery to eliminate that step?

    1. Bonnie C.

      Definitely not!! I never do the salting step that so very many eggplant recipes insist on, & haven’t for decades. Frankly, It doesn’t do a darn thing. None of my eggplant recipes have EVER ended up “watery”.

  57. Nancy

    This was really good and the lightness of the sauce a welcome change. Followed the recipe exactly. It even looked like Deb’s—well almost—but the mozzarella was a bit rubbery. Still very excellent nonetheless.

  58. Karen Kostka

    Although this is a very yummy dish, I don’t think it’s really a “simple” dish. I’m a very experienced home cook and this took a long time to completion. Yes, it’s very delish but lots of time and pots and cleanup.

  59. Katie Mock

    This was absolutely divine and so easy. I love that your blog is pretty much the only one I trust enough to try a brand new recipe out on guests, on a weeknight no less. Thank you!

  60. Linda Kiley

    Love this recipe
    Where have you been all my life. I realize this is how eggplant Parm. Is prepared when we went to Italy last year,but couldn’t: find the preparation for the dish and you nailed it! Thank you paisano, just a authentic DELIGHT!

  61. Lynne Erdos

    I just love your page and your recipes!
    I have a question about the simple eggplant parmigian recipe…I see this was asked but I am not finding the answer, you mention it can be made ahead and frozen. Is that frozen baked or raw/ not baked ?

    1. Bonnie C.

      I don’t know about Deb, but I always freeze my Eggplant Parm after baking. I divvy up individual portions & wrap them snugly in plastic wrap, then put all the portions in Ziploc bags for future meals. They defrost & reheat beautifully in the microwave.

  62. K

    Just made this this weekend. Absolutely DELICIOUS. Loved the absence of ricotta in particular – ricotta tends to take over in recipes, and this felt very clean without it. I will admit I did 1.5x the amount of mozzarella because I love, love, love a cheesy top. But the whole dish was spectacular.

  63. Your recipe for eggplant parmigiana is very close to my families recipe but of course you’re baking the eggplant and not frying it. I have never ever had an eggplant parmigiana that contained ricotta. Not ever. And red pepper flakes is a sign of southern Italian cooking. We did not use red pepper flakes. Otherwise, I love your dish, I love the idea of not frying. When I make zucchini parmigiana, I bake it in the oven, the zucchini that is. Now I’m going to try it with eggplant. Thanks for another idea.

  64. Jackie

    As a testament to the user friendly, stupid proofness of SK recipes this one is a winner. I read 1/2 of the sauce not 1/2 cup 🤦‍♀️per layer and it still came out beautifully! Aside from my goof I added 1 pound of Alpha brand vegetarian crumbles to the sauce and 😋. Thank you!!

  65. Emily Miller

    Thank you for this recipe! Simple Eggplant Parmesan is a game changer. I dreaded preparing eggplant “Parmesan” egg batter, flour, dredging – a time consuming messy proposition. This dish is simple to prepare and simply as delicious (actually, in my opinion more delicious) than any other preparation I’ve used.

  66. Moe

    Super easy and delish. Eggplant was meltingly tender. I added a bit of ground lamb to the sauce I was wanting to use up…saucy, meaty, cheesy! Served it with risotto and salad – perfection!

  67. Laura in Little Rock

    Planning – I made this after work and fretted the waiting time to salt the eggplant but LOVED the recipe. I’m not the biggest eggplant fan, this may change my tune.

    If I sliced the eggplants, salted and left in a colander in the sink at 1p when I’m home for lunch— would my slices be ready to go when I walked in at 5p?

  68. janet

    Spectacular recipe! We ate unbreaded eggplant parm in Italy when we lived overseas in the 80s, and a terrific restaurant in Austin, Spagetti Western on South First, had a marvelous unbreaded version that I ordered nearly every time we ate there. Unfortunately that place disappeared in the early 1990s, and we still mourn its passing. Your version isn’t quite the same, but might even be better–it’s surely going to show up more than once on our table!

  69. Christina

    Making this tonight! I will cook the eggplant on the griddle. So looking forward to an amazing meal! Thank you for posting the recipe!!!

  70. Bre

    I love Smitten Kitchen and I love eggplant parmesan at restaurants, so why am I incapable of making it at home!? I was definitely not a fan of this recipe. What am I doing wrong? What is the secret to eggplant?

  71. Carrie H

    This was really easy and super flavorful! I almost feel like I cheated somewhere ;).
    One thing I did differently was grated some part and pecorino over the sauce layers – not sure if it was necessary though!

  72. SL

    My first time making eggplant parm and I thought this was just fabulous. (Personally I don’t get why the Italian-American style adds breading, it really is perfect as is.) Served with your garlic bread recipe, a simple arugula salad and a nice Chianti for a lovely meal that looked like much more work than it was.

  73. Jennette

    I have been studying a wonderful new cookbook I got at the library, “Portico,” about Roman Jewish food. (Leah Koenig is the author, it’s a wonderful and fascinating cookbook.) She includes a recipe where, like your recipe, the eggplant is not breaded with breadcrumbs or flour. I feel confident your recipe would be welcome on any Roman table!

  74. Renata

    I am sorry because I *know* this question is going to be annoying however, I am allergic to eggplant. Could I do zucchini instead, or is there another vegetable that would work? Thanks!

  75. Mary B

    I will have to try this. I make eggplant parmesan once a year, following the America’s Test Kitchen recipe which is amazing but so time consuming.

  76. Kim Kaalekahi

    Absolutely delicious. I normally always use store bought marinara/spaghetti sauce but this time I followed the receipt to the T and it was amazing.

  77. Joannie Chin

    I was literally just trying to figure out what to do with a single eggplant that was near the end of its life – I’m going to make a mini version of this recipe tomorrow!!

  78. CarolJ

    Deb, thank you for linking to Emiko Davies’ page. Because of food allergies to both tomatoes and eggplant, my family won’t be able to enjoy this recipe, but from Davies I learned that a parmigiana can also be made with zucchini – and a search turned up several no-tomato versions (parmigiana bianca di zucchine), one of which I tried and liked a lot. I incorporated a tip from the comments here to add some panko between layers, which seemed like a good idea given zucchini’s watery nature, and that worked well. I read all of your posts for the pleasure of your writing even when I won’t be making a recipe, and so often, as here, learn something interesting or helpful from the post or the comments.

  79. Deborah

    We were in Italy a couple of months ago, and since then I’ve been craving eggplant parmesan the way we had it there – not breaded and fried, not overly cheesy (though I do love cheese). This recipe is IT. I made it last night and it is unbelievably good, just bursting with flavor. The eggplant had a deliciously silky texture and the sauce was amazing. My husband declared it as good as any we had in Italy. Thanks for the fantastic recipe, Deb!

    The next time I make it, the only changes I’d make is to maybe add some cheese on the first layer of eggplant and double it so we have even more leftovers!

  80. I am making this for the first time – it’s baking as I type – and notice that somehow, in spite of following the recipe exactly (as anyone would with a maiden voyage!), the quantities seem off. When I assembled the layers, I had far too few eggplant slices to make even two full layers in a 1.5 quart dish, even though I used 2 lb sliced at 1/2 inch (2.25 lb, actually). And the sauce was just enough to cover a layer and a half. Hmmm…Any advice, Deb?

  81. Shannon

    This was my first attempt at making Eggplant Parmesan and my first time eating Eggplant Parmesan!
    This was sensational, so flavorful and easy. I am Celiac so this is perfectly gluten free. I ate it with GF buns, but I think a (GF) focaccia would be amazing with this. I cannot wait to make it again and again.