Easy Chicken Parmesan Recipe with Tomato Confit

Overhead shot of breaded chicken with asparagus, topped with tomato confit on patterned plate

If you're looking for a lightened-up version of chicken parmesan (or, maybe, like me, you're fresh out of mozzarella and are looking for another chicken dinner option), you've found your new favorite chicken recipe.  Instead of the traditional marinara sauce, breaded chicken is topped with a sweet garlicky tomato confit. But don't worry, there's still parmesan in the breading!  And let's talk about the breading for one sec, ok.  Smoked paprika, dried thyme, and Parmesan are mixed into the panko bread crumbs to make a breading that is packed with flavor.  

Lately, I've been trying to eat more protein which is much easier said than done!  So chicken dinners are on repeat, and I'm always testing ways to create big flavor.  The other night I was craving chicken Parmesan but was out of a couple of key ingredients.  I didn't have mozzarella cheese and was also out of homemade tomato sauce. Now, you're probably thinking....." wait, how can you make it without those?"  And some nights missing ingredients might have deterred me, but I'd already defrosted the chicken and figured I'd go with what I had on hand.

I did have some leftover tomato confit which I thought would be a delicious stand-in for the marinara sauce. Homemade sauce (or, in a pinch, I'll use Rao's marinara sauce) is traditional, but I was curious to see if the tomato confit would work.  I always have Parmesan cheese, so I mixed it into the breadcrumbs.   I'm extremely pleased to report back that this version is so good!! My husband immediately went back for seconds.....it's that good! This was the best chicken -- juicy, crispy, and incredibly flavorful!  I spooned a generous amount of tomato confit over the top and the flavored olive oil and roasted tomatoes added a sweet, and robustly garlic flavor.  It's a lighter version of the traditional chicken parmesan but doesn't sacrifice flavor! 

If you're lucky enough to have leftover chicken it can be sliced and used in salads, for your kid's lunches, a tasty afternoon snack, or a delicious meal for the next night.  

Close up shot of breaded chicken with tomato confit, parsley on patterned plate

To elevate this dish even more:

Sprinkle fresh basil on top of the cooked chicken

Add garlic powder or onion powder (or both) into the flour mixture

Add some dried rosemary to the breadcrumbs.

Grate fresh lemon zest over the cooked breaded chicken

Overhead shot of breaded chicken, topped with tomatoes and a side of green beans on an Italian patterned plate

What to do with leftovers:

Place the chicken in an airtight container and store in your fridge, and it should last 2-3 days. 

If you're cooking for 1 or 2 people:

This recipe is easily cut in 1/2, so use 1/2 of each of the ingredients and you'll have a fabulous dinner for 1.....or 2!

What tv show or movie goes well with this?

Well, it is a version of chicken parmigiana, so a movie that takes place in Italy is perfect. The Talented Mr. Ripley, or the new updated version, Ripley, or, if you're in the mood for a chick flick, Under the Tuscan Sun. Although, did you know that chicken parmigiana didn't originate in Italy? Nope, it originated back East in the 1930s from Italian immigrants. Eggplant parmesan was the traditional dish, but they found chicken was much cheaper and easier to find, so they substituted it for the eggplant. But, I still think you can absolutely enjoy this dish in front of an Italian movie!

Overhead shot of tomatoes and garlic in olive oil

Time for the FAQs!

What's the easiest way to bread the chicken?

First, lay out 3 bowls or shallow dishes on your kitchen counter.  The first bowl is for your flour, use a large shallow bowl for the egg mixture and the third bowl for the breadcrumbs. Use your right hand to handle the chicken, and dredge through the flour first on both sides (shaking off excess), then dip both sides in the egg wash (letting excess drip back into the bowl), and dredge through breadcrumbs on both sides (pressing lightly with your right hand to help breadcrumbs adhere to chicken).   Place breaded chicken on a sheet pan until all the chicken is breaded.   I like to use my right hand for the chicken, so I only have one hand coated in flour and breadcrumbs.  Breading all your chicken first and then cooking makes less mess, and will make the whole process easier and more efficient.  

What type of chicken can I use?

Chicken cutlets, chicken tenders, chicken breasts, or chicken thighs will all work.

How do I get crispy golden brown chicken?

The best way to get crispy chicken is to, first, use paper towels to pat the chicken dry.  Dry chicken means the flour, egg wash and breadcrumb mixture will adher to each piece of chicken, and that's what will get your chicken nice and crispy.

Another step is to heat your large skillet (I highly recommend using a cast iron)and get it hot before adding your chicken.  Add the olive oil first, then heat over medium-high heat, so that when your breaded chicken hits the pan it instantly sizzles.  Be sure there's plenty of olive oil in the pan - you may need to add more as the chicken cooks -- so the chicken gets crispy and doesn't burn.  

Don't shy away from adding more olive oil if you need to!  If you're cooking for a crowd, you'll be cooking the chicken in batches, so set a wire rack on top of a baking sheet, and place your cooked chicken on the prepared baking sheet.

What if I don't have a meat mallet?

No worries! You can easily use a rolling pin or a heavy pan. Just be sure to protect your counters and place the chicken on a cutting board lined with plastic wrap, and then cover the chicken with another layer of plastic wrap.  

How can I make this gluten-free?

Use gluten-free flour or cornstarch and gluten-free bread crumbs

What can I use besides breadcrumbs?

Panko breadcrumbs will work, too!

Serve this with:

Haricot Vertes with Herb Butter

Broccolini with Garlic

Herb Garlic Bread

I can't wait for you to try this! If you make this I'd love it if you'd leave a review or comment -- it's so helpful to other hungry readers looking for a delicious dinner!

Overhead shot of breaded chicken with asparagus, topped with tomato confit on patterned plate

Easy Chicken Parmesan Recipe with Tomato Confit

A tasty twist on the traditional that substitutes tomato confit for marinara sauce, adds plenty of seasonings to the flour and breadcrumbs to elevate the flavor and makes for a delicious dinner when you're craving a crunchy, flavorful chicken dinner.
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Course: Dinner, easy dinner, weeknight dinner
Keyword: breaded chicken, chicken dinner, chicken parmesan, easy chicken dinner, tomato confit
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 6 chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • 4 tomatoes quarted you can use Roma, large tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • 6 whole garlic cloves
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary


  • Place saran wrap on a clean surface. I use my kitchen counter, but you can use a table or island, but be sure it's sturdy enough to withstand pounding the chicken. Be sure saran wrap covers the entire surface, then place the chicken on the surface, and spread it out because the chicken will spread as you pound it to create thin pieces. Cover the chicken with saran wrap, and use a mallet or rolling pin to pound the pieces until they are 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
  • Once all your pieces of chicken are pounded thin, assemble your flour, egg and breadcrumb ingredients and place a sheet pan on the counter.
  • I like to use shallow bowls or Pyrex dishes. Add flour and smoked paprika to one dish. In the 2nd dish, add the 2 eggs. In the 3rd dish, add the breadcrumbs, dried thyme and dried rosemary.
  • Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Dredge the chicken through the flour, on both sides, and gently shake off any excess flour.
  • Dip chicken, on both sides, in the egg wash. Before moving on to the breadcrumbs, let excess egg wash fall back into the dish.
  • Gently press chicken, on both sides, into bread crumb mixture. When finished, place on sheet pan and go through the breading process again until all the chicken is breaded.
  • Before cooking, get another sheet pan or large platter and place a rack on top. This is where you'll put the cooked chicken to keep it crunchy until you're ready to serve. If you place the cooked chicken directly on a sheet pan, the bottom will get soggy because it will steam from the heat. And that's not what we want.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan, and when it shimmers and easily slides over the pan, it's time to add the chicken.
  • Depending on how big your chicken is, you may have to cook it in batches. Add chicken to skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until its golden brown.
  • While chicken is warm, sprinkle with Maldon salt and grated lemon zest.
  • Spoon tomato confit on top and serve while hot.

For the tomato confit

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In an oven safe gratin dish, pie dish or Pyrex, add the tomatoes, garlic, thyme and olive oil. Add enough olive oil to completely coat and cover the tomatoes.
  • Cook until the tomatoes get shriveled up and the oil is bubbling - about 30-45 minutes. My oven runs hot, so I start it at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes, and then turn it down to 350 degrees F for an additional 15 minutes. Keep an eye because you don't want the tomatoes to burn.
  • Remove from oven and use a fork to mash the garlic into a paste (this will be very easy!) and mix it into the confit.
  • Besides this dish, tomato confit is fabulous on top of scrambled eggs, on toast, spooned over grilled fish or salmon or used as a condiment on a charcuterie board.
Have you made this recipe?I'd love to know! Leave a comment or recipe rating and tag me @amenuforyou on social media!

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