This Chicken Parmesan Sandwich is crispy, juicy, cheesy and delicious. It’s super filling and easy to make!
Typically you’d serve chicken parmesan with pasta, but today, much to your surprise I’m sure, we’re turning it into a sandwich. Crispy ciabatta rolls loaded with the most delicious chicken parmesan you’ll ever make. Sound good? Follow me…
Marinara Sauce for Chicken Parmesan
Sure, you could throw on some store bought marinara sauce, but it’s so easy to make your own it would be rude not to. Plus you’ll be using a few of the ingredients to make the chicken parmesan itself which is handy!
The base of the marinara sauce is made from Tomato Passata, which is essentially a sauce made from pureed/strained tomatoes. It’s great because it’s fairly thick and nice & smooth. Perfect for slathering on crispy chicken.
Simmer & Reduce
A key step when making the marinara sauce is allowing it to simmer for 20-25mins. This not only thickens the sauce, which is important when spreading on the chicken. But it also reduces and intensifies the flavour of the sauce. The sauce requires few ingredients, so reducing the sauce is important to allow the simple flavours to shine.
Can I make the sauce ahead of time?
Yep! If you want to get ahead of the game you can allow the sauce to cool and tightly store in the fridge or freezer until needed. I recommend just lightly heating through before spreading on the chicken.
Process shots: add onion to oil and fry (photo 1), fry garlic (photo 2), pour in passata and add basil, oregano and s&p (photo 3), stir then simmer & reduce (photo 4).
How to prepare Chicken Parmesan
For the chicken parmesan itself you’ll want to use boneless/skinless chicken breast. From there, you can either slice the breasts in half to create 2 even sized breasts, or do what I do and pound the chicken. I find pounding the chicken evens the meat out more efficiently, which in turn helps it cook through evenly. But it also helps tenderize the meat, meaning it comes out nice and soft once cooked.
An iconic characteristic of chicken parmesan is the crispy breading on the chicken. To get the chicken crispy you’ll want to use the best kinda breadcrumbs. In this case (and most cases actually) Panko breadcrumbs are where it’s at. Panko breadcrumbs are great because they’re big and airy, meaning the chicken comes out ultra crispy (more on this in the recipe card notes).
I know what you’re thinking – ‘Why is it called Chicken Parm if it’s made with mozzarella?’. I know that was my first thought when I had my first ever chicken parmesan! Well I can confirm the parmesan is hidden away in the breadcrumbs. Mixing the parmesan with the Panko not only adds a punch of flavour, but also helps the coating go extra crispy.
Process shots: lay cling film over chicken (photo 1), pound until even thickness (photo 2), remove cling film (photo 3), dredge through flour (photo 4), coat in beaten egg (photo 5), coat in panko/parmesan (photo 6).
How to cook Chicken Parmesan
Fried Chicken Parmesan
To reduce time I usually opt for shallow frying the chicken. No need for deep frying, you just need enough oil to fill the base of the pan up to around half way up the chicken.
What Oil to use?
You’ll want something with a high smoking point like vegetable oil. You’ll find olive oil will likely smoke out the kitchen because it can’t take the heat.
Can I bake the chicken?
You sure can! There’s an extra step you’ll need to take and it does take more time to cook, but you obviously get the bonus of less oil. I’ve added more on this in the recipe card notes.
Process shots: add breaded chicken to hot oil (photo 1), fry both sides until golden then remove (photo 2).
Chicken Parmesan Sandwich
Alright, marinara sauce done, chicken done, now it’s time to construct the chicken parmesan. To do this you’ll simply top chicken with marinara, then finish with mozzarella and a pinch of parmesan. To make it into a sandwich, you simply plonk the chicken parmesan on a slice of toasted bread then grill/broil until golden & gooey.
What Bread to use?
You need something thick, strong and sturdy to contain the chicken parmesan. As such I recommend using a large ciabatta roll.
Toast the Bread
It’s important to toast the ciabatta roll, otherwise the sauce will seep into the bread and turn it soggy. To do this just drizzle with olive oil and either toast in a scorching hot griddle pan or under the grill.
Process shots: toast ciabatta (photo 1), add chicken to half (photo 2), top with sauce (photo 3), top with mozzarella & parmesan and grill/broil (photo 4), sprinkle with fresh basil (photo 5), add second half of roll (photo 6).
Serving Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches
I usually have leftover marinara sauce so use that as a dip, but that’s completely optional!
What to serve with a chicken parmesan sandwich?
- Crisp/Chip Recommendation: Something like a Dorito works nicely when scooping up any marinara sauce that drips out. Flamin’ Hot adds a good kick of spice!
- Side Recommendation: Go parmesan crazy and add some Garlic Parmesan Fries!
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this chicken parmesan sandwich shall we?!
How to make a Chicken Parmesan Sandwich (Full Recipe & Video)
Chicken Parmesan Sandwich
- Large Pan & Wooden Spoon (for marinara sauce)
- Rolling Pin/Mallet & Cling Film (for pounding chicken)
- 3 Shallow Dishes (for dredging chicken)
- Tongs (for frying chicken)
- Small Pot (for chicken seasoning)
- Large Baking Tray
- Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
- Fine Cheese Grater
- 1x 25oz/700g jar of Tomato Passata (pureed/strained tomatoes in US)
- 8 large Basil Leaves, finely diced
- 1 medium White Onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves of Garlic, finely diced
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
- Sugar, Salt & Pepper, to taste
- 4 large Ciabatta Rolls, halved & toasted (see notes)
- 4x 5oz/150g Chicken Breasts (see notes)
- 1 cup / 250ml Vegetable Oil, or as needed
- 1 1/4cups / 75g Panko Breadcrumbs (see notes)
- 2/3 cup / 50g freshly grated Parmesan, plus 4 sprinkles extra to add at the end
- 1/3 cup / 70g Plain Flour
- 7oz / 200g Fresh Mozzarella, sliced into rounds (pat dry if there's excess moisture)
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- tiny Basil Leaves, to serve (or more finely diced large leaves)
- 1 tsp EACH: Salt, Garlic Powder
- 3/4 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- Marinara Sauce: Heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add in onion and fry until it begins to soften/brown, then add in garlic and fry for 1-2mins more. Pour in passata and swill the jar/carton with a splash of water. Add basil and oregano, then add a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper (all to taste). Give it a stir then turn heat to low and gently simmer for 20-25mins, or until it's nice and thick. This is important to intensify the flavour and reduce down the sauce.
- Pound Chicken: Add chicken breast to a chopping board, lay over cling film and pinch around the edges (to prevent moisture from escaping). Bash with a rolling pin, mallet or heavy pan until even thickness. You want it fairly thin, but not so much it begins to break apart. Around 1/2" is fine.
- Chicken Seasoning: In a small pot combine 1 tsp salt and garlic powder, alongside 3/4 tsp dried oregano and 1/2 tsp black pepper.
- Dredge Chicken: Line up 3 bowls - the first is flour with half the chicken seasoning stirred in, the 2nd is 2 beaten eggs and the 3rd is Panko, parmesan and the rest of your seasoning. Coat the chicken in the flour, then into the egg and finish with a coating of the parmesan panko. Ensure the chicken is thoroughly coated at each stage, especially in the Panko.
- Fry Chicken (see notes for baking option): Heat up 1 cup oil over medium heat in a large skillet, or enough to cover around half the chicken. You want the oil around 350F/180C (drop a few crumbs in to test if they rapidly bubble). Carefully place chicken in 2 breasts at a time and fry for 4-5mins on each side, or until golden on the outside and white through the centre.
- Chicken Sandwich: Place fried chicken on top of the bottom ciabatta halves. Spread over a few dollops of marinara sauce, then top with mozzarella and finish with a pinch of parmesan. Place under the grill and broil until golden/gooey.
- Serve: Sprinkle over fresh basil, then add the second ciabatta half and tuck in. Use leftover marinara sauce as a dip (optional).
- Fry the panko in 1 tbsp butter until golden. Leave to cool.
- Continue with recipe up until frying, then place breaded chicken on a wire rack above a baking tray.
- Bake in the oven at 425F/220C for 10-12mins until the chicken begins to crisp, take out and carefully flip. Rotate tray and place back in the oven for another 5-10mins or until the chicken is golden crispy. At this point it should just be cooked through.
- Continue with recipe.
If you loved this Chicken Parmesan Sandwich recipe be sure to Pin it for later! Already made it or got a burning question? Give me a shout in the comments below!