A square of eggplant parmesan on a plate next to a napkin.

Dad’s Eggplant Parmesan

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x

With layers of crispy fried eggplant, creamy ricotta and bright, savory meat sauce, Dad’s Eggplant Parmesan is a comforting meal that bursts with flavor. Serve this complex and elegant Italian dinner with a glass of wine on date night, or make it for your next family dinner.



For the Eggplant

  • 1 medium eggplant, about 1 pound, slice into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • Kosher salt for salting the eggplant
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk or cream
  • 23 cups panko or regular breadcrumbs (we use panko for an extra crispy texture)
  • Olive oil for frying

For the Meat Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (15 ounce can)
  • 1 can 28 ounce crushed tomatoes, pour into beef mixture
  • 1/41/2 cup water

For the Ricotta

  • 32 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

For Topping

  • 23 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese


  1. Place the sliced eggplant on a board. Generously salt the eggplant with kosher salt and let sit for 15 minutes. Wipe the excess salt and water off the eggplant with paper towels.
  2. Beat the 4 eggs and milk together in a shallow bowl. Add the breadcrumbs to another bowl. Dip a slice of eggplant into the eggs, letting the excess drip off and then into the breadcrumbs, pressing to coat on both sides. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.
  3. Add oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet over medium heat. You’ll need to add more oil in between batches of frying the eggplant. Once the oil is hot, place a few breaded eggplant slices into the skillet in a single layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and repeat until all the eggplant is fried.
  4. To make the meat sauce, add olive oil to a large skillet or dutch oven. Brown the ground beef until almost cooked through and drain any drippings from the pan. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until the onions has softened.
  5. Season the beef with the salt, pepper and oregano, then pour in the tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine and bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, covered, stirring often. If the sauce thickens too much you can add some water at the end of the cooking time to thin it out.
  6. While the sauce is cooking, add all the ingredients for the ricotta cheese layer into a small bowl and mix together.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  8. Start assembling the eggplant parmesan by adding about 1 cup of sauce to the bottom of a 9″x13″ baking dish, spreading out to cover the bottom. Place 6 slices of eggplant on top of the sauce, followed by half the ricotta mixture.
  9. Add another layer of sauce on top of the ricotta layer, then 6 more slices of eggplant followed by the other half of the ricotta mixture.
  10. The last layer is 6 more slices of eggplant topped with the remaining sauce. Top the eggplant parmesan with the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
  11. Cover with non-stick foil, or spray aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray and cover the baking dish. Cook for 25 minutes, covered, then remove the foil from the baking dish and cook another 15 minutes uncovered.
  12. Remove the eggplant parmesan from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Slice into squares and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • To Store: Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: Freeze before or after baking for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the fridge overnight.
  • To Reheat: Leave out at room temperature for 30 minutes, then bake until the edges start to bubble OR heat a single serving in the microwave.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop / Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: eggplant recipes, fried eggplant, eggplant parmigiana