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Eggplant parmigiana. Ode to the melanzane alla parmigiana

If I were to go on a space mission and I had to eat the last meal on Earth before a diet of colourful pills, I would choose a lavish eggplant parmigiana, even if I were already dressed in a white bulky spacesuit and I had one foot on the shuttle.

When I have an afternoon craving, one of those sudden pangs of hunger that make you feel like chocolate, chips or doughnut filled with cream, nine times out of ten I’d rather have a warm dish of eggplant parmigiana.

Eggplant parmigiana

If out of the blue you ask me what I would like to eat in any moment of the eggplant season, and especially in the last days of summer when the daylight hours are getting shorter and you start to feel a nice chilly, my answer would always be an eggplant parmigiana. No, I lied. The answer would be the same even during the heath of mid-August or in the rigours of winter, without offending the seasonality of vegetables.

Eggplant parmigiana is my favourite dish

If you had not yet understood, the eggplant parmigiana, or as we call it the melanzane alla parmigiana, is my favourite dish, as Lost in Translation is my favourite movie and Bruce Springsteen my favourite singer: they hold a special place in my heart.

I am pretty sure I had melanzane alla parmigiana as an afternoon snack more than once when I was a child, stealing the leftover lunch from the fridge, eating them guiltily cold, leaning against the kitchen counter. I am not able to savour it with small delighted bites, I always have big mouthfuls, I get embarrassingly greedy when I’m dealing with eggplant parmigiana, or simply with the slices of fried eggplant. If it is true that fried is good also a slipper – as we say in Tuscany -, the fried eggplants reach inconceivable levels.

Eggplant parmigiana

I’m a generous person, I love sharing food with other people, and when I choose something from a tray I tend to take the smaller piece or the less impressive, it is a form of innate modesty. I always do that, but for melanzane alla parmigiana.

When eggplant parmigiana is served at the table I quickly choose the largest serving, the one oozing mozzarella and parmesan, the one with the golden crisp crust. I wolf it down even if it is scorching hot, even if I consciously know that it would be better when it’s warm, when the flavours mature and the biting eggplants and Parmigiano are more pronounced. But I can not resist. Luckily there’s always a left serving, and then with the leftovers I get my glorious moment.

My grandma’s recipe for eggplant parmigiana

This is my grandma’s recipe. Do not start an argument, please! This is not THE recipe for melanzane alla parmigiana – or parmigiana di melanzane, if you prefer – this is a recipe, the recipe I like, the recipe I ate during my childhood and the same recipe I have now, every now and then. It always comes with all the options: fried eggplants, not grilled, a generous sprinkling of Parmigiano, a mozzarella still dripping milk and beaten eggs. I still wonder why I eat my favourite food only once every two years…

Now just read my version, then at my signal unleash hell and tell me which is your version for melanzane alla parmigiana, or at least which would be your last meal.

Eggplant parmigiana

Melanzane alla Parmigiana - Eggplant parmigiana

My grandma's recipe for melanzane alla parmigiana, aubergine or eggplant parmigiana: fried eggplants baked in the oven with mozzarella, Parmigiano and tomato sauce.
4.67 from 33 votes
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 people
Calories 215 kcal


  • 4 eggplants
  • 4 tablespoons flour, to coat the eggplants
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 500 ml tomato purée
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • a few basil leaves
  • 150 grams mozzarella fiordilatte, cubed
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 100 grams Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
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  • Rinse the eggplants and slice them into 5 mm thick slices.
  • Arrange the eggplant slices in a colander with a good sprinkle of coarse sea salt between the layers. Put a plate on top of the eggplants, then place a weight over the plate. Leave the eggplants in the sink for about 30 minutes: they will release the bitter water, and will be sweeter.
  • After this time, rinse all your slices under running water and arrange them on a towel. Pat them dry.
  • Scoop some flour into a bowl and coat the eggplant slices, shaking off the excess flour from each slice.
  • Meanwhile, heat the frying oil in a large pan: the best ones are shaped like a wok: you will use less frying oil.
  • Check if the temperature is right by dipping the handle of a wooden spoon in it: if it is immediately surrounded by tiny bubbles, the oil is ready to fry the eggplant slices.
  • Deep fry the eggplants in batches. Let them brown on both sides, it takes about 5 minutes. When the eggplants are golden and crisp, place them on a plate lined with kitchen paper, so that the excess oil is absorbed.
  • Make the tomato sauce. Heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan with a clove of garlic. When the garlic turns golden, pour the tomato purée, add half a cup of water and some fresh basil leaves—season with a pinch of salt. Cook the tomato purée for about ten minutes, until it has lost the taste of raw tomatoes and has become a savoury and thick sauce.
  • Finally, the time has come to make the melanzane alla parmigiana. Take a 30 x 20 cm baking dish and spread a few tablespoons of tomato sauce on the bottom.
  • Arrange a layer of fried eggplants, pour over a part of the beaten eggs, top with some mozzarella and a generous layer of grated Parmigiano. Spread the tomato sauce on top and keep making layers, until you run out of ingredients. You should be able to make four layers. Top with tomato sauce, a few pieces of mozzarella and a lot of Parmigiano.
  • Bake in the preheated oven to 180°C (350°F) for about 35 minutes, until golden brown on the top.
  • Serve the parmigiana warm or, even better, let it cool down completely and warm it again in the evening or the next day, it will be even tastier.


Sodium: 354mgCalcium: 274mgVitamin C: 11.8mgVitamin A: 695IUSugar: 11gFiber: 8gPotassium: 851mgCholesterol: 87mgCalories: 215kcalSaturated Fat: 5gFat: 10gProtein: 14gCarbohydrates: 20gIron: 2.1mg
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Eggplant parmigiana

More recipes with eggplants from the blog archive

  • Stuffed eggplants. I chose a stuffing of ground beef and sausages, but you can also use the same amount of beef and pork ground meat. As for the cheese, after years of loyal use of pecorino, I just fell in love with the depth of flavour of aged provolone, a fabulous spicy and biting cheese from the South of Italy which you should add to your top ten of things to try at least once in your lifetime.
  • Baked eggplants. Colours and textures of that once loved recipe surfaced along with the ingredients: eggplants, of course, either the round purple ones or those thin long ones, then breadcrumbs, parsley, capers, garlic and some grated Parmigiano. So there it was, my forgiving recipe, thick slices of eggplants topped with boldly flavoured breadcrumbs, roasted in the oven until golden and crisp.
  • Pasta with fried eggplants and mozzarella. Although I could easily eat fried eggplants as they are, such as peanuts, pulling out all my selfishness and strenuously defending my precious bowl of golden nuggets, this time I won this temptation and cooked a good bowl of pasta for my friends. How generous I was! If you overcome the desire for fried eggplants and manage to get to the next step, please try this pasta dish, so hearty and full of flavour. It is the perfect way to celebrate the last days of summer.

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These are some of the recipes for melanzane alla parmigiana that I found online and that I liked:

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This Post Has 68 Comments

  1. A splendid dish! Eggplants are so versatile and when cooked in this way they are irresistible.



  2. I just made this meal first time in my life last Friday! I used the recipe from the River Cottage vegetarian cookbook (Veg Every Day) and it was simple yet delicious. I’ll try your grandma’s recipe too! 🙂

  3. Dear Juls, you have my heart! I have no cravings for chocolate or doughnuts, but I have this constant “pangs of hunger” for eggplants. I had some time with my friends tonight, and we were talking about all things food. I told them what I made for dinner last night: rainbow salad with roasted eggplants. Then they asked me what would be for dinner tonight, and I told them about panini sandwich with grilled eggplants. And tomorrow there will be some meal with eggplants too. They laughed and said I must really love eggplants… 🙂 Indeed!

    1. so you would love this dish I made for a cooking class: grilled eggplants seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh herbs (I love parsley and wild mint with eggplants), topped with grilled young pecorino cheese. I could easily survive on that! Sure, I’d prefer the parmigiana, though! 😉

  4. I completely side with you. If given the choice between a doughtnut or savory dish like this, I’d always pick the latter. Always. I look forward to making this dish in the future!

  5. wow! what a coincidence! I’ve never heard anything about the melanzane alla parmigiana until last week when I saw this recipe at a programm TV and I found it so simple, but so delicious that I cooked at the weekend. And it was fantastic! even my nephew that don’t like auberginies (and never eat them) loved it! the recipe I followed was quite similar to yours, but without the eggs. Maybe next time I should try with them…
    kisses from Barcelona!

    1. this is the best moment to enjoy melanzane alla parmigiana, that’s the reason!
      thank you for your message, I as so happy when someone loves melanzane alla parmigiana, it’s absolutely my favourite dish! enjoy it and a big hello to Barcellona, a city I love!

    2. 5 stars
      I have just made melanzane alla parmigiana. I have made many variations previously but never with eggs. The egg addition is a plus for me. It rises up the side of the dish and cradles the eggplant perfectly.I am tempted to dive,but i will what till tomorrow. If the dish tastes as good as it looks then I’me for a rare treat.

  6. I absolutely love epplant parmigian too. Even as a kid it was the thing I ordered in every Italian restaurant. And eggplant in general. I can’t get by without eggplants in my refrigerator just in case I have a craving!

  7. 5 stars
    I did it!! and… We loved it ! Thank you sooo much! We were some times disapointed in the restaurants, but your recipe is a Winner!
    I’m new to cooking, and your explanations were perfect!
    I prepared it on last Sunday (it took me 2.5 hours ;p). I had fried 1kg of eggplants… for 2 ! So I prepared your dish with 2/3 of the eggplants and left the 1/3 aside.. By Wednesday, my Husband asked me to prepare your same dish with the rest of the melanzane! Hihihi ! So we ate melanzane alla parmigiana every single day of last week ! Thanks to You ! 😀 I’ll definitely do this again!

    1. Oh, Sandra! I am so so happy! these are the best comments and feedbacks you would wish on a blog! A whole week devoted to melanzane alla parmigiana? sounds like heaven to me!!

  8. 5 stars
    My wife and I made this for my folks when they came to dinner. My father is a fully paid up Carnivore. He was less than happy when we served him up your melanzane alla parmigiana. he was soon convinced and left demanding the recipe! Thanks very much!

  9. This is such a delicious dish, I love it 🙂
    I made it multiple times already, so now I want to thank you for the recipe.
    Instead of using the egg separately, you should try dipping the aubergine slices in the egg after dipping them in the flour and then fry them. I find it even more heavenly when I do that!
    I’m from the Netherlands and keep coming back to this site for your lovely recipes, so thanks a lot!

  10. This was the first time I’ve ever made a parmigiana – something I’ve always wanted to try. After much searching online, I chose your recipe and the results were fantastic! Thank you so much – it was a hit and my guests kept asking for more…. now to share your recipe with them. Thanks for a wonderful article and delicious dish.

    1. thank you so much for your message, Janet, it made my day! So happy that my recipe has traveled so far, and now has another family! 🙂

  11. Hello. I’m a Lebanese retired surgeon getting from the internet tasty recipes. I share with you the love for the Melanzane. By the way old people in my country say that you have the right to divorce your wife if she asks you what to cook when the eggplant season has come.(of course this a joke but it shows the variety of dishes you can make with eggplant). In my country I used the crushed tomatoes in boxes or in cans, all of them are sour. Eve in the States I experienced almost the same problem. Can I add sugar to the tomato sauce to make it less sour?
    You don’t advise the garlic bread to eat with this magnificent recipe.

    1. Hello Paul, thank you so much for your comment. I truly enjoyed tour saying, and I can see why it has a base of truth!
      If you want to make a sweeter tomato sauce, instead of sugar add the tiniest pinch of baking soda, it reacts chemically and you get the sweetest tomato sauce.

  12. Making this tonight! Whoop woop! I visited Italy at the beginning of the year and couldn’t help ordering melanzane parmigiana in every Roman restaurant. Cheap, comforting and absolutely delicious! My other favourite thing was zucchini flowers, stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies and in a light tempura style batter

    1. you know I totally agree! melanzane alla parmigiana and fried zucchini flowers are among my favourite things on Earth! You find also a recipe to make zucchini here on the blog! Let me know about the eggplant parmigiana!

      1. 5 stars
        Yummmm! I just realised I forgot the eggs, and I only used 3 eggplants and a 400g tin of tomato purée (Family of 4) but it turned out amazing! Definitely a keeper!

  13. Dear Giulia
    I have tried previously several recipes of Melanzane alla Parmigiana from the internet. I used bread crumb instead of flour, browned the eggplant in the oven to avoid frying in oil, rubbed the baking dish with a clove of garlic, no mozzarella. Yesterday I followed your recipe except for the eggs. It was not only good, it was heavenly good !

    1. Dear Paul, this makes me incredibly happy! I can’t wait to make this again, and again, and again!
      Happy Easter!

  14. Happy Easter to you Giulia. Next to try will be your Panna Cotta recipe. I’ll let you know.

  15. 5 stars
    I love the recipes they are a bit long I try to break it down, to make it easier for me.

  16. 5 stars
    Please apologise to grandma but I skipped the beaten egg (laziness) and replaced mozza with edam (budget constraints) and added harissa sauce to The tomatoes (whimsy). It was… amazing. Like, astoundingly good.

    1. this is brilliant! I approve every change, especially the adding of harissa… how delicious!!

  17. I am finding that the flour comes off into the oil and burns. Could anyone advise me on how to avoid this?

    1. Hello Sarah, I usually dust the eggplants very lightly, and I try to shake off as much flour as possible!

  18. I had the same problem Sarah had. The eggplant slices were getting dark. I threw the oil, used a clean skillet, put oil and finish the work. I had dusted the eggplants but still.
    Giulia, fried eggplant and zucchini slices with cauliflower is a very common vegetarian meal on Fridays in my country. They are fried in oil. The eggplant is eaten fried with some salt. The zucchini is dipped with the bread in a mixture of grated garlic in grape vinegar. The cauliflower has a Tahini+lemon juice+grated garlic+salt. We use thin Lebanese bread. I know, you may need the exact recipes for the sauces. Let me know. Bon Appétit !

    1. Hello Paul, thank you so so much! So manu ideas! the tahini+lemon juice+grated garlic+salt dressing sounds delicious!

  19. 5 stars
    Just wanted to thank you for sharing such a wonderful and down to earth recipe. Some dishes simply don’t need to be re-invented – they are perfect just the way our grandmas made them. You really helped me bring the good old Parmigiana to my kitchen – actually way better than most I ate in restaurants. Not to mention that my 3-year old son is crazy about it. Once again, thanks a lot and keep it up!

    1. thank you so much Dusan! so happy to know that your 3-year old loved the parmigiana!

  20. 5 stars
    i saw your beautiful recipe for the Amex Essentials website, tried the recipe and adored it.

    Now I have discovered this wonderful recipe as well. I’d never cooked this with eggs before and, I have to admit, it added something extra to this classic dish. And when I say something extra, I mean something that took its deliciousness to another level entirely!

    This website and your videos are fantastic: fascinating tips and insights and recipes that never disappoint. You are now a key culinary reference point for me and a hidden champion among food bloggers and influencers.

    1. Ciao John, you just made my day, thank you so so much for your words! I want to print them for when I feel discouraged! 🙂

  21. 5 stars
    I’ve been wanting to try this dish for some time but have always been put off because egg plants of not done properly can be a bit rubbery….well well despite the simple ingredient list this dish is amazing!!! I absolutely loved it and am so glad I made an extra dish!

    I froze the second dish before baking it so hoping once thawed properly I can pop it in the oven and it will come out just as well as the first.

  22. 5 stars
    So great, and reasonably simple. Love the eggs in this recipe for sturdiness of the dish and protein. Thanks a million for a lovely recipe.

  23. 5 stars
    This is by far the best Melanzane I have ever made! Unreal! The beaten egg and combo of Parmesan and Mozzarella is bang-on!

  24. Absolutely great. Mi piace molto ! I did it with small deviation you have mentioned as well – grilled aubergines (pan grilled) not the fried ones. What do you think about such a change ?

  25. 5 stars
    Made this last night and we both thought it was amazing, thanks to you and your gran for a great recipe 🙂

  26. I wonder if this recipe has been lost in translation: I’m from the UK and tomato puree is that extraordinarily concentrated tomato paste which you can’t even find in a 500 ml bottle: you get little tubes like toothpaste tubes and to use that stuff is highly unsual in this dish and would seem far too strong a taste. I’m guessing you mean what we call passatta, which is something like tinned tomatoes, liqudized. Your dish looks delicious anyhow.

    1. Hi Aaron, yes, it is tomato passata, I thought the other one was known as tomato paste! thank you for letting me know

  27. 5 stars
    I have been wanting to try your version of Eggplant for some time. I usually peel the eggplant then dip in flour and egg and fry. I am preparing this weekend and my daughter is GF. Do you think I can use GF flour blend in this recipe? I love all your recipes and they are always a success!

    1. Hello Deborah, I am so happy to know that you’ve been cooking through the blog!
      Yes, you can make this recipe with a GF flour blend and it will work just as well. Let me know how. they will turn out!

  28. 5 stars
    Wonderful recipe, I love it and easy to follow because it’s from scratch and mostly using weight for ingredients, as opposed to saying like “1x 16 ounce can crushed tomatoes, but it has to be from this brand!” I know it’s not really puritan, but it’s nice to add minced smoked meat like ham or bacon =)

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