Megan-simple four-ingredient parmesan-crusted chicken

Guest post by Erin


This is my favorite lazy chicken recipe. It only has four ingredients (including the chicken) that perhaps you already have in your kitchen right now! It’s baked but crispy, a little cheesy, and it’s virtually impossible to over-cook the chicken and make it dry. Are you ready?

parmesan crusted chicken - ingredients

Gather up:

  • About a pound or so of chicken breast — I get the thinly sliced chicken breast at the store because they’re more even thickness than regular chicken breast. If you get regular chicken that’s much thicker on one side than the other I would recommend using a kitchen hammer to even them out, or else they’ll take forever to cook. They work best if they’re about ½-¾” thick.
  • 1 cup mayonnaise — If you’re one of those people that are like “ewwww mayonnaise is so gross!” don’t worry, the finished product doesn’t taste like mayonnaise. I know we just met, but you’re going to have to trust me. It’s like how ketchup doesn’t really taste like tomatoes.
  • ½ cup (at least) grated parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 cups bread crumbs (regular or panko) — The bread crumbs are really flexible, depending on what your tastes are. Sometimes I use the Italian bread crumbs because they already have spices in them. Sometimes I use regular bread crumbs and add my own spices. Or if you really love parmesan (who doesn’t?!) you can use regular bread crumbs and mix in some parmesan for extra cheesy goodness. I usually use panko bread crumbs because they get crispier, but regular old fashioned bread crumbs work fine too.

Make it:

mix 1 cup mayo and 1/2 cup parmesan

Step 1: In a bowl, mix 1 cup of mayonnaise (I eyeball it, it’s okay if it’s a little more or less) and ½ cup parmesan cheese (again, eyeball it, save yourself another thing to wash after dinner). It will get to a weird grainy consistency. Perfect.

smear the mayo/parmesan mixture onto one side of the chicken

Step 2: Now take a piece of chicken and put it on a plate. Use a fork (or one of those fancy silicone kitchen brushes) to smear the mayo/parmesan mixture onto the top of the chicken. It doesn’t have to be perfect or all the way to the edge. Just get most of it covered.

sprinkle with bread crumbs, flip and repeat

Step 3: Then sprinkle the bread crumbs (or bread crumbs and parmesan or other spices mixture) on the top. Don’t get it too thick or else it won’t crisp up. Just one layer of crumbs. Gently pat down the bread crumbs so they stick to the mayo/parmesan.

Step 4: Now, put it in a greased pan (I use a 13×9” glass baking dish and it holds one pound of chicken perfectly) with the bread crumb side down.

Step 5: Repeat the mayo/parmesan and bread crumb process to the other side of the chicken that’s now face up in the pan.

put chicken in one layer in a pan / baking dish and cook at 400° for 30-40 minutes

Step 6: Bake in a 400° oven for 30-40 minutes. I do 40 minutes because I have an irrational fear of under-cooking chicken. Because of the mayonnaise, the chicken stays moist and won’t dry out if you cook it for a while.

Step 7: Now, go have a drink and make your partner make the side dishes, because you did all the hard work. You deserve it.

you'll know when they're done when the tops start to get toasty and the crumbly pieces in the pan are getting dark

Step 8: You’ll know when it’s done when the bread crumbs on the top start to get toasty and the crumbs in the bottom of the pan are getting very toasty.

It goes really well with asparagus and mashed potatoes. And of course, sprinkle more parmesan all over everything else on your plate. Eat your delicious chicken, and eat up the compliments you’ll get on the super impressive grown-up dinner that you just made.

Comments on Megan-simple four-ingredient parmesan-crusted chicken

  1. first – those plates!

    second – do you think greek yogurt would be a good substitute for the mayo… Im sorry, I know you said it wouldn’t taste mayo-y when its cooked, but I have an irrational aversion to mayo so just the thought of it being on something would make me not want to eat it…. so Im wondering if greek yogurt would serve the same purpose and get the job done or just make a mess… b/c this actually looks like something I could do (but without the mayo)

    • I’m guessing here but I’m imagining the mayo works because it is essentially egg, oil and vinegar or lemon juice, and most recipes I’ve seen along these lines ask you to dip the chicken in a beaten egg mixture. The mayo is a bit more stable so it won’t trickle off your chicken breasts, keeping more moisture in the chicken better than a thin layer of beaten egg. This is also why it probably doesn’t taste like mayonnaise when it’s cooked, as egg changes texture and flavour a lot when it is cooked. Using greek yoghurt will give it a moussaka flavour with an entirely different consistency, although it may keep the chicken breast moist. I’d need to try it but it seems to me that the breadcrumbs wouldn’t stay on as well with Greek yoghurt, but do prove me wrong!

      • Oooh! I’m loving all the suggestions! Greek yogurt would be interesting. Like Lex said, it’s kind of a different texture, but maybe mixing an egg or two into it for stability?

        And ranch?! Yes please. I’m definitely going to try both of these.

        Thanks for all the compliments on my plates. They’re the same pattern that my grandma had. I didn’t even know that she had this pattern until after I started collecting them and my Dad told me that they were the same as he had when he was a kid. I love that I have the same taste as my grandma and didn’t even know it. 🙂

    • Yes, I noticed the plates, too! Both my grandmother and my best friend’s family (when I was a kid) had that pattern. Good memories. Food can’t be bad on those plates!

      Also, this recipe sounds delicious! I may just have to go buy mayo to try it out…

        • Ohmygosh I’m definitely doing this with ranch. But, like, ranch stolen from a restaurant.

          And while we’re talking about ranch dressing, if anyone’s found a kind in the store that roughly tastes like what you get in a restaurant, tell me. Please. D: I have been searching for so long.

    • Those plates are a vintage Corelle line that is easily found at thrift stores–I just put together a whole set for my cabin from various local stores. The pattern comes in both gold and avocado, and the dishes are nearly unbreakable!

  2. I make something similar but I will have to give this one a try, I like mayo so it sounds great.
    My recipe is Lauren simple because I am a super dangerous cook (think fires and burns) and only has three ingredients.

    1. Take your chicken breast, whatever size you would like. I buy normal ones and bash them flat with my knife sharpener (I don’t have a meat hammer).
    2. Grate parmesan cheese, I do about a quarter of a cup for each chicken breast (but I don’t measure it I just go by how big the pile is, for two adults normally never more than 3/4 cup). Mix grated parmesan with pepper to taste, depends on how much you like and spread it out on a plate.
    3. Lay the chicken in the parmesan/pepper, give it a good rub around to make it stick, only do one side of the chicken. Put it on a tray under the griller in your oven. I sprinkle the extra cheese over the top of the chicken.
    4. Grill on medium until the chicken is cooked then turn it up to hot until your cheese is as crunchy as you like.

    I love it because it takes ten minutes to make and it never goes dry the chook is always juicy and tender and I have not caught this meal on fire yet!

  3. This looks so simple and tasty! I’m not a huge fan of Parmesan but I’m still really tempted to try it…

    Reminds me of one of our go-to easy meals when I was a kid, actually – chicken (we’d often use drumsticks), smothered in creamy garlic salad dressing, rolled in breadcrumbs and baked. Even I (a picky eater and hater of sauces, salad dressings etc) loved it.

  4. Yesss, those plates! I just inherited a set from my parents. Apparently they thought that they were a little outdated after 30 years. Whatever, they don’t know crap.

    I had a roomie make chicken like this once, but I think a bit of ranch powder was involved and she hand-grated the breadcrumbs because she is insane. The mayo really does make it stay moist! As for the fear of under-cooking chicken, I recommend a probe thermometer. Set it to whatever meat you are cooking, jam the probe into the thickest portion of the meat, and forget it! It is the only way that I will bake meats.

  5. We do a number of variations of this, and they’re all good! Also fun to cut your chicken into bite size pieces and make some home-baked nuggets. Much more satisfying than the pre-formed grocery store kind!!

  6. I just tried this last night but, modified it to fit the ingredients I had in my kitchen. Ended up with a decent eggplant parmesan. Used thick sliced eggplant instead of chicken, and used regular italian breadcrumbs instead of the panko italian bread crumbs. Turned out great.

  7. So, I’m trying this out tonight. I’ll let you know how it goes! (I love Megan-simple recipes since I am not a huge cook myself but like trying new things as long as the recipe isn’t overwhelming) 🙂

  8. So, I tried this out a couple of times over the last week. Here’s what I’ve learned:

    1. If you use miracle whip instead of mayo (my husband doesn’t eat mayo but prefers miracle whip, I know, its weird), cut the recipe in half since it has a bit of a tang in it.

    2. We made this with ranch last night and it worked much better. Again, I cut the recipe in half and it worked great. My husband liked it much better this way!

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