Dinner/ Recipes

Chicken Parmesan with a Twist

My mom made this chicken parmesan when I was home for Christmas and it absolutely floored me.

Granted, I’ve always been a big fan of chicken smothered with tomato sauce and cheese, but this particular chicken parmesan was better than any other I’d ever had.

Naturally, after three bites I begged for the recipe. Turns out, it was in last month’s Food and Wine and mom has already made it three times! I couldn’t wait to get back to California and make it myself, and practically during the entire six hour flight home I relived the experience of the tender chicken, the cheesy topping and the special secret ingredient that made it all possible…

You know you love it.

Actually, I’m not going to lie. For pretty much my entire life, I despised pepperoni. It made pizza unnaturally greasy and reminded me of lunchables in the worst way possible.

I actually only recently (as of two weeks ago) became a complete pepperoni convert after trying this chicken parmesan!

The pepperoni adds just a little somethin’ somethin’ to the chicken, giving it an extra bang of flavor. I seriously could not believe how delicious this was!

I also couldn’t believe how easy it was to make. Like macaroni and cheese, I had never before attempted to make my own chicken parmesan from scratch (why would I when my mom was so good at it?).

This dinner came together at the last minute after I had gotten home late from the studio and needed something to eat fast.

Make this tonight!

Chicken Parmesan with Pepperoni

adapted from Food and Wine

serves 4

4 chicken breast halves, pounded thin

2 cups Panko breadcrumbs

2 eggs

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup milk

1 cup shredded mozzarella

2 ounces pepperoni (I used turkey)

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 large jar marinara sauce

1/4 cup canola oil

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

In a shallow dish or pie plate, combine the eggs and milk. In another dish, pour the panko and in one more, spread the flour (you should have three shallow dishes all lined up).

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and working with one breast at a time, dunk in the eggs/milk, then the panko and finally the flour. Repeat until all chicken breast halves have been battered.

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts and lightly fry until golden on each side and cooked through. Drain the chicken on paper towels and then lay in a greased casserole dish. Cover with tomato sauce, Parmesan and mozzarella. Finally, lay the pepperoni slices on top.

Bake for 15 minutes. Serve with spaghetti or bucatini noodles like my mom does.

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  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    January 14, 2011 at 5:06 am

    This may be Mr. How Sweet’s dream. Adding more meat to chicken parmesan? I think he might die!

    • jenna
      January 14, 2011 at 10:55 am

      hahaha somehow I feel like your husband and my boyfriend were separated at birth.

      • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
        January 14, 2011 at 11:43 am

        Ha! Tell me about it. I already texted him and told him I was making this for his lunches next week.

  • Baking 'n' Books
    January 14, 2011 at 5:08 am

    I like that these are quick to make. If it has chicken, cheese, pasta, and loads of sauce – I’m okay with it…


  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin
    January 14, 2011 at 5:09 am

    Ha I’m with Jessica – my boyfriend will think he died and went to heaven if I made this for him.

  • megan @ blackberries for jam
    January 14, 2011 at 5:09 am

    Looks like chicken pizza! You’ve won me over.

  • Elaina
    January 14, 2011 at 5:22 am

    I love making chicken parmesan because everyone loves it. But I always make my own sauce, the stuff in the jar just doesn’t compare. Thanks for this new spin on it. I will definitely have to try it. 🙂

  • Cathy B. @ Bright Bakes
    January 14, 2011 at 5:23 am

    ok, that’s it. Only you could make me drool over Italian food at 7:20 in the morning! But if it comes via your Mom….I’m gonna take this and make it STAT…if the chicken enchiladas were any indicator, I definitely can place my cooking confidence in her 😉
    cathy b. @ brightbakes

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet
    January 14, 2011 at 5:23 am

    It is like chicken parm and pizza had a baby!

    • Nelly
      January 14, 2011 at 5:31 am

      Lauren, I’m totally with you on that! But let’s call it a “love child” 😀

  • jen @ taste life
    January 14, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Wow….pepperoni on chicken on cheese. It actually looks really good and I think the man in my life would lick the plate (and casserole dish) clean for this one….

  • Blog is the New Black
    January 14, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Chicken parm is one of my all-time favs- esp when fried! To make it healthier, I suually bake it. I love your spin on this awesome dish!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    January 14, 2011 at 5:26 am

    we actually had chicken parm last night for dinner, and i can totally see how pepperoni would have made it THAT much better!

  • Amanda (Eating Up)
    January 14, 2011 at 5:27 am

    That is simple! Bring on the pepperoni!

  • Amy
    January 14, 2011 at 5:29 am

    I’m agree with several other ladies… in that I think my husband just fell in love with me all over again at the mere thought of this recipe, haha! I was just thinking this morning on my way into work, “Gee, I need some weekend meal inspiration…” …Ask & you shall receive…. Thanks for sharing this one- it looks amazing!

  • Bethany @Bridezilla Bakes
    January 14, 2011 at 5:29 am

    What a hearty meal, perfect for winter! I always thought of chicken parm as an involved, multi-step process but this looks 100% doable. It’s going on the list.

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    January 14, 2011 at 5:33 am

    My husband would marry me all over again if I made this 🙂

  • Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen
    January 14, 2011 at 5:37 am

    Love the addition – my mom is obsessed with those turkey pepperoni…she always has them in her house!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    January 14, 2011 at 5:39 am

    My sister is obsessed with pepperoni. She would go through one of those Hormel packages in a day!

  • stacey-healthylife
    January 14, 2011 at 5:43 am

    How interesting with the pepperoni, yum.

  • Miri
    January 14, 2011 at 5:45 am

    What a good idea! A small comment – shouldn’t the dunking order be: flour, egg/milk, panko?

    • jenna
      January 14, 2011 at 10:53 am

      Nope–well..at least I don’t think so. You dunk it in the egg/milk first so that the rest of the stuff (flour and panko) sticks to the chicken!

      • julie
        January 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm

        nope, read the recipe.. flour, egg & milk, bread crumbs. flour sticks to the wet chicken, egg sticks to the flour, bread crumbs stick to the egg. MMM sounds delicious, though!

  • foodandfarm
    January 14, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Oh.my.gosh. this is brilliant! I wonder if it would taste right with those big fresh sliced pepperonis from the deli?

  • Amalfi Girl (EatRunHaveFun!)
    January 14, 2011 at 5:51 am

    OMG. That looks so good, I just said “OMG.”

    Let’s keep it going: BTW, I am definitely going to be making that white bean penne this evening (albeit with wheat penne). Thank you so much for these awesome savory recipes!

    • jenna
      January 14, 2011 at 10:53 am

      hehehe OMG and BTW! LOL!

  • Justeen @ Blissful Baking
    January 14, 2011 at 5:54 am

    I LOVE chicken parmesan, but I’m not sure how I feel about the pepperoni… I probably haven’t had any since elementary school! The boyfriend would go nuts about this though, so maybe I’ll make it for his sake 🙂

  • notyet100
    January 14, 2011 at 5:55 am


  • megan @ whatmegansmaking
    January 14, 2011 at 6:11 am

    yet another recipe to add to my list! Looks wonderful Jenna 🙂

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers
    January 14, 2011 at 6:16 am

    I think my husband might re-propose to me if I added pepperoni to his chicken parm.

    • jenna
      January 14, 2011 at 10:53 am


  • Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl
    January 14, 2011 at 6:21 am

    I love chicken parmesan! I always seem to forget the actual parmesan, but I bet if I added pepperoni, that would more than make up for my absentmindedness 🙂

  • Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen
    January 14, 2011 at 6:29 am

    My stepmom puts turkey pepperoni in her lasagna…and it is a similarly mind-twisting experience. 🙂

  • Lauren
    January 14, 2011 at 6:40 am


    I am loving your savory week. All the recipes look amazing!!!!!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    January 14, 2011 at 6:45 am

    I’m not a huge fan of pepperoni since my only real experience with it is on pizza (ew). But this looks good!!

  • Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day
    January 14, 2011 at 6:47 am

    That’s a beautiful picture. I really love the spices used in pepperoni; I can totally see how they would compliment this dish.

  • Beth
    January 14, 2011 at 6:49 am

    Omg, its like pepperoni pizza on chicken instead of dough. Amazing!

    I’m loving savory week. Will this continue?

    • jenna
      January 14, 2011 at 10:52 am

      I’d like to challenge myself by doing one ALL savory week per month! how does that sound?

  • Elizabeth@The Sweet Life
    January 14, 2011 at 6:51 am

    Oh. My. Goodness.

  • Stephanie
    January 14, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Would it taste okay if it was italian sausage in place of the pepperoni?

    • jenna
      January 14, 2011 at 10:52 am

      mmmm yes! that would be very tasty

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    January 14, 2011 at 7:00 am

    Hormel thanks you from inside my fridge for its recognition. It used to be ashamed, now it’s more than happy 😉

    • jenna
      January 14, 2011 at 10:51 am

      We should have a Hormel Anonymous group

  • Lu @ Done Dieting
    January 14, 2011 at 7:02 am

    That looks amazing. Do you think it would be as good with turkey cutlets instead of chicken? Chicken scares me.

    • jenna
      January 14, 2011 at 10:51 am

      Yes! That would be really, good actually. Let me know how it turns out!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    January 14, 2011 at 7:14 am

    This looks amazing…and my hubs would adore it!

    When I was growing up my mom used to buy those packages of pepperoni….oh, the memories just seeing that package!

    Have a great weekend, Jenna! 🙂

  • Lacey @ Lake Life
    January 14, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Pepperoni in Chicken Parm is GENIUS!

  • Chicago Cuisine Critique
    January 14, 2011 at 7:23 am

    This looks great! And, I was unaware (because I too am not really into pepperoni) that turkey pepperoni actually existed. Thanks for sharing!

  • Rebekah
    January 14, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Wow! Those look awesome! Yum.
    Your blog is lovely!

  • Moni'sMeals
    January 14, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Super creative twist! My family would adore this.
    I use to eat that pepproni as a kid on everything!

    Have a good weekend.

  • Allison
    January 14, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I am a vegetarian and my fiance doesn’t eat cheese , but I totally forwarded this recipe to my sister, who always orders chicken parm at Italian restaurants. I can’t way to hear her review! Thanks!

  • Christie @ Abundant Self Care
    January 14, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Oh boy, you’ve outdone yourself this time. I love, love, love pepperoni. It might even be my favorite food.

  • Catie
    January 14, 2011 at 8:19 am

    OMG! Yum!

  • Krystina (Basil & Wine)
    January 14, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Can’t say I’m a pepperoni fan, but I love how delicately you swirled your spaghetti.

  • Amanda @ JustAmandaJ
    January 14, 2011 at 8:37 am

    I am totally saving this recipe to make for my Husband when he gets back from his trip in two weeks! Chicken parm always seems like it would be so hard to make but this looks simple enough and amazing!

    • jenna
      January 14, 2011 at 10:51 am

      you should! Adam said “it was one of the BEST things I have EVER made”!

  • Amber K
    January 14, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Well I can’t share the same love for pepperoni. My family would get so irritated with me because they’d want to order a half cheese half pepperoni pizza, but I just couldn’t eat the cheese half. It always tasted like pepperoni! I don’t think they fully understand how the grease from the pepperoni spreads!!!

  • mary (what's cookin' with mary)
    January 14, 2011 at 8:49 am

    That’s a heck of a secrect ingredient ?! I would have NEVER guessed ;P I saw those turkey pep’s on Danica’s blog, but I cannot find them at the store ?? OH, and I ALMOST made chicken parmesan last night 😀 Great minds!

    • jenna
      January 14, 2011 at 10:50 am

      they are right with the other classy food (hot dogs, lunchables and deli lunch meat)

  • Natalie @ Will Jog For Food
    January 14, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Great idea to use panko! When I make it, I use half flour and half regular breadcrumbs. I’ll have to try this one out too.

    • Natalie @ Will Jog For Food
      January 14, 2011 at 8:57 am

      Whoops, i meant to say half parmesan and half breadcrumbs. DOH!

      • jenna
        January 14, 2011 at 10:49 am

        yeah! I’ll have to try that next time. 🙂

  • Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef
    January 14, 2011 at 9:17 am

    oooh wow, love it! my husband is obsessed with pepperoni so i think i need to make this for him. 🙂

    • jenna
      January 14, 2011 at 10:49 am

      I think ALL guys are obsessed with pepperoni. It intrigues me!

      • mitzi
        January 14, 2011 at 11:25 am

        this is true…my bf is OBSESSED with it, while i don’t understand. we can never share a pizza haha, or we need to get half/half.

  • Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf
    January 14, 2011 at 9:22 am

    No way! Pepperoni on chicken?!?1


  • Chrissy
    January 14, 2011 at 9:44 am

    This is a great recipe for kids too. My kids would love the addition of pepperoni to chicken parmesan. I will try it this weekend!

  • Brooke (Bittersweetb)
    January 14, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Yum Chicken Pizza!

  • Sonia
    January 14, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Wow. If there is something more than my husbands loves than me, his family, and chicken marsala, it’s chicken parmesan. Looks soooooooo yummy and completely not able to fit into my detox. lol. Well, I’ll make it for the hubby anyways. 🙂

  • Amanda
    January 14, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Thats really neat, I bet the pepperoni get all crispy in the oven too. I love crispy pepperoni….. and cheese.

  • Maria
    January 14, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Yay for comfort food! I can’t get enough lately!

  • Salah (My Healthiest LIfestyle)
    January 14, 2011 at 11:14 am

    holy parm!!! That looks sooo good!!!!

  • Leah
    January 14, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I cannot wait to try this! My husband would love it too!

  • theresa
    January 14, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Everything’s better with pepperoni!

  • Newyorkerbyheart
    January 14, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    It looks really good – interesting with the pepperoni. I love chicken Parmesan, I definitely have to try this version.

    Have a great weekend 🙂

    My best,
    Birthe from Denmark

  • Holley
    January 14, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    That recipe looks ah-mazing! I have got to try that out – I will definitely get the husband stamp of approval on that recipe! Chicken parm and pepperoni – two of his fav things. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jenna @ Eating Green, Staying Lean
    January 14, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Instead of savory week, you should call this comfort food week! These are all perfect wintery foods, LOVE it.

  • AnneNP
    January 14, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I made this for my boyfriend for dinner tonight- we happened to have all the ingredients. He offered to pay me to make it again 🙂 Thanks for the tip!

  • Liz Jacquart
    January 14, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    That looks delish! 🙂

  • Ingrid
    January 15, 2011 at 6:56 am

    yummmmmm! this looks amazing! i actually have all the stuff to make pizza (including the pepperoni) as well as eggplant parm right now. do you think that this recipe would be good with the eggplant? or would it be gross? do i need to go ahead and get the chicken? i am thinking that maybe i’ll make it for dinner tonight. what do you think?

  • Aleyta
    January 15, 2011 at 7:53 am

    You make it sound so easy! I think I’ll try and make it!!

  • Elizabeth
    January 15, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    I’m making this tonight! Thanks for the new recipe!

  • Tracy @ Commit To Fit
    January 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Who doesn’t love pepperoni! What a great twist, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Christine @ The Pantry Drawer
    January 15, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Food&Wine know where it’s at! their recipes are always soo delicious

  • adrienne
    January 16, 2011 at 10:46 am


    My 16 year old stepdaughter made your Chicken Parmesan with a Twist last night for us and….Wow! It is a keeper! We made a double batch to have leftovers this week. And for once, I’m excited about having leftovers.

    This is now two savory recipes of yours we have made in one week….both were big hits (still talking and reminiscing about the Baked Four Cheese Macaroni).

    I’m looking forward to more savory deliciousness!


  • Jessica
    January 19, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    So, I made the food and wine recipe for Chicken parmesan and pepperoni and your version is essentially the same exact thing aside from a slight change in the amt. of oil used and the type of pepperoni used. I don’t quite understand the point of putting up your own version of it when its already in Food and wine..it seems unfair to the publication.

    • jenna
      January 19, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      well, I can see that. But, the recipe is readily available online on their website and I gave them 100% credit for the dish. I never tried to pass it off as my own invention, but did greatly decrease the amount of oil used!

  • Jessica
    January 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    I am making this for my grandparents tomorrow….I am excited about the pepperoni I havent had it in ages….

    Let you know what they think 🙂

  • KD
    February 16, 2011 at 9:57 am

    This is a great recipe! However, the order of breading the chicken is : flour, egg/milk, panko.

  • Encore
    March 16, 2011 at 6:22 am

    This recipe was fantastic…so much so that I had to tell everyone about it and give you some link love! Thanks!

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    May 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm

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  • corey @ Learning Patience
    July 6, 2011 at 4:55 am

    Wow, the looks awesome! I have not been able to find turkey pepperoni in Trinidad here yet, but maybe I’ll sneak some back here in a couple weeks…I really want to make this recipe… Question – I know I’m behind the times but do you like panko bread crumbs better than regular? I have yet to try them out… Thanks!

  • Corey @ Learning Patience
    August 24, 2011 at 7:53 am

    THANKS! Made this last night for a impromptu business dinner and everyone LOVED it!


    xoxo from Trinidad

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    November 9, 2011 at 11:03 am

    […] anyone is looking for something tasty and toasty to make for dinner, may I recommend Jenna’s Chicken Parm with a twist. The twist being…pepperoni! Yes. Give it a go! Happy Wednesday my friends. […]

  • Tuesday Nights | by Jacki
    November 28, 2012 at 8:51 am

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  • Ashley
    September 30, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Making this tonight! Thanks Jenna!

  • Elizabeth
    October 5, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    I have this recipe saved on my computer for ages (since you first posted it). Finally made it last night and eating the leftovers tonight. Amazing!! Did not disappoint one bit. Enjoying every bite. So happy I finally got around to making it.

  • Isa from Québec
    January 13, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I made it last saturday (eating the leftovers right now) and it is sooo good. My cheese/meat lover boyfriend thanked me for doing it. I used chorizo instead of pepperoni (did’nt have any turkey pepperroni at my grocery store) and it was amazing! Thank you!

  • Erica
    September 20, 2014 at 11:24 am

    This look phenomenal. I’ve been really into making little eggplant pizzas to skip out on the crust, yet still get all the cheesy, saucy, pepperoni goodness. Definitely going to give this one a try! Thanks!