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This Gluten Free Baked Chicken Parmesan is a light, healthier version of classic comfort food! Made with crispy homemade chicken tenders, topped with zesty marinara sauce and warm, melty mozzarella cheese, dished up over a bed of gluten-free pasta. You’re going to savor every bite of this easy chicken parm!
Classic Baked Chicken Parmesan With Pasta
This gluten-free chicken parmesan recipe is a classic, baked version of a homestyle favorite. Many chicken parmesan recipes see boneless chicken crisped up in a skillet with oil, then topped with sauce and cheese. I throw mine into the oven instead for a lighter, healthy chicken parmesan that’s just as delicious!
Whenever the family is craving something comforting and hearty, I make this easy chicken parmesan to serve over a bed of gluten-free pasta. The crispy breading of the chicken tenderloins and strings of warm, melty cheese are an instant cozy bite in the colder months. Meanwhile, the bright tomato flavors of marinara sauce make it just as tasty in the summer, especially if you make the sauce from scratch with in-season tomatoes.
If chicken parmesan is your go-to menu item when eating out, just wait until you discover how easy it is to make at home!
What’s the Difference Between Chicken Parmesan and Chicken Parmigiana?
Wait for it: they’re the same thing. Chicken parmesan and chicken parmigiana are different names for the exact same dish! And while words like “parmigiana” might make it seem like chicken parm is wholly Italian, the recipe is actually very much American. It’s a delicious combination of breaded chicken topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella.
Using ready-made chicken tenders means that this chicken parmesan comes together in just 30 minutes! Here you’ll find everything you need, with the full ingredient amounts available in the recipe card:
- Crispy Chicken Tenders: A batch of Air Fryer Chicken Tenders (or my baked version) is perfect for this chicken parm. I like to prepare and freeze them just for this reason! Alternatively, you can use store bought chicken tenders, just prep them according to the directions on the package.
- Marinara Sauce: You’ll need your favorite jarred marinara sauce, or use an easy Homemade Marinara Sauce. I personally love the fresh flavors that come with homemade! So bright and zesty, and full of tomato.
- Mozzarella Cheese: Part-skim is best. I recommend shredding the mozzarella fresh, for the most melty, bubbly results. Pre-shredded mozzarella can have a waxy coating that keeps it from getting really nice and gooey when melted. Provolone cheese can also be used in place of mozzarella.
- Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated, for extra cheesy flavor and goodness. Set some aside for serving if you’d like.
- Herbs: As an optional garnish, sprinkle on some freshly minced parsley or basil leaves.
- Pasta: Your go-to gluten-free pasta, cooked per the package directions for serving. I love chicken parmesan served over spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, or short pasta varieties like penne and fusilli. You can also use regular pasta if you’re not making this recipe gluten-free.
How to Make Gluten-Free Chicken Parm
Chicken parmesan is one of our favorite cozy, easy family dinner ideas. I love this recipe in particular because chicken tenders are just SO quick to prepare in the oven or in the air fryer. Of course, if you’re extra short on time, go ahead and use those packaged tenders – your parm will still turn out delicious!
Once you have your chicken prepared per the recipe or package of your choosing, the chicken parmesan comes together easily:
Assemble: While the oven preheats to 400ºF, lay your cooked chicken out in a 9×13 baking pan coated with cooking spray. Pour over the marinara sauce, then top with both cheeses.
Bake: Place your chicken into the oven for about 20 minutes, give or take. Your chicken parmesan is ready when the tenders are heated through and the cheese is browned and bubbly. Then, all that’s left to do is serve it over pasta and garnish with fresh chopped herbs!
Tips for Success
The secret to perfect homemade chicken parmesan isn’t so secret! Here are my tips for the best possible dish:
- Use Fresh Ingredients: Nothing compares to freshly shredded mozzarella and fresh, fine-grated parmesan cheese in this recipe. Both in flavor and texture!
- Make the Marinara Sauce: Along the same lines, I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Jarred marinara sauce is all well and good for this recipe, but fresh marinara sauce is just the best. If you have a few minutes to spare, make it yourself. You won’t regret it!
Make It a Meal
In this case we’re serving this crispy chicken parm over gluten-free pasta. But you can easily serve it over Roasted Vegetables, Sautéed Summer Veggies, Zucchini Noodles or Spaghetti Squash as a healthier, lower carb option.
Then, round out a comforting meal with one or more of these easy side dishes:
- Air Fryer Zucchini with Parmesan
- Italian-Style Romaine Wedge Salad
- Gluten Free Texas Toast or Gluten Free Garlic Breadsticks
- Crispy Air Fryer Truffle Fries
- Air Fryer Roasted Carrots
- Lemon Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
Storage and Reheating
Since the cheese and sauce tend to soak into the breadcrumbs, chicken parm is always best served right away. However, if you run into leftovers, store them airtight in the fridge, where they’ll keep for up to 2 days.
Enjoy the leftovers cold over salads (hearty greens or couscous salads are good for this), or warm the chicken parm up again to serve over pasta. Reheat the chicken cutlets on the stovetop, or in the oven until warmed through.
Can I Freeze This?
Yes! Chicken parm is one of the best freezer meals to whip out on a busy weeknight. The leftovers are also great to keep frozen for easy lunches.
Once the baked chicken parmesan is completely cool, wrap it tightly in cling wrap or transfer it to a freezer bag or container. Keep your chicken parmesan frozen for up to 3 months, then bake straight from frozen until the breading is crisp again and the chicken is warmed through.
More Must-Make Italian Comfort Food
- Italian Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner
- Lasagna Stuffed Acorn Squash with Ground Beef
- Italian Noodle Casserole
- Slow Cooker Steak Pizzaiola
- The World’s Best Homemade Lasagna
Easy Gluten Free Chicken Parmesan
- 1 ½ lbs chicken tenders (One batch of baked or air fryer chicken tenders, or store bought chicken tenders prepared according to package directions)
- 24 oz marinara sauce (Jarred, or about 2-2 ½ cups of homemade marinara sauce)
- 8 oz mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese plus additional for serving, if desired
- Minced fresh parsley or basil, optional
- Your favorite regular or gluten free pasta for serving
- Prepare the chicken tenders per the recipe or package directions.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray or oil.
- Place the cooked chicken in the pan and pour the marinara sauce over the top. Spread it into an even layer with a spatula. Top with the mozzarella and parmesan cheese over the top.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.