For an easy recipe for dinner look no further than Italian breaded chicken. This delicious recipe uses chicken breasts which are coated with Italian breadcrumbs and baked in the oven.
The result is moist and crispy Italian chicken breasts full of Italian flavor.Jump to Recipe
What is Italian Breaded Chicken?
For anyone who hasn’t made Italian breaded chicken you’re in for a real treat. It can be served as a main dish for a meal or as a complimentary dish, such as for pasta.
We bake the breaded chicken breasts in the oven rather than frying like we do in my chicken cutlets recipe. This version is not only healthier but it’s also much faster requiring less hands-on time. This frees you to prepare any additional side dishes.
What Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Italian Breaded Chicken
Fortunately for this recipe there are minimal ingredients and they all should be readily available at the local grocery store.
- Chicken breasts
- Breadcrumbs (plain)
- Parsley (dried or fresh – for the breadcrumbs)
- Romano cheese (parmesan is fine if that’s all you have)
- Milk or salt brine (optional for soaking)
Do You Need to Soak the Chicken Before Breading Them?
I have family members that will soak the chicken breasts in milk for a few hours prior to making the meal. Soaking the chicken in milk should help tenderize it, but I never noticed a difference.
I prefer soaking them in a salt brine instead for at least 30 minutes if I want to ensure they will not be dry. It’s also less expensive to soak in the salt brine than using milk.
Steps for Making Baked Italian Breaded Chicken
If you’d like to jump down to the printable recipe, you can do so here:Jump to Recipe
This recipe is so common for me that I make it by memory, and so can you. As I mentioned above you can be flexible and make this your own recipe with your own adjustments.
Slice the Chicken Breasts in Half Length-wise
The best way to do this is to have the chicken breasts partially frozen. If the chicken breasts are fully thawed it is harder to evenly slice the breasts length-wise. You can see in my image above that mine were fully thawed and my slicing wasn’t the greatest.
If they are already thawed, you can place them in the freezer for about 15 minutes. You don’t want them frozen, but firm enough to slice through.
Two large chicken breasts can be sliced enough to make 5-6 thinly sliced or 4 thicker breasts.
Create the Italian Breading for the Chicken
The next step is to combine the breadcrumbs, parsley and Romano cheese in a single bowl. The quantities for this vary depending on how many breasts you’re making. This recipe serves 4 to 6.
You might be surprised that our Italian breading for the chicken doesn’t use pre-seasoned breadcrumbs. Instead, we use our homemade breadcrumbs or plain store-bought breadcrumbs.
Italian pre-seasoned store-bought breadcrumbs often have too many competing flavors from the unnecessary amount of herbs.
So, we create this beautiful Italian breaded chicken breast mixture by combining 2 Cups of plain breadcrumbs, ½ Cup grated Romano, and ½ Cup dried parsley (a little less if using fresh parsley). Combine in a single bowl.
You may think the quantity of dried parsley is too much, but it isn’t. You’ll need it to coat the breasts and the flavor will be perfect.
Unlike a chicken cutlets recipe where you dip the breast individually in each ingredient to coat, Italian breaded chicken breasts are much simpler and don’t require you to do this.
In addition, notice that this recipe doesn’t use flour or egg.
Coat the Chicken Breasts with the Breadcrumb Mixture & Olive Oil
Next add a good amount of olive oil into the oven proof baking dish – about ¼ cup.
Then take the chicken breasts and press them into the Italian breadcrumb mixture we just created. Press firmly so it sticks. Do this on both sides and then place the chicken in the olive oil in the baking dish.
Coat Both Sides of the Chicken Breasts with the Olive Oil
This is an important step.
It’s the olive oil that will make the breading crispy when baking in the oven. After adding the chicken breasts to the baking dish, flip the breasts over so both sides have breadcrumbs coated with the olive oil.
If you need to add more olive oil to the pan so there’s enough to soak up for the other side, go ahead and do so.
Bake in the oven at 375F for 35 minutes covered. Then bake another 10-15 minutes uncovered – this is when it can really crisp up. If you bake it uncovered the entire time, the breasts may dry out too much.
Internal meat temperature should read 165F.
Can Italian Breaded Chicken be Made in Advance?
Italian breaded chicken can be made up to a day in advance. Store in an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap.
However, add an extra 5 or 10 minutes to the cooking time to account for the colder starting temperature.
Can You Freeze Italian Breaded Chicken?
You can freeze breaded chicken breasts before and after baking.
I recommend freezing the raw chicken breasts if you want to prepare them more than a day in advance. You can freeze the raw chicken up to 6 months. Let them thaw in the refrigerator before placing in the oven.
You can also freeze your baked Italian breaded chicken 3 to 6 months in the freezer for leftovers at a later date. Let them thaw in the refrigerator before reheating in the oven.
How to Reheat Leftover Breaded Chicken Breasts
First, let the chicken breasts thaw, then reheat uncovered at 350F for approximately 15 minutes or reheat in the microwave for 3 minutes.
I’ve also let them reheat in the toaster oven. 😊
How Long Will Breaded Italian Chicken Last in the Refrigerator?
If you happen to have any leftovers, your chicken breasts will last up to 3 or 4 days in an airtight container. Up to 5 days if in a glass container.
Additional Ideas for Italian Breaded Chicken
Breaded Italian chicken makes for amazing leftovers. There are so many meals or dishes you can make from it, such as chicken sandwiches.
- Chicken Parmesan – By using the breaded Italian chicken, you can easily create an easy and quick chicken parmesan recipe by simply adding sauce on top and some additional cheese at the end to melt.
- You can also cut the leftover breaded chicken into strips and add them to salads for a nice chicken salad.
- For gluten free breading, use gluten free crackers or gluten free cereals.
I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Here’s my quick video and the recipe is further down which you can print.
Recipe for Italian Breaded Chicken Breasts
My Italian mother in law gave me this baked chicken recipe and I've made few minor adjustments to make it healthier over time. It's such an easy dinner for your family and is great for leftovers too. Enjoy!
- 6-8 1/4″ thick thawed chicken breasts
- 2 cups bread crumbs panko works fine
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 4 Tablespoons shredded/crumbled romano cheese
- 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Wash your hands (do so after touching raw meat throughout the process too!) My husband likes to use those non-latex gloves when working with raw meat and those work great too.
Preheat oven to 375F
Drizzle olive oil on bottom of pan and spread to cover pan. Set aside.
Pour breadcrumbs, parsley and romano cheese in a large bowl and mix it together.
Dip chicken breasts in mixture and coat both sides. Use hands to push the mixture into the meat so it won’t just fall off.
Place breaded chicken breast in pan and rub around to get the oil soaked in.
Turn over and do the same. (The oil in the oven will make the breadcrumbs crispy giving it a slightly fried texture without the need of frying!)
Do this for all chicken breasts and add more oil if need be to pan.
Cover with tin foil shiny side down. (The shiny side has the protective coating on the foil so the aluminum won’t affect your cooking since aluminum is not good to digest.)
Bake for 35 minutes, then remove cover.
Bake for remaining 10 – 15 minutes to allow the oiled mixture to get crispy.
Remove and make sure the thickest parts of the chicken show no pink inside.
Other Meat Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also enjoy my other Italian recipes too!
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Recipe originally posted on July 25, 2016. Updated 12/19/2022.