Healthy Chicken Parmesan



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This healthy chicken parmesan is breaded with almond flour and baked instead of fried. It’s moist, full of flavor and perfect for satisfying a craving for Italian comfort food. Gluten-free + grain-fee. 

These baked chicken tenders have become one of my most popular recipes here on EBF and for good reason. They’re easy to make, gluten-free, grain-free and they’re absolutely delicious, not to mention Whole30 approved! I love serving the tenders with baked sweet potato fries or over a fresh salad, but I thought it would be fun to give them an Italian spin by adding a little marinara and parmesan cheese for upgraded healthy chicken parmesan.

An overhead shot of two bowls of zucchini noodles with a chicken breast resting on top of each.

Traditional vs. Healthy Chicken Parmesan

Traditional recipes for chicken parmesan are loaded with multiple kinds of cheese, bread (or flour) and sometimes butter. There is nothing wrong with any of those ingredients, but sometimes I don’t want to feel like I need to be rolled away from the dinner table… you feel me? This simple, cleaned-up version is perfect and won’t leave you feeling overstuffed or bloated. The chicken base is coated in egg, almond meal and spices to create a flavorful, crunchy base and then it’s topped with marinara sauce and freshly grated parmesan.

Ingredients measured out to make chicken parmesan: chicken, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, almond meal, parmesan, salt, pepper, egg and marinara.

Here’s What You Need

  • boneless skinless chicken breast – chicken tenders work well too!
  • egg – egg helps the almond meal and spice mixture stick to the chicken breast! Whisk an egg and then dunk the chicken in the egg before coating.
  • almond meal – almond meal is a bit coarser than almond flour which works great for this recipe to mimic coarse breadcrumbs. Allergic to almonds? You can use traditional breadcrumbs or try any other type of flour.
  • spices – a mixture of paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper season the almond meal, giving it a delicious flavor!
  • marinara – homemade or jarred works. I’m loving Rao’s Homemade marinara right now but any store-bought works just look for ones that don’t have any added sugar.
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese – can’t have chicken parmesan without parmesan! I recommend using a high quality parmesan cheese and freshly grating it on the dish as opposed to using a container of parmesan. If you need this recipe to be dairy-free you can use a store-bought vegan parmesan or try my vegan parmesan cheese with hemp seeds.
Collage of four photos showing how to make healthy chicken parm. 1. almond meal and spices in a bowl. 2. whisking eggs 3. Breading chicken in egg and almond meal. 4. baking chicken with marinara and parm.

How to Make Chicken Parmesan

Start by mixing the almond meal and spices in a small bowl. Crack and whisk the egg in a separate shallow bowl. Dredge each chicken breast in the egg bowl, allow any excess egg to drop and then dip the coated chicken into the almond meal mixture, making sure the chicken is fully coated.

To bake in the oven, place the coated chicken on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 400ºF for 15 minutes. Flip the chicken and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. The chicken is done when it’s golden brown and completely cooked through

For extra crispy chicken, bake the chicken on a wire rack that fits on a baking sheet. 

To cook in an air fryer, place the coated chicken breasts in the air fryer basket and cook at 400ºF for 6-8 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Once your chicken is cooked, top each chicken breast with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese. Return to the oven or air fryer and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Overhead shot of a bowl of zucchini noodles with a chicken parm breast resting on top. There is a second bowl partially in the frame.

Meal Prep Chicken Parmesan

I really like doing the cook-once, eat-twice method by making a batch of the tenders on Sunday night. The recipe makes four servings so we’ll have the tenders for dinner on a big salad and then I’ll save the leftovers to make this chicken parm the following night. The only additional items you need to have on hand are a little marinara and fresh parmesan cheese.

The baked chicken breasts will last for 3-4 days in the fridge so make as much as you’d like ahead of time! If you can’t eat them that quickly you can also freeze the baked chicken breasts (without the tomato sauce and cheese) for up to two months. 

What to Serve with Chicken Parmesan

I love serving this dish with a side of roasted broccoli but there are so many side options! Here are some ideas:

How to Store Leftovers

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-4 days. I recommend baking or placing in the air fryer for a few minutes to help the chicken crisp up again! You can microwave if you’re in a pinch but the chicken won’t be crispy.

An overhead shot of a bowl zucchini noodles with a chicken parm breast resting on top. A fork rests inside the bowl.

More Healthy Chicken Recipes

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐ star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below.

4.17 from 36 votes

Healthy Chicken Parmesan

This healthy chicken parmesan is breaded with almond flour and baked instead of fried. It's moist, full of flavor and perfect for satisfying a craving for Italian comfort food. Gluten-free + grain-fee. 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 lb organic boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup marinara, homemade or jarred
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese


  • Preheat oven to 400° F.
  • Place almond meal, paprika, cayenne, garlic, sea salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
    Dry ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.
  • Crack egg into another shallow bowl and whisk.
    A hand is holding a bowl steady while the other hand is whisking an egg.
  • Dredge each chicken breast in the egg bowl, wipe off any excess and then dip into the almond meal mixture. Roll until each chicken breast is covered completely. Place the coated chicken on a baking pan lined with parchment paper or on a wire rack that fits on a baking sheet. The wire rack will make for a crispier texture. Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping the chicken once at the 15-minute mark. When done, the chicken will be golden brown and completely cooked through.
    A chicken breast rests in a bowl, being coated with breading, while another chicken breast rests on a metal sheet pan. There is an egg wash bowl in the frame.
  • Once cooked through, top each chicken breast with 2-3 Tablespoons of marinara and 2 teaspoons of parmesan cheese. Return chicken to oven and bake 5-10 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted and bubbly.
    Two breaded chicken breasts covered with marinara sauce and cheese sprinkled on top. They rest on a metal baking sheet.
  • Serve with roasted broccoli or another green veggie.



  • Almond meal: Allergic to almonds? You can use traditional breadcrumbs or try any other type of flour.


Serving: 1/4 of recipe | Calories: 269kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 706mg | Potassium: 247mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: healthy chicken parmesan
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

More about Brittany
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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    You did it again! This was another hit of deliciousness! I did my chicken in the air fryer and it came out so crispy and juicy. I used a gf breading I found because I couldn’t find almond meal. I live on your website. Any time I want to try something new I come straight here!
    And I’m having the chocolate peanut butter banana bites for dessert!
    Thank you!

    1. Ahhh thank you so much, Tara! Let me know how the banana bites turn out for you. I appreciate your comment and review!

  2. 5 stars
    Love this! Quick and easy. I used cassava flour and bread crumbs from TJs. I also used my air fryer. Perfect quick dinner. I added broccoli and someLeftover penne I had.

    1. Hey Amanda! So glad you loved this recipe! How long did the chicken parm take to cook in your air fryer? I’ll have to try that sometime!

  3. 5 stars
    Very tasty! This is the first well plated recipe that I have tried and I’m glad I did. Will be trying more recipes in the near future.
    Excellent taste, loved the ease of making this recipe and family loved it! Definitely a keeper!

    1. Yay! I’m so glad this recipe worked well for you, Imsen! Thank you for coming back to leave a review and star rating, it means so much to me!

  4. This was so good and so easy! I used breadcrumbs because I had some lying around. It was cooked to perfection! We had ours over a bed of zoodles and the kids had spaghetti. Not a bike left! Another great recipe!

    1. Ah yay! So happy to hear this recipe was a hit, Kelly! Thanks so much for trying it out and coming back to leave a review. I really appreciate it!

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