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Chicken parmesan

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Chicken parmesan
Chicken parmesan from an American restaurant
Alternative namesChicken parmigiana
Place of originUnited States
Main ingredientsChicken breast, tomato sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan

Chicken parmesan or chicken parmigiana (Italian: pollo alla parmigiana) is a dish that consists of breaded chicken breast covered in tomato sauce and mozzarella, Parmesan, or provolone.[1] Ham or bacon is sometimes added.[2][3]

The dish originated in the Italian diaspora in the United States during the early 20th century.[1][4][5][6] It has been speculated that the dish is based on a combination of the Italian parmigiana di melanzane, a dish using fried eggplant slices and tomato sauce, with a cotoletta, a breaded veal cutlet generally served without sauce or cheese in Italy.[6]

Chicken parmesan is included as the base of a number of different meals, including sandwiches[7] and pies.[8][9]


North America[edit]

The dish, also known as "chicken parm",[4] originated in the northeast United States from Italian immigrants, and became a popular staple in restaurants serving Italian-American cuisine by the 1950s.[4][10][11][12] Home versions also grew in popularity. A recipe was published in the 1953 issue of the New York Herald Tribune that used frozen fried chicken patties or fillets along with other processed foods to make a version of the dish at home.[13] A recipe for chicken parmesan was published in The New York Times in 1962.[14]

In the United States and Canada, chicken parmesan is often served as a main course, and sometimes with a side of, or on top of pasta. Many restaurants also offer chicken parm sandwiches.[15] Upon arriving in America, Italian immigrants began to take advantage of America's affordable meat market, incorporating chicken into parmigiana.[4][16]


Chicken parmigiana with chips and salad, a common serving in Australia

Chicken parmigiana was known in Australia by the 1950s, and is often called parma, parmi or parmy in modern Australian parlance; its name varies from region to region.[17][18][19] It was offered in restaurants in Adelaide as early as 1953.[20] It is regularly served as a main meal throughout Australia, where it is considered a staple of pub food.[21][22][23][18] In a 2019 interview that was broadcast on ABC Radio Hobart, food historian Jan O'Connell believes that chicken parmigiana did not become a pub staple until the 1980s; before that time, it was primarily served in restaurants.[24][25]

Chicken parmigiana is typically served in Australia with a side of chips and salad, although there is some dispute as to whether the chips should be served under or next to the chicken.[26] Its popularity has led to a specialized chicken parmigiana restaurant opening in Melbourne,[26] and chicken parmigiana is the subject of reviews on dedicated websites which compare the dish as purchased from various pubs within a region.[26][27][28][29]

Asian fusion cooking[edit]

In fusion cuisine, chicken parmesan has been modified to suit Asian taste preferences by the addition of a small amount of soy sauce (as a salt substitute) to the tomato-based sauce[30][31] and sometimes served with a side of rice or stir-fried noodles. This dish is sometimes marketed in English-speaking areas as chicken katsu parmesan.[32][33] Sometimes, the soy sauce is added instead to the egg wash for the chicken.[34]

Similar dishes[edit]


Chicken pizzaiola in Venice, Italy

Aside from melanzane alla parmigiana, a dish using breaded eggplant slices instead of chicken, there are other similar dishes in Italy that use meat.

Carne pizzaiola is a dish derived from the Neapolitan tradition that features meat topped with cheese and often cooked with tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and white wine. Beef is used most often but it can be made with chicken and pork as well.[35]

A similar dish using veal is known in Italian as cotoletta alla bolognese, which excludes tomato sauce but includes melted Parmesan cheese and prosciutto.[36] Costolette alla parmigiana is another similar veal dish, but in Italy it is generally served without sauce or cheese.[6]

United Kingdom[edit]

In England, parmo is a dish originating in Middlesbrough that typically consists of fried breaded chicken or pork topped with a white béchamel sauce and cheese instead of tomato sauce. Parmo originated as escalope parmesan, a derivative of chicken parmigiana.[37]


In Hungary, a chicken or pork cutlet breaded with a mix of flour and shredded potatoes, and topped with garlic sour cream and cheese is called mátrai borzaska (lit.'scruffy from Mátra') or borzas for short;[38][39] if the topping is cheese and mushrooms, it is referred to as óvári (lit.'from Óvár').[40]


In Argentina, a variation of milanesa a la napolitana is made with chicken instead of the usual beef, similar to chicken parmigiana.[41] It is sometimes topped with ham, bacon, or a fried egg and is usually served with french fries.[42][43][44]

See also[edit]

Media related to Chicken parmesan at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ a b "20 'Italian' Dishes Italians Don't Really Eat". msn.com. June 9, 2019. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  2. ^ "Debate over a pub favourite". Daily Liberal and Macquarie Advocate. Dubbo, New South Wales. October 13, 2012. p. 10.
  3. ^ Cowie, Tom & Bibby, Grace (September 11, 2013). "To ham or not to ham when ordering a chicken parma". The Courier. Ballarat, Victoria.
  4. ^ a b c d Clark, Melissa (January 30, 2015). "Parmigiana Dishes to Warm Weary Souls". The New York Times. Retrieved November 17, 2016. Veal and chicken parmigiana, along with their cousins meatball, sausage and shrimp, are more recent adaptations, created by Italian immigrants in America who could afford to use meat in place of the vegetables they relied on in the Old Country.
  5. ^ Ruggeri, Amanda (February 8, 2011). "Can't Find a Favorite Italian Dish in Rome? Here's Why". revealedrome.com. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Kaminski, Margot (October 12, 2006). "Fake Accent". Chowhound. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  7. ^ "Subway Buys Role on 'Will & Grace'". The Wall Street Journal. New York. September 30, 2005. p. B4. ProQuest 398942276.
  8. ^ "Parma pies on menu for Patties". The Mercury. Hobart, Tasmania. February 18, 2012. p. 31. WHAT do you get if you take the humble meat pie and the Italian chicken parmigiana and mash them together? Link(subscription required) via EBSCO
  9. ^ Gannon, Genevieve (February 17, 2012). "Patties pins hopes on "parma" pie". Sydney Morning Herald.
  10. ^ "Menu from Tony's Italian Kitchen". Tony's Italian Kitchen. 1955. Retrieved June 17, 2019 – via New York Public Library.
  11. ^ "Menu from Mamma Leone's". Mamma Leone's. 1958. Retrieved March 7, 2016 – via New York Public Library.
  12. ^ "Menu from Ristorante Giannino". Ristorante Giannino. Italia Società di Navigazione. August 23, 1956. Dieter Zander Collection – via New York Public Library.
  13. ^ Cannon, Poppy (February 4, 1953). "Advances in Frozen Foods Are Taking Load Off Stoves: New Louis L. Libby Line of Precooked Items Shows How Home Chefs Can Cut Labors". New York Herald Tribune. p. 12. ProQuest 1322298953. Chicken Parmigiano–Generally this method is reserved for a breaded cutlet of veal, but it's amazing how good and unusual a dish you achieve by arranging heated quick-frozen southern fried chicken on the serving dish. Top each piece with a thin slice of cheese. The Italians would use Mozzarella; Muenster is good too, and so is mild American. A sprinkle of grated Parmesan over the top adds tang. Place under a broiler or in the oven till the cheese melts and then pour around a tomato sauce made by heating Hunt's tomato sauce with one clove garlic finely crushed, one-half bay leaf, one teaspoon olive oil, one-fourth to one-half teaspoon basil, oregano or marjoram. Simmer eight to ten minutes.
  14. ^ New Menus Are Offered Home Cook," (September 6, 1962). The New York Times p.33, in "Chicken Parm", The Food Timeline, retrieved November 12, 2015.
  15. ^ "America's Best Chicken Parm Sandwiches". The Huffington Post. June 13, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  16. ^ Thrillist (July 15, 2015). "The Surprising Origins of 8 Italian-American Dishes". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  17. ^ "Is it chicken parmi or parma? Aussie dictionary update reignites the enduring food naming debate". Good Food. July 23, 2022. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  18. ^ a b Bochenski, Natalie (April 16, 2015). "Brisbane man Stephen Humphreys' quest to find the city's best Parmigiana". Brisbane Times. Archived from the original on September 5, 2017. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  19. ^ Dabelstein, Joshua (February 8, 2018). "The Great Australian Debate: Is It Chicken Parmi, Parmy or Parma?". New Matilda. Archived from the original on April 10, 2019. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  20. ^ "I Say". The Mail (Adelaide). Vol. 43, no. 2, 164. South Australia. November 28, 1953. p. 55. Retrieved March 24, 2019 – via National Library of Australia. They ask for steak and eggs, but change to Chicken Parmigiana when the waiter explains that it's chicken cooked in light wine and served with grated cheese
  21. ^ Watson, Callie (August 14, 2010). "Changing tastes mean humble schnitzel now... More than just pub grub". The Advertiser. Adelaide. p. 43. Archived from the original on October 16, 2011.
  22. ^ Turner, Shaun (April 7, 2015). "Parmi-geddon: the five best (and worst) parmigianas in Perth". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015.
  23. ^ Horne, Tania (August 14, 2013). "Chicken Parmi... Best in Tassie Challenge!". Think Tasmania. Archived from the original on June 7, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2015.
  24. ^ Burgess, Georgie (July 5, 2019). "It's a pub staple across Australia, but how did the chicken parmigiana end up on the menu?". ABC News. Archived from the original on July 5, 2019. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  25. ^ O'Connell, Jan (September 24, 1980). "1980 Chicken Parmigiana on the menu". Australian food history timeline. Archived from the original on February 26, 2019.
  26. ^ a b c Cincotta, Liz (May 22, 2007). "Good parma". The Age. Melbourne, Victoria. p. 14. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015.
  27. ^ Levin, Darren (August 7, 2004). "Keeping abreast of the Parma best". The Age. Melbourne, Victoria. p. A2.2. Archived from the original on September 30, 2018.
  28. ^ Fair, Alex (July 18, 2012). "A group of Launceston friends are using their love of the good old chicken parmigianas to help boost the city's restaurant industry". The Examiner. Launceston, Tasmania. p. 7. Archived from the original on January 21, 2015.
  29. ^ Sinclair, Corey (May 6, 2015). "Territory patriots review chicken parmigianas with hilarious results". Northern Territory News. Archived from the original on August 14, 2015.
  30. ^ Kwan, KP (June 1, 2020). "Parmesan Crusted Chicken". Taste of Asian Food.
  31. ^ Grasby, Marion (September 6, 2020). Marion's Best Chicken Parmigiana (video). Marion's Kitchen. Accompanying written recipe and descriptions.
  32. ^ Kirk, W. Tanner (April 3, 2021). "Recipe: How to make Japanese katsu-style chicken Parmesan (with audio)". Japan Times.
  33. ^ "VIDEO: Resep Chicken Katsu Parmesan dengan Saus Marinara, Endes Gila!" [VIDEO: Chicken Katsu Parmesan Recipe with Marinara Sauce, Crazy Ends!]. IDN Times (in Indonesian). March 14, 2019.
  34. ^ Chicken Parmigiana (Katsu Style) - Cooking with Calin 2K. July 13, 2020. Archived from the original on December 12, 2021 – via YouTube.
  35. ^ "Carne Alla Pizzaiola" (in Italian). Accademia Italiana della Cucina. Archived from the original on April 14, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  36. ^ "Cotoletta alla bolognese" (in Italian). accademiaitalianadellacucina.it.
  37. ^ "Teesside's fast food sensation". BBC Inside Out North East. November 6, 2007. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  38. ^ Péter, Kancsár (October 11, 2013). "Az igazi mátrai borzaska receptje". www.femina.hu.
  39. ^ Claudia, Botos (August 14, 2022). "Így készül az eredeti mátrai borzaska: megunhatatlan régi kedvenc". sobors.hu.
  40. ^ "Klasszikus óvári sertésszelet". January 27, 2018.
  41. ^ "Milanesas de pollo a la napolitana light". Fox Life (in Spanish). Archived from the original on May 17, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  42. ^ Pisarro, Marcelo (May 11, 2012). "Milanesa napolitana". Clarín (Argentine newspaper) (in Spanish). Buenos Aires, Argentina. Archived from the original on May 17, 2014. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  43. ^ "Milanesa a la napolitana". El Reporte (in Spanish). Montevideo, Uruguay. April 25, 2013.
  44. ^ "El origen de la milanesa". ABC Color (in Spanish). Asunción, Paraguay. April 13, 2013. Archived from the original on May 17, 2014.