How to make a pub-quality chicken parma at home

Chicken parmagiana

Blanche Clark

Posted July 11, 2023

Chicken parmigiana is an Aussie pub favourite, and it’s easy to make at home with this recipe from the RACV Club kitchen.

Whether you call it a parma, parmi or schnitty, there’s nothing quite like a tender and juicy chicken parmigiana at a pub in Melbourne or regional Victoria to beat the cold and warm up in winter.

With its crispy breadcrumb coating, rich tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese, the parma hits the spot when it comes to comfort food and hearty family meals.

RACV City Club Executive Sous Chef Craig Dowling says chicken parmigiana is a cult classic. “Go to any pub or bistro and you’re almost guaranteed to find a parma – or parmi if you’re in South Australia. It’s a staple, like a club sandwich in a hotel.

"It's called a parma because of the use of Parma ham in Italy, but chicken parmigiana is often served without ham in Australia."

Bistro at RACV Club is serving chicken parmigiana on Thursday nights during winter, but you can make your own parma all year round with this recipe from the RACV Club kitchen.

It’s easy to make and versatile. Include a layer of thinly sliced ham or prosciutto under the cheese or leave it out, as is the case with this recipe, for a healthier parma. You can make the tomato sauce spicy by adding a teaspoon of Mexican spice mix or increase the heat with a tablespoon of finely chopped jalapenos.

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How to make a great chicken parmigiana

Dowling says the key to great parma is the crispy breadcrumb coating.

“A lot of people use a deep fryer but it’s better to pan fry the parma to get that crispiness on the outside,” he says. He recommends panko breadcrumbs, which create a crunchy coating, but regular breadcrumbs will also work.

“Then put the crumbed chicken on a tray, coat with the sauce, cover with  cheese, and put them in the oven. The chicken will keep cooking in the oven, so make sure you don’t pan fry it for too long first.”

For the ultimate pub-style meal, serve your chicken parmigiana with the best homemade chips (try cooking chips in an air fryer), a healthy Mediterranean chickpea salad, and your favourite beer or non-alcoholic beer.

If you’re interested in other Australian classics, try these recipes for sausage rolls, Anzac biscuits and pavlova.

Chicken parmigiana served in bistro

The Bistro at City Club is serving chicken parma on Thursday nights during winter. Image: Shannon Morris

Chicken parmigiana recipe



Time to make

45 minutes




  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • salt for seasoning
  • 300g plain flour
  • 120g panko breadcrumbs
  • 50g grated parmesan cheese
  • 40g chopped parsley
  • 4 large eggs
  • 250ml  oil, for pan-frying
  • 750ml  tomato passata
  • 250g shredded mozzarella
  • 250g shredded tasty cheese


  1. Cut open the chicken breasts lengthways to butterfly them.
  2. Place each chicken breast between two sheets of baking paper and beat lightly with a rolling pin or meat mallet until it is about 1cm thick. 
  3. Season each chicken breast on both sides with salt.
  4. Place the flour, breadcrumbs and eggs in three separate bowls.
  5. Lightly beat the eggs. 
  6. Add chopped parsley and parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs and mix together well. 
  7. Dust each breast in the flour and shake off the excess. Then dip in the egg and let the excess drip off. Place in the breadcrumbs and press to firmly coat the breast all over.
  8. Preheat the oven grill to 180ºC. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the crumbed chicken in batches and cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden. 
  9. Transfer the chicken to a baking tray and top each breast with some tomato passata. If you want to include ham, layer it on top of the passata. 
  10. Mix together the shredded mozzarella and tasty cheese, and then sprinkle this cheese mix over each chicken until fully covered.
  11. Once you’re ready to go, place the chicken on the tray and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
  12. Serve with golden fries, salad, and your favourite drink.


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