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Chicken takes forever to cook - chicken parm

I have a pretty solid chicken parm recipe, however even at 450 it seems to take the chicken 45-60 minutes and so it's no longer a "quick" and easy meal. The recipe involves pan-searing the chicken breasts, layering with marinara sauce and cheese and then baking in a casserole dish. There are usually 3-4 layers of chicken. Would it be OK to cook at a higher temperature? Should I pound the breasts thinner? Should I use a bigger casserole so there are fewer layers for better penetration?

Thanks.

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  1. 3-4 layers of chicken? i've never seen chicken parm like that. i've only seen it in a single layer.

    1. Multiple layers sounds wrong to me, also.

      1. That sounds like an eggplant parmigiana recipe.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Philly Ray

          Hilarious scenario: Hey, do you have a chicken parm recipe? No, just this one for eggplant parm. Ok, I'll use that one and just replace chicken for eggplant. LOLOL.

        2. i always pound my chicken to a little less than half an inch, then bread it, quickly pan fry it and finish in the oven if needed. takes like 10 minutes in the oven max.

          also gotta agree that ive never seen a chicken parm recipe that called for layers. eggplant parm, yes. chicken parm... nope

          13 Replies
          1. re: mattstolz

            The recipe does not specifically call for layers. They are not well-formed as in eggplant parm but there tends to be more chicken than can fit in a single layer in the casserole dish so I usually just place them on top of each other. Perhaps I should just use a large baking sheet so they fit in one layer?

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                definitely use a bigger (or multiple) dish(es).

                be a efficient cook, not a lazy one!

                1. re: mattstolz

                  Ok, will do. Just out of curiosity, I take it from the responses that multiple layers would be expected to prolong the cooking time?

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    yes, multiple layers will prolong the time required to cook.

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      Definitely. The internal layer of chicken is insulated from the oven heat by the surrounding layers. The heat is dissipated in the outer layers by evaporating the moisture in the outer layers. Higher heat won't help. Also, you will get uneven cooking.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        Think along the line of turducken or stuffed turkey.

                        1. re: cutipie721

                          Thanks, that definitely makes sense. Will try for 10ish at 400 and hopefully that should do the trick.

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            When I make chicken parm, I usually go 350 for about 20-30 minutes. I don't know if 10 minutes at 400 will be enough time to melt and brown the cheese.

                            1. re: Philly Ray

                              So last night I attempted the non-lazy person single layer approach...it still took 45 minutes at 400 with a few minutes under the broiler. I think it might be time to invest in an oven thermometer.

                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                You may be right there - read this thread yesterday and got a hankering for chicken parm, so I made some. After pan-searing the breaded breasts (sliced in half to make them thinner - I don't own a tenderizer), I topped with marinara and cheese and baked at 350 for about 10-15 mins and they were cooked through. I did cook them in the pan for about 5 mins a side before transferring to the casserole dish, so that definitely got the ball rolling, but I can't imagine it taking 45....

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  +1 on your need for a thermometer... but, that said, what is the TEXTURE of your chicken? Spongy? Toothsome with some juices still in the birdy part?

                                  I can't imagine it taking more than 20 minutes in the oven at either 350-400 for a single layer of breaded chicken (which I would have pan-seared for 3-4 min. per side for initial browning) topped with marinara and cheese to complete the cooking of the chicken in the oven for about 15 minutes. Maybe a few minutes under the broiler to brown and finish melting...

                                  Can you put your hand in your oven comfortably when it is at theoretical 400 degrees for more than a few seconds? If so... run, don't walk to a kitchen store or website for a thermometer.

                    2. I have never made Chicken Parm. When you make it in a single layer, how many pieces do you cook, and in what kind of baking dish. I think I'd run out of room in most of my baking dishes, as I imagine I'd flatten out each chicken breast half.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Jay F

                        I normally do it on rimmed baking sheets and for my family of four it takes one whole sheets

                        1. re: mattstolz

                          Do you bake it in the sauce, Matt, or does that go on separately later?

                          1. re: Jay F

                            very little sauce, plenty of cheese when i make it. that way i can make sure that the crust keeps some crunchy goodness instead of having it turn into a gloppy mess!

                      2. Slice the chicken horizontally into 2-3 slices per breast before pan-frying. Push down with your palm and slice parallel to your palm and the cutting board. The chicken will then be 100% cooked by the time it is "seared", and the time in the oven will only serve to melt the cheese.

                        I don't think you need to pound them. I always found it hard to pound out intact chicken breasts: the fascia holding the muscle together is resistant.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: lidia

                          I have to say that after reading this thread; I'm liking the idea of doing very thin chicken cutlets and making a multi-layer chicken parm. Think Lasagna with breaded chicken substituted for the noodles.

                            1. re: kengk

                              breaded chicken+saucy lasagna style=soggy breading

                              1. re: kengk

                                Ooohh, kengk, don't do it! sounds like a soggy bottom layer, not-quite melted center, and perhaps dried out and burned top. Yucckkkk!

                                I think you could make a 'chicken parm' style lasagna that would be fun, basically, instead of serving chx parm with a side of noodles, you would make it all together;
                                marinara, bechamel, herbed chicken breasts cooked and chopped - I would mix them into the marinara... all that layered with cottage cheese/ricotta/eggs/ blanched spinach mix and noodles and sprinnkles of lot's of good parm between layers, for a fab chicken 'parm" lasagna.
                                I might make this myself soon!

                                1. re: gingershelley

                                  It seemed like a good idea while sitting here at my desk dreaming of supper. : )

                              2. re: lidia

                                So you pan-fry it first. I see. Then you put sauce and cheese on and put it in a baking dish into the oven?

                                Now that you mention it, lidia, I slice more than I pound when I use BSCBs, too.

                                1. re: lidia

                                  I make mine more or less the way lidia does, except I only cut the chicken in 2, not 3 pieces. I prefer to leave it a little thicker. Just my taste. I don't bake the parm, I flash it under the broiler once it's been topped with sauce and cheese. I let the cheese brown ever so slightly, again a personal preference. Still, it only takes about 2 minutes to finish under the broiler.

                                2. OK well it seems my oven was running a bit low. We are now back in business so the chicken parm trials begin again. 375 for 10-15 should do it right? (I plan to cut the breasts in half so they should be 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick...I prefer thicker cutlets)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                    if you're not set on having them that thick, i might suggest pounding them even thinner. like the fact that a thinner piece of chicken gives more opportunity for crunchy crust and gooey cheese coverage.

                                    edit: nvm, just saw the note about preferring them thicker.