Chicken Parmesan is a classic Italian dish that has become a favorite of many around the world. It consists of breaded and fried chicken cutlets, smothered in tomato sauce, melted mozzarella cheese, and topped with grated Parmesan cheese.

However, there has been much debate about whether the dish actually contains Parmesan cheese. Let’s take a closer look at this dish and find out if it really does have Parmesan cheese.

The Origins of Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan is believed to have originated in Southern Italy, specifically the regions of Campania and Sicily. It was originally known as “parmigiana di pollo” or “pollo alla parmigiana,” which roughly translates to “chicken in the style of Parma.” The dish was named after the city of Parma, which is famous for its production of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

The Ingredients

The traditional ingredients used to make Chicken Parmesan include chicken breast cutlets, bread crumbs, eggs, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and grated Parmesan cheese. The chicken is first coated in seasoned bread crumbs and then fried until golden brown.

It is then topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese before being baked until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Finally, grated Parmesan cheese is sprinkled on top.

Does Chicken Parmesan Have Real Parmesan Cheese?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. While grated Parmesan cheese is listed as an ingredient in most Chicken Parmesan recipes, not all recipes use real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Parmigiano-Reggiano is a hard Italian cheese made from cow’s milk that has been aged for at least 12 months. It has a nutty flavor and a granular texture that makes it perfect for grating over pasta dishes like Chicken Parmesan.

However, many recipes call for the use of pre-grated Parmesan cheese, which may not be made from real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Instead, it may be made from a blend of other cheeses and additives like cellulose powder, which is used to prevent clumping.

To ensure that your Chicken Parmesan contains real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, you can either purchase a block of cheese and grate it yourself or look for pre-grated cheese that specifically states that it is made from 100% Parmigiano-Reggiano.


In conclusion, Chicken Parmesan does contain Parmesan cheese, but not all recipes use the real thing. To ensure that your Chicken Parmesan is as authentic as possible, be sure to use real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. With its crispy breaded chicken, tangy tomato sauce, melted mozzarella cheese, and nutty grated Parmesan cheese, this classic Italian dish is sure to be a hit with everyone who tries it.