Copycat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmesan

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My Olive Garden Eggplant Parmesan is cheesy, saucy, and bursting with lightly fried eggplant!! Inspired by eggplant parmesan at Olive Garden, it’s comforting, hearty, and oh-so-satisfying. Make this recipe the next time you’re craving a restaurant-quality meal and you’ll never have to go out to eat again! 

titled: Olive Garden Eggplant Parmesan


Olive Garden Eggplant Parmesan

As you may have guessed (hello, I’m the Slow Roasted Italian!), Olive Garden is one of our favorite places to eat out.

It’s homey and comforting, and the portions are always enormous! Leftovers for days, baby. 

We often head here after one of Munchkin’s activities, or on a rare night where I don’t feel like cooking.

And on those nights when I do want to spend some time in the kitchen, I whip up one of my MANY Olive Garden copycat recipes — I don’t say many lightly, people.

I’ve got at least two dozen and counting!!

The latest is this Olive Garden eggplant parmesan. It’s made with fried eggplant slices that are layered with marinara sauce (I’ve got an OG recipe for that too) and 3 types of cheese.

The whole thing is baked to golden and bubbly perfection and served with spaghetti. 

While this one takes a bit longer than some of my other recipes, it’s still ready in under an hour. Trust me… when you taste the final results, it’s worth the extra time!

ingredients for olive garden eggplant parmesan recipe

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Eggplant – This Olive Garden eggplant parmesan recipe yields 4 servings, with each serving clocking in at 4 pieces of eggplant.

    That’s why you’ll need 2 of the largest eggplants you can find!
  • All-Purpose Flour & Eggs – You’ll need both to bread the veggie slices for that delicious, crispy coating!
  • Italian Breadcrumbs – Your final piece of the breading puzzle is Italian breadcrumbs.

    If needed, make an easy substitute by mixing 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning with 2 cups of plain breadcrumbs.

    The flavors are perfect for this Olive Garden recipe for eggplant parmesan!
  • Oil – For frying. I usually use olive oil or avocado oil.
  • Marinara Sauce – Use store-bought, or make my Olive Garden Marinara Sauce yourself!
  • Cheese – Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Romano cheese are all needed for my eggplant parmesan Olive Garden copycat.

    I love the combination of all three, and you guys know I’m shredding and grating them myself!

The pre-shredded stuff has an anti-clumping agent on it that will prevent it from melting the way you like it.

That’s why I always suggest grabbing a big block and shredding it yourself at home.

  • Spaghetti – For serving! I recommend cooking it al dente for the best texture.
breading station for olive garden eggplant parmesan

Tips and Tricks for Making Eggplant Parmesan Olive Garden Copycat

  • Salt the eggplant before you get started.

After you’ve sliced the eggplant into ½-inch thick rounds, lay them on a kitchen towel or wire rack. Sprinkle both sides with salt and let them sit for about 15 minutes.

This draws out any excess moisture so your Olive Garden eggplant parmesan doesn’t go soggy after frying.

Removing the extra liquid also means they’ll fry up a lot more crispier. Plus, the salt removes a lot of the natural bitterness of the eggplant.

Just don’t forget to pat the slices dry with some paper towels before adding the breading!

  • Fry in batches.

Don’t be tempted to overcrowd the skillet. It’s much better to fry the eggplant slices a few at a time — this ensures even cooking and a crispy texture.

The more room in between the slices, the better!

Place the already-fried slices on a wire rack to drain any excess oil while you cook up the other pieces. 

  • Don’t forget to layer.

Frying the eggplant is just one part of making your eggplant parm from scratch!

After they’re done, you need to assemble them along with the marinara sauce and cheeses in a baking dish.

Rather than adding everything in all at once, it’s better to layer the sauce, eggplant, and cheese — kind of like a lasagna. 

Start with the sauce, then add some fried eggplant, then the cheese mixture. Repeat until you’ve used all of the eggplant, then top with more cheese before baking in the oven.

It will look like an eggplant casserole… which is exactly what you’re going for! 

breaded eggplant parmesan going into hot oil

Prep Ahead

  • Slice and salt the eggplant
  • Grate the cheese
  • Prepare the marinara (if making from scratch)
  • Cook the spaghetti to al dente

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Wire Rack – Great for cooling all kinds of baked goods… or for eggplant!
  • Shallow Bowls for dredging.
  • Skillet – This is my go-to pan that I’ve had for over a decade! It heats evenly and cleans up beautifully with a little baking soda so it still looks brand new.
  • 9×13 Baking Dish – This set is one of my favorites! It comes with a lid for easy storage and is great for casseroles too.
olive garden eggplant parmesan in a baking dish

Serving Suggestions 

I serve my Olive Garden eggplant parmesan as is with a side of Olive Garden breadsticks and a garden salad with Olive Garden dressing, of course!

To make it a full-on Italian feast, start with some copycat Olive Garden stuffed mushrooms or lasagna fritta, and finish everything off with a slice of chocolate brownie lasagna

With all of these Olive Garden copycat recipes, you’ll never have to go out to eat again!

fried eggplant in baking dish covered in sauce and shredded cheese

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

This Olive Garden recipe for eggplant parmesan is great as leftovers too! Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. 

You may want to divide them into individual portions to make reheating easier — especially if you want to bring some to work to have for lunch!

Reheat single servings in the microwave in 30-second bursts until warmed through. Or, place larger portions in a saucepan over medium until hot.

Olive Garden Eggplant Parmesan Recipe FAQ

Why do you need to soak eggplant before frying?

I don’t soak my eggplant to make my Olive Garden eggplant parmesan recipe — I just salt it and leave it to sit. 

Some other recipes suggest soaking the vegetable in salted water to remove its natural bitterness. I find that simply salting the rounds draws out the extra moisture and gets rid of the bitter taste at the same time. 

You don’t want it to sit in water when the whole point is to get rid of any excess liquid. 

Do you leave the skin on eggplant for eggplant parmesan?

It’s up to you! I usually leave the skin on for added texture and all of those good-for-you vitamins and minerals, but you can peel yours if you want. 

That said, the skin is perfectly edible! It’s all a matter of personal preference. And if you want to make eggplant Parmesan like Olive Garden, leave the skin on!

What’s the best way to slice eggplant for Olive Garden eggplant parmesan?

I cut my eggplant into rounds, meaning I cut slices into the vegetable while it’s lying horizontally in front of me. That said… this is also all about personal preference! 

You can always cut larger strips or longer slices. The key is to make sure that they are ½ inch thick so that they fry and cook evenly.

baked eggplant parmesan olive garden

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closeup of olive garden eggplant parmesan on a white plate

olive garden eggplant parmesan on a white plate

Copycat Olive Garden Eggplant Parmesan

Donna Elick
Olive Garden eggplant parmesan on the mind? Learn how to make it! Fried eggplant baked with marinara and cheese, served with spaghetti.
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Method Oven, Stovetop
Servings 4 (with 4 eggplant slices in each serving)


  • 2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds
  • salt, for sprinkling on eggplant
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
  • olive oil or avocado oil, for frying
  • 3 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated
  • a few leaves of fresh basil, for garnish
  • 1 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Begin by slicing the eggplants into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Lay them out on a kitchen towel or cooling rack, and sprinkle both sides lightly with salt. Let them sit for about 15 minutes to draw out moisture. After 15 minutes, pat the eggplant slices dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture and salt.
  • Prepare three shallow dishes: one with flour, one with beaten eggs, and one with Italian breadcrumbs. Coat each eggplant slice first in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip next into the beaten eggs, and finally coat well with breadcrumbs. Set aside on a clean plate.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the eggplant slices in batches, without crowding the skillet. Fry each side for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Drain the fried eggplant slices on a wire rack or paper towels to remove excess oil.
  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • In a baking dish, spread a thin layer of marinara sauce. Place a layer of fried eggplant slices over the sauce. Top each slice with more marinara sauce, then sprinkle generously with mozzarella, Parmesan, and Romano cheeses. Repeat the layers until all the eggplant slices are used, finishing with a cheese layer on top.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the edges are beginning to brown. If desired, broil for 2-4 minutes to brown the cheese on top.
  • Preparing the Spaghetti:
  • While the eggplant is baking, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and toss with some of the marinara sauce.


  • Serve the baked eggplant Parmesan hot, garnished with fresh basil leaves. Accompany it with the spaghetti on the side, adding more marinara sauce if desired.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 1227cal | Carbohydrates: 176g | Protein: 60g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 198mg | Sodium: 2633mg | Sugar: 22g | Fiber: 17g | Calcium: 914mg | Iron: 9mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Olive Garden Eggplant Parmesan - PIN

Originally published May 2024

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  1. 5 stars
    Donna and Chad have done it again! This recipe is just like the restaurant version, if not better.

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