Rosemary Popcorn Crusted Chicken Parmesan

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Rosemary Popcorn Crusted Chicken Parmesan | Melanie Makes

If there’s one type of food that is always sure to fit my mood, it’s any type of comfort food.  Specifically, any type of Italian food.  Lasagna?  Love it!  Spaghetti.  You can’t go wrong.  Anything with lots of melty cheese?  I’m a fan.  So when I was dreaming of Chicken Parmesan for dinner a few nights ago, I decided to get to work.  Not only to put it on the dinner table by 5:30p (the crazy time of day you eat dinner when you have small children), but to also put a spin on it so that I wouldn’t feel guilty for eating it.  Turns out, it was way easier to create a meal for a more balanced lifestyle than I thought it might be!

Rosemary Popcorn Crusted Chicken Parmesan | Melanie Makes

Why do people like Chicken Parmesan?  Let me count the ways.  You’ve got the fried, crisp texture.  The river of marinara sauce.  And of course, the cheese!  Both Parmesan and mozzarella steal the show in this dish.

Rosemary Popcorn Crusted Chicken Parmesan | Melanie Makes

I recently received two packages of Skinnygirl Popcorn that were sitting on my kitchen counter waiting for their moment in the culinary spotlight.  (I have a bad habit of leaving ingredients until inspiration strikes.)  I love the idea behind this popcorn.  Each mini bag contains a single serving – no more overindulging!  I’m seeing this as an awesome whole grain snack idea for after school snacks and of course, for our weekly movie night.  Not only does it come in a traditional Butter & Sea Salt flavor, but you’ll also find an amazing Salt & Lime flavor on store shelves of your local Walmart beginning September 1st.

Rosemary Popcorn Crusted Chicken Parmesan | Melanie Makes

Instead of frying chicken for this dish, I instead coated it in crushed popcorn, spices and cheese  and baked it until it was crisp.  Then came the traditional marinara and Parmesan and mozzarella.  To make for easier portion control, I also chose to use chicken tenderloins instead of breast.  I began using this cut more after having children as it’s easier for them to eat but also notice I eat less than if given a large piece of chicken that for some reason, I always feel compelled to eat all of.

Rosemary Popcorn Crusted Chicken Parmesan | Melanie Makes 

5.0 from 3 reviews
Rosemary Popcorn Crusted Chicken Parmesan
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 2 bags SkinnyGirl Butter & Sea Salt Popcorn, popped
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 pounds chicken tenderloins
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Add popcorn, rosemary, garlic and ½ cup Parmesan cheese to food processor. Process until it resembles course crumbs. Pour into shallow dish.
  3. In a separate shallow dish, whisk together eggs and water.
  4. Coat chicken in egg wash and then popcorn mixture. Place in single layer of greased baking pan.
  5. Bake for 8 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through.
  6. Top with marinara, mozzarella and ½ cup Parmesan cheese and return to oven until cheese is melted.

Rosemary Popcorn Crusted Chicken Parmesan | Melanie Makes

This chicken is great served on it’s own as shown, or if you’d like, over a bed of whole grain pasta.  Needless to say, my family went gaga over this one.  My husband proclaimed it as one of his new favorites and that’s even after having been reheated twice as he was on call and beyond late getting home.  It also had a definite cool factor as well as my daughters couldn’t believe that I put popcorn on the outside of their chicken.

I have no doubt this dish will be seeing some heavy rotation in our menu plan in the weeks to come!


  1. Love the idea of using popcorn in the crust! So cool! Can’t wait to try it!

  2. This is such a fun twist on crusted chicken! My kids would love it :)

  3. Popcorn as a crust?! So creative! YUM!!

  4. I want a river of marinara and cheese in my life!

  5. What a fabulous idea. I can’t wait to try this!

  6. This is so creative – love the great gluten free alternative for coating chicken!

  7. Woah, what a cool idea for this dinner!!! So many options now, mind blown :)

  8. Bring on the Italian food…it’s my first choice always!!! This is such a fun and creative way to do crusted chicken. Love it!

  9. What a super creative way to use popcorn! My son and husband are allergic to gluten, so this would be a fantastic way for them to eat Chicken Parm without getting sick! It looks delicious and nutritious! #client

  10. Oh my goodness! This looks amazing! I’ve pinned it to make it later. My boyfriend is going to love it. I’m stopping by from Pinterest and I’m a new follower.

  11. oooooooh that popcorn looks SUPER tasty!! and I’m with you on Italian food-the beeeest! This chicken parm is totally genius, yum 😀

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