Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the first half after Urby Emanuelson's volley was handled by Cristian Zaccardo.
Emanuelson would go on to make the three points safe with an excellent solo run and finish ten minutes after the interval, though the home side would hit the woodwork twice and find their way into the Milan danger zone on numerous occasions only for their finishing to let them down.
The win brings Massimiliano Allegri's men to 60 points in the 2011/12 campaign, while Roberto Donadoni's side remain one place above the relegation zone.
Parma enjoyed a good start to the game, and had a number of half-chances to open the scoring; the biggest of which came when Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati’s telegraphed short throw-out was intercepted by Sebastian Giovinco, only for the striker to lose his composure and fire off-target.
And the early promise disappeared after 16 minutes when Ibrahimovic’s headed flick-on was volleyed towards goal by Emanuelson, only to strike the hand of Zaccardo and lead to a penalty and yellow card for the defender.
The Swedish forward calmly placed the opening goal to the right of Antonio Mirante, and the league champions were ahead against the run of play.
But they were no longer under pressure following the spot kick: tails firmly up in the air, the Serie A leaders looked to extend their lead and almost did so three minutes later when a great Ibrahimovic free-kick was spilled by Mirante only for Emanuelson to inexplicably put the rebound over from five yards.
Ibrahimovic wanted a second penalty on 33 minutes when his dazzling solo dribble into the box was seemingly ended by Zaccardo, but the centre-back avoided what would have surely been a second booking when the referee told the striker to get up.
But Parma were far from down and out, making contact with Milan’s crossbar three minutes before half-time when Alessandro Lucarelli’s header from a corner was deflected onto the woodwork by Thiago Silva.
But moments after Ibrahimovic had another chance saved well by the legs of Mirante, a crucial block at the other end by Daniele Bonera led to a counter-attack from which Emanuelson dribbled from his own half all the way into the Parma box, where the Dutch midfielder rounded the keeper and doubled the advantage.
Ibrahimovic had another good free-kick attempt from 30 yards saved by Mirante on 68 minutes, while Gianluca Musacci forced Abbiati into an acrobatic parry with a deflective drive from distance six minutes from time as the home side began to lose hope of a comeback.
But there was almost a very nervy period of stoppage time for Milan when Sergio Floccari volleyed onto the crossbar in the first of three added minutes.