Where do you even start with bread crumbs? They make almost any dish you add them to that much more delicious and they are a great way to get a crispy texture quickly into a dish.
Bread crumbs are exactly what they sound like. Small, little bits of bread that are dried naturally or baked to rid them of their moisture. The result is tiny little particles of crunchiness.
The beauty of bread crumbs is that they can be made from almost any bread. Have some sourdough around the house that is about to dry out? Great! Have a loaf of multigrain that is going to kick the bucket before you get to it? Perfect!
If you are making them at home, you can flavor them however you see fit with dried herbs and spices. Mix them with a touch of butter before you add them to your dish for a perfect golden top and decadent bite.
For those that don’t want to make them at home, you can easily purchase these at the store. You can get them plain, seasoned, spiced and more. They last for a good long time and are a great pantry staple.
Bread crumbs have three roles in recipes: topping, coating, and binding.
They are perfect for topping casseroles, for coating meats that you plan on baking, for breading things you want to fry like chicken cutlets or eggplant, for thickening stews, and to bind things like meatloaf and meatballs.
Here are some great recipes using bread crumbs:
- Cheesy Fried Ravioli
- Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken
- Sausage Stuffed Cherry Peppers
- Buttery Crab Imperial
- Grilled Stuffed Pork Chops
How do you make bread crumbs?
Easily enough! You can let a loaf of bread dry slowly over a few days on a baking sheet in the oven like my mom used to do OR you can make them the same day. Stale bread is best and it lets you use up something you may have thrown out otherwise.
Get rid of the crusts of whatever bread you are using and break it down or slice it into evenly sized pieces. This will ensure it is drying out at the same rate. Lay the bread out on a baking sheet and pop it into a 250F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Let your bread cool for a few minutes. Transfer the bread to a heavy-duty plastic bag and roll with a rolling pin until uniformly crumb sized. Alternatively (and much easier in my opinion) throw it into the food processor and let ‘er rip.
The best part? These bread crumbs can be store in a cool and dry place in an airtight container for up to a year. I like to leave them plain so I can season them based on what recipe I am making.
What can be used instead of bread crumbs?
If you don’t have bread crumbs or aren’t feeling like using them that day, you can easily replace them with cracker crumbs. It is the same idea. A quick blitz in the food processor or a round with the rolling pin will get them to the size you need them to be.
What is panko?
Panko is a Japanese-style bread crumb touted for its crispiness. They are made from white bread that is ground more coarsely. These flakes are don’t absorb as much oil when they fry giving you a light and crispy bite every time.
Panko and bread crumbs can be used interchangeably in recipes.