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Bread Crumb Substitute: 9 Great Alternatives

Bread crumbs are an essential kitchen ingredient. If you find yourself without it, read on to discover the best bread crumb substitute ideas.

Bread crumb substitute

There’s nothing like chicken cutlets or pork chops coated with a crust of bread crumbs on a Sunday afternoon with friends.

Bread crumbs add a delicious crunch to pasta dishes and vegetables. This food also acts as a binder for meatballs, crab cakes, and meatloaf. You can use bread crumbs to thicken soups, make stuffing, or create a crispy topping on certain dishes.

In the next section, discover why you should use a bread crumb substitute.

Why Use a Bread Crumb Substitute

It’s problematic when you run out of bread crumbs and need to add this ingredient to your recipes, which is why you might be looking for a bread crumb substitute.

Another reason you might be interested in a substitute for bread crumbs is that you’re gluten-intolerant and prefer a healthier alternative for your meals. Besides, bread crumbs are fattening since 3.5oz (100g) of bread crumbs contains 395 calories and 72g of carbs, so using bread crumbs for low-carb diets like keto isn’t an option.

This article describes the 9 best substitutes for bread crumbs, so keep reading to find out what you can use in place of bread crumbs when you plan on cooking a delicious meal.

Let’s start by understanding the types of bread crumbs.

Types of Bread Crumbs

There are two main types of bread crumbs: soft and dried.

Let’s start with soft bread crumbs.

Soft Bread Crumbs

Soft bread crumbs

Soft bread crumbs are also known as fresh crumbs. They’re a type of breadcrumbs obtained from fresh or lightly dried bread. Soft bread crumbs contain a small amount of moisture and don’t last for too long. Since they’re no different from regular bread, soft bread crumbs last up to 1 week (for store-bought bread) or 3-4 days (for homemade bread).

To make soft bread crumbs at home, remove the crust from a loaf of bread, cut the bread into small pieces, and chop up the pieces finely. Or you can move the bread pieces to a food processor and pulse until the pieces become coarse but don’t pile up into tiny balls. 

In the next section, find out more about dried bread crumbs.

Dried Bread Crumbs

Dried bread crumbs are a type of bread crumbs that have been completely dried to extend their shelf life. While room-temperature homemade bread lasts up to 3-4 days and store-bought bread lasts up to 1 week, dried bread crumbs last up to 6 months.

It’s possible for the dried bread crumbs to be ground finely or coarsely. The most common types of dried bread crumbs are plain (finely ground and with no additions), Italian (finely ground and mixed with Italian seasoning), and panko. 

Plain dried bread crumbs are finely ground and contain no additions. Meanwhile, Italian dried bread crumbs are finely ground and mixed with Italian seasoning to give them more flavor.

Panko bread crumbs are obtained from crustless white bread after processing and drying it. This type of dried bread crumbs is lighter, flakier, coarser, and drier than plain or Italian bread crumbs, so they absorb less water or oil.

Breaded chicken breast

Japanese dishes traditionally use panko bread crumbs for chicken katsu and tonkatsu. And panko bread crumbs are currently popular in American households, thanks to their delicate texture and dryness.

To make plain dried bread crumbs at home, first make soft bread crumbs by following the instructions from the previous section. Then place the soft bread crumbs on a baking tray, preheat your oven to 250 degrees F (125 degrees C), and bake the soft bread crumbs for 15-20 minutes until they become crispy.

To make Italian bread crumbs at home, first make plain dried bread crumbs by following the previous instructions in this section. Then mix 1 cup of plain breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning and a pinch of salt.

To make panko bread crumbs at home, first make soft bread crumbs by following the instructions from the previous section. Then place the soft bread crumbs on a baking tray, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C), and bake the soft bread crumbs for 5-7 minutes until they become golden but not brown. 

In the next section, check out the best bread crumb substitute ideas.

9 Best Bread Crumb Substitute Ideas

This section describes the top 9 bread crumb substitutes: breakfast cereal, crackers, chips and pretzels, nuts, ground almonds, seeds, cooked rice, parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, and cornstarch and potato flour.

Let’s start with breakfast cereal.

1. Breakfast Cereal

Breakfast cereal

Breakfast cereal is an excellent bread crumb substitute, whether we’re talking about rolled oats, cornflakes, Wheaties, or something else.

Any grain-based cereals are a great way to replace panko bread crumbs. And the best part is that you can buy oats or granola that is paleo, gluten-free, and keto-friendly to match your current lifestyle.

In the next section, check out crackers, chips, and pretzels.

2. Crackers, Chips, and Pretzels

Salty snacks

Your favorite snacks can also come in handy if you need an alternative to bread crumbs. Crackers, chips, and pretzels are salty, light, and easy to prepare because you only need to crush them by hand or using a food processor.

Crackers, chips, and pretzels add a lot of flavor to your dishes. But you have to adjust the salt content since they are already salted.

In the next section, check out nuts.

3. Nuts

Various nuts

If you want to add crunch to your veggies and soups, try crushed nuts like pecans, walnuts, and cashew in place of bread crumbs.

Finely ground nuts create a delicious crust on fish, chicken, and pork. And they are full of nutrients, so nuts tick all the health boxes.

In the next section, check out ground almonds.

4. Ground Almonds

ground almonds

Almonds are a great bread crumb substitute, which you can grind and use as a binding agent or as a topcoat.

We have already mentioned nuts in the previous section, and almonds are also nuts. But their flavor is so delicious and their texture is so much coarser than other nuts that almonds deserve a spot of their own.

In the next section, check out seeds.

5. Seeds

Various seeds

As far as nutritional content goes, nothing beats chia, sunflower, pumpkin, and all other seeds.

You can dry the seeds and grind them using a food processor. So you can use finely ground seeds instead of bread crumbs to dress up your veggies or coat any cutlets to create a crusty topping.

In the next section, check out cooked rice.

6. Cooked Rice

Cooked rice

If you want to bind ground beef in meatloaf, burgers, or meatballs, use cooked rice instead of bread crumbs as the binding agent.

Cooked rice is extremely sticky and a better binding agent than bread crumbs, especially since it’s gluten-free and has a neutral taste.

In the next section, check out parmesan cheese.

7. Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese

Parmesan cheese adds a delicious flavor and creaminess to any dish.

You can use parmesan cheese as a bread crumb substitute by placing it in the blender or food processor and pulse it for a minute.

Feel free to add parmesan cheese to soups and vegetable dishes, or to coat your meat before grilling it.

In the next section, check out nutritional yeast.

8. Nutritional Yeast

nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast is a wonderful bread crumb substitute. It’s deactivated yeast that comes in yellow powdery flakes.

Nutritional yeast has a nutty and slightly cheesy flavor, ideal for coating fish and chicken with an egg wash. Furthermore, you can use nutritional yeast as a binding agent.

In the next section, check out cornstarch and potato flour. 

9. Cornstarch and Potato Flour

bowl of corn starch

Cornstarch and potato flour are fantastic substitutes for bread crumbs in dishes that require a golden crisp, such as chicken, tofu, fish, or pork chops. 

You can also use cornstarch and potato flour to thicken soups and sauces. They can also act as binding agents for meatballs and falafel. What’s more, cornstarch and potato flour mix amazingly well with spices.

The most significant difference between cornstarch and potato flour is that potato flour gives moisture, so it’s a better choice for making dense food.

The next section gives you additional information about bread crumb substitutes.

FAQ

Grated hard bread

This section provides you with simple answers to common questions about replacing bread crumbs in various foods.

What’s the best substitute for bread crumbs in meatloaf?

The best substitute for bread crumbs in meatloaf is a mixture of 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of potato or coconut flour, and 1 egg yolk.

What’s the best substitute for bread crumbs in meatballs?

When making keto meatballs, you don’t need a binding agent. Wet your hands when making the balls since they won’t fall apart. But if you still prefer a bread crumb substitute for meatballs, use grated parmesan cheese or cooked quinoa since they add a fluffy texture with a nutty and creamy flavor.

What’s the best substitute for bread crumbs in burgers?

The best substitute for bread crumbs in burgers are cereals like cornflakes and rice puffs ground into a fine texture. You can beat the cornflakes or rice puffs using a rolling pin or use a food processor. 

The next and final section summarizes the entire article on bread crumb substitute ideas.

Conclusion

As you can see from this list of bread crumb substitutes, you don’t have to despair if you don’t have bread crumbs in the house. You only need to think outside the box, get your food processor or rolling pin out, and smash the hell out of some pastry staples. Simply figure out what bread crumbs work for your recipe to find the best alternative.

What’s your favorite bread crumb substitute? Share your tips in the comments below!

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