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How to Make Bread Crumbs and 10 Bread Crumb Substitutes

Have you run out of bread crumbs? Here’s are 10 bread crumb substitutes, including gluten-free.

Bread for bread crumbs10 Substitutes to Use if You Run Out of Bread Crumbs and How to Make Bread Crumbs

I’m a longtime evangelist for keeping a well-stocked kitchen and immediately adding staples to our grocery list when we finish them up so we can restock on our next trip to the store. So it completely surprised me when I recently discovered that I had no bread crumbs in the house, and no bread to make my own.

That particular night I was testing a new recipe for salmon sliders and wanted to use bread crumbs as a binder in the burgers. What I occasionally lack in organization I try to make up for in resourcefulness.  I decided that grinding whole grain Heritage Flakes cereal to a bread crumb consistency in a mini food processor would make a more-than-decent substitute.  The salmon sliders turned out to be delicious. Crisis averted.

When you run out of an ingredient there is often a way to simulate it with a little culinary creativity (check out our food substitution guide for some great ideas!). But in the case of a bread crumb shortage, I wanted to share tips on how to easily make your own bread crumbs as well as some substitutes you can use when you run out of bread crumbs or panko (many of these are also excellent gluten-free substitutes for bread crumbs).

bread

How to Make Bread Crumbs

Most of store-bought bread crumbs have frightening ingredients that you can’t pronounce and might not want to serve your family. Making your own fresh bread crumbs is so easy and of course they taste far better than any store-bought bread crumbs. Here’s what I do:

  • Save ends of bread or stale bread in a bag in the freezer.
  • When you need to make bread crumbs, toast the bread until it is golden brown, then break it into pieces.
  • Pulverize it in a food processor until it makes course crumbs, or fine, if you prefer fine bread crumbs.
  • For extra flavor, add some grated Parmesan cheese and dried herbs such as Italian herb blend, dried parsley, dried oregano and/or garlic powder.
  • Store leftover bread crumbs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze them for up to 3 months.
  • To make gluten-free bread crumbs, use gluten-free bread as directed above or puree rice crackers in your blender or food processor.

Note: Don’t forget to season the crumbs with salt and other spices if you want seasoned bread crumbs. If you don’t use them often, store leftover bread crumbs for up to 3 months in the freezer for maximum freshness.

Watch our video on how to make bread crumbs

The Best Bread Crumb Substitutes, Including Gluten-Free

tortilla chips with tomatoes
  1. Rolled oats, ground to desired consistency as above, although it is not entirely necessary to grind them at all (gluten-free)
  2. Whole grain cereal, preferably with no or little sugar added, ground to desired consistency as above (potentially gluten-free)
  3. Croutons, ground to desired consistency as above (potentially gluten-free)
  4. Cooked rice or quinoa can be used to replace bread crumbs that will be used as a binder (gluten-free)
  5. Crackers, pita chips, potato chips, or tortilla chips, ground to desired consistency as above (potentially gluten-free)
  6. Nuts. Use almond meal or finely ground almonds, pecans, or walnuts (gluten-free)
  7. Coconut flakes (unsweetened) (gluten-free)
  8. Rice cakes, ground to desired consistency as above (gluten-free)
  9. Pretzels, ground to desired consistency as above
  10. Toasted frozen waffles, ground to desired consistency as above (potentially gluten-free)

Other possibilities you may have in your kitchen

Grated Parmesan
  • Dehydrated mashed potatoes
  • Matzo meal
  • Cooked and finely grated cauliflower
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Ground flax seeds

Don’t forget to season the crumbs with salt and other spices if you want seasoned bread crumbs. If you don’t use them often, store leftover bread crumbs for up to 3 months in the freezer for maximum freshness.

Want more cooking inspiration? Check out our library of cooking resources!

Do you have any other creative bread crumb ideas? If so, please leave a comment below.

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