How to make breadcrumbs

Discover how to make fresh, dried or panko breadcrumbs and use them to provide texture in recipes such as a breaded chicken katsu burger and treacle tart.

Breadcrumbs in a bowl and spoon, with bread on the side

'Breadcrumbs' is a term used to describe several very similar but slightly different ingredients. Breadcrumbs can be fresh or dried, fine, coarse, or ‘panko’. Recipes usually specify which type to use. They can also be made with different kinds of bread, but for a crunchy finish, use bread that isn’t absolutely fresh because it will still have too much moisture in it and the crumbs will clag together.

Fresh breadcrumbs have not been dried and are soft in texture. They are absorbent and swell when soaked in liquid, so they are used to add bulk to recipes such as treacle tart, to act as a binder in meatballs, or fried with other ingredients to absorb their flavours in lightly crispy toppings such as pangrattato and gremolata. They are also the main ingredient in bread sauce.

Dried breadcrumbs are often fine and used to crumb-coat ingredients such as fish, Scotch eggs and croquettes before deep-frying, or sprinkled on top of gratins to both soak up oil and provide a crunchy topping.

Panko breadcrumbs are much flakier and more delicate than ordinary breadcrumbs. They are made with fine white bread that is dried and they turn very crisp when fried. Asian in origin, they're used for dishes like katsu but are now widely used in Western cooking, too.


How to make breadcrumbs with a food processor

You will need: 2 slices day-old white bread, crusts removed, if you prefer.

1. To make fresh breadcrumbs, tear the bread into pieces and drop it into a food processor fitted with a blade. Whiz the bread in bursts until you have breadcrumbs of the size you want. If you want to make very even crumbs, push them through a coarse sieve.

2.  To make dried breadcrumbs, tear the bread up and dry it out in a low oven first, then process it.


Other ways to make breadcrumbs

You can also make dried breadcrumbs by bashing up pieces of dried bread and rolling over the pieces with a rolling pin. You can put them in a plastic bag to do this and they won’t fly everywhere.

Fresh breadcrumbs can be made by cutting the crusts off a loaf then grating the bread on a coarse grater.


Recipes using breadcrumbs

Ham croquetas

A pile of breaded croquetas on a plate with prosciutto and olives

This classic Spanish dish uses dried breadcrumbs to make a crunchy case around a soft interior. 

Ham croquetas

Chicken katsu curry burger

Open chicken katsu burger with brioche top adjacent

Use panko breadcrumbs to make this burger version of katsu. 

Chicken katsu curry burger

Garlicky linguine with cabbage & anchovy

Linguine topped with breadcrumbs on a plate

This simple pasta dish is given added texture with a pangrattato topping. 

Garlicky linguine with cabbage & anchovy

Apple, cream & spiced rye crumble pots

Three apple, cream and rye crumble pots

Rye crumbs fried with sugar make deliciously crunchy layers in this apple pudding.

Apple, cream & spiced rye crumble pots

IPA treacle tart

Treacle tart with slice cut out

A treacle tart is ideal for using up leftover bread. With this recipe, there's also the option of adding honeycomb shards. 

IPA treacle tart

Find more brilliant breadcrumb recipes....

Baked ratatouille with lemon breadcrumbs
Spaghetti with chilli prawns, salami & gremolata breadcrumbs
Bread sauce
Inside-out chicken Kiev
Broccoli with garlic & chilli breadcrumbs

 

 

 

 

Do you make your own breadcrumbs or buy them? Leave a comment below...

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