By Erin Huffstetler | 05/08/2020 | No Comments
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Out of breadcrumbs, or in need of a gluten-free or keto-friendly alternative? Here are a bunch of substitutes for both dried and soft breadcrumbs.
What’s the Difference Between Dried and Soft Breadcrumbs?
Some recipes call for dried breadcrumbs; others call for soft (or fresh) breadcrumbs. To make a successful substitution, it’s important to note which one your recipe calls for.
Dried breadcrumbs are breadcrumbs that have been dried to a point that makes them shelf stable. They can be finely or coarsely ground, and may contain additional seasonings. The three most common types are plain, Italian and Panko. Plain breadcrumbs are finely ground. Italian breadcrumbs are finely ground, with Italian seasonings mixed in, and Panko breadcrumbs are coarsely ground.
All three types can be used as a coating for fried and baked foods, or as a binder in meatball, meatloaf and veggie burgers. They can also be used to form a crispy topping on casseroles, salads and pastas, or as an inexpensive filler to stretch meat. They can even be used to control the moisture in a recipe, absorbing other ingredients, so the recipe doesn’t turn out too wet.
Soft (or fresh) breadcrumbs are made from fresh or lightly dried bread. They still contain a lot of moisture, so they’re not shelf-stable. Soft breadcrumbs are used to make stuffing and thicken soups. Sometimes they’re also used to form a crispy topping on dishes, or as a binder in meatball or meatloaf recipes.
Now that you know the difference between dried and soft bread crumbs, let’s look at some substitutes for each.
Dried Breadcrumb Substitutes
These substitutes call for grinding, or crushing, other ingredients to create a breadcrumb replacement. If your recipe calls for plain breadcrumbs, grind the substitute to a fine consistency. If your recipe calls for Italian breadcrumbs, grind the substitute to a fine consistency; then, add some Italian seasoning and garlic powder (figure on 4 tsp Italian seasoning + 1/4 tsp garlic powder per cup). If your recipe calls for Panko breadcrumbs, grind the substitute to a chunky consistency.
Replace the breadcrumbs called for with an equal amount of crushed corn flakes (or another unsweetened flake cereal). They’ll add just the right amount of texture and crunch. This works well in recipes, where breadcrumbs are being used as a casserole topping or chicken breading.
It takes approximately three cups of corn flakes to produce one cup crushed, but you may find it takes more, or less, depending on how finely you crush your cereal. Pulse the corn flakes in a food processor, or pour them into a freezer bag, and use a rolling pin to crush them up.
Use cracker crumbs as a 1:1 stand-in for the breadcrumbs in any recipe. This will add salt to the finished dish (unless you use no-salt added crackers), so considering dialing back the salt in the recipe to compensate. It takes approximately 30 saltines to make one cup of finely-ground crumbs.
Grind up some oats in your food processor or blender; then, use them in place of the breadcrumbs in any recipe. Oats don’t have much flavor on their own, so consider adding some spices or seasonings to jazz them up. For one cup of ground oats, start with one and a half cups of rolled oats.
Potato Chips or Pretzels
Working on a recipe that calls for using breadcrumbs as a casserole topping or breading? Crushed potato chips, or pretzels, are a tasty replacement. Just make an even swap. This substitution will add extra salt to your recipe, so you may need to make adjustments, if there’s already a bunch of salt in the recipe. To make one cup of crushed chips or preztels, start with two cups of uncrushed.
Coconut is an excellent bread-free breading option, if you’re following a gluten-free or Keto diet. Just coat your meat or fish in shredded coconut, and continue with your recipe. This will add a delicious sweet flavor to the finished dish.
Nuts are another excellent bread-free breading option, if you’re trying to stick to a gluten-free or Keto diet. Simply pulse some chopped nuts in a food processor, to create a tasty coating for meat or fish. Finely-chopped nuts stick best.
It takes around five ounces of shelled whole almonds to make one cup of ground almonds. If you have almond meal or almond flour in your pantry, you can also use that.
If the breadcrumbs are being used as a binder in meatloaf, bean burgers, or something similar, cooked rice is an excellent substitute. Just swap in an equal amount or rice, and it’ll do a beautiful job of holding the ingredients together. This substitute also happens to be gluten-free.
Have a box of croutons in the pantry? Crush them up, and use them as a substitute for breadcrumbs. They can be used as a breading, binder, casserole topping or filler. Since croutons usually come seasoned, consider whether the seasonings will work with the rest of your ingredients, before going this route.
A box of stuffing mix can also be used to make a substitute for breadcrumbs. Just grind up the ingredients, and use the resulting mixture as a 1:1 replacement. This will add a bunch of salt and seasoning to your dish, so consider dialing back the spices in the recipe to compensate.
Whip up a quick batch of homemade breadcrumbs for your recipe. It’s a quick and easy process. Here’s how to make plain, Italian and Panko breadcrumbs. It takes an average of one slice of sandwich bread to make 1/4 cup of dried breadcrumbs. So, you’ll need four slices to make one cup.
Another Type of Breadcrumb
If your recipe calls for Panko breadcrumbs, and you only have plain (or vice versa), just make an even swap. This will change the texture of the recipe slightly, but it won’t have any impact on flavor. You can even turn Panko breadcrumbs into plain breadcrumbs by pulsing them in the food processor, until they reach a fine consistency.
If your recipe calls for Italian breadcrumbs, and you only have plain or Panko, make a 1:1 replacement, but add 4 tsp Italian seasoning and 1/4 tsp garlic powder for every cup used.
If your recipe calls for plain or Panko breadcrumbs, and you only have Italian, consider whether the added seasoning will work in your recipe. Then, make a straight swap, if you decide to proceed.
Soft Breadcrumb Substitutes
If you need soft breadcrumbs for a recipe, your best bet is to whip up a quick batch. It’s easy. Just grab a few slices of bread. Stale bread, or a crusty loaf of Italian or French bread, works well, but any type of bread will do. It takes approximately three sandwich slices (or the equivalent) to make one cup of soft breadcrumbs.
Dry bread makes the best crumbs, so take a minute to toast your bread in the toaster or oven, if you’re working with a moister bread. Then, simply remove the crusts; place your bread in a food processor; and pulse, until you reach the desired crumb size.
Soft breadcrumbs aren’t shelf stable, like dried breadcrumbs, so if you have any left over, freeze them to use another time.
Dried breadcrumbs can stand in for soft breadcrumbs, if you don’t have any bread on hand. Just use 3/4 cup of dried breadcrumbs in place of one cup of soft.Print
Cornflakes, crackers, rolled oats, potato chips, shredded coconut, nuts, rice, croutons, stuffing mix or fresh bread
Dried Breadcrumb Substitutes:
-Crushed cornflakes – (works as a casserole topping or chicken breading) 3 cups cornflakes = 1 cup crushed
-Cracker crumbs – 30 saltines = 1 cup finely-ground crumbs.
-Ground oats – 1-1/2 cups rolled oats = 1 cup ground oats
-Crushed potato chips or pretzels – (works as a casserole topping or chicken breading) – 2 cups chips or pretzels = 1 cup crushed
-Shredded coconut – (works as a coating for fish or meat)
-Chopped nuts – (works as a coating for fish or meat) – Finely-chopped nuts stick best)
-Cooked rice – (works as a binder in meatloaf, meatballs and bean burgers)
-Stuffing mix (ground)
– Homemade breadcrumbs – 4 sandwich slices = 1 cup dried breadcrumbs Here’s how to make plain, Italian and Panko
***Some of these substitutes have added salt and seasonings. Consider how they’ll affect your recipe, and make any necessary adjustments.
How to Substitute One Type of Dried Breadcrumb for Another:
-Turn Panko breadcrumbs into plain breadcrumbs by grinding them in a food processor.
-Turn plain breadcrumbs into Italian breadcrumbs by adding 4 tsp Italian seasoning and 1/4 tsp garlic powder for every cup.
Soft Breadcrumb Substitutes:
– Pulse bread in a food processor, until it turns to crumbs. Dry bread works best. Three sandwich slices makes approximately one cup of soft crumbs.
-Use 3/4 cup dried breadcrumbs in place of one cup of soft breadcrumbs
Nutrition Facts are based on using saltine cracker crumbs.