If you find yourself looking for a breadcrumb substitute because you have run out or want to make your dish stand out a bit more, look no further than your pantry! There are some great alternatives for flavor, texture, and even gluten-free options to replace breadcrumbs.
What Are Breadcrumbs?
Breadcrumbs are small pieces of dried bread that have been grated, crushed, or ground into a fine or coarse powder. They are commonly used in cooking to coat and add texture to fried or baked dishes. Breadcrumbs can be made from any type of bread, including white, wheat, or sourdough, and some brands include seasonings to the mix.
Types of Breadcrumbs
Made from fresh bread, these breadcrumbs are moist and have a soft texture. They are best used for binding and stuffing.
Made from dried or toasted bread, these breadcrumbs are crunchy and have a coarse texture. They are best used for coating and adding texture to dishes.
A Japanese-style breadcrumb that is made from crustless white bread. Panko breadcrumbs are light and airy and have a larger surface area, making them perfect for coating and frying.
These are mass-produced store-bought breadcrumbs that can be kept for a longer time than fresh breadcrumbs but are often described as stale-tasting. They are crunchy and work well in any application.
This style of breadcrumb is the same as plain packaged breadcrumbs, only seasoning mixes are added. They’re often used in holiday dishes where you want some extra seasoning.
Why You May Need a Breadcrumb Substitute
You might need a breadcrumb substitute if you’re out of breadcrumbs, or you can’t find any at the store. Perhaps you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative or you would like a healthier option. Another reason might be that you want to add a new flavor or texture to your dish.
Common Uses for Breadcrumbs
- Coating for fried or baked dishes, such as chicken or fish.
- Binding for meatballs or meatloaf.
- Filling for stuffed vegetables or meat.
- Topping for casseroles or gratins.
- Thickening agent for soups or sauces.
15 Best Breadcrumb Substitute Options
1. Rolled Oats
Rolled oats is an ingredient that is probably already in your pantry, and they make for a great substitute for breadcrumbs in dishes like meatballs or meatloaf since they won’t add crunchiness but can help bind the meat, eggs, and flavorings together. Food.com shares their oatmeal meatball recipe.
Corn flakes are a great alternative to breadcrumbs if you need an extra-crunchy coating to coat your pork chops or chicken breast. It has a slightly sweet but neutral taste, so crush them up and use them to coat your meat for a good crunch. Dinner At The Zoo share a cornflake-crumbed chicken recipe.
3. Crushed Crackers
Using a plain unsalted, or salted cracker like saltines gives you a great binding agent for meatballs or meatloaf. Food.com shares a recipe for deep-fried fish using saltine crackers as a crumb-like coating.
4. Tortilla Chips
If you want a tasty and crunchy topping or coating, try crushing up some of your favorite tortilla chips for a unique flavor twist. The Salty Pot used some tortilla chips as a topping to their mac and cheese.
5. Potato Chips
Potato chips are a salty, crunchy snack that can elevate your dish if you use them as an alternative to breadcrumbs. Group Recipes used some potato chips to coat some cod for a deliciously salty fried fish.
If you need a healthier alternative to bread crumbs that also happens to be gluten-free, try using some almonds that you process in a blender before adding it to your favorite dish. Chocolate & Zucchini created a seasoned almond crumb recipe to use in almost any dish.
Croutons are very similar to breadcrumbs since they’re also made from bread that’s been toasted. They will likely have some oil and seasonings added to them, but that still makes for a quick and easy breadcrumb when tossed into a blender for a few seconds. Cuisine at Home shared this tip.
8. Dried Stuffing Mix
Stuffing mix largely consists of pieces of bread that have been dried and seasoned, so by following Leaf.TV’s tips, you can easily make some seasoned breadcrumbs to use in any dish.
Pretzels have a distinct salty flavor, which can be delicious if you crush it and pair it with some meats or veggies as a crunchy coating. Host the Toast used pretzels in their chicken and honey mustard recipe.
If you have leftover cooked rice or require a good binding agent to replace breadcrumbs, you will find success with cooked rice. The Pioneer Woman used cooked rice in their black bean burgers as the binding agent.
Parmesan is not a great binder but will give you a salty, crumbly coating that can be used on meats, veggies, or as a topping and is gluten-free. Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen made some parmesan roasted veggies.
12. DIY Breadcrumbs
If you have day-old bread and a few minutes, making your own breadcrumbs is very easy. BBC Good Food has the easiest method of making your own breadcrumbs.
13. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds make for a great healthy and gluten-free alternative to breadcrumbs and work well as a coating on chicken and fish. Self.com shares their chia-crusted chicken recipe.
14. Shredded Coconut
Shredded coconut does not only work well as a coating to many different foods, it will also add a lovely tropical sweetness. The Spruce Eats used coconut flakes to coat their fish fillets for a tropical taste experience.
If you roast these protein-filled legumes and season them, you will get a lovely alternative to breadcrumbs once you crush them in a blender. From a Chef’s Kitchen shares their fish recipe that they have coated with some roasted chickpeas.
Tips for Breadcrumb Substitution
- Understand the use – if you are using breadcrumbs as a binding agent, you need to choose a substitute that will be able to bind your ingredients as well.
- Crunch – most substitutes are crunchy and can easily be added as a topping, but some stay crunchier for longer. You have to experiment with which works best for you.
- Allergies & dietary restrictions – if you need gluten-free or low-carb alternatives, it is best to double-check the ingredients of your chosen substitute to ensure it meets the requirements to be allergy free.