How to Make Homemade Bread Crumbs

How to Make Homemade Bread Crumbs ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com
How to Make Homemade Bread Crumbs quickly and easily from any type of bread ~ fresh or dry, seasoned or unseasoned, whole grain, gluten free, even from crackers. ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

How to Make Homemade Bread Crumbs quickly and easily from any type of bread ~ fresh or dry, seasoned or unseasoned, whole grain, gluten free, even from crackers.  I’ll show you how to make them from scratch in minutes without all those preservatives and artificial ingredients…homemade bread crumbs are healthy, delicious, and frugal, too!

How to Make Homemade Breadcrumbs from sccratch ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

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Stop yourself next time you’re about to pitch a stale half-baguette, some forgotten English muffins, or the last few slices of a whole wheat loaf — you can make something wonderful and useful out of all that leftover bread!  Bread crumbs are one of those under-appreciated workhorses in the kitchen — so many recipes depend on them for texture and crunch, but they rarely take center stage or get the credit they deserve.  Luckily, with hardly any time or effort you can make your own customized bread crumbs that will actually enhance your cooking.

TIP: A food processor is the best tool for making homemade bread crumbs.  I use my standard size machine for larger jobs, and my mini processor for smaller jobs. 

Homemade Seasoned Bread Crumbs made with stale bread and dried herbs, you won't want to be without this in your kitchen! | theviewfromgreatisland.com

Once you’ve made your own bread crumbs you’ll feel downright silly ever buying them again.   Let’s start with the most basic ~

FRESH BREAD CRUMBS  Sometimes a recipe will call specifically for fresh bread crumbs.  Usually it’s some kind of meatball, meatloaf, or fish cake,  but both Ina Garten’s Mustard Roasted Chicken and one of my favorite pasta dishes also call for them.  Fresh bread crumbs are moister and fluffier than dried, and they’re something you have to make yourself, you can’t buy them, they’d dry out before you got them home from the store!  Fresh bread crumbs are made with fresh bread of any kind.  Break the bread up into large chunks and then add them to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Pulse the machine until the bread has turned into fine crumbs.  It’s that simple.  Plan on using these right away, they can’t be stored.

TIP: You can cut off the crusts or leave them on, it’s your call.

How to Make Homemade Breadcrumbs from fresh bread ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

More often, though, a recipe will call for dried bread crumbs, they’re needed in all sorts of dishes from fried chicken and meatballs to stuffed mushrooms.  They lighten up the texture of ground meats, create beautiful crusts on fried foods like my Fried Olives, and crisp toppings on casseroles.  You can’t make stuffed artichokes without them.

DRIED BREAD CRUMBS Dried bread crumbs are made from stale or dried out bread.  If you don’t have any leftover bread you can dry it by leaving it out overnight.  Separate the slices so the air can get to all the surfaces, or cut up a whole loaf into pieces.  You can also dry the bread in a low 250F oven…spread it out on a baking tray and let it cook until dry, about 15 minutes or so.  Put the dried bread into the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture becomes crumbs.  You can make them as coarse or as fine as you like.  Keep the crumbs in a airtight container, such as a clean jar, in a cool dark place, such as a cupboard, indefinitely.

TIP: You can also freeze homemade bread crumbs as well, just put them in a ziplock freezer bag and remove the excess air before freezing.

How to make homemade bread crumbs ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

If you’d like to preseason your homemade bread crumbs you can process them with dried herbs and spices.

SEASONED BREAD CRUMBS To season your crumbs, use dried herbs and spices like thyme, rosemary, sage and oregano, or an Italian blend.  You can also use salt and pepper, garlic or onion powder, and chile or cayenne powder for a zesty kick.  Simply add them to the processor after you have processed your crumbs, and process again to blend.

TIP: Be sure that any herb or spice you add to your homemade bread crumbs is completely dried, no fresh garlic!

How to Make Homemade Breadcrumbs ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

You can use specialty breads for custom crumbs, and unusual types of bread will lend subtle flavor to your recipes.  You can use gluten free bread for gf crumbs.

SPECIALTY BREAD CRUMBS When you use specialty breads your crumbs will unique and fully flavored.  You can use rye bread, whole wheat, artisan, seeded, or sourdough bread, one of my favorites is deep dark pumpernickel.  Don’t overlook English muffins, bagels, and challah, they all make great crumbs, too.  If your bread has a seeded crust be sure to leave it on!  Specialty bread can be used for fresh or dried crumbs.

TIP: Be aware that the flavors of specialty bread crumbs will often transfer to your recipe, so plan accordingly.  

How to Make Homemade Bread Crumbs ~ homemade Panko crumbs ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Extra crunchy Japanese Panko bread crumbs are in vogue right now, and lots of recipes specifically mention them.  They usually come in small packages, and are definitely more pricey than regular crumbs.  Luckily these can also be made at home ~ they’re kind of a hybrid between fresh and dried crumbs.  The irregular flaky surface results in a lighter, crispier crust.  I use them to great effect on my Shrimp Cakes, Sweet Walla Walla Onion Rings and Coconut Chicken.

PANKO CRUMBS To make Panko crumbs, you will start with FRESH bread crumbs, see directions above.  Spread out the crumbs in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a 300F oven for about 8 minutes, or just until they are dried out.  You will need to give them a stir a couple of times during the cooking to get them evenly dried.  You don’t want them to brown, or toast.  Once cooled, you can store these like you would any other dried bread crumb.

How to Make Homemade Bread Crumbs ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Cracker crumbs are some of my favorites, and they come in handy in all sorts of recipes from savory to sweet. I especially love to use them to top baked fish, and stuffed mushrooms, and to coat fish cakes.   They tend to have a richer, more buttery flavor than bread crumbs but they can usually be used interchangeably.  Matzo crackers make incredible homemade matzo balls.

CRACKER CRUMBS Crackers make fantastic crumbs, and it’s a lot of fun to experiment with different types, there are SO many interesting varieties on the shelves these days.  You can’t go wrong with Ritz or Saltines for starters.  Process in the same way as with bread crumbs, but I recommend breaking them up with your hands as you add them to the processor, and use a pulsing action to break down the bigger chunks.  If you’re left with any stubborn big bits, just remove them. 

TIP: Cracker crumbs can easily be made without a food processor, just seal them up in a zip lock baggie and roll over them with a rolling pin. 

How to Make Bread and Cracker Crumbs ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

 

here are some recipes for all your wonderful homemade bread and cracker crumbs…

Parslied Bread Sauce with Poached Chicken

Fig and Fried Goat Cheese Salad with nectarine Vinaigrette

Healthy Zucchini Fries

Cheesy Skillet Meatballs with Garlic Toast

Ina Garten’s Mustard Roasted Chicken

Provencal Tomatoes

Ottolenghi’s Cod Cakes in Tomato Sauce

Zucchini Pie

Moroccan Meatballs with Cardamom and Lemon

and that’s just for starters!

16 Comments

  • Reply
    Susan
    October 25, 2016 at 7:13 am

    Great idea. I have to admit I pitch old bread way too often and should make bread crumbs instead!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    October 25, 2016 at 4:32 am

    These bread crumbs look and sound so much better than anything you can buy in the store! I love that you can keep them indefinitely. What a great way to use stale bread and crackers. Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    October 24, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    As a carbaholic, I rarely find myself with leftover bread, but this is such a fabulous idea and homemade bread crumbs are always best!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    October 24, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    This is a great post Sue, something that’s really so easy but also something lots of people don’t have any idea they can do themselves. I love all your suggestions for using them too!

  • Reply
    Lisa @garlicandzest.com
    October 24, 2016 at 10:53 am

    I always have fresh breadcrumbs on hand — I add a teaspoon of butter along with parmesan cheese and herbs, then process it in the Cuisinart – voila – herbed buttered breadcrumbs – perfect for topping any casserole or gratin — even roasted tomato halves! They freeze well too!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 24, 2016 at 11:01 am

      I’m just making a casserole now that uses buttered crumbs, I should have added that, thanks Lisa!!

  • Reply
    Linda | Your Daily Food Choices
    October 24, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Great informative post Sue! Your photos show how easy it is to make homemade bread crumbs. Love the tips for freezing them and making homemade Panko. Your recipes using bread crumbs all look amazing!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    October 24, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Thanks for the ideas. I think we all know we can make breadcrumbs, but sometimes we just forget. I’ll be making a batch from some jalapeno cheddar bread. I hate throwing food away.

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 24, 2016 at 11:02 am

      Mmmmmm, jalapeno cheddar crumbs sound amazing.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth @ SugarHero.com
    October 24, 2016 at 9:25 am

    This is such a great idea! Store-bought bread crumbs always seem so salty to me. I love the idea of being able to control the level of salt and herbs in my bread crumbs. And homemade panko! Why have I never thought of that before?!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 24, 2016 at 11:05 am

      It seems like so many recipes call for panko crumbs these days, and it’s nice to know how to whip them up when you run out :)

  • Reply
    Lynn | The Road to Honey
    October 24, 2016 at 9:18 am

    While bread crumbs are truly the unsung hero, they have the power to turn a dish into something special (or not so special if done wrong). Such a great post on creating my very own customizable bread crumbs. And I love the idea of creating “gourmet” bread crumbs as they are near impossible to find.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    October 24, 2016 at 7:15 am

    Great post and love all the tips! I always have extra bread around, thanks to my obsessive bread baking habit, so I will definitely be making some homemade bread crumbs!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 24, 2016 at 8:24 am

      Oh wow, homemade bread crumbs from homemade bread ~ that’s the ultimate!!

  • Reply
    Robyn @ Simply Fresh Dinners
    October 24, 2016 at 6:01 am

    Great post, Sue. I am always tossing the last few pieces of bread and I should be freezing them until I have enough to make some delicious bread crumbs.
    I love posts that are budget-smart and just plain common sense. We forget about this in our busy lives. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    October 24, 2016 at 5:33 am

    I love back to basics posts like this, Sue. Homemade is always better.

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