Looking for gluten-free substitutes for breadcrumbs? Or do you simply need a replacement because you’ve run out of panko?
Either way, this list has you covered.
Here, I’ve compiled a list of 17 of the best breadcrumb substitutes.
Some are low-carb- and keto-friendly, and, others work for the paleo diet. Still, some are just typical alternatives in case you run out.
All work well as replacements for various breadcrumb uses. So if you need substitutes for breadcrumbs, keep reading!
What Are Breadcrumbs Used For?
Breadcrumbs are a popular addition to many recipes. Most people use them as breading on various meat dishes.
However, that’s not the only use for them.
You can also use breadcrumbs for topping pasta dishes and casseroles. You can add them to salads for a bit of extra crunch.
Or you can use them as binding agents in fritters, meatballs, etc.
Other uses for breadcrumbs include:
- Using them as filler for meat substitutes or meat products
- Absorbing moisture in cooked food
- Add more texture and flavor to various foods
Typically, you’ll make (or buy) breadcrumbs from dried bread. However, as this list will prove, you can make them from many other things.
Best Breadcrumbs Substitutes
The following 17 ingredients are some of my favorite substitutes for breadcrumbs. Check them out and see which ones work best for you.
1. Almond Flour
You can’t beat almond flour if you need a keto-friendly alternative to breadcrumbs.
It doesn’t get as crispy, but it has a mild flavor and generally works well.
Of course, if you fry the foods you’ve breaded, they get pretty crunchy! Additionally, you can also use almond flour as a binding agent.
The only thing you can’t really use it for is a topping. You could, but it won’t give you that crunchy breadcrumb topping you want.
Another great thing about almond flour is that it doesn’t alter the flavor of your food.
Coconut flour can sometimes make things too coconut-flavored. Fortunately, almond flour doesn’t do that.
2. Rolled Oats
Finding the best breadcrumbs substitute depends on how you’ll use the breadcrumbs. Take rolled oats, for example.
They don’t make the best breading or casserole topping. However, they’re fantastic as binding agents.
So give them a try if you’re making meatballs or meatloaf.
Just be sure to blend them first (coarse setting). That’ll give you the closest texture match to breadcrumbs.
3. Crushed Crackers
I find crushed crackers to be one of the most unnoticeable breadcrumb substitutes.
I often smash up some Ritz or saltine crackers as a topping or breading.
I’ve even used them as binding ingredients occasionally. No one ever knows the difference.
In fact, they taste even better than breadcrumbs in some dishes.
(Like chicken casserole! Crackers are the only way to go when topping that dish!)
They’re salty, super crunchy, and perfect. Plus, you can work out some stress by pounding them into crumbs!
4. Nuts and Seeds
You can use nuts and seeds any way you’d use breadcrumbs. They’re a gluten-free, protein-heavy substitute that’s remarkably nutritious.
Some of them are even low-carb!
The seeds are practically tasteless. The nuts will slightly alter your dish’s flavor, but in a warm, nutty way that enhances, not hurts, it.
Some examples of nuts and seeds to use are:
- Sunflower seeds
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
Cornmeal is one of my all-time favorite breadcrumb substitutes. I often use it just because I like it, not because I need an alternative.
Although it is gluten-free, which is nice.
Its coarse texture is just as crispy and crunchy as breadcrumbs. And it turns a lovely golden-brown color when you cook your meals.
People have been using cornmeal as a batter for fried foods for years. So if that’s what you need, don’t hesitate to do the same.
(It doesn’t work as well as a casserole or pasta topping, though.)
6. Cooked Rice
Cooked rice might seem like a strange breadcrumb substitute. After all, it’s soft and fluffy. Indeed, it won’t work as a breading or casserole topping.
However, aside from being soft and fluffy, cooked rice is also sticky. That means it’s the perfect binding agent for meatloaf, meatballs, etc.
Just remember, you must cook the rice. Raw rice won’t work.
7. Parmesan Cheese
Most people already make use of parmesan as a coating. If you haven’t yet, now’s the time to start. It crisps up nicely, just like breadcrumbs.
However, it also gives your dish plenty of cheesy, tangy parmesan flavor. It works best in Italian dishes.
However, you can use it in anything that would taste better with cheese.
8. Shredded Coconut
Shredded coconut is another low-carb, gluten-free option. It works best as a substitute for breading. However, be careful not to use too much.
Your meat may take on a more tropical taste than you were hoping for if you do.
9. Crushed Chips
Do you trash your potato chips when you get to the broken bits at the bottom? STOP!
Pour them into an air-tight container and save them! They make amazing toppings!
They’re gluten-free and so tasty. You can use tortilla chips or potato chips, flavored or unflavored. Either way, they taste amazing on pasta and casseroles.
They even work well as breading! They’re salty, crunchy, and delicious. I mean, they’re potato chips, after all.
We all love them! So, why not use them in your more savory dishes, as well?
Pretzels are just as yummy as potato chips. And you can use them in all the same ways. They’re crunchy, salty, and taste great on everything.
So stop throwing out those broken pretzels! Make good use of them instead!
11. Corn Flakes
There’s one thing to remember when using Corn Flakes as a breading. Buy unsweetened Corn Flakes!
If you mess around and get the sugar-coated ones, you’re in for a surprise!
The rough, crunchy texture of Corn Flakes makes them perfect for breading.
They’re great as toppings, too. You can toss them in the blender if you need smaller chunks.
They work well in meatloaf and on top of casseroles, as well. Plus, they aren’t the only cereal you can use as a breadcrumb substitute.
Experiment with some of the other unsweetened cereal brands. You might find a few that you like even better!
12. Quinoa or Buckwheat
Do you need a gluten-free breadcrumb substitute? If so, quinoa and buckwheat are excellent options.
Both of these ingredients work well as binding agents.
However, quinoa also makes an excellent breading substitute.
Simply toast it first, and it gets all nice and crunchy, just like breadcrumbs. It has a tasty flavor, too.
Both ingredients are also high in fiber. That’s a great addition to meats and poultry, which typically don’t have much natural fiber.
Breadcrumbs come from bread. So if you’re in a bind and have no breadcrumbs, make your own!
You can use fresh or stale bread (though stale works best).
Simply crumble it up, season it however you like, and toast it in the oven.
It’s a simple solution, especially considering we always have bread on hand.
As mentioned above, breadcrumbs are typically dried (or fried) bread. Do you have a bag of croutons lying around?
If so, you practically have ready-made breadcrumbs.
All you’ll have to do is crush them! You can do this by smashing them in a Ziploc bag or tossing them in the blender.
Either way, it’s a super easy way to get breadcrumbs.
Of course, they won’t be low-carb-friendly or gluten-free. (Unless you buy special croutons, of course.)
You could also make homemade croutons if you prefer.
15. Pre-Made Stuffing Mix
Have a box of StoveTop stuffing sitting around the house? If so, break it open and use it as de facto breadcrumbs.
After all, stuffing mix is just dried, well-seasoned, and crumbled bread. Just remember to check out the ingredients list before using them.
Stuffing mixes are rarely gluten-free, and they often use additives.
Everyone knows cornstarch is a thickening agent. But did you know it’s great at binding foods together, too?
That’s what makes it such an excellent substitute for breadcrumbs as a binding agent. Use it whenever you’re making meatballs, fritters, etc.
You can also use it as a breading, and many people do. However, I find it makes foods too chewy and not crispy enough.
Still, if you don’t mind the chewiness, it tastes fine.
17. Potato Flour
Like cornstarch, potato flour works well as a binding agent. Also like cornstarch, it’s not great to use as a breading or topping.
However, it’s excellent for adding moisture to a dish. So if you have something that’s coming out a little dry, try adding potato flour.
It just might work some miracles for you.
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