Panko bread crumbs originate from Japan through crushing crustless bread down to a flake-like texture.
Panko is preferred over regular bread crumbs for coating different foods to make them extra crunchy after frying because they are coarsely crushed.
The extra crunchiness is also possible because panko crumbs absorb less oil, owing to their rough rather than fine nature compared to other bread crumbs.
Now that you know what panko bread crumbs are and why they are preferred, you can attempt to replace them.
Even though you may not find a substitute as good as panko, here are some options to consider when you don’t have any panko bread crumbs on hand.
Great Substitutes for Panko Crumbs
Here are some readily available substitutes for panko crumbs you could try today, depending on your preference and what you can find in your pantry.
1. Potato Chips
Do you have some leftover potato chips? You can crack, blend, or crush potato chips into crumbs. The crumb-making method you’ll choose will depend on what kitchen equipment you have available or, simply, your preference.
2. Tortilla Chips
Making crumbs from tortilla chips follows the same process as making them from potato chips. Depending on your preferred method, you can crush, crack, or blend them.
3. Pork Rinds
Are you looking for a natural keto-friendly replacement for panko bread crumbs? Try pork rinds. They are carb-free but high in fat and have a flaky, crunchy texture.
The downside to pork rinds is that your baked goods may have a meaty flavor. But this doesn’t have to be a concern if you are up for it.
Crush the pork rinds with your hands or in a food processor.
Pork rinds combine well with other keto-friendly panko substitutes like parmesan cheese, almond meal, and flaxseed flour.
4. Rice Krispies
You probably have some store-bought regular or gluten-free Rice Krispies in your pantry. Or you could have made some at home from crumbs left over from rice cakes.
The Rice Krispies can replace panko bread crumbs if you crush them in a food processor to a crunchy texture. Alternatively, you could crush them with your hands to the desired crunchy texture.
5. Stale Bread
It doesn’t have to be bad bread, but it can’t be freshly baked on the same day you intend to use it to make bread crumbs.
To make the bread stale, leave it at room temperature for a few days to dry and harden to make breaking it down in the food processor easier.
If you only have fresh bread, cut it into thin slices without removing the crust and heat in the oven at 149°C (300°F) for about 10 minutes. You could also heat it in the toaster. Heating will help reduce its moisture content.
Cool the bread before grinding it in the food processor. Once done, spread it in a single layer on a clean baking sheet to allow it to cool down fully.
If you don’t have a food processor, cut the bread into smaller pieces and bake it in the oven until it is lightly toasted and dry. Allow it to cool before putting it in a resealable bag for crushing into finer bread crumbs using a rolling pin.
6. Regular Bread Crumbs
You probably have a whole jar of regular bread crumbs sitting in a drawer in your pantry.
Regular bread crumbs make a good panko substitute because they are readily available and can pack the desired crunchy texture, even though they are more fine-textured.
7. Melba Toast
You can use Melba toast for a panko crumb alternative. It is rich in dietary fiber, manganese, and selenium.
Melba toast is bread that has been cut into fine slices before toasting. It’s usually made from stale bread.
If you have some Melba toast ready, you only need to crush it in your food processor to the desired crumb size. Making very fine crumbs out of the toast will reduce their effectiveness.
8. Cracker Crumbs
Cracker crumbs can add more nutritional value to baked goods because most manufacturers make them from whole wheat.
If you have crackers, you can make crumbs from them by placing them in a plastic bag and crushing them into tiny pieces using a rolling pin. You could also break them up in a food processor.
9. Wheat Flour
Wheat flour contains about 70% starch, making it ideal for absorbing water from cake batter. Whole wheat flour also has about 11-15% protein.
The flour’s starch granules and proteins form a starch-protein network that becomes the crumb on baked goods.
10. Sesame Seeds
White or black sesame seeds are ideal for lighter coatings and a heavily crunchy finish. You can use the seeds as they are without crushing them. They work well with egg and flour mixes.
11. Sunflower Seeds
You can use whole sunflower seeds for a heavily crunchy topping. They provide minerals, fiber, vitamin E, protein, B vitamins, and healthy fat.
The downside to topping your baked goods with sunflower seeds is that they may have a lingering nutty flavor.
12. Golden Flaxseed
Flaxseed contains a lot of dietary fiber and healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, making it a nutritious panko substitute that’s hard to beat health-wise.
Golden flaxseeds are golden or yellow-colored and have a buttery flavor, though this won’t be a problem for your baked goods since the flavor is light or mild.
You’ll have to grind the flaxseeds into flax meal, which you can use as a substitute for panko crumbs and in other baking recipes where you want a nutty flavor.
13. Parmesan Cheese
If you are on a keto diet, you can use parmesan cheese to replace panko bread crumbs. The cheese is usually available in powdered or ground form from stores.
If you have parmesan cheese in block form instead, you can grate it using a fine grater so it’s ready for crumbing.
Using parmesan cheese gives the end product a crispy texture and a rich cheesy flavor.
14. Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs
You can make your breadcrumbs fancier and spicier using Italian seasoning.
Most people add oregano and garlic to a cup of dried or fresh homemade breadcrumbs. You can take it a step further and add spices such as:
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon of parsley
- ¼ teaspoon of oregano
- ¼ teaspoon of basil
- ¼ teaspoon of onion powder
15. Coconut Flakes
You could also try dried coconut flakes as a panko crumbs substitute. The flakes will be pretty soft in their uncooked state, but they attain a crunchy texture when you bake them to a golden-brown color.
The best way is to use shredded coconut or unsweetened coconut flakes because they do not have a lot of added sugar like sweetened shredded coconut.
16. Dry Stuffing Mix
Stuffing mix uses baked and dry pieces of bread. You can use it to replace regular bread crumbs and panko crumbs.
You can use pre-dried bread cubes or crumbs to make dry stuffing at home. If you use fresh bread crumbs or cubes, bake them at 350°F for eight to ten minutes on a baking sheet to dry them.
Crush the dried crumbs or cubes in a blender or food processor to the desired texture and store them in an airtight container to prevent molding if you don’t use all the mix.
Matzo (or matzah) is an excellent substitute for panko crumbs because of their dry, bready, and unleavened nature.
You could buy the matzo meal readily ground, or grind your own at home by crushing the crackers. Readily grounded matzo meal can have a wonderful texture, which causes it to be highly absorbent.
With a homemade matzo meal, you can let it have some rough texture to ensure the end product you bake will have a crunchy texture.
You can also try these gluten-free panko substitutes.
18. Rice Flour
Rice flour is a viable gluten-free substitute for panko bread crumbs. It achieves a thinner coating and doesn’t fall off easily since it sticks to moist foods easily.
19. Corn Flakes
If you have some cereal available, you can crush it in a food processor or blender to make gluten-free cornflakes. Though it would be time-consuming and tedious, you can also crush the cereal with your hands.
The thing with cornflake crumbs is that your baked food may have a lingering ‘corny’ flavor. You might have to use another substitute if the corny flavor isn’t what you want to achieve.
Another disadvantage of cornflake crumbs is that they get soggier than regular breadcrumbs, so you might want to avoid using them with wet ingredients.
20. Almond Flour
Another gluten-free substitute to replace panko crumbs is almond flour or meal, obtained from skinless almonds that have been ground to a fine texture.
Most people use almond flour to replace wheat flour in gluten-free recipes. It’s also preferred because it doesn’t have a robust flavor like other items such as pecans and walnuts.
Almond flour also enriches your baked food with healthy plant-based proteins.
When baking with an almond meal, you’ll want to be keen because it can burn easily if you leave it unattended. You don’t want to ruin your food at the last step!
21. Rice Chex
Three cups of gluten-free rice Chex cereal can produce one cup of crumbs to replace panko. Break down the Chex in a blender or food processor by pulsing it several times until it forms sizable crumbs.
If you use a plastic bag instead, remove all the air from it and crush the Chex to the desired crumb size using a rolling pin or a mallet.
Keep the resultant crumbs in a covered container free from dust and moisture.
Conclusion – Panko Bread Crumb Alternatives
Although panko bread crumbs are hard to beat, there may be times where you need to substitute them for dietary reasons, or you simply don’t have any available. With this list of suitable alternatives, you should be able to find something in your kitchen to use instead.