How to Make Breadcrumbs

Here’s how to make breadcrumbs! They’re easy to make and a great way to use up stale bread⁠—you can make them using fresh bread, too.

How to make breadcrumbs

What to do with stale bread? Make breadcrumbs! Alex and I make lots of homemade bread around here. Often we’re left with little petrified ends of the loaf that we didn’t get around to eating. It’s perfect for making breadcrumbs! What if all you have is fresh bread and need crumbs for a recipe? You can use that too! We’ve got you covered in both cases. Here’s how to make breadcrumbs: it’s simple and a fun project!

How to make breadcrumbs: using stale bread

If you’ve ever made homemade bread, it’s likely you’re left with some pieces that go stale before you get to eating them. That’s why breadcrumbs were invented! Before storebought bread was injected with preservatives to make it last unnaturally long on the shelf, there were lots of recipes invented to answer the question: what to do with rock hard bread?

Here’s the modern way to make breadcrumbs. It requires a food processor, but if you don’t have one: scroll down!

  • Food process stale bread into crumbs. Chop it down as much as you can into pieces. Throw those in the food processor and whiz them up! You’ll have to start and stop a few times to stir and get it all processed.
  • Bake about 5 minutes. Then, you’ll pop it in a 300-degree oven to get the crumbs light brown and toasty. This makes sure any remaining moisture is baked out.
Stale bread
How to use up stale bread? Breadcrumbs!

How to make breadcrumbs: using fresh bread

If all you have is fresh bread and you need breadcrumbs: you can do that too! Alex and I have been in the middle of a recipe before and then realized we didn’t have breadcrumbs. Don’t worry: make them out of bread! It’s basically the reverse of making them with stale bread:

  • Tear the bread into pieces and bake for 15 minutes. Throw it in a 300 degree oven and bake until the bread is toasty.
  • Food process the bread into crumbs. The whiz up that toasty bread into crumbs! If there’s still some moisture left, pop it back in the oven for a few minutes until all the moisture is removed.
How to make bread crumbs with herbs

Add herbs to spice them up!

What’s better than breadcrumbs? Italian breadcrumbs? That’s the name for breadcrumbs sold with Italian herbs. The store bought version usually have salt in them, but we’ll leave it up to you depending on the use for your bread crumbs. If you want to add herbs, here are the one’s we’d suggest for Italian style crumbs:

  • Dried basil
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried thyme
  • Garlic powder

Can you make breadcrumbs without a food processor?

You can! Don’t try a blender, though. Use the method for fresh bread, then when the toasted bread chunks are cool, pop them in a plastic bag. Roll over them with a rolling pin until they are crushed into crumbs.

Food processor with bread crumbs

A note on the size of the crumbs

You can make any size of breadcrumbs using this method. Here are a few notes on the texture of the crumbs:

  • Coarse crumbs: The photographs show coarse crumbs, which are good for toppings like on mac and cheese or grain.
  • Fine crumbs: If you’re breading chicken or fish, you’ll want to have finer crumbs that have a sand-like texture. Just let the food processor run for longer to get finer crumbs! The crumbs you’ll find in the store are usually this very fine texture.

Storing homemade breadcrumbs

How to store homemade bread crumbs? Place them in a container and you can store them at room temperature for about 1 month. Try to minimize the amount of air in the container. Or, you can freeze them! They stay good for about 3 months.

How to make bread crumbs

Ways to use breadcrumbs

There are so many ways to use bread crumbs: they add a delightful crunchy topping or breading to many dishes! They’re also helpful in holding things together, like veggie burgers and meatballs. Here are our top ways to use them:

This breadcrumbs recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

Other ways to use stale bread

A few more ways to use up stale bread, if you have it!

  • Panzanella An Italian bread salad, invented to use up stale bread! It features ripe tomatoes, bell peppers, and basil in a tangy vinaigrette.
  • Ribollita (Tuscan Vegetable Stew) A delicious Tuscan vegetable stew, loaded with veggies and thickened with bread.
  • Homemade Croutons Another great way to use up bread: as croutons!
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How to make breadcrumbs

How to Make Breadcrumbs


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups breadcrumbs 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s how to make breadcrumbs! They’re easy to make and a great way to use up stale bread⁠—you can make them using fresh bread, too.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces / about 8 slices bread, stale or fresh
  • For Italian breadcrumbs: dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, garlic powder, and kosher salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. For stale bread: Cut the bread into as small of chunks as possible (this depends on the staleness of the bread). Place them in the bowl of a food processor. Start the food processor and blend until ground down into fine crumbs. If the bread is very stale, you’ll likely have to pulse and stop to stir if the food processor gets stuck. Keep working at it until it’s all ground down into fine crumbs*. Place the crumbs on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 4 minutes. Remove the sheet and stir. Bake 2 more minutes until golden and toasted.
  3. For fresh bread: Tear the bread into small chunks and place it on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the bread chunks are golden and toasted. Allow them to cool for a few minutes (they’ll get even crispier as they cool). Then place in a food processor and process until fine crumbs form*. If there is still some moisture in the bread crumbs, return them to the oven for a few minute until completely dried out.
  4. For Italian herb breadcrumbs: If you’d like to add herbs, to the 2 cups of crumbs add 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme. If you’d like them salted, add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (typically Italian breadcrumbs are salted; you can add the salt depending on how you’d like to use them).
  5. Store: Store the breadcrumbs in a sealed container at room temperature for 1 month or up to 3 months frozen (minimizing the air in the container if possible).

Notes

*Customize the size of the crumbs based on how you plan to use them. Coarse crumbs are good for toppings like on mac and cheese. But if you’re breading chicken, you’ll want finer crumbs with a sand-like texture. Just let the food processor run for longer to get finer crumbs!

  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: How to make breadcrumbs, Breadcrumbs Recipe, Breadcrumbs

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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