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Bread Crumbs In A BowlEven though it’s definitely worthy of a Cheap Eats article, I’ve only lately tried making my own bread crumbs. The main reason is: I am just damn lazy. Which is of course no excuse!

I use a lot of bread crumbs in dishes too, which is even more reason for me to get on the ball with making them. They’re great for topping casseroles, for getting meatloaf texture to be more consistent, and of course for breading foods to be fried, like chicken breast fillets or fish.

The consistency of bread crumbs called for in recipes varies. Sometimes the crumbs are simply pieces of bread roughly torn apart, drizzled with butter and baked in the oven. Other recipes call for extremely fine crumbs, almost like semolina. You can buy a can of fine bread crumbs at the market for fairly cheap, and some even come pre-seasoned. But making your own out of older bread that’s already around is definitely cheaper.

Bread In CuisinartSo back to being lazy… we always have leftover bread (ends and slices) in the fridge. So that’s one part down. The part that always gets me when making homemade bread crumbs is the need for a food processor. Even if you had the time to stand there chopping up bread with double action cleavers, the act of cutting bread squishes it together instead of cutting it clean, making for pretty terrible crumbs. Nope, you’ve pretty much got to break out the Cuisinart.

The chefs on TV are always using food processors, mixers and blenders. I think one of the reasons they’re so enthusiastic about using these “time-saving” devices is because they don’t have to clean out the damn things after using them. It is somewhat of a pain to break out the food processor just for a little job and then have to clean the blade, cover and mixer bowl.

But making bread crumbs using the processor is actually not too bad, because you can store up your bread ends for a bit in the fridge or freezer and then make a big batch of crumbs at once. Also, it’s not as messy as making, say, some pesto.

I usually just tear up the bread into small chunks and chuck it in the processor. If the chunks are too big it’ll take quite awhile to process. And you don’t want to fill it up too full of course otherwise the bread won’t break down as well. I do about 4 quick pulses on lower speed, and then switch to high for about 10-15 seconds.

That’s pretty much all there is to it. The washing of the Cuisinart is what takes a long time. By the way, in case you don’t know… the blade on a food processor is HELL of sharp. You don’t want to mess with this thing, washing it or otherwise. You’ve gotta be extra careful taking it out of the mixer, because it will definitely mark up the plastic sides of the container. Or even worse, give you a mean slice in your thumb.

Storing Bread CrumbsOne tip is to make sure the bread you’re going to grind up into bread crumbs is relatively dry. If it’s pretty wet from being stored in the fridge or freezer, you might want to lay it out on a plate to dry for a bit. Also, if there are really soggy parts of the bread, cut them off before using.

Storing the bread crumbs is as simple as putting it in a ziploc bag and throwing it in the fridge if you’re going to use it soon, or the freezer for longer term storage. Also, you might want to spread out the bread crumbs on a plate before putting it in the bag to get rid of even more moisture. Some people actually toast them in an oven over low heat as well, though I haven’t tried that method.

Cheap Eats Score: 8/10

59 Responses to “Homemade Bread Crumbs”

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  1. Andie Says:

    I do the toasting first (like when making croutons) and season the bread pieces. Then when I chuck them in the food processor I get “seasoned” bread crumbs. LOL I love homemade bread crumbs, they taste so much better.

    “…they don’t have to clean out the damn things after using them.”

    This is exactly right. And I also think they tend to use things that are unnecessary. Such as Ms. Ray and her “garbage bowl” used so one isn’t constantly running to the trash. Um, how about bringing the trashcan to you. That way you aren’t running to it and you aren’t dirtying another bowl in the process.

  2. Cheap Eats Editor Says:

    andie – cool, I will try the toasting first. I thought about doing that, at the very least to dry out the bread a bit more since I store the ends in the fridge and that makes it pick up moisture. Forgot to mention that for breading and frying we often use store bought japanese bread crumbs called “Panko” that are already toasted. You buy then in a plastic package, but they’re not too cheap. They work fabulously though, I think chefs even use them.

  3. Mary Jane Says:

    Hubby and I are on South Beach and to find whole wheat bread crumbs has been impossible, at least where I live. I wanted to try and make my own from whole wheat bread so that I can continue with some great ideas they have. Thanks for the info and I am anxious to try my new home made bread crumbs.

    Mary Jane

  4. Cheap Eats Editor Says:

    mary jane – I haven’t tried grinding up whole wheat bread for crumbs, but it seems like actually it might be easier than grinding white bread because the bread is probably more “coarse” to start with. Just make sure it’s dried out though. I believe my mom (health nut) used to make whole wheat bread crumbs and store them in the freezer…

  5. Mary Jane Says:

    Thanks for the info, I actually dried the bread by toasting it and today started to put it in a small grinder, usually used for nuts, just to try it and they have come out great. I’m a little worried about seasoning them but will try it once all the bread is done. Thanks for the feedback.

  6. Jennifer Says:

    What spices, if any, would you add to the bread crumbs in the food processor?

  7. Cheap Eats Editor Says:

    maryjane, jennifer – I’ve never seasoned them actually. You may want to ask Andie above what was in the “seasoning”. I’ve heard, though that you can mix a variety of things with the bread crumbs like dried parsley, dried basil, dried thyme, dried oregano, paprika, black pepper. I think garlic powder and/or parm cheese might work too. I think they key is that whatever you mix it with not be too wet… otherwise it will make the bread crumbs lump together.

  8. Mary Braly Says:

    Cleaning the Cuisanart is really simple if you buy the right brush with a handle. Using it is simpler if you keep it very accessible (and you’ll use it more). I keep mine on a lower shelf above the plugin where I use it. If i had to dig it out of a lower shelf I doubt that I would use it that often.

    Never put the blade in dishwater in the sink. I’ve been cut too. Hold it by the plastic “handle”and use the brush.

    As for seasoning bread crumbs, I would season for the occasion. You might want to add garlic power, thyme, paprika, salt, pepper, seasoning salt..etc., but by waiting, the seasoning you add will complement the dish.

  9. Cheap Eats Editor Says:

    Mary B – you are spot-on about keeping it within reach. Ours is in a lower cabinet, boxed and actually underneath several items. Thus, I tend to only pull it out when I really need it. I would keep it on the counter or shelf, but real estate is very precious in our tiny kitchen…

  10. Jill Says:

    I always just put the toast in a ziplock bag and roll it with my rolling pin. That way I have nothing to clean. I even reuse the bag by storing it in another bag in the freezer. After a while I do have to replace it. I also make my own bread, so when I am slicing it I save all the crumbs that come off of it in the freezer. And stale crackers, or cereal I just throw them right in too.

  11. Katya Says:

    Haven’t ever made breadcrumbs but it sounds interesting anyhow.
    I try to limit my bread intake because bread and white rice is very hard for my system to digest proper like.

    I would do the ziplock bag and rolling pin trick but I don’t have a rolling pin. I think my meat mallet works in a pinch usually though.

    Cheaper than buying the can of breadcrumbs. I am about to be on my own so any tips I can come up with to save money is a winner in my book.

    I am a picky eater also so definitely your website has given me food for thought with pun intended.

    Katya

  12. colleen Says:

    My husband just bought me a food processor and I am excited to try it out. Bread crumbs are essential for the good old southern cooking I love to do in my kitchen. I think I’ll go with toasting the bread first. I am going to try my favorite bread, Braum’s Sourdough Bread, it is healthful and delicious. Thanks for all the great info.
    Colleen

  13. Cheap Eats Editor Says:

    jill – I’ve heard of the rolling pin trick and I guess it works in a pinch.

    katya – you can also use one of those rubber mallets to pound it. The meat mallet I have is a kind with sharp ridges on it so it tends to tear up the plastic bag.

    colleen – i just made another batch of bread crumbs the other day using the processor. It seems to work fairly well even if the bread isn’t toasted. As long as the bread is not extremely damp.

  14. Brenda Says:

    I really like sourdough or extra crispy english muffins for my homemade breadcrumbs. I don’t have a food processor so it’s all by hand. It goes quickly enough. These breadcrumbs are the BEST for meatloaf (which I make with ground turkey) – the loaf is not so dense as with regular breadcrumbs but not so light as to fall apart when sliced. Happy cooking!

  15. Sean Says:

    I usually just take all the heels of the bread my picky rugrats won’t eat and save them in the freezer. Then pop them in the oven when I got enough, put it on warm and walk away with the door popped open. Or after I bake somthing to use the risidual heat. blend the heck out of them and pop into a tupperware and season a batch when I need them. saves some money, but i usually buy that crappy cheap dollar loaf type bread anyway because the kids and wife eat alot of it. Not to healthy I know, but hey budget over health for now. by the way, love this site.

  16. Cheap Eats Editor Says:

    brenda – funny, i just bought some english muffins the other day. I’ve been eating breakfast so decided to get them. Maybe any leftovers will make an appearance as bread crumbs…

    sean – i like the idea of using leftover oven heat to dry out the bread.. good tip! I just made up a batch (untoasted though) the other day. I’m getting the hang of the food processor more nowadays.

  17. Bob Says:

    I have a bread maker and what I like to do is make milk white bread. I add to the mixture garlic powder, Bell’s seasoning. The bread will cook seasoned.

    Once the bread has cooled over night, I slice the bread and cube it in 1 inch square and put it on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. I shut the oven off and leave the bread in there for another 45 minutes.

    The plastic bag tricks works pretty good…

  18. Sherry Says:

    I lay end crusts and past-prime bread on a cooling rack to dry. By the next day, they’re reading for processing. I still use the old fashioned grinder Food Mill – sure, it’s manual, but it’s very effective. I just need a good seasoning recipe.

  19. Tommy Says:

    I really appreciate the info on the breadcrumbs….. However, I was disappointed at the language used. I thought the article read well and could have done without the use of the “damn” word.

    No offense intended… just and observation.

    Tommy

  20. mazhar Says:

    Please I want to have some infomation on the process of Japanese type bread crumb.

  21. Daniella Desjardin Says:

    hi, I am a single mom of 6 children and i found your website to be very helpful and very usefull directions and i do not have a food processor, can i use a grater to use for my bread crumbs- as i make most of all my meals from scratch and I am wondering if i can store the breadcrumbs in the top freezer in a freeezer bag for how long—
    Daniella

  22. judi Says:

    seems like you all need to keep it simple. dry your sliced or chunked bread by placing it on a cookie sheet or anything, really, in you oven. if it’s a gas oven, the heat from the pilot light will dry overnight. if using an electric oven, turn it to it’s lowest setting and keep an eye on it. i’m glad i have a gas oven :)

    i always buy unsliced breads, such as french or italian loaf breads.

    i threw my food processor in the trash long ago, it takes more of my energy just to clean it than just chopping up anything i needed to prepare.

    since i was a child in a sicilian home, i was taught how to be handy with a 4 sided “cheese grater” type implement. there are 2 sides that are slotted for grateing cheeses & veggies. the other 2 sides have graters for fine and course grateing. i use the course side.

    take the dried bread and grate away. i can grate bread crumbs by hand faster than any one can grind them up in a processor and clean it up.

    use care not to grate stuff like knuckles and fingernails, altho once you have, no one will notice the body parts in the food…lol…

    as for cleaning the grater…i keep a nice basting brush in my drawer and use it to clean up the crumb residue. if i grate cheese or veggy’s, i wash the thing like any other kitchen tool.

    then place the crumbs, which were dry before i grated them, into any airtight container and store in fridge or freezer. i add spices to them right before i add them to the dish i am preparing with them.

  23. Linda Hinton Says:

    Homemade breadcrumbs are the best -and nearly free when you used your own homemade (from a bread machine) to make them :-)

  24. Kaye Kaye Says:

    DAMN Tommy, lighten up dude. It is after all the internet for Fawksakes. WOOHOO breadcrumbs!!!

  25. Tim Says:

    Here are a few observtions from your other entries. Plastic bags are inferior to old fashined paper bags in that they allow bread to dry better and makes spoilage less likely. I save and fold up a few bags from the bakery or fast food sources. Using a common grater works and once you get down close, you pop the rest into a blender. A sieve can be used if truly fine (small) crumbs are desired. Rather than storing stale bread in the freezer where moisture is introduced, a drawer or infrequently used appliance will suffice. I use my toaster oven. I feel better about keeping my electrical usage to a minimum.

  26. Judy A Dy Says:

    I really enjoyed everyones comments, very informative! I stumbled on something the other day that you folks may already be familiar with but it sure surprised me! Toast not only your breadcrumbs, sesame seeds & croutons but all NUTS before adding them to your recipe. WOW what a difference.
    I also agree with Kaye Kaye, Yes indeed, lighten up Tommy, how old are you anyhow? Good Grief!! (as my old boss used to say)
    There are a couple more things I’ve run across over the years; The plastic bag method works much better and safer if you at least double bag it. If it’s a particularly tough item your ‘crumbing’ you may even want to triple bag the stuff. I gave my Cuisinart to my daughter. Since I now live alone and rarely entertain I had little use for it. I’ve also been cut! No matter how careful you are it’s bound to happen sometime. Another trick I learned; keep some of your ‘cubes’ for making stuffing! My mother & grandmother never used anything but regular or homemade breads for stuffing birds. I season just before cooking. I also use a Chinese Cleaver, flat side of course, to smash the bags containing the bread chunks. Don’t forget to put some airholes in your bags BEFORE you hit them with anything unless you want an explosion all over your kitchen…: )

  27. Maggie Says:

    I make my own bread crumbs because I need to watch my sodium intake. This way I have none of the preservatives! I make different batches, sometimes combining different breads for flavor and/or texture.
    I have plain crumbs, garlic and onion crumbs, and then I add a package of the ranch salad dressing powder or the Italian salad dressing powder to the food processor and season crumbs that way.

  28. Martha Says:

    As I have been making my own bread crumbs for years, I read this article with a great deal of interest, and thought I would add my 2 cents worth. First, I always put my leftover bread on a cookie sheet to dry out in the oven. When I have a cookie sheet full, I make bread crumbs. My favorite method is not with the food processor, but with a blender which does same thing, and much easier to clean. If you are using the plastic bread method, why not save your bread wrapers and use them instead of plastic baggies.

  29. Julie Says:

    I enjoyed this post – found it informative. Thanks – I look forward to browsing some more!

  30. Anna Says:

    This is really helpful for me to read. I live in Eastern Europe, but I get an American cooking magazine. Many of the ingredients are difficult to find. And I don’t have a million gadgets in my kitchen. It’s a relief to know that even I can enjoy bread crumbs. Thanks.

    Oh, and be nice to Tommy. He totally wasn’t obnoxious in the way he stated his opinion.

  31. dave Says:

    Thank you for that tip. I’m trying to cut way back on salt and, as you know, any processed food is loaded with it.

  32. Imani Says:

    Hi,

    Great site! Thanks for the info. While I enjoyed the info I didn’t find out what I was looking for, how does one make PANKO bread crumbs?!

    Imani

  33. Harvey Lend Says:

    Is there any way to make bread crumbs by hand, without using a food processor or blender????

  34. Joy Says:

    Nice thread on bread crumbs!! Just what I was looking for, as I am going to make egg plant parm tonight & find myself without any :o)
    I had a general idea of what I’d probably do to make them, but I like to read a zillion other peoples ideas on recipes & cooking. It’s such a fun topic, FOOD! And there are allways new things to learn.
    And as a side note, I too have used tosted English muffins in my meatloaf & to this day, I swear it was the tastiest one I ever made. But that might be biased due to the fact I thought I was being supercrafty because I didn’t have even a slice of bread to put in it! HeHe :o)
    Thanks for the tips, and I will be sure to read some more of the topics!
    *Cheers*

  35. sheryl Says:

    i recently made bread crumbs from some delicious gourmet salt bread that we get locally. we never seem to finish it before it gets stale and i have recently begun to make homemade mac and cheese and the homemade bread crumbs is a great topper. i use a small chopper that i also use for nuts. i have left the bread out on the counter for a day to harden it but i like the toaster idea as it is quick. and if you just need to make some for a specific recipe the small chopper works great. thanks for the toasting idea, my last batch was still a little wet. i also add parm cheese. garlic powder and thyme or basil and parsley

  36. Janette Says:

    I just went shopping but forgot the breadcrumbs, so I did a search and boom, your website came up. I am so grate-ful! thanks! :>)

  37. Edward long Says:

    Hi,
    Very interested in making bread crumbs. I used a grinder for something other than bread a while ago and found I had to run the grinder for no longer than two-three minutes at a time. It had to be stopped liked that to cool off, or one might burn it out!
    Can anyone tell me if the Cuisinart mentioned in the posts can be run continuously, or at least for several minutes? If not, which gadget is suitable for making bread crumbs which can be run for a reasonable length of time?
    Great posts,
    Thanks,
    Edward

  38. Jaqueta Says:

    Like Imani says, “I am still trying to find out how to make make Panko Bread Crumbs.” Help!!! I’ve really enjoyed reading this great site. Thanks.

  39. Lakshmi Vinay Says:

    I haev found one great way to make bread crumbs.I usually use bread which is atleast 3 days old and microwave it for about 30 secs.This dries them out really well.And then if I give them a few pulses in the blender or the processor, they crumbs will be powdered just fine..

  40. Hilary Says:

    For those of you looking for panko directions, here’s a site.

    It’s pretty similar, but it says to use Wonder bread (or saltines), put it through the food processor, then toast. I think having very fine-grained bread with no fat is probably one of the keys.

  41. Kathy Says:

    Found you with a google search — because I have a whole loaf of white bread that is going to go bad if I don’t do something with it! I thought AHA! Breadcrumbs! They’re drying out in the oven right now and I actually have that same little Cuisinart that you show in your picture.

    I just wanted to say thanks for all these great ideas.

  42. Nancy Says:

    I prefer to toss the bread in the hot oven after I have used the oven for something else. Also, they can be dried in a solar oven that can be made for a couple of bucks. Plans for solar ovens are all over the internet. They can even be made out of an old pizza box.

  43. Irene blaszkowiak Says:

    Mom liked whole wheat bread, had a bunch in the freezer after she died…and I wasn’t too impressed with it’s taste so what to do? Tore the slices up, put them on a baking sheet, dried them in the oven after baking. Once I a had a good bunch together put them in my blender and made bread crumbs…. sure made some pretty fine crumbs. Now use them along with oatmeal when making up meatloaf, hamburgers or meatballs. We have never bought bread crumbs…always made our own from dried old bread and loaf ends.

    What I would like to know, can you bake some patries with them?

  44. Just Me Says:

    I had some onion bulky rolls that I needed to use up. I decided to try making bread crumbs with it and they were delicious! This is my first time to the site, I’m bookmarking it for all it’s great info!

  45. Anita Says:

    Thanks for this post! I’ve heard and often thought about making my own homemade bread crumbs but I too have been just too damn lazy. However, today I plan on making chicken parm and of course don’t have enough bread crumbs. So of course this evening I’ll be making my own. (A nice little google search brought me right here!)

    Oh and I did find another site that mentioned about using a baggie and rolling pin to crush the bread. It also said that if you don’t have a rolling pin … use a glass ;)

    Thanks again! I can’t wait to make my chicken parm with my own homemade SEASONED bread crumbs with seasoning my family likes only!

  46. fil Says:

    how can i add oil to the breadcrumbs so they bake better.

  47. Taryn Says:

    Would this method also work with bread sticks? Currently, I am on a salt restricted diet. I do not like low sodium brand crumbs I purchased in the store as they are too seasoned. I was thinking of using Stella Dora salt free bread sticks. I’ll bake them and put in a blender.. do you think that would work too?

    Can you make the crumbs from bread sticks? I assume so.

  48. Toni Says:

    I’m actually drying out the bread by putting in the oven at 225′ right now. I’m making Weight Watchers whole wheat bread (yep, I’m watching calories!) Afterwards, I will pull out the blender to make the crumbs. I don’t think I’ll season the crumbs until I’m actually making a specific recipe-that way the crumbs will be seasoned specifically to the dish.

    Bread sticks? I would think so. Go for it!

  49. Jerry Says:

    I lay my old stale bread out on the oven racks and turn the oven to warm, then turn it off as soon as it comes up to that temperature. Remove the bread when the oven cools, and it’s nice and crusty, without being actually toasted.

  50. Teri Jea Says:

    Wonderful site, glad I’m not the only person to be too lazy to make my own bread crumbs – until now! LOL Can someone clear up the difference between regular breadcrumbs made from toasted bread and panko bread crumbs, which are toasted after being made into crumbs? Sounds like just about the same thing to me…

    And Tommy, kudos for speaking your mind so politely.

    Happy eating!!

  51. Christy Says:

    When I make my breadcrumbs, I use a coffee-grinder and it works great. Of course, you would want to use a bullet or processor if you are doing it on a larger scale. The coffee grinder works great when you need just a little bit and its easier to clean!

  52. Diana Says:

    My father-in-law once showed me a simple and easy way to make breadcrumbs from fresh, stale, or dried out bread. Get a plate or a bowl and use your cheese grater to grate the bread into crumbs. It works great! You can try out different sides of the grater to get the best results. Previously I had always used the rolling pin method, but it’s not very effective if the bread is too hard to roll. Grating with the grater always works – and there’s no food processor to clean up afterwards.

  53. Lynda Says:

    My thanks to everyone who’s contributed to this blog – & answered all my questions about making homemade bread crumbs. I hope I can make a contribution today by mentioning one more reason for making your own. After deciding that my meatloaf with oatmeal wasn’t working for me anymore I thought I’d switch to bread in the recipe, but when I looked at all the breadcrumbs in the supermarkets I discovered they all contained trans fats; because the maker can claim 0 trans fats if the amount is under 1 gram, but if there are hydrogenated oils listed amongst the ingredients then the claim is actually false. Thanks for the English muffin tip! Checked them – No trans fats!

  54. Laura Says:

    To add to Lynda’s comment, you can also avoid high fructose corn syrup by making crumbs with breads free of them. We were not able to find any bread crumbs at the store that did not have high fructose corn syrup.

    Laura

  55. betty Says:

    This week, I was lacking bread crumbs for a recipe, so I toasted a couple of pieces of wheat bread very well and basically rubbed them together like sandpaper and made the crumbs! If I needed more crumbs, I threw in the toaster for a half a minute and repeated. I know it is rudimentary, but I saved on cleaning and if cooking for 2-3, it works like a charm :)

  56. Holly Says:

    I used to use my blender to make bread crumbs, until I realized that if I toasted the bread first, I could cruch it with my hands. I may try the bag thing, it sounds less messy. I’ve always recoiled at the idea of buying bread crumbs, so I’ve never purchased it in the can. It’s just too easy to do myself, and why would I pay money for what is technically a waste product?

  57. Daddystick Says:

    toast the bread and crumble it hands, whats so hard about it?

    capishe?

  58. Nancy Thurman Says:

    How wonderful to read everyone’s comments!! Since there are just 2 of us in the house now, we always have some bread left over. I combine ALL that we have left, French, white, wheat, let it dry out, & make the crumbs in my small Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus, put them in a strong baggie, then freeze. I have never seasoned them but shall do so now, after reading all your comments. This is a wonderful website & I’m just glad I found it!! Isn’t cooking just great, now that all the children are grown & gone and you have the time!!!

  59. Anne Marie Says:

    I have 2 children that have dairy, egg, peanut and soy allergies…so, try to find store bought breadcrumbs without those ingredients- it’s hard, I’ve looked!! But then it HIT ME…make my own…DUH!! I loved all the posts here and will certainly test out the different ideas! Thanks all!




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