An equally crispy panko substitute can save the day. If you love crunchy coatings for your fried dishes, chances are that panko crumbs have become a staple in your kitchen.
Originating from Japan, these Panko bread crumbs are uniquely light and airy, making them a valuable component in fried chicken, tempura, and breaded fish.
Panko is a type of breadcrumb from Japan.
The word “panko” comes from the Japanese words “pan” and “ko,” which translate to bread flour.
Panko is known for its distinctive light and crispy texture. This characteristic sets it apart from other breadcrumbs.
Manufacturers use processed white bread to make panko bread crumbs. The bread they use for panko is usually without crusts.
That bread also undergoes a unique production process. First, they bake the bread into loaves, then remove the crusts. They then grind the remaining white part of the bread into coarse flakes or crumbs.
Panko is not finely ground, unlike regular bread crumbs. Instead, it has larger, drier, and irregularly shaped particles.
One characteristic of panko that stands out is its texture. It is so light and airy, so using it creates a delicate crunch.
The irregularly shaped crumbs provide a crispier coating compared to traditional bread crumbs.
Panko is commonly used in Japanese cuisine in dishes like tonkatsu and tempura. However, it has been widely embraced in Western cooking. It adds crispiness to fried chicken and fritters.
People also use panko as a topping for casseroles or as a binder for meatballs and meatloaf. After all, it provides a great texture and helps to retain moisture.
Suppose you need a substitute for panko because it’s unavailable, or you’re looking for a different texture or feel. In that case, some alternatives can provide similar results in your recipes.
You can use regular bread crumbs if you don’t have any panko on hand. These two ingredients are interchangeable.
However, there will be some differences in the final result of your dish.
Regular bread crumbs are more accessible than panko. That said, they are ideal and quick panko substitutes. It has a finer texture, but its coating ability is still similar to panko’s.
If you want panko’s flaky texture, your regular bread crumbs may be unable to provide it readily. You may have to create homemade bread crumbs with larger flakes.
Like panko, breadcrumbs are perfect for crunchy topping on baked casseroles. You can also use them as breading on fried foods or as a meatball binder.
For the best results, toast the regular breadcrumbs before using them to replace panko. This additional step will give you a closer texture match.
Cracker crumbs are already a known substitute for regular bread crumbs. For this reason, it certainly does well as a substitute for panko.
To crush them, place the crackers in a freezer bag and roll them with a rolling pin. This way, you’ll have more control over the process, and the crackers won’t become too fine.
Depending on the cracker you use, they may be saltier than panko, so it’s something to remember when using them as a swap.
Cracker crumbs also make a good swap because they’re already baked. There’s no need for the extra step of toasting them.
Opt for plain and unsalted crackers as a panko swap. Doing so will ensure that they won’t interfere with the flavors of your dish.
If you only have salted crackers, you may use them, too. However, remember to reduce the amount of your other salty ingredients.
You may also use gluten-free bread crumbs as a substitute if you’re looking for a gluten-free replacement for panko.
Gluten-free bread crumbs come from gluten-free bread. If you have gluten-free bread available, you can crumble it and toast it to create bread crumbs with a texture similar to panko.
To enhance the flavor of gluten-free bread crumbs, you can toast them in a pan with melted butter or olive oil.
The fat will add flavor and texture, allowing the crumbs to clump together and resemble panko’s texture.
When it comes to this alternative, it is best if you make your own using gluten-free bread.
Store-bought gluten-free bread crumbs are typically finely ground and may not provide the same crunch as panko.
Plain cornflakes without added flavors can be an excellent gluten-free alternative to panko bread crumbs.
Corn flakes are a suitable substitute because, like panko, they offer a relatively neutral taste while delivering a satisfying crunch.
Before using them as a substitute, there is also no need to toast them beforehand. Mix them with the other ingredients in your recipe.
Corn flakes are also low in sodium, so this is an amazing substitute if you prefer a healthier alternative.
Crush the cornflakes manually using a rolling pin and a freezer bag. Using a food processor might give you fine crumbs that will change the texture of your dish.
Crushed potato chips are the answer if you’re looking for an alternative you most likely already have in your pantry.
Chips are crispy, so unlike regular crumbs, you do not need to toast them before using them as a substitute. You only have to chop them or pulse them in a food processor.
Aside from using crushed potato chips for casseroles, you may use them for various meals like salads and chicken.
However, remember not to crush them too fine if you want a similar texture to panko.
Also, it is best to do a taste test before using them on a dish. These chips often come with salt, so you might need to adjust the amount of your other salty ingredients.
Crushed tortilla chips work the same way as potato chips. However, these chips are less salty than potato chips, making them a better substitute for panko.
Aside from crushing, you can also crack or blend the chips. As long as they don’t turn out too fine, they will still have the same texture as panko.
These chips add a crunchy texture and a touch of flavor, perfect for dishes like baked chicken or fish tacos.
Opt for unflavored chips as a panko replacement. Many flavored tortilla chips are in the market today, and using them might result in a flavor shift in your final dish.
A surprising alternative to bread crumbs is dried coconut.
Known for its softness in its raw state, dried coconut turns into a beautiful golden-brown and delightfully crunchy texture when you bake or fry them. In that case, they make a creative but decent substitute for panko.
The only downside is that you’ll get a nutty flavor, which not everyone enjoys.
Opting for shredded coconut or unsweetened varieties is best when using coconut flakes. They do not have added sugar, giving off a more neutral taste.
Wheat flour may not have the exact texture of panko bread crumbs. Still, it can provide a crispy and flavorful outer layer when you use it as a coating for frying or baking.
This option is easily accessible, as wheat flour is a common staple in most kitchens.
Remember that the resulting texture will differ when using wheat flour as a coating. Wheat flour creates a denser and more substantial layer than panko’s light and airy crispness.
Skip this option if you are using panko bread crumbs for purposes other than coating. It won’t work great as a meatball binder or casserole topping.
Pretzels can be a simple and unexpected substitute for panko bread crumbs. They’re widely available, too. If you love them as a snack, you probably have an open packet of pretzels somewhere in your pantry.
The brittle and crunchy texture of pretzels adds a pleasant crunch and a touch of flavor to dishes that require a crispy coating or topping.
Pretzels have a salty exterior, so it’s best to reduce the salt content in the rest of your dish to ensure that it turns out with a balanced flavor.
Matzo, also known as matzah, can be a great alternative to panko bread crumbs. After all, its unleavened texture can add an appealing crunchy element to your dish.
One thing to remember about the matzo meal is that it is not gluten-free. If you have gluten sensitivity, there are better alternatives for you.
Make your own matzo rather than using store-bought ones to get the best results. Leave them slightly coarse to achieve a crunchy texture similar to panko.
You can go for an almond meal for another gluten-free panko bread crumbs substitute. In addition to being gluten-free, almond meal offers the benefit of adding protein to your meals.
This ingredient is a great option if you want to replace panko with something that will boost the nutritional benefit of your meals.
To make an almond meal, finely grind blanched, skinless almonds. Remember not to overdo it, so you’ll get a closer texture match to panko.
An almond meal doesn’t have much crunch when raw. That said, you must toast or bake it to give it a crunch similar to panko.
Chopped almonds, walnuts, pecans, and even pistachios can serve as excellent alternatives for panko bread crumbs, offering a protein-rich crunch. These nuts work well for coated and crusted foods such as chicken and pork strips.
Additionally, you can use chopped nuts to create a delightful crunchy topping for baked dishes.
Unlike panko or traditional bread crumbs, nuts won’t absorb moisture from the dish. They will still deliver satisfying crispiness, though.
Before using them as a panko swap, you may toast the nuts for an added crunch.
If you don’t prefer any of the substitutes above and want to make your own panko, it’s also possible.
To make homemade panko bread crumbs, you’ll need a few slices of bread, preferably a day or two old.
Here’s a guide to creating your own panko:
Here’s how you can use panko breadcrumbs:
Breading: Panko breadcrumbs are excellent for breading meats, poultry, seafood, or vegetables before frying or baking.
Topping: They make a delicious and crispy topping for casseroles, gratins, macaroni and cheese, or stuffed vegetables.
Binding ingredient: Panko breadcrumbs can be used as a binder in meatballs, meatloaf, or veggie patties. They help absorb moisture and hold the ingredients together.
These are just a few examples of popular recipes that utilize panko breadcrumbs.
Panko bread crumbs come from white bread that undergoes a unique production process. People bake the bread into loaves and remove crusts before grinding them into coarse flakes.
Yes, you can use bread as a substitute for panko bread crumbs. It would help if you toasted the bread, though, to get a closer texture match. Still, the texture and results may differ. Regular bread crumbs are generally finer than panko.
Yes, you can use croutons instead of panko bread crumbs in several recipes. Croutons are cubes or small pieces of toasted or seasoned bread. To use them as a panko alternative, grind them coarsely. While they have a different texture than panko bread crumbs, they can still provide a crunchy coating for your dishes.
Panko bread crumbs are a popular ingredient in many recipes. They are known for their light and crispy texture. You can use regular bread crumbs, crushed potato chips, or coconut flakes if you don’t have them. Even wheat flour is a great panko swap in certain recipes.
The choice of panko bread crumbs substitutes will depend on your preference and the dish you’re preparing. Feel free to experiment with alternatives until you find the best replacement for your needs.