There’s no need to throw away that loaf of stale bread – turn it into homemade breadcrumbs instead. Making breadcrumbs from scratch is quick and easy to do, they keep well and are versatile. Use them as a crunchy topping for pasta or casseroles to a coating for schnitzels.
Once you know how to make your own breadcrumbs and how well they store for later, you’ll never again buy breadcrumbs or throw out that old loaf of bread. I’ve been making them for years. We often have leftover bread rolls or part of a huge loaf of artisan bread we bought and can’t get through – I save it all and turn it into breadcrumbs.
The other wonderful thing about homemade breadcrumbs is the fact that you can control the size of the crumb. From chunkier ones to super fine, I use a combination to coat my chicken schnitzels to add lots of crunch and interest.
What bread to use to make breadcrumbs
Any bread will work so whatever you have on hand is fine and, just like you can have different varieties of bread, you can also have different varieties of breadcrumbs. Sourdough breadcrumbs, wholegrain breadcrumbs to regular white breadcrumbs or even gluten free breadcrumbs – create whichever you like.
How do you make breadcrumbs
- Cut or tear stale bread into chunks
- Blend them in a food processor to the size you like
- Toast in an oven at 160C / 320F / 140C fan forced, turning often until completely dry.
- Cool completely before storing
If you want finer breadcrumbs, place them back in the food processor and pulse until they are the desired size.
How to make breadcrumbs without a food processor?
You can make breadcrumbs without a food processor too. Once you’ve torn or cut the bread into chunks, put them on a tray and into the oven as per the normal steps. Once done, let them cool, then place them in a sturdy ziplock bag and run a rolling pin over the top to break them down.
Should I remove he crusts?
Don’t discard those crusts – keep them on. They provide extra flavour to the crumbs and a hard crust can give you chunkier breadcrumbs.
Stale bread will work better as it will dry out quicker, however, if you’re in a bind, then yes you can use fresh bread. It might not break up so nicely in the food processor, so cook first, then process them.
How long do breadcrumbs last?
Stored properly, in an airtight container and completely away from moisture, they will store for 4-6 weeks. If it is humid where you are, they may be more susceptible to mould so freeze them instead.
You can freeze homemade breadcrumbs for up to 6 months. For them to last a long time, store them in a ziplock bag within an airtight container. You can take what you need, when you need it.
How to use breadcrumbs
- Use them to coat things like arancini, chicken schnitzels or kievs
- Turn them into pangrattato – a delicious Italian pasta topping
- Use them to coat fish before baking – try adding a little lemon pepper seasoning
- Use them to create a crust on roast lamb – flavour with rosemary
- Add them to salt and pepper prawns or chicken wings for extra crunch
- Add breadcrumbs meatballs to bulk them up and make the meal go further.
- Use chunkier crumbs on top of soups
So there you have it. No need to let any bread go to waste when you can make your very own breadcrumbs at home.
More recipes you’ll love
- Stale bread - any type, any amount
- Preheat the oven to 160C / 320F / 140C fan forced.
- Tear the bread into small chunks Use a food processor to process until they are the processed to your liking.
- Place the chunks of bread in a food processor (or skip straight to step 4 if you don't have a food processor). Blitz until they are the size you want.
- Tip them onto a baking tray and level them out into a flat layer.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, tossing every 7-8 minutes until they are completely dry and crispy.
- Let the crumbs cool completely before moving on.
- If you don't have a food processor, now transfer them to a sturdy ziplock bag and roll over the top with a rolling pin until they are the desired size.
- You can make the breadcrumbs finer, after baking if you like by tipping them back into the food processor (once cool) and pulsing until they are the size you're after.
- Use any bread you like but stale or at least day old bread will work best.
- Nutritional info is based on 1/4 cup per serve
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