A “non-recipe” homemade breadcrumbs recipe. Plus: Italian style breadcrumbs.
Have stale bread? Don’t throw it out! Learn how to make fresh, homemade breadcrumbs instead. Way better than the packaged stuff, homemade breadcrumbs are versatile and tasty. Bonus: an Italian-style breadcrumbs recipe that’s absolutely delicious.
How to Make Homemade Breadcrumbs
It’s hard to call this homemade breadcrumbs recipe a “recipe,” because there really is nothing to making them. At its most simple, you just take stale bread, grind it in the food processor, and call it a day.
Homemade breadcrumbs make a fantastic ingredient for recipes like breaded chicken tenders, eggplant parm, or even as a rustic pasta topping. But using stale bread for breadcrumbs also fights food waste, making good (and good-tasting) use out of bread that might otherwise get trashed.
That said: Even though homemade breadcrumbs don’t really require a recipe, there are some useful things to know — like which bread is best, and how to dry your bread properly. So let’s dive in. You’ll be on your way to better breading in no time!
Which Bread is Best for Homemade Breadcrumbs?
The short answer to which bread to use for homemade breadcrumbs? Whichever bread you were going to otherwise throw out. One of the main reasons for making your own breadcrumbs is to combat food waste, so put that stale bread to another use.
Assuming waste was not the main reason to make breadcrumbs, I would recommend using any crusty white or wheat bread, such as baguette, levain, or Italian bread. The combination of white interior, crusty brown exterior, and good flavor makes a better-quality breadcrumb than plain sandwich bread. Avoid breads with seeds, seasoning, or other ingredients (olives, raisins, and the like).
How to Stale Bread for Breadcrumbs
The only ingredient for breadcrumbs is stale bread. You can use stale bread that is tough but still soft for fresh breadcrumbs. But I like to use fully dried-out bread. It lasts indefinitely, and gives a nice, crunchy texture to food.
To make your bread stale and fully dry, you have two options. Either:
- Tear or cut the bread into rough cubes or slices. Place it on a cooling rack and dry overnight on the countertop. Or,
- Take the torn or sliced stale bread. Arrange it in a single layer on a cooling rack set over a half-sheet pan. Bake at 225 degrees Fahrenheit (107 degrees Celsius) for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the staleness of the bread.
Version number two (baking in a low oven) is my preferred method. Drying the bread in the oven takes a short amount of time, and guarantees that the bread will be crunchy and dry.
How to Make Italian-Style Breadcrumbs
Congratulations. You made breadcrumbs! You can make them Italian style by adding a few simple seasonings that are probably already in your spice rack.
- Take 1 cup plain breadcrumbs.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon each of garlic powder, salt, and onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley, and about 12 turns of fresh black pepper.
Italian-style breadcrumbs are perfect for breaded chicken, fried eggplant, homemade meatballs, topping pasta dishes, and many other recipes.
And if you want to make homemade dried parsley: Place a few stems of fresh parsley on the tray with the bread and dry it in the oven alongside the bread. It will dry out at the same rate, and will crumble easily in your hand.
Try your homemade breadcrumbs in these recipes:
- My Mom’s Italian Meatballs
- Old-School Eggplant Parmesan
- Roasted Green Beans With Breadcrumbs
- Baked Summer Squash Parmesan
For Plain Breadcrumbs
- 1 loaf (or whatever remains of one) leftover bread
Italian-Style Breadcrumbs: For every 1 cup breadcrumbs, add the following.
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper (about 12 turns)
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
For Plain Breadcrumbs
- Tear or cut the leftover, stale bread into pieces. Arrange in a single layer on a cooling rack set over a half-sheet pan. Dry overnight on the countertop, or (my preference) dry in a 225°F oven for 30-40 minutes, until the bread is dry and crisp. Cool.
- Working in batches, grind the dried bread chunks in a food processor until breadcrumbs form. Don't worry about uneven sizes. Use as you like.
For Italian-Style Breadcrumbs
- Combine the ground breadcrumbs with the herbs and spices.