Breadcrumbs are used in so many dishes that they are often found in most kitchen pantries. If you like meatballs, fried calamari, or chicken nuggets, then you surely have used breadcrumbs before.
While they are widespread, there are many reasons why people may want to use another ingredient, including health reasons, or even allergies.
Some of the reasons breadcrumbs are used are to give texture, thickness, and flavor. However, the breadcrumbs in your grocery store can be very high in allergens, sodium, corn syrup, and fats.
If you don’t any breadcrumbs or you don’t want to use them, then knowing what replacements could work can come in handy.
What Can I Replace Breadcrumbs With?
Let’s get cooking! These are the best breadcrumbs substitutes for your next meal:
These Japanese breadcrumbs are used in Asian foods of all kinds, including sushi and fried appetizers. They are made from bread that doesn’t have a crust and they are also lower in sodium. They are also bigger and crispier than regular breadcrumbs.
You can find panko in the Asian or international food aisle of the grocery store, if not, you can try a specialty store. We suggest you use the same amount of panko in place of breadcrumbs.
Remember though that they tend to get crispier, so you may have to adjust the cooking time.
#2. Wheat Germ
This choice is the most nutritious part of the wheat kernel, which is usually removed in the refining process of making flour.
Wheat germ is used as a breakfast food similar to oatmeal, as a cookie base, and as you may have guessed, as a coating for breaded foods. This product is very high in vitamins and minerals, and it is whole grain, which is why it is a good option instead of breadcrumbs.
Some people like using wheat germ in baking, so you can probably find it in the baking section of the grocery store. The flavor and effect it brings are different from breadcrumbs, which is why you should adjust your liquids and cooking time.
#3. Bran or Oats
Bran or oats are common ingredients that many use every day, particularly as a breakfast food. These two foods are high in fiber, which is good for your blood cholesterol and sugar levels.
You can simply crush or grind the bran or oat cereal further, and use it with your food, but consider adding spices, like rosemary, basil, or thyme.
Often, bran and oats are used in baking, and if this is the case, you can be sure that this is a great replacement as it becomes more crunchy and flavorful.
You can buy bran or oats in the cereal section of your grocery store, but you may want to buy more, as you need about 2 times more of what the recipe calls for.
#4. Crushed Crackers, Saltines, or Pretzels
If you don’t have any other ingredients at home, why not use the snack you already have?
Crushing crackers, saltines, or pretzel is a good alternative to breadcrumbs if you are in a pinch. These choices are often salty, so you should be careful with adding more salt to your cooking.
We suggest you use 1 cup of crushed crackers, saltines, or pretzels, or the three of them together, in place of 1 cup of breadcrumbs. Be careful to adjust the baking time because some of these can brown quicker.
#5. Shredded Coconut
While this option may not work in savory dishes, it is a great option for flavor and texture in baking. Shredded coconut is a common additive for cakes, cupcakes, and even fried calamari or shrimp. You can find it at the grocery store, usually by the baking or international section.
Coconut is sweeter than most of these other options, which is why you should adjust other spices to balance the flavor. You can add about ⅔ of a cup for every 1 cup of breadcrumbs so as not to overpower the dish with sweetness.
You can also use coconut flour or coconut flakes if you don’t have shredded coconut. These options are excellent for those who follow a low-carb and keto diet.
#6. Riced Cauliflower
Rice cauliflower has become extremely popular in the last years, particularly because it is crunchy and healthy and can mimic the flavor of rice. These same qualities could be applied to replace breadcrumbs in certain cases, such as breaded chicken, casseroles, or meatballs.
Cauliflower is high in fiber and hard to digest, so some people prefer not to use it, but if you do, make sure you adjust the liquid, as you’ll need more.
We don’t recommend using riced cauliflower in sweet dishes because it will make the product too bitter, but it is a great way to save calories in other savory recipes. We suggest you use about 1 cup and a half for every 1 cup of breadcrumbs. Remember to season well too.
Because it doesn’t add crunch or texture, cornstarch isn’t the first choice in the list. However, you can use cornstarch to add a batter-like coating that is good in baking or frying. Cornstarch is used as a thickener, but you can use it when you are preparing chicken, fish, or patties before cooking.
Cornstarch has a long shelf life so you may already have it in your pantry, but if not, it is sold in every grocery store and sometimes convenience stores. Since it is supposed to be only a coating, you can use a cup of cornstarch mixed with salt and pepper on a plate and then coat the meat with it.
Because the keto diet doesn’t give space for carbohydrates, using breadcrumbs is out of the question. You can try using pork panko instead or riced cauliflower since they are both low in sugar.
Yes, almond flour is a great option to use instead of breadcrumbs. You can use it the same way you would use the breadcrumbs, but you may need to add spices and salt since almond flour is sort of bland. Another good tip is to use olive oil to give the flour a more similar look and taste to breadcrumbs.
You can try finding gluten-free breadcrumbs, though they aren’t always available. We suggest you try riced cauliflower, almond flour, coconut flour, and maybe even arrowroot starch. These should all be found in the gluten-free section of your grocery store, or the organic supermarket.
Using breadcrumbs is a given for many people, but sometimes they are out of the equation due to allergies or simply diet reasons.
You can try one of these substitutes instead, which will make your dish not just crunchy and tasty, but also easy to make. Always try the product first and adjust the ingredients accordingly.
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