There is really nothing better than a homemade dinner for the whole family. But what happens when you reach into the cabinet for your trusty carton of breadcrumbs, and there's nothing left but a few, well, crumbs? Armed with these genius subs for breadcrumbs, you'll never need to worry about running out.
Breadcrumbs are a key ingredient in plenty of recipes. They act as a binder for meatloaf and meatballs, create the perfect crust on plenty of proteins (chicken cutlets, anyone?), or add crunch when sprinkled on top of a delicious casserole, pasta, or a simple salad.
But if you've run out, there are plenty of pantry staples that can be crushed finely to mimic the crunchy texture of store-bought breadcrumbs, and they are a perfect canvas for loads of flavor additions: Lemon zest, fresh or dried herbs, a decent dose of Parmesan, you name it!
First things first, here's how to make breadcrumbs from scratch:
If you have stale bread, or fresh bread that you're willing to toast, you can easily make your own crumbs as a great sub for store-bought ones. If using fresh bread, on a sheet tray, toast slices at 300°F until dry, about 15 minutes. Then, with your bread, stale or toasted, use a food processor to grind into a fine crumb. Add those fresh crispy crumbs to recipes like Mini Meatballs With Garlicky Tomatoes.
Or, you can raid your pantry for these epic options to add to meatballs, coat cutlets, or crumble onto pasta.
What are the best subs for breadcrumbs?
Oats are the perfect substitutes for breadcrumbs in meatballs or meatloaf. While they aren't ideal for a crispy coating, they add the right amount of texture to bind meat, eggs, and flavorings together into a delicious Italian-inspired feast.
Whether you pick tortilla or a tasty classic potato chip (flavored, or otherwise), these are a great gluten-free substitute to traditional breadcrumbs. You can use these crunchy crumbs to coat chicken cutlets and fish fillets, or you can fold crushed tortilla chips into your meatball mixture for a Tex-Mex inspired family dinner. Just remember, unless you use no-salt-added chips, you should take into account that the crumbs will boost the salt in your dish.
Crushed nuts add extra flavor, and a boost of nutrients, to dinner. Almonds, pecans, walnuts, or cashews will create a flavor-packed crust for fish, chicken, or pork. Try crunchy nuts on the outside of a cutlet for this seriously tasty Pork Milanese Sandwich With Tomato Salad.
Pretzels or Crackers
Why not snag some ingredients from your snack cabinet to help get dinner on the table? Simply add a sleeve crackers or a handful of pretzels to a plastic bag and crush using a rolling pin.
Then you can flavor as you would any breadcrumb. Think about using these snack-crumbs as a coating for protein or even sprinkled on top of a creamy salad for a bit of added crunch. Opt for pretzels with less salt so that you can control the seasoning yourself. Try this Gochujang-Glazed Meatloaf that uses saltines instead of breadcrumbs for a flavorful and moist family-favorite.
The same goes for your trusty breakfast supplies. As long as you're using unsweetened, mildly flavored cereals (think cornflakes, bran, corn-based cereal), you can crush them using a food processor, then proceed as you would with any average crumb.
No matter what option you choose, all of these subs for breadcrumbs offer a fun twist on your classic crunchy crust.
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