Toast Panko Breadcrumbs In Bacon Fat For A Rich, Savory Breading

Adding a panko breadcrumb crust to a dish can really take it to the next level. After all, the crust adds a savory crispiness that can make a recipe all the more satisfying. While we love a traditional panko crust, it doesn't hurt to switch things up now and again — and we know a great trick to upgrade panko breadcrumbs: toast them in bacon fat.

All you have to do is cook diced bacon pieces in a skillet until they're crispy; by this point, the fat will be rendered (once all the water is evaporated, the fat becomes shelf stable). Then, add the panko breadcrumbs to the skillet and stir until the crumbs and bacon fat are properly mixed. If you add the panko immediately, you'll have bacon pieces in the crumb mixture.

If you'd prefer to toast them in the fat without the bacon pieces, you can remove the bacon bits as carefully as possible to leave behind the fat for the breadcrumbs. Bacon fat gives panko breadcrumbs more depth of flavor and extra crispness, making them ready for use in a plethora of recipes.

How to use your bacon fat panko breadcrumbs

There are plenty of recipes out there that call for a panko breadcrumb crust — and many of those will taste even better when those breadcrumbs have been cooked in bacon fat. For example, one of the best uses of breadcrumbs is as a topper for baked mac and cheese casserole. And what else pairs well with mac and cheese? Bacon. 

Plenty of mac and cheese recipes throw in pieces of bacon to make the dish even more decadent, so you may as well use the panko breadcrumbs that have been cooked in bacon fat to kill two birds with one stone. You can even add in extra pieces of bacon if you're in the mood for a more bacon-forward mac and cheese.

Additionally, we recommend trying out the bacon-cooked breadcrumbs on a panko fried shrimp recipe. This is essentially a different variation of bacon-wrapped shrimp, a combination that many people know and love. A breaded chicken recipe would also benefit from the bacon-ified panko breadcrumbs, seeing as chicken and bacon are often paired together in sandwiches and wraps. You could even whip up a bacon-infused fried chicken sandwich, adding extra bacon if you desire.