Cooking

The Best Substitutes for Bread Crumbs

Here are 7 other ingredients that work just as well
What to Use Instead of Bread Crumbs
Photo: robynmac/Getty Images

Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to make meat loaf or fried chicken cutlets but didn't have any bread crumbs on hand? Before you give up on those dinner dreams, check your pantry. There are plenty of substitutions you likely already have on hand that work just as well. Plus, it's a good excuse to do a little experimenting and/or pantry cleaning.

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Give these ingredients a try next time you run out of bread crumbs (or even when you just want to mix things up).

① Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and chia and flax seeds are all suitable replacements for bread crumbs. And the food processor is your best option to transform them into a powdery consistency. Nut flours burn quicker than bread crumbs, so keep an eye on dinner while it's cooking.


② Crackers

Growing up, my mom used Ritz crackers as the stuffing for baked shrimp, so don't be afraid to throw a few crackers into your next baked cod or meat loaf. Crush them in a plastic bag or blitz them in the food processor, and never look back.

③ Pretzels

Turn those salty snacks into your new favorite breading by pulsing them in the food processor or crushing them up in a large Ziploc bag. These work particularly well in pretzel-crusted fried shrimp and pretzel-crusted chicken bites. Mustard optional.


④ Chips

Potato chips are one of the most underused snacks in the kitchen when it comes to cooking. They're crispy, salty and provide the perfect amount of crunch. You can also play around with flavors, because who doesn't want pickle-flavored chip-crusted chicken tenders? Lightly crush them in a sealed bag or toss them in the food processor.

⑤ Quinoa

Quinoa lends a fun texture to chicken when used as a breading and is a great binding ingredient for recipes such as meat loaf, meatballs and crab cakes. Make sure to cook the quinoa first according to its package's directions. 


⑥ Cereal

Sure, cereal is great for breakfast, but it's time to take the staple from bowl to plate. Choose a cereal that's not too sweet, like Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies or Rice Chex. Throw it in the food processor or crush it up in a plastic bag, and use them to make cornflake-crusted halibut.

⑦ Shredded Coconut

Using unsweetened shredded coconut to coat chicken and fish adds texture and a hint of sweetness to dishes. You can use the shredded coconut as is, or you can crush it up into smaller pieces in a food processor or with a knife.

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