Flickr:Jane Charlesworth

How to Make Your Own Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are a pantry staple. They make a delicious crunchy topping on casseroles and help bind things together like meatballs and meatloaf. There are a ton of varieties of breadcrumbs to choose from at the grocery store. I particularly love panko breadcrumbs. These Japanese-styled breadcrumbs are flakier and great as a coating for deep-fried foods and chicken cutlets.

Did you know that it's insanely easy to make your own breadcrumbs? When you're not sure what to do with all of that leftover bread, turn it into breadcrumbs. Making fresh breadcrumbs will save you a trip to the grocery store and reduce waste.

Who doesn't love saving some money and reducing waste at the same time? The whole process is very simple and any type of bread you have on hand will do-white bread, baguettes, hamburger buns, sourdough, even gluten-free bread. You can even keep a plastic bag in the freezer dedicated to pieces of stale bread. Once you have enough scraps, you can turn them into breadcrumbs.

You'll find that your homemade breadcrumbs are more flavorful than store-bought. Store-bought tends to be super bland. You can also control the amount and combination of seasonings you put in. Have fun with it!

To make your own breadcrumbs, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Tear your leftover bread into small pieces and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. You may need two baking sheets depending on how much bread you have. Bake until completely dried out and light golden brown in color, about 15 minutes. Be sure to stir the bread pieces every 5-10 minutes so they toast evenly.

After baking, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. This should only take a few minutes. Place your dried bread in a food processor and pulse until crumbs form. You can control the texture. If you like chunky breadcrumbs, don't pulse as much in the food processor. If you prefer fine breadcrumbs, pulse for a little longer.

If you don't have a food processor, no need to worry. Just follow the steps above and place the toasted bread in a large plastic bag. Crush with a rolling pin until you get the desired texture.

After your breadcrumbs are made, you can add different seasonings or use them as is. If you like Italian breadcrumbs, toss with a little dried parsley, dried basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, and salt. Get creative, the seasonings are completely up to you.

Store your homemade breadcrumbs in an airtight container or freezer bag. They'll last for about 1 month at room temperature and even longer when stored in the freezer.

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