How to Make Bread Crumbs

February 16, 2021

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Homemade Bread Crumbs have better, fresher flavor, they make for less waste and there are countless ways to use them! It’s a super simple DIY project that’s easily worth the little bit of effort.

Image: homemade plain bread crumbs in a glass jar set on a wooden plate with a black background.

Easy Homemade Bread Crumbs

The best recipes are built from scratch, such as using your own homemade bread crumbs. It’s the little things that really make a dish taste fresher and stand out.

These are the best substitute to use anywhere a recipe calls for store-bought bread crumbs. You can use fresh bread that skips all those preservatives and additives (that super lengthly list of ingredients) that the boxed bread crumbs have.

Plus you can make the crumbs the size you prefer for different uses. If you are adding to meatloaf or meatballs you can blitz them up fine, if you are using them to coat chicken or fish you can make them a little larger for more crispy crunch.

I did a side by side comparison and these come out to be nearly identical to the boxed bread crumbs in color and texture but the flavor is far better!

You can also season them so many different ways, my personal favorite is with a classic “Italian seasoned” which I’ve included as well.

Another option here is to include bread crusts or omit. I always leave them but some people prefer them without.

Either way once you try these you’ll realize you never need to buy the standard store-bought bread crumbs again and you’ll be so glad to find a use for stale bread that may otherwise end up in the trash.

Close up photo of bread crumbs on a spoon.

Types of Bread to Use for Bread Crumbs

  • You can use nearly any type of bread to make homemade bread crumbs.
  • Just avoid those that are sweet and if possible crumbs from homemade or bakery bread (vs. shelf stable) are best.
  • Bread can be stale or fresh, fresh bread just takes a little longer to dry in the oven.
  • Obviously just avoid bread that has started to mold at all.

Here are some great options to use:

  • Italian or French bread
  • Homemade bread or no knead bread
  • White sandwich bread (I like to use a heartier option)
  • Sourdough
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Hamburger or hotdog buns

Photo of types of bread shown as examples to use to make bread crumbs.

How to Make Homemade Dried Bread Crumbs

  1. Heat oven: Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Break bread, add to food processor: Tear bread into small pieces (or cut into cubes), then transfer to a 7-cup or larger food processor. If you have a smaller food processor you can just work in batches.
  3. Process fine: Blitz bread to fine crumbs in food processor, about 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Spread on baking sheet: Pour crumbs out onto a single rimmed 18 by 13-inch baking sheet and spread into an even layer (I made a double batch pictured below using two baking sheets, which is included in recipe below).
  5. Bake, toss: Bake in preheated oven 8 minutes. Remove from oven and toss and spread into an even layer again.
  6. Bake again: Continue to bake until bread crumbs are completely dry and are crisp, about 7 – 12 minutes longer.
  7. Season if desired: If making Italian seasoned bread crumbs then just after baking toss in the Italian seasoning and 3/4 tsp garlic powder.
  8. Cool then store: Let crumbs cool then store in an airtight container, at room temperature up to 2 weeks, in the fridge up to 1 month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Photo of torn bread pieces in a food processor. This is the first step of making homemade bread crumbs.

Photo of bread blitzed fine in a food processor. The second step of making bread crumbs.

How to Make Bread Crumbs Without a Food Processor

  • If you don’t have a food processor you can try baking whole bread slices on the baking sheet in the oven.
  • Just be sure they have dried all the way through to the center. They should be drier than toast.
  • Let cool then transfer to a gallon size resealable bag.
  • Crush with a rolling pin to fine crumbs.

Storage and Shelf Life

  • Store homemade bread crumbs in an airtight container so they don’t go stale.
  • Keep at room temperature up to 2 weeks.
  • Store in the fridge up to 1 month.
  • Freeze up to 3 months.

Fine fresh bread crumbs spread on two baking sheets shown before baking. The thirst step of making bread crumbs.Bread crumbs being tossed with a spatula, done halfway through baking. The fourth step of making bread crumbs.

Helpful Tips

  • Be sure to either tear bread or cut into pieces before blitzing so they break down easier and end up more even in size.
  • Spread crumbs out as even as possible so they dry evenly. It can be helpful to wiggle the pan to level out.
  • Don’t skip tossing. The edges dry quicker than the center so this is a must follow step.
  • Keep on eye on them as they bake. Every oven is a little different, if you notice they are more golden on one side then rotate the pan around.
  • More crumbs that are more golden brown bake a little longer or even increase the oven temperature slightly. For most all-purposes uses I like to keep mine lighter.
  • If you’d like crumbs to be even finer you can rub cooled handfuls between palms (if they aren’t too jagged) or re-blitz in a food processor.
  • If using a recipe that calls for fresh bread crumbs from fresh bread (such as my Meatballs recipe) you can skip the oven drying process in the recipe. You can’t use fresh and dried bread crumbs interchangeable because dried absorb more liquid and fresh may not absorb enough.

Photo of finished baked bread crumbs in a wooden bowl with a large serving spoon.

More Homemade Recipes to Try

 

Homemade Bread Crumbs

Homemade Bread Crumbs have better, fresher flavor, they make for less waste and there are countless ways to use them! It's a super simple DIY project that's easily worth the little bit of effort. Recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups fine bread crumbs.
Servings: 12
Prep5 minutes
Cook20 minutes
Ready in: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 slices white bread (about 4 to 6 oz depending on density of bread. See notes for double recipe)

Optional Italian Seasoning

  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  • Tear bread into small pieces (or cut into cubes), then transfer to a 7-cup or larger food processor. If you have a smaller food processor you can just work in batches.
  • Blitz bread into fine crumbs in food processor, this will take about 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Pour crumbs out onto a rimmed 18 by 13-inch baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Wiggle pan to help level.
  • Bake in preheated oven 8 minutes. Remove from oven and toss, then spread into an even layer again.
  • Continue to bake until bread crumbs are thoroughly dry and crisp, about 7 - 12 minutes longer.
  • If making Italian seasoned bread crumbs then toss in the Italian seasoning and 3/4 tsp garlic powder after removing from oven.
  • Let crumbs cool then store in an airtight container, Keep at room temperature up to 2 weeks, in the fridge up to 1 month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • If you'd like crumbs to be even finer you can rub cooled handfuls between palms (if they aren't too jagged) or re-blitz in a food processor.

Notes

Notes About Bread
  • You can use many different types of bread here: Italian or French bread, sourdough, hearty sandwich bread, whole wheat bread.
  • You can even use leftover buns and rolls. My personal favorite is to use leftover slices of La Brea's Italian loaf.
  • Bread does not have to be stale (a day or two old), I've had success with this method using fresh bread but I do prefer to use leftover bread that's about to go bad for less waste.
Double Batch (about 2 cups)
  • Position oven racks in upper and lower 1/3 of the oven and preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  • Use 8 - 10 slices of bread (8 to 12 oz depending on density of bread).
  • Pulse torn bread in two batches in 7-cup or larger food processor.
  • Spread each batch out evenly on a separate 18 by 13-inch baking sheet.
  • Bake on upper and lower racks 10 minutes. Remove, toss and spread even again.
  • Return racks to opposite rack they were on prior.
  • Continue to bake about 10 to 15 minutes longer until thoroughly dried.
Nutrition Facts
Homemade Bread Crumbs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 33 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 1g
Sodium 58mg3%
Potassium 21mg1%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 7IU0%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 38mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.