It’s so easy to make homemade bread crumbs out of almost any leftover bread you have – a crusty sourdough loaf, hot dog or hamburger buns, dinner rolls, sandwich bread, and more! Don’t let those bread ends or leftover stale bread go to waste. Just cube it up, blitz it in the food processor, and you have fresh bread crumbs! Want dried bread crumbs? Just bake them in the oven for a few minutes and you’re good to go.
Once you realize how fast it is to make your own homemade bread crumbs, you many never go back to store bought again. In mere minutes you can have fresh bread crumbs ready to go. And with only a few more minutes, you’ll have homemade dried bread crumbs that will stay good for a couple weeks in the pantry!
And you only need ONE ingredient – you guessed it! Bread, of almost any kind.
Why you should make your own bread crumbs
Whenever I make something I can easily buy at the store from scratch, I always weigh the pros and cons. Is it worth it for a busy person such as yourself to make your own bread crumbs at home? As long as you have leftover bread you can use, I think YES, it’s completely worth it! Here’s why:
- Budget: It’s basically FREE, because you’re using bread that might otherwise be thrown away. Even if you wouldn’t throw the bread away, it’s much cheaper than buying them pre-made.
- It’s Green! It’s better for the environment to make them from scratch (no extra packaging/shipping costs for the product, plus reducing food waste).
- They’re healthier: You can control the ingredients (store bought usually have ingredients lists a mile long – but fresh bread is often only made of flour, water, and salt!).
- It tastes better AND it’s so fast: Homemade bread crumbs taste amazing and the texture is perfect, AND since it only takes a few minutes to do, it’s totally worth it!
How to make fresh bread crumbs
- First, cube the bread. Alternatively, you can tear it into smaller pieces. This helps the crumbs be a uniform size.
- Add bread cubes to a food processor.
- Pulse the food processor a few times until fine crumbs form!
Please scroll to the bottom of the post for the full recipe including ingredient amounts and detailed instructions.
How to make dried bread crumbs
If you like, you can dry the bread crumbs in the oven after pulsing them in the food processor. Take the fresh crumbs you just made, and spread them on a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake at 250 degrees for 15 minutes (or longer, depending on how much moisture is still in the bread). Stir it occasionally so everything gets toasted and dried evenly!
Fresh homemade bread crumbs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week, or frozen for about 4 months. Homemade dried bread crumbs can be stored in an airtight container in the pantry for about 2 weeks or frozen for about 4 months. (If storing dried bread crumbs in the pantry, be sure that they are completely dried out and COOLED before storing!)
If you don’t have a food processor, a blender will work fine. Or, you can take very stale or toasted bread and place it in a zip top bag, and use a rolling pin or kitchen mallet to pound the bread into crumbs. This won’t result in as uniform or small size, but it works in a pinch! You can also use a coffee grinder or spice grinder in batches.
If it’s hot and dry outside, you can place the fresh bread crumbs on a baking sheet and let them sit in the sun until they are dried. Alternatively, try toasting the bread in a toaster before pulsing it in the food processor. This won’t result in completely dry bread crumbs, but it will add a toasty flavor and dry it out a little bit.
Just use gluten-free bread and follow the same instructions!
Definitely! Here’s a recipe for homemade Italian seasoned bread crumbs.
Yes! Panko bread crumbs are simply bread crumbs without the crust. Remove any tough crusts from the bread and use the recipe as directed from there.
What kind of bread to use
I love this recipe because you can use almost ANY leftover bread you have! I used mostly hot dog buns leftover from labor day for this recipe. Here are some other breads that work well:
- Dutch Oven No Knead Bread
- Dinner Rolls
- Sandwich Bread
- Gluten free bread (for a gluten free version)
- Naan bread
- Hot dog buns or hamburger buns
- Whole wheat or whole grain bread (this will result in denser bread crumbs with a nuttier flavor)
- Brioche… and more!
Try to stay away from sweet breads, such as Challah if it has a lot of sugar, or Hawaiian buns (unless you want them to be sweet!). Bread with seeds and nuts will work, but be prepared for a bit of a crunchy texture when you use them (works for breading fish or chicken, but not so great when you want light, fluffy meatballs or meatloaf).
Recipes that use bread crumbs
- Baked Haddock
- Moroccan Lamb Meatballs
- Toasted Ravioli
- Chicken Parmesan Sliders
- Oven-Baked all-beef Meatballs
- Salmon Burgers
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Homemade Bread Crumbs (Fresh or Dried)
- Food Processor
- 4-6 cups cubed bread almost any kind; see notes.
To make fresh bread crumbs
- Place the cubed bread in your food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. You now have fresh bread crumbs!
To make dry bread crumbs
- Spread the fresh bread crumbs on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper for easy clean up, if you prefer). Bake at 250 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, stirring around every 5 minutes or so, until bread crumbs are dried out. (Depending on how stale the bread is and what kind, it could take up to 30 minutes or so for them to dry out.)
- Recipe Yield: 4 cups of cubed bread will yield about 2 cups of bread crumbs.
- Breads to use: Leftover artisan bread, focaccia, leftover hot dog or hamburger buns, dinner rolls, sandwich bread, or almost any other bread you have lying around to make these bread crumbs. Gluten-free bread, whole grain bread, white bread are all fine.
- Breads you may not want to use: Sweet breads (such as challah, Hawaiian rolls, etc.) if you don’t want the bread crumbs to taste sweet. Breads with seeds – they will add a crunch to your breadcrumbs, so don’t use unless the recipe will be OK with a little crunch.
- How to store fresh bread crumbs: If you aren’t using right away, store fresh bread crumbs in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator for about a week, or freeze for about 4 months.
- How to store dry bread crumbs: Store cooled dry bread crumbs in the pantry in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks (be sure they are truly dried out and completely cooled for them to last!), or freeze for about 4 months.
- How to make them without a food processor: A blender is the best substitute. You can also place dry or toasted bread in a zip-top bag and use a rolling pin or kitchen mallet to bang the bread to make crumbs. A box grater will also work (carefully, though!) on dry, stale, or toasted slices of bread.