How to Make Bread Crumbs

4.85 from 164 votes
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Don’t let leftover bread go to waste! Learn how to make bread crumbs from scratch. Use them as a crunchy topping, coating, or mix-in for dishes like breaded chicken, casseroles, or meatballs.

Spoon scooping up homemade bread crumbs.

Homemade bread crumbs are a breeze to make! I always find myself with a few straggling slices of bread or chunks from a loaf that my family didn’t gobble up with the previous night’s dinner. Not to let perfectly good food go to waste, I give them an even tastier new purpose by making bread crumbs that can add an extra layer of texture to any dish.

Any type of bread can be used, and even a mixture would give an interesting taste. I’ve found that homemade bread crumbs have much more flavor than the store-bought stuff which can be bland and uninteresting. Plus you can control how big you want the size of the crumbs and any seasonings to bump up the taste. Use this recipe as a guide then experiment with fun combinations!

Pieces of bread cut into small cubes.

How to make bread crumbs

  • Grind down bread in the food processor.
  • Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Bake at 300ºF (149ºC) for 10 minutes.
  • Stir and bake until lightly toasted and dry.
  • Completely cool down on the baking sheet.

What type of bread do you use for bread crumbs?

Depending on the taste and nutritional composition you desire, bread crumbs can be made with any kind of bread. Sourdough, gluten-free, low carb, whole wheat, white, whole grain, French, hamburger or hot dog buns, are all great choices. Rustic type bread will give more dense crumbs compared to enriched bread like white sandwich slices or buns.

Fresh bread vs older bread

It’s best to use bread that is not baked fresh the same day. If allowed to dry out and harden for a few days at room temperature it will make it easier to break down in the food processor. If you do have fresh bread, you can cut it into slices and heat it in a toaster or in the oven at 300ºF (149ºC) to drive off some of the moisture for a few minutes, and then cool before using.

Bread that has been chopped down in a food processor.

Do you need to cut off the crust?

No, the crust can be kept on. If you want a more uniform color, trim off the darker edges. I’ve been keeping a collection of my son’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich edges to save for bread crumb making. The crust actually has a lot of flavor due to Maillard browning!

How do you make the bread crumbs smaller?

The food processor does a good job of making mini crumbs, but it’s not as fine as store-bought. After drying the bread crumbs and cooling them, just add them back to the food processor and pulse until the desired size is reached. You can also pound them inside a plastic bag with a rolling pin.

How do you make bread crumbs without a food processor?

If you don’t have a food processor to break the bread into smaller pieces before baking, you can alternatively cut the bread into ¾-inch cubes, or tear into small bits. Stir and bake until the bread is dry and lightly toasted. This process is similar to making croutons. After the bread crumbs are cool, add them to a large resealable bag that is partially sealed. Carefully use a rolling pin to crush the toasted bread into tiny crumbs.

Making bread crumbs on a baking sheet.

Can you use frozen bread?

Yes, frozen bread can be stored for later use. Simply defrost completely on the countertop before processing. I like to place the bread on a sheet pan on top of a paper towel to absorb any excess water. If the bread still feels too damp, you can toast the bread or heat in the oven before using, similar to fresh bread.

Storing

Transfer bread crumbs to an airtight container, minimizing the headspace of air. You can also place them in a resealable plastic bag and place that in a container. The barrier ensures that natural moisture in the air will not stale the bread crumbs too quickly. Stored at room temperature they will last for up to 1 month, or up to 3 months if frozen.

How to make Italian bread crumbs

Italian bread crumbs are a mixture of savory seasonings and dried herbs:

  • 1 cup of homemade bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

Feel free to adjust the level of seasonings. If you don’t have a pre-blend of Italian seasoning, you can use dried basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, and marjoram in any consistency you desire.

More bread recipes

Italian seasoning being added to a bowl of homemade bread crumbs.

Recipe Science

Why should you grind the bread to smaller pieces before baking?

It’s all about increasing the surface area to efficiently remove as much moisture as possible. By cutting into tiny pieces, the heat from the oven can quickly drive off the internal water in the structure of the crumb. A moderate oven temperature above the boiling point of water (300 degrees) gently evaporates moisture while lightly browning and toasting.

Homemade Bread Crumbs

Learn how to make bread crumbs from scratch. Use them as a crunchy topping, coating, or mix-in for dishes like breaded chicken, casseroles, or meatballs.
4.85 from 164 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Course Condiment
Cuisine American

Ingredients  

  • 4 ounces bread, (4 cups cubed) cut into 1-inch cubes

Instructions 

  • Set the oven rack to the center position. Preheat to 300ºF (149ºC).
  • Add cubed bread into a food processor. Process on high speed for 30 seconds for coarse bread crumbs, or 1 minute for fine bread crumbs.
  • Transfer to a large sheet pan or two small pans. Spread evenly in a single layer in the pan.
  • Bake for 5 minutes, stir and then bake another 5 minutes. The bread crumbs should be lightly browned and feel dry to the touch.
  • Bake another 2 to 5 minutes as needed to make to completely dry.
  • Allow bread crumbs to cool on the sheet pan for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Transfer to an airtight container to store.
  • For even finer bread crumbs, add to the food processor and pulse until the desired size is reached. 

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: 2 cups of bread crumbs.
  • Italian bread crumbs: Combine 1 cup baked and cooled breadcrumbs with ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder, ⅛ teaspoon onion powder, and ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 2 cups
Calories 153kcal (8%)Carbohydrates 28g (9%)Protein 5g (10%)Fat 1g (2%)Sodium 294mg (12%)Potassium 103mg (3%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 3g (3%)Calcium 78mg (8%)Iron 2mg (11%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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61 Comments Leave a comment or review

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You can add the bread straight to the food processor, then you dry the breadcrumbs on the baking sheet in the oven.

  1. Bloodthirsty Vegan says

    Thank you Jessica. Our GreenChef order of “Breaded Cauliflower Tacos” (delicious), delivered w/o the breadcrumbs. Fortunately we had a small ciabatta in the freezer. Meal prep saved.

    • Ally says

      The directions say to use baked and cooled bread crumbs, so they’re already baked and you would season them after you’ve cooked them.

    • Kylee says

      How long do you think I can keep these on the shelf for?
      Thanks for sharing this process!
      I’ve been saving the ends of my sourdough loaves in the freezer ro be able to make breadcrumbs.

  2. Samantha Reyes says

    Thanks for the simple instructions! I made some with an old load I have. I have a food processor but didn’t feel like bothering with it so I went the alternative method. They came out great! I will be making mozzarella sticks and don’t feel like buying bread crumbs for 1 recipe, so this was perfect.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great job! Yes, baking the bread is always a great first step if you don’t feel like putting it in the food processor first.

  3. VTak says

    Found this recipe when I wanted to use up the rest of a pain de mie loaf I had. Worked perfectly even though I only had enough bread to make a cup of crumbs. They look identical to the store bought breadcrumbs I have in my cupboard. Simple instructions that help cut down on food waste & grocery expenses, don’t think it gets much better than that.

    • Katrina S. says

      You can! Make sure they are super dry, as any moisture Cause ice crystals. To dry them out I put them in the oven said about 150 for up to 30 mins. I store mine in a double ziplock bag w- all of the air pushed out. After first 20 mins of being in the freezer, I pull the bag out an give it a little shake, breaking any clumps up (hack I found on tan other site).

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