Homemade Italian Bread Crumbs will take your cooking to a whole new level! I'm sharing four methods to make bread crumbs to use in this delicious recipe.
If you want to elevate your cooking game, I’ve got some advice. Ditch the store-bought bread crumbs and panko.
I don’t say this to be snobby or critical. I’m just sharing a secret from my family’s Italian kitchen.
Homemade Italian bread crumbs are the secret to the best Italian Chicken Cutlets and more. Homemade bread crumbs' superb taste and texture will make your food fabulous!
You’ll thank me later.
Plus, you can avoid the junk that’s in store-bought bread crumbs.
Store-bought bread crumbs
The Italian bread crumbs I used to buy have a frighteningly long list of ingredients. Among them are five kinds of sweeteners, including high-fructose corn syrup.
The store-bought bread crumbs also contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (with dangerous trans fat), chemical dough conditioners, preservatives and lots of sodium. According to Healthline and many sources, trans fat raises bad cholesterol while lowering good cholesterol.
So, are you ready to make Italian bread crumbs at home? Here's everything you need to know.
Do you need to start with homemade bread?
You don’t have to use Homemade Italian Bread to make your own bread crumbs. Just be sure to read the ingredients on the bread label to avoid buying anything with too much junk.
Here's what I do. Every so often, I'll purchase a baguette or loaf of sliced bread from the grocery store's bakery. Then, I take the most convenient route possible for DIY bread crumbs.
How to make homemade bread crumbs
There are four methods you can use to make plain bread crumbs that you’ll season later. You’ll need a blender or a food processor to grind the bread. I use my Vitamix (affiliate link).
Toaster Method: If you’re starting with bread slices that can fit into a toaster, simply toast them lightly. Then, tear the toast into pieces and grind them.
Dried Bread Method: If you’re starting with part of a baguette that has become dry, slice it up into chunks. (If it's too difficult to cut, heat it in the microwave for a bit). Then grind the chunks of bread.
Oven Method: If you’re starting with leftover bread that hasn't dried out completely, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the bread into slices and place them on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake the slices for 10 minutes, or just until the bread is dry, but not browned. Then proceed to grind the bread as described above. You'll end up with dried bread crumbs.
Fresh Bread Method for Soft Bread Crumbs: If you’re looking for soft, fresh bread crumbs, just grind up torn pieces of fresh bread in the food processor or blender.
How to make Italian bread crumbs
Once you have the plain bread crumbs, add salt, pepper, garlic powder and dried basil to make Italian-seasoned bread crumbs.
To make my Italian bread crumbs, you’ll need to add freshly grated Parmesan cheese to the seasoned bread crumbs just before you need to use them in a recipe.
Keep in mind that some dishes are already salty enough and would be better without the Parmesan bread crumbs. In that case, just use these homemade Italian-style bread crumbs without cheese.
- Save any portions of bread loaves that are starting to dry out. Store them in a brown bag to keep them dry, so they'll be ready for making bread crumbs.
- To make bread crumbs fast, use the toaster method with sliced bread.
- To make bread crumbs without a food processor or blender, place toasted or dried bread in a zip-top plastic bag and crush it with a rolling pin or heavy pot.
Recipes with bread crumbs
Homemade Italian bread crumbs are the secret to several of our family recipes! Don’t miss these Breaded Italian Chicken Cutlets, Green Beans with Bread Crumbs or Broiled Scallops with Parmesan Bread Crumbs.
Other recipes using bread crumbs include:
- Baked Cod with Bread Crumbs and Butter
- Oven-Fried Cod (Crispy & Delicious!)
- Jumbo Fried Shrimp
- Clams Casino Dip
- Broccoli Au Gratin with Fontina
- Baked Breaded Eggplant Slices
Frequently asked questions
Bread crumbs can get stale and moldy, whether store-bought or homemade. Homemade bread crumbs don't have all the preservatives that store-bought bread crumbs do, so homemade ones have a shorter shelf life.
Seasoned bread crumbs (without cheese) can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month. They also can be frozen for up to three months.
Once you’ve added Parmesan to them, you can refrigerate the Homemade Italian Bread Crumbs for up to a week in a sealed container, or freeze them for up to three months.
If you try this Homemade Italian Bread Crumbs recipe, be sure to leave a comment and a rating!
Homemade Italian Bread Crumbs
- 1 cup bread crumbs (from about 3.5 ounces of bread)
- ⅓ teaspoon dried basil
- ⅓ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅓ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon salt (or to your taste)
To make crumbs - Use one of the following methods:
- Toaster Method: If starting with bread slices that can fit into a toaster, toast them lightly. Then grind the toast in a blender or food processor.
- Dried Bread Method: If starting with part of a baguette that has become dry, slice it up into chunks (if it's too difficult to cut, heat it in the microwave for a bit). Then grind the chunks of bread in a blender or food processor.
- Oven Method: If starting with leftover bread that hasn't dried out completely, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the bread into slices and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or just until the bread is dry but not browned. Proceed to grind the bread in a blender or food processor.
- Fresh Bread Method for Soft Breadcrumbs: If looking for a soft texture, just grind up fresh bread in a blender or food processor without toasting or drying it first.
Italian Bread Crumbs
- Let bread crumbs cool on the counter if the bread was heated in the oven or toaster. In a bowl, mix cooled bread crumbs with basil, garlic powder and pepper, using a fork or spoon. If using the bread crumbs right away, mix in the Parmesan and salt, if needed.
- Store any leftover breadcrumbs with cheese in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator. Breadcrumbs without cheese mixed in can be stored for up to a month in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer.
- When adding Parmesan later to stored breadcrumbs, use a ratio of 2 parts bread crumbs to 1 part cheese.
(Recipe Source: Adapted from my Mom, who uses one cup of Pecorino Romano for every cup of bread crumbs, and no Parmesan. Originally published August 11, 2014 and republished now with new photos, an updated recipe and updated narrative.)
I am using sliced bread. Should I cut the crust off the bread or should I leave it on?
Hi Kazy - Keep the crusts on.
I don' have a 1/3 teaspoon, only 1/8; 1/4; 1/2; 3/4; and 1 teaspoon. So how should I measure the ingredients?
Hi Kazy - Fill the 1/4 teaspoon until it's slightly heaping instead of leveled off.
These cutlets are amazing!
Hi Amy - I'm so glad you love the chicken cutlets with these Italian bread crumbs!
Matt @ Plating Pixels
This method is awesome because you control the flavor and quality of crumbs.
Hi Matt - Exactly! Thanks so much.
These are perfect. I really like that I can store them in the freezer.
Hi Andrea - Oh yes, I love being able to store the seasoned bread crumbs in the freezer too.
Love the idea of making homemade breadcrumbs! Don't know why I haven't done it before! As you say, much healthier!
Hi Jacqueline - The flavor and texture are superior too. I hope you give them a try!
This is such a lovely thought. Such information really help. Makes things easier and better and tastier. Thank you.
Hi Veena - Thank you. These Italian bread crumbs really make everything taste so good!
Oh my goodness, I love this recipe! I hesitate to use the store-bought breadcrumbs because of ingredients (and, well, freshness)...but I could never get just the right flavor blend or texture in mine. Thanks for this recipe, I have a feeling I'll be getting a lot of use out of it!
Hi Jennifer - The freshness factor is real! Enjoy.
Cheryl "Cheffie Cooks" Wiser
Hi Andrea, now you are on to something great. I have been making my own bread crumbs for a long time!
Hi, Cheryl. They do make a big difference, for a small amount of effort. I'll never go back. 🙂