How to Make Bread Crumbs from Leftover Bread

Make delicious bread crumbs using whatever kind of bread you have on hand, whether store bought or homemade, yeast bread or sourdough bread. This is an ideal way to use up day old bread, bread ends, stale bread or leftover buns and baguettes.

bread crumbs in bowl

Use Bread crumbs in: Meatloaf, Meatballs, Chicken Fingers

Also read: 11 Ways to Use Leftover Bread, How to Make Croutons

Here’s my favorite method in five easy steps followed by Frequently Asked Questions.

Five Steps to Making Bread Crumbs

1.Gather Your Bread

For most home-cooking purposes, use whatever kind of bread you have. Use white, multi-grain, rye or whole wheat yeast bread, sourdough bread, rustic artisan bread, baguettes, buns, bagels, English muffins, hot dog buns, pita bread, etc. It can be fresh bread, day old bread or slightly stale bread.

Your crumbs will be as nutritious and delicious as the bread you choose.

2.Break or Cut into Even Pieces

Rip or cut bread into even sized pieces so they will dry evenly in the oven. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be exact, just aim for approximately the same size.

variety of piece on baking tray

3. Dry Bread Pieces in Oven

The goal is to dry all the bread pieces all the way through. High heat will brown the bread and cause the outside to form a hard crust that will make it harder for the center of each piece to dry. That’s why low heat is ideal.

Dry at 250-300°F or 120-150°C.

It will take 20 to 40 minutes depending on the size of your pieces, the type of bread (hearty dense bread will take longer) and the oven temp you choose. Stir half way through.

Check pieces by squishing between your fingers. They should ALL be hard and crumbly. If you find any that are still squishy, soft or gummy on the inside, return to the oven. You could remove the pieces that are done and just return the other pieces, but it doesn’t hurt to over dry any of the pieces, so you can slide the whole tray back in the oven.

If you find gummy pieces when crumbling, you can return everything back to the oven or just take the gummy pieces and dry them more.

gummy pieces

4. Cool and Turn Into Bread Crumbs

Cool your bread pieces and choose your weapon – food processor or rolling pin and meat mallet.

Rolling pin and Meat Mallet

Place bread in a plastic bag and place on a solid surface. Use your rolling pin and meat mallet to roll, hammer and whack the bread until as crumbly and fine as you desire. It’s a workout that will puncture your plastic bag. If it’s getting too messy, put a tea towel over the bag and whack away!

rolling pin to make crumbs

Food Processor

Transfer cool bread pieces to your food processor fitted with your regular chopping blade. Process for 20-30 seconds until crumbs are the desired size.

food processor to make crumbs

You can use a blender, but it may pulverize your bread. Do small batches at a time for better control.

5. Store in Air Tight Container

Transfer crumbs into an air tight container. Use a plastic bag, plastic container or glass jar – just as long as it’s air tight.

Store in cupboard for up to 6 months.

Store in freezer for up to 1 year.

They will be safe to eat for much longer, but the flavor will start to deteriorate. It’s best to use them up within these time frames.

air tight jar

The Video Tutorial

Check out my YouTube Video to see the bread crumb making movie!

Frequently Asked Questions About Making Bread Crumbs

1.What Kind of Bread Should I Use?

Bread crumbs are a perfect way to use up whatever kind of bread you have. You can use homemade or store bought bread. You can make crumbs from just one type of bread or from a mix.

types of bread

The heartier the bread (whole grain, bagels, rye sour dough, etc.) and the more crust you use, the more dense and crunchy your crumbs will be. This is great for coatings, but your crumbs may be less absorbent – that means when using in meatballs or meatloaf they may not soak up as much liquid as bread crumbs made with all white bread would.

Separate bread varieties and remove the crust if you have specific needs. For example classic white bread with the crust removed will give you very pale, small, uniform crumbs that are very absorbent. They would also result in a very fine, uniform color when using as a coating for meats or veggies.

2. Can I Use Fresh Bread?

Yes, you can. If you don’t have any leftover or day old bread you can use fresh bread and dry it out. It will just take a little longer to dry thoroughly.

3. Can I Use Frozen Bread?

Yes you can. Just thaw it first.

In our house, we keep a bag of bread ends and leftover bits in the freezer. We add to this bag whenever the bread in our cupboard starts drying out or when we have heel ends that no one wants to eat. When the bag is full – we make bread crumbs or a breakfast strata!

bread in freezer bag

4. How Do I Make Seasoned Bread Crumbs?

I like seasoning crumbs just before I use them. That way I can customize the seasoning based on the recipe I’m using. Of course, you can season the whole batch if you want. As long as all the herbs and spices are completely dry and you don’t add any oil or butter, seasoned bread crumbs will last in the cupboard just as long as unseasoned ones. Adding oil or butter will turn your crumbs rancid fairly quickly.

Toss your bread crumbs with your favorite seasoning blend. Here are some of my favorites:

  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning per cup of bread crumbs when topping veggies or casseroles
  • 1 tsp Cajun Seasoning per cup of bread crumbs when breading pork chops or chicken fingers
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper when breading fish or topping grilled asparagus

If you want to make large, flavorful seasoned croutons, check out How to Make Croutons.

5. Should I Remove the Crust from Bread?

I’m much too practical and hate food waste way too much to recommend removing crusts. There are very few times when having crustless bread crumbs is important. Unless your crust is burnt, I wouldn’t remove it.

The crust will add texture and color to your bread crumbs. The crust crumbs will be slightly bigger. If that’s really a concern for you – remove them.

6. How Do I Make Panko Bread Crumbs?

Panko crumbs are light, airy shards of bread that seem to stay crispy no matter what. Panko crumbs originated in Japan where they are made with electric currents rather oven drying.

The closest we can get to making Panko crumbs at home is by adding fresh white bread (crusts removed) to a food processor, processing it into crumbs and then drying the crumbs in the oven. Using fresh bread in the food processor makes a bigger crumb as compared to processing dried bread. The white, crustless bread gives you the pale color of Panko crumbs.

7. Can I Use Gluten Free Bread?

Yes, you should be able to use gluten free bread or bread products (crackers, buns, pretzels etc.) to make gluten free crumbs.

Did I miss something? Drop me a line or leave a comment if you have a crumby question! Or just leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you. You can also reach me on instagram @getgettys or Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.

Getty Stewart is a Professional Home Economist, speaker, frequent media guest and writer dedicated to putting good food on tables and agendas.  She is the author of several recipe books on enjoying and preserving fruit, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.

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