Easy Make-Ahead Bread Crumbs

Easy Make-Ahead Bread Crumbs

Bread Crumbs
Bread Crumbs Photo: Diana Rattray

I always have bread crumbs on hand in my freezer, because we love crunchy buttered bread crumb toppings on casseroles. They're also great to use in meatloaf or hamburger steaks, and if you have enough, you can make stuffing or dressing.

Soft Bread Crumbs

Take day-old bread or rolls and turn them into bread crumbs to use to top a casserole or mix into  meatloaf or stuffing.

Cut or tear the bread into smaller pieces and pulse briefly in a food processor to make coarse or fine bread crumbs. 

Use the soft bread crumbs right away or put the processed crumbs in a food storage bag, seal, and freeze.

When you need a cup or two for a casserole or other dish, measure, thaw, and use them. 

Fine Dry Bread Crumbs

Heat the oven to 325 F.

Tear bread into small pieces or cut it into cubes.

Spread the bread out on a baking sheet. For seasoned crumbs, sprinkle with a small amount of salt

Bake the bread crumbs in the preheated oven for about 12 to 14 minutes, or until dry and lightly browned.

Put the crumbs in a food storage bag and crush with a rolling pin or process them in a food processor to make fine crumbs. For Italian seasoned bread crumbs, add a few dashes of dried leaf basil or oregano, dried parsley flakes, and a dash of garlic powder for each cup of crumbs. 

Store the bread crumbs in a tightly covered container in the pantry for up to 1 week or transfer them to zip-close freezer bags and freeze for up to 6 months or longer.

How to Use Bread Crumbs

To make buttered bread crumbs, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat; add 1 cup of bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until browned.​​

Sprinkle dry or buttered bread crumbs over casseroles and gratins.

Use fine dry bread crumbs to add texture to fritters, bread pudding, quick breads and muffins, and pancakes.

Add dry or soft bread crumbs to meatloaf or meatballs. 

Sprinkle bread crumbs over stuffed peppers.

Use bread crumbs to coat fish, chicken, or meat for deep-frying or oven-frying.

Make a stuffing mixture with bread crumbs to stuff poultry, mushrooms, clams, pork chops, or vegetables.

Add some grated Parmesan cheese to the bread crumbs and use to bread eggplant or chicken.

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