Breadcrumbs are a great ingredient to have on hand in the kitchen. Good for stuffing or dressings, they are also a tasty addition to vegetable casseroles, pasta dishes, macaroni and cheese, or potato gratins. The best part is that they're easy, quick, and inexpensive to make at home.
Extra virgin olive oil is recommended in this recipe, though you can choose a flavored oil (e.g., truffle, garlic, or basil) to make them extra special. For the best results, use good quality bakery bread or homemade, with or without the crust. In a pinch, any sliced bread will work just fine, and breadcrumbs are a terrific way to use up stale bread.
Gather the ingredients.
Heat the oven to 325 F.
Place the bread in a food processor. Pulse briefly to make coarse or fine breadcrumbs, depending on your preference.
Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and toss them with 4 tablespoons of olive oil. If they need extra moisture, add the extra tablespoon.
Sprinkle with a small amount of kosher salt or coarse sea salt. If desired, toss them with the optional chopped parsley.
Arrange the crumbs in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until nicely browned and dry.
- When using day-old bread or bread slices, tear it into smaller pieces before processing.
- For finer breadcrumbs, let the baked crumbs cool for 5 minutes and process or finely crush them into a flour-like consistency.
- To store breadcrumbs, place them in a food storage bag, seal, and freeze for up to six months, thawing them before using.
- Breadcrumbs are a versatile ingredient. Here are a few suggestions to use them: Use them to bread chicken breasts, veal, chicken nuggets, or fish sticks.
- Make any salad of your liking and add 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs after mixing the vegetables with the dressing.
- Use the crumbs as an ingredient in beef, turkey, or chicken meatballs. They add flavor and volume while acting as a binder.
- Use the crumbs as a thickener in vegetable soups.
- Mix 1 cup of breadcrumbs with 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and sprinkle the mixture on top of pasta bakes, vegetable casseroles, or creamy chicken preparations.
Although plain crumbs are delicious, you can add extra flavor. Use the same amounts as indicated in the recipe, then add one of the following to the mixture before baking:
- Umami Flavor: Add 1 tablespoon of powdered mushroom flavor. If you can't find it, use 1 tablespoon of dehydrated mushroom soup.
- Garlic: Add 1 tablespoon of garlic powder.
- Onion: Add 1 tablespoon of onion powder. Alternatively, use 1 tablespoon of celery salt.
- Italian Spices: Mix 1/4 tablespoon each of dry rosemary, oregano, sage, parsley, and basil.
- Spicy Mexican: Add 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes.