You're in the middle of preparing dinner when you realise you're out of breadcrumbs. Before you panic, abandon dinner and run out to the store, try searching the pantry for other alternatives to breadcrumbs that add flavour and give food the same satisfying crunch as breadcrumbs.
Crushed-up crackers make a crunchy coating that is perfect for breading chicken, cheese or anything else that you would usually use breadcrumbs to bread. For a basic breadcrumb alternative, try saltines. Snack crackers like Ritz or Townhouse add a delectable buttery taste when used in lieu of breadcrumbs. A trip to the grocery store also reveals a wide variety of types of crackers, from whole wheat to tomato- and basil-flavoured varieties. Explore these different types of crackers to add an entirely new dimension of flavour to your food.
Panko is a Japanese variation of breadcrumbs that has infiltrated America kitchens and can be used in a variety of recipes, from eggplant Parmesan to pan-fried fish. Panko is also made from bread; however, panko bread does not have a crust. Unlike traditional breadcrumbs, panko is more coarse, flakier and lighter than its regular counterpart. When fried, panko produces a crispier and lighter coating on food because it does not absorb as much grease as traditional breadcrumbs.
Crushed cereal provides yet another crunchy and healthy alternative to traditional breadcrumbs. A walk down the cereal aisle sheds light on many types of cereal that make a great coating for fried or baked food. Unsweetened cornflakes, rice flakes, shredded wheat or other wheat cereals make a crunchy yet light coating that goes well with chicken or fish. Heartier choices, like crushed bran cereals, make for a heavier meal that's full of fibre.
Chefs who are looking for an alternative to breadcrumbs to use in their baking can include old-fashioned rolled oats instead. Mixing finely chopped oats into mixtures for a meat loaf, meatballs or croquettes helps thicken and bind the food while adding more nutritional value than breadcrumbs. The heartier composition of oats also gives the meat loaf or meatballs more substance. However, do not use instant oats, as they will not hold up as well when cooked.