Don’t have panko breadcrumbs? 14 panko substitute alternatives to use

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Breadcrumbs are diced pieces of dried bread used to bread food, stuff poultry, thicken stews, and more.

In Japanese culture, the breadcrumbs used are known as panko bread crumbs. They’re made from a crustless white bread that’s processed and then dried.

The result is a breadcrumb that’s lighter and flakier in texture when compared to regular breadcrumbs. They’re also dryer so they absorb less oil!

Best panko breadcrumbs substitutes

Panko breadcrumbs are traditionally used in Japanese dishes such as tonkatsu and chicken katsu.

However, they’re becoming popular in American cuisine and are often used to top mac and cheese or to fry chicken or veggie fries.

Fortunately, you can order my favorite Kikkoman panko online and have it at home in a jiffy.

Kikkoman Panko bread crumbs

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Substitutes for panko breadcrumbs

Panko breadcrumbs are a great addition to fried cuisine, but there are many reasons why people want substitutes.

They may not have any panko bread crumbs on hand, or they may have dietary restrictions that prevent them from eating panko. After all, these breadcrumbs are not keto, paleo, or gluten-free.

Fortunately, there are plenty of panko breadcrumb alternatives. Here are a few you can choose from.

What can I use if I don’t have any panko breadcrumbs?

If you don’t have any panko breadcrumbs on hand, here are 14 panko substitute options that’ll work well.

Best panko substitutes

1. Cereal

Cereal makes a great substitute for panko bread crumbs. Cornflakes have long been used for breading entrees, but any grain-based cereal that’s not too sweet will work.

Corn or rice Chex, Wheaties, granola, or any oat-based cereal makes a great breading for poultry. It’s possible to buy granola and some oats in paleo, keto, and gluten-free varieties.

2. Crushed pretzels

Pretzels are another type of food that makes a delicious panko substitute. What’s more, you can buy them in different varieties like honey mustard to add to the flavor of your food!

While pretzels are not paleo, or naturally keto or gluten-free, you can buy them in keto and gluten-free varieties.

3. Chopped nuts and seeds

Nuts like blitz almonds, sesame seeds, and hazelnuts can be put in the food processor to make a great substitute for panko breadcrumbs.

Additionally, they’re the perfect food for those on a paleo diet. Certain nuts can also be eaten in moderation by those on a keto diet.

4. Puffed wild rice

You can convert wild rice into a breadcrumb-like texture by puffing it in a pan (similar to popcorn). Then, crush it up in a food processor.

It’ll make the perfect topping for lighter poultry or fish!

5. Crushed potato chips as a substitute

Crushed potato Chips as a substitute

The light crispy texture of chips makes them the perfect thing for breading.

Potato chips and corn chips are both great options, but you can go more extreme with options like Doritos, BBQ Lays, or even Cheez-Its. Crushed tortilla chips work too!

You’ll need to coat the food in eggs and flour to make sure the chips stick to the surface.

To prepare the chips, crush them in a food processor or you can even put them in a bag and use a rolling pin to chop them up. If you go this route, make sure to do a thorough job to avoid any nasty surprises.

6. Breadcrumbs

Of course, if you can’t get panko breadcrumbs, you can always use regular old breadcrumbs. They won’t have quite the same texture, but they’ll do the trick!

7. Pork rinds

If you’re looking for a natural keto substitute for panko bread crumbs, you can’t go wrong with pork rinds.

They’re high in fat, are carb-free, and their meaty flavor will enhance the meat in any dish. They have a crunchy, flaky texture so you can use them on their own.

Just crush them up in a food processor or you can even use your hands.

To take things to the next level, try combining them with flaxseed flour, parmesan cheese, and almond meal. All of these are keto-friendly and make good breadcrumb substitutes in and of themselves.

8. Rice flour

Those in search of gluten-free panko breadcrumb substitutes should consider using rice flour. It makes a great alternative in recipes that call for wheat flour and it sticks to food easily.

9. Parmesan

Parmesan is another keto-friendly option. It’s high in fat, low in carbs, is flavorful, and instantly sticks to any food. You don’t even have to process it since it’s already ground!

Mix it with butter to coat meats or add almond flour to provide a unique, nutty flavor.

10. Coconut flour

Coconut flour is keto-friendly and it provides so many other benefits. It’s high in fat to keep you full and prevent hunger later in the day. It’s also rich in MCTs that support keratin production.

Dip your food in an egg wash or coconut oil and then coat it in the flour to provide a unique nutty taste that’s great on meats and veggies.

11. Coconut flakes

If you really dig the taste of coconuts, you can add coconut flakes to your food as a substitute for panko bread crumbs.

They’re great on sweet and savory foods, including meats and baked goods. As a bonus, they’re both gluten-free and paleo!

12. Tapioca starch

Tapioca starch works well as a binder and thickener and is also paleo and gluten-free. It has a silky texture that’ll get a smooth, glazed coating that works well in gravies and soups.

13. Gluten-free bread

Those who are going the gluten-free route may prefer making breadcrumbs out of gluten-free bread. The bread has a naturally dry texture that works well for breadcrumbs.

To make the breadcrumbs, just toast the bread and grind it up. Repeat the process if you’re going for a finer texture.

14. Golden flaxseed

Keto-friendly eaters may want to try golden flaxseed as a panko substitute. Coating meat in an egg wash and flaxseed can provide a golden tone that mimics the color of regular breaded chicken.

As an added bonus, flaxseed is high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

Can you make panko out of white bread?

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to make panko bread crumbs at home, so you don’t have to worry too much about substitutions.

2 ways to make panko from white bread
Panko breadcrumbs from white bread

Homemade panko breadcrumbs

Joost Nusselder
Here’s a recipe that only requires one loaf of white bread, although you can use soda crackers, oyster crackers, or melba toast instead. There are 2 ways to do it and here's how.
No ratings yet
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 1 batch


  • 1 loaf white bread


White bread panko with a grater

  • The first way is to grill your bread in the oven first. Make it a little bit crispy and then grate it later. Now you can use any type of white bread for this; it doesn't have to be square ones. Just put them on a baking sheet and then into the oven. You'll want to bake the white bread for around 12 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (or 150 Celcius) in total, but you'll have to flip them over about halfway through. Then, just put them back in the oven for the remainder of the 12 minutes.
    Bake the white bread
  • Now you want to check that the center isn't soggy, but crispy throughout because you want to grate this bread. It won't be that easy if it's not crispy all the way through.
    Check the crispiness of the bread
  • After they're done, take them out and cut off the crusts; you won't be needing these. Now get out a grater with small holes. You can use any grater for this.
    Pick up one of the pieces of the bread and start scraping off the crispy exterior of the bread. Quite a bit comes off. Do the other pieces of bread as well.
    Cut off the crusts and grate the bread for the panko

White bread panko with a food processor

  • The second way is a lot easier but you have to have a food processor. Just put in the grater blade and start cutting off the crusts of your bread right away, so don't put them in the oven first. Then, take the pieces of bread and cut them all in half so they'll fit into the food processor.
    White bread panko in a food processor
  • Push the bread through the shredding disk to make coarse crumbs. You can add them all one by one. Then turn it off, open it up, and you have your shredded white bread.
    Put bread in the food processor
  • Spread the crumbs on a baking dish and bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 – 8 minutes. Crumbs should be dry, but not toasted. Shake the sheet twice while baking.
    Spread the breadcrumbs onto a baking sheet
  • Remove the crumbs from the oven and let them cool. Then, pick up the panko and add them to a container.
    Add them to a container


Keyword Bread Crumbs, Panko
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

So let’s compare the 2:

2 ways for homemade panko
  1. On the right side, we’ve got the panko from the food processor
  2. And on the left side, we’ve got the panko from the hand grater

The panko from the hand grater will be a bit more coarsely grated but it’s better to use the panko from the food processor in your recipes because it’s a bit lighter and fluffier, and that’s ultimately what you want in your, let’s say, tempura mixes.

You can store these in a resealable container in your cupboard or in your pantry for a few weeks. If you want them to last longer, you can also put the panko in a Ziploc bag and then put it in the freezer for 3 months.

Use these panko substitute options in a pinch

If you’re trying to make a great breaded dish and find yourself all out of panko bread crumbs, these all make terrific substitutes.

Out of the 14 alternatives, and the 2 ways to make white bread panko, which panko breadcrumbs substitute do you prefer using?

Also read: what to use if you don’t have any miso

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.