What Does Breaded Mean in Cooking? A Beginner’s Guide

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Bread crumbs or breadcrumbs (regional variants: breading, crispies) are small particles of dry bread, used for breading or crumbing foods, topping casseroles, stuffing poultry, thickening stews, adding inexpensive bulk to meatloaves and similar foods, and making a crisp and crunchy coating for fried foods, especially breaded cutlets like tonkatsu and schnitzel. The Japanese variety of bread crumbs is called panko.

Let’s look at the definition, origin, and some of the slang terms used when talking about breading.

What does breaded mean

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What Does Breaded Mean in Cooking? Let’s Get Crispy!

Breaded is a term related to cooking that means to coat food with breadcrumbs or a mixture of flour and breadcrumbs before cooking. This process is usually done to add flavor and texture to the meal. The breadcrumb coating can be mixed with various spices and herbs to enhance the flavor of the dish.

The Process of Breading

Breading is a three-step process that involves coating the food with flour, dipping it in a liquid, and then covering it with breadcrumbs. The liquid used can be anything from milk to eggs, depending on the recipe. Here’s how to bread food like a pro:

  • Set up a breading station with three shallow dishes: one for flour, one for the liquid, and one for breadcrumbs.
  • Cut the food into the desired shape and size. For example, cube steak or chicken breasts, sliced onion rings, or larger shrimp.
  • Coat the food in flour, shaking off any excess.
  • Dip the food in the liquid, making sure it’s fully coated.
  • Cover the food with breadcrumbs, pressing them gently to ensure they stick.
  • Cook the breaded food by frying, baking, or steaming it until it’s golden brown and cooked through.

Advantages of Breading

Breading is a popular cooking technique because it has several advantages:

  • It adds flavor and texture to the food, making it more delicious.
  • It helps the food retain moisture during cooking, resulting in a juicy and tender meal.
  • It can be used to create a crispy coating that’s perfect for fried or baked dishes.
  • It’s a versatile technique that can be used with a variety of foods, from pork to chicken to vegetables.

Breadcrumb Variations

Breadcrumbs are a staple in many kitchens, and there are several variations to choose from:

  • Plain breadcrumbs: Made from dried bread without any added flavorings.
  • Seasoned breadcrumbs: Mixed with herbs and spices to add flavor to the coating.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: A Japanese version of breadcrumbs that are lighter and crispier than traditional breadcrumbs.
  • Cracker crumbs: Crushed crackers that can be used in place of breadcrumbs for a different flavor and texture.

Breading Slang

Breading has its own slang terms that are commonly used in cookery:

  • À la meunière: A French term that means “in the style of the miller,” referring to a dish that’s coated in flour before cooking.
  • Shake and bake: A popular brand of seasoned breadcrumbs that can be used to coat chicken, pork, or fish.
  • Southern-fried: A term used to describe food that’s coated in flour or breadcrumbs and then deep-fried in oil.

Breading A Three-Step Technique

Step 1: Dredging

Dredging is the first step in creating a breaded dish. It involves coating the food item with a dry mixture of flour, cornstarch, or a combination of both. This helps to create a base layer that will help the breading stick to the food item. Here are some tips to follow when dredging:

  • Use a shallow dish or plate to hold the flour mixture.
  • Season the flour mixture with salt, pepper, or other spices to add flavor to the dish.
  • Make sure to coat the food item evenly with the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.

Step 2: Egg Wash

The egg wash is the second step in the breading process. It involves dipping the food item into a mixture of beaten eggs and water. The egg wash helps to moisten the food item, which allows the breading to stick better. Here are some tips to follow when making an egg wash:

  • Use a shallow dish or bowl to hold the egg mixture.
  • Beat the eggs and water together until well combined.
  • Make sure to coat the food item evenly with the egg mixture, shaking off any excess.

Why Breading is Essential in Cooking

1. Provides a Variety of Flavors

Breading is a great way to add flavor to your food. Depending on the type of breading you use, you can achieve a unique taste that complements the food you’re cooking. For example, using seasoned breadcrumbs can add a little extra kick to your chicken, while using crushed nuts can provide a nutty flavor to your fish.

2. Achieves a Perfect Texture

Breading is handy when you want to achieve a specific texture for your food. The coating helps to prevent the food from drying out and becoming hard, and it also provides a crispy exterior. This is especially important when frying food, as it helps to keep the food moist on the inside while achieving a crispy exterior.

3. Provides a Low-Cost Substitute

Breading is an excellent choice when you want to stretch your food budget. It takes only a couple of steps to bread your food, and the ingredients required are commonly found in most kitchens. You can use a variety of forms of bread, from white to dark, and even cracker crumbs, depending on what you have on hand.

4. Helps to Prevent Rapid Breakdown

Breading provides a protective layer around the food, which helps to prevent rapid breakdown. This means that your food will stay fresh for a longer time, which is especially important if you’re preparing food in advance.

5. Provides a Creative Outlet

Breading is a culinary art that can be mastered with a little practice. There are tons of different types of breading, from the classic flour-egg-breadcrumb coating to the more modern panko breadcrumb coating. You can also get creative and use cornmeal, crushed nuts, or even crushed potato chips as your coating.

7. Provides an Ideal Coating for Potatoes

Breading is the perfect coating for potatoes. It provides a crispy exterior while keeping the potato moist on the inside. You can use a variety of different types of breading, from the standard flour-egg-breadcrumb coating to the more exotic cornmeal or crushed potato chip coating.

In conclusion, breading is an essential part of cooking that provides a variety of flavors, achieves a perfect texture, provides a low-cost substitute, helps to prevent rapid breakdown, provides a creative outlet, provides a strong flavor base, and is the ideal coating for potatoes. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting your culinary career, breading is a technique that should be in your food guide.


So, that’s what breaded means in cooking. It’s a cooking technique where you coat food with breadcrumbs. It’s a great way to add flavor and texture to food, and it’s a useful way to save money on your food budget. Plus, it’s a great way to get creative in the kitchen. So, go ahead and give it a try!

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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.