July 9, 2020

Can you imagine having a crunchy bite of deep-fried chicken without that scrumptiously crunchy bread crumb coating? I’m sure you can’t!

Bread crumbs are the secret ingredient that brings life and some much-needed crunch to a whole host of dishes, particularly fried fish, meat, and chicken. 

Now, imagine that you’re making your favorite breaded chicken recipe and you pick up the huge box of bread crumbs to prepare the delightfully crunchy coating. However, when you open the box of bread crumbs, it is almost empty!

Now before you start panicking, let me tell you that I have a list of reliable and fun bread crumb substitutes that you can use in your dish! So, let’s take a look at the best substitutes for bread crumbs that you can use in your dishes.

What Are Bread Crumbs? 

As the name suggests, bread crumbs are made of bread. Simply put, bread crumbs are the crumbs that you get when you toast bread and then shred and crush it into fine pieces. They act as a key ingredient in many dishes. 

You can use bread crumbs as a binder for meatballs and meatloaf and create the most scrumptious crust for your deep-fried or even shallow fried proteins such as chicken and fish. You can also add a blend of bread crumbs and seasoning on top of baked pasta, casseroles, or even a simple salad.

Substitute for Bread Crumbs

Here are 5 amazing substitutes for bread crumbs that you can use in your dishes:


When it comes to making meatballs and meatloaf, oats act as the perfect bread crumb substitute. Even though oats aren’t perfect if you want a crispy coating, they add just the right amount of texture that you need to bind the eggs, meat, and seasonings together. Just make sure to season the oats the same way that you’d season the bread crumbs. 


Crushed classic salty potato chips or tortillas are gluten-free bread crumb replacements. They are ideal to coat fish fillets and chicken cutlets because they give that incredible crunchiness that you can expect from a coating of bread crumbs. However, if you use salted chips, then make sure to adjust the salt in your seasoning as they will boost the salt in your dish. So, if you just reduce the salt in the seasoning, the crushed chips will simply balance it out and create the perfect dish.


Crushed nuts are a healthy and flavorful alternative to bread crumbs that you can use to make your dish. Crushed pecans, almonds, cashews, or walnuts will create an appetizing crust for your chicken, fish, or pork dish.

You can also use crunchy nuts to coat cutlets. Just remember that they will add their own subtle flavor to the dish so use them accordingly. 

Pretzels or Crackers

Pretzels and crackers can also act as the perfect substitute for bread crumbs. Just pick a handful of crackers or pretzels and put them in a plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to crush them nicely to create your breadcrumb substitute. 

You can season them just as you would season bread crumbs. They will act as the perfect coating for proteins, and you can even sprinkle them on top of refreshing or creamy salads for an added layer of crunch and flavor. 

Just make sure to choose pretzels with less salt so that you don’t have to adjust the seasoning too much.


You can also use cereal as a bread crumbs replacement. Choose an unsweetened cereal with a mild flavor profile, such as bran, cornflakes, or other corn-based cereal, so that the flavor doesn’t overshadow the flavor of your dish. Use a food processor to crush the cereal and then use it in place of bread crumbs in your dishes.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks that you need to remember when using the aforementioned substitutes for bread crumbs:

  • If you’re using salted pretzels or chips instead of bread crumbs, then adjust the salt in your seasoning accordingly to ensure that your dish doesn’t end up being too salty.
  • Similarly, when opting for cereals, choose the ones that are unsweetened and mildly flavored so that they can act as bread crumbs and don’t alter the flavor of your dish.
  • If you want to deep fry fish, chicken, or red meat, then use chips or crackers in place of bread crumbs as they will offer that crunchy coating that you need.

The Bottom Line

If you run out of bread crumbs, then use the aforementioned food items as substitutes for bread crumbs in a dish. Regardless of which option you choose, all of these substitutes offer their own unique and fun twist on the classic bread crumbs.

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About the author

Meet Go-Go-Gadget Renee'. Her passion for #kitchen gadgets is matched only by her love for tech. A real #foodie, she's all heart for red wine and delicious meals. #CookingChewTribe

Renee' Groskreutz

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