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Panko is Japanese-style breadcrumbs. They’re light and extra crunchy. They’re used to give fried foods a crispy, crunchy coating and can serve as a binder, too. This homemade version is a great way to use up leftover sandwich bread and to ensure you always have panko on hand.
Real Japanese panko is made from Japanese-style crustless white bread that is torn into large flakes. The lightness of the bread and the large flakes both contribute to the light, airy, extra crunchy texture of panko. This panko bread crumbs recipe is super simple.
You can of course buy panko at any Asian supermarket and many other supermarkets, but I love to make it myself using a really good white bread.
Why we love homemade panko bread crumbs
- Homemade panko bread crumbs are lighter and crispier than regular bread crumbs, giving foods coated in them a delicate but satisfying crunch.
- Because panko is so much flakier than regular breadcrumbs, it gives foods a more delicate coating.
- Because of its flaky, light texture, it absorbs less oil than regular breadcrumbs, too, so food coated in it is less fatty and heavy after frying.
- Panko can be used just about anywhere you’d use regular breadcrumbs. It’s a perfect coating for fried chicken or fish, a delectable crunchy topping for casseroles and other baked dishes, and it serves as a nice, light binder in meatballs or meatloaf.
- It’s easy to make and takes just a few minutes!
- It’s a great way to use up stale white bread so it doesn’t go to waste.
Ingredients you need to make this panko recipe at home
What is panko made of? You might be surprised to know that there is literally only one necessary ingredient for this homemade pank orecipe! This is one of the simplest recipes. The ingredient list is so short! Here’s what you need:
- A loaf of white sandwich bread
- Salt (optional)
- Pepper (optional)
- Dried herbs (optional)
How to make homemade panko breadcrumbs
Panko breadcrumbs are really easy to make. Here’s how:
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven.
- Cut the crusts off the bread slices.
- Grind or grate the bread into large flakes.
- Transfer the crumbs to the prepared baking sheet. Add seasonings if using.
- Bake until the crumbs golden brown and crisp.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a bowl. Let cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container.
How to use your homemade panko
I use panko bread crumbs all the time in my cooking. You can substitute homemade panko in any recipe that calls for panko. Here are some of the ways I use it:
- As a crispy coating for fried foods. Panko is used in Japanese cuisine as a coating for many deep fried foods like fried chicken, tonkatsu (fried pork chops), chicken katsu (fried chicken cutlets), fried fish, and potato croquettes.
- As a crunchy coating for air-fried foods. I love to coat foods in panko before air frying them. The air fryer gives them just the right golden brown crunch. I use them in Air Fryer Jalapeno Popper Bites, Air Fryer Onion Rings, and Air Fryer Fried Pickles.
- As a binder in foods like meatloaf or meatballs. I use them in my Thai Turkey Meatballs because they provide a bit of structure to the mixture while keeping it light.
- As a crunchy golden-brown topper for baked dishes. Sprinkle panko over casseroles or meatloaf before baking. You can even use it as a topping for a quick-and-easy sheet pan Chicken Parm.
- Anywhere you’d normally use breadcrumbs. However you normally use breadcrumbs, you can absolutely substitute panko—whether as a crispy coating or topping, a binder, or even to thicken a sauce or soup.
Homemade Panko Breadcrumbs
coating and can serve as a binder, too. This homemade version is a great way to use up leftover sandwich bread and to ensure you always have panko on hand.
- 12 slices white bread ideally a bit stale
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper optional
- 1 teaspoon dried herbs optional
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Cut the crusts off the bread slices.
- Put the bread in a blender or food processor and pulse it until it is in large flakes. You can also grate the bread on the large holes of a box grater.
- Transfer the crumbs to the prepared baking sheet. Add the salt, pepper, and
dried herbs, if using.
- Bake in the oven for 4 to 6, until the crumbs are golden brown and crisp. Watch them carefully as they cook because they can turn from a perfect golden brown to burnt in seconds.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
- Store the panko in an airtight container.