What’s The Difference Between Japanese And Italian Breadcrumbs?

Get the perfect crisp when you use the right kind!

Breadcrumbs are a fantastic ingredient. They're a versatile ingredient used to coat all sorts of food for a crunchy crust. Plus, you can use it to top mac and cheese, to bind burgers, and to even add bulk to your meatloaves or meaty pie fillings. Having it on hand is a great idea as it can be used for many other uses. 

However, did you know that there is more than one kind of breadcrumb

There are plain breadcrumbs, Japanese or Panko breadcrumbs, and Italian or herbed breadcrumbs. 

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What are plain breadcrumbs?

Plain breadcrumbs are made of any type of bread that has been dried out and then ground finely.

Uses for plain breadcrumbs: 

It's best to use this kind when you're not looking for intense crispness. It has too fine a texture to create that intensely crunchy coating. So, it's the kind of breadcrumbs best added to meatballs and meatloaves to give it heft. This type of breadcrumbs can also help make meatballs fluffy and used for coating pandesal. If you don't have Panko breadcrumbs, these will do in a pinch.

Photo by Riell Santos

How to make plain breadcrumbs at home

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Whichever type of bread you have, toasting bread until it's crisp is best for transforming these into breadcrumbs. Stale bread is best for making breadcrumbs at home or you can speed up the process by drying out fresh bread in your refrigerator. (You'll know it's ready when it becomes hard.) If all you have is fresh bread, you can toast your bread in an oven or toaster. 

Once you have your stale bread, use a food processor to process these dried-out bread until crumbs are formed. Use immediately for best results. If you don't have a food processor, seal your bread in a freezer bag and smash with a rolling pin. 

What are Italian breadcrumbs?

Italian breadcrumbs are basically just plain breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning incorporated into the mix. This makes it more flavorful when it's added to your meatballs or makes for a tastier coating for your meats.

Uses for Italian breadcrumbs: These are best used in place of plain breadcrumbs but in instances where you want more flavor such as with meatballs or a simple but tasty coating for pork chops for example.  

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How to make your own Italian breadcrumbs

Using a food processor, grind together dried-out bread with salt, pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, dried parsley, and dried rosemary. Feel free to add garlic powder and chili flakes for even more flavor. Seal in airtight containers if not using immediately.  

Photo by Patrick Martires

What are Japanese or Panko breadcrumbs?

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Unlike plain breadcrumbs, Japanese breadcrumbs do not use the bread's crust, giving it a white color. It produces larger shard-like pieces that are a lot crispier than fine breadcrumbs. 

Uses for Japanese or Panko breadcrumbs: These crumbs are traditionally used for tonkatsu, but it's also great for crispy fish fillets, deep-fried Oreos, baked tahong, mac and cheese, and more. The sky is the limit! Anything that needs a good crunch can benefit from the neutral taste and incredible crisp of Panko breadcrumbs.

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Photo by Majoy Siason

How to make Panko breadcrumbs at home

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Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Then, remove the crust off of fresh white bread. Using your hands, try to keep the bread airy as you crumble it into coarse crumbs. When you're happy with the size of the crumbs, pop it into the oven for 7 to 10 minutes. Don't let it toast or brown. When finished, cool it down and store in a cool dry place.

Don't have an oven? Use a frying pan! Instead of baking the torn-up bread in the oven, place it in a dry frying pan over medium-low heat and lightly cook it on the stovetop until dried and crisp. Just remember to keep stirring with a spatula to prevent it from taking on any color as it dries out. Remove and let cool completely before using or storing in an airtight container.    

Photo by Riell Santos
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Did you know that you can further toggle your breadcrumbs to make the perfect breading? Just stir in your favorite spices with either plain or homemade Panko breadcrumbs, and you've got a new way to make your fried chicken extra delicious.

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We think you definitely should always have breadcrumbs on hand! If you don't have some in your kitchen, then you can start making some because there are so many things you can do with it!

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