20 Best Breadcrumb Substitutes

Breadcrumbs are an important ingredient in many recipes. You will need them in meatloaf composition as well as fried chicken cutlets and other recipes from all cuisines worldwide.

But what if you are missing breadcrumbs from your kitchen and need them for your next recipe? Is there a substitute for breadcrumbs? You can either make breadcrumbs at home since their name is pretty much self-explanatory. All you need is bread.

You can also use substitutes that will go just as great in your recipes! You can use different types of nuts including almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or peanuts. You can also use different seeds like chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds.

Other substitutes for breadcrumbs include crackers, pretzels, chips, quinoa, cereal, shredded coconut, expanded rice, biscuits, couscous, pasta.

Best Breadcrumb Substitutes

You can use the next substitutes in almost any recipe that calls for breadcrumbs. However, keep in mind that the way you use them might vary according to each recipe you are preparing. Some of these replacements you might already have in your pantry!

1. Walnuts


Walnuts will change the flavor of your food, however, they will keep the texture you want. You can use them instead of breadcrumbs in all types of recipes and you will not regret it.

The flavor your food will have will be earthly and nutty. You will have to crush the walnuts in order to use them as breadcrumbs but you can do that by using a food processor.

As far as the quantity goes, you can use the same amount as you would use breadcrumbs. They are a great substitute for breadcrumbs in all dishes including meatloaves. 

2. Almonds


Almonds act the same as almonds when it comes to replacing breadcrumbs in recipes. You will have to smash them in order to obtain the texture of the breadcrumbs but this is easy to do if you have a food processor.

Once your almonds are smashed, you can use them as a substitute for breadcrumbs in any type of recipe. Keep the same quantity to get the texture you want but be ready for a stronger flavor.

3. Hazelnuts


Hazelnuts might be harder to find but if you get your hands on them, they can be a great substitute for breadcrumbs. They are not as rich in their nutty flavor as other nuts but they will provide a great taste to your food.

You can use hazelnuts in salty recipes and desserts. However, you might want to use them in recipes that don’t even call for breadcrumbs simply because they are very tasty.

4. Peanuts

Peanut Flour

Peanuts can substitute breadcrumbs successfully in all recipes as long as you choose them unsalted. If you get salted peanuts, you will have to reduce the salt input in your recipes in order to maintain the flavor you want.

The good news is that you can find peanuts of all kinds with no difficulty. Use the same amount of peanuts as you would use breadcrumbs in your recipe but smash them to obtain the texture you want.

The nutty taste is stronger if you use peanuts. However, it is also very much compatible with several recipes from meatloaves to stews and even certain minced meat dishes.

5. Chia seeds

Chia seeds

You can use chia seeds instead of breadcrumbs. The advantage of these seeds is that you don’t need to smash them. You can use them just as they are but you will have to add double the quantity in order to get the texture you want.

Chia seeds tend to expand when mixed with water and obtain the texture of breadcrumbs when you cook them. The only reason why we didn’t list chia seeds as one of the top ingredients is the fact that they will give your food a different color since they are mainly black.

6. Flax seeds


Flax seeds can replace breadcrumbs successfully as well. They have a neutral taste so you will not alter the flavor of your meal much, even if there is a slight earthly flavor that comes with the flat seeds.

In terms of quantity, you can add more flax seeds than breadcrumbs for a crunchy texture. Ultimately, how many seeds you add will depend on your taste and the texture you want to get.

7. Hemp seeds

Hemp seed oil

Hemp seeds have a strong nutty flavor that will taste great in a variety of recipes. You can use them in soups as well as meatloaves and topping on different dishes.

When you use them instead of breadcrumbs, keep the same quantity and follow the other steps of the recipe. You might even prefer to use hemp seeds in the future as their texture and flavor can truly improve the taste of your food.

8. Crackers


Crackers can also substitute breadcrumbs in different recipes. They are made of flour and they taste very similar to breadcrumbs.

It is important to use unflavoured crackers so you don’t alter the taste of your recipe more than you have to. You can find crackers in stores easily and you can use them in the exact same way you would use breadcrumbs.

9. Pretzels


If you want to use pretzels instead of breadcrumbs, you can do that easily. This is a perfect replacement for the ingredient you are missing.

When you choose your pretzels, find those with no salt, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds as well as without any other flavor. You want your food to taste the same as if you would use breadcrumbs and unflavoured pretzels can offer it the same taste.

You will have to smash the pretzels so they resemble breadcrumbs better. The best way to use pretzels is in different crusts such as crusted fried shrimp or chicken.

10. Chips


You can also use chips instead of breadcrumbs. There are plenty of types of chips on the market so it might seem difficult to find just the right one for you.

It will be challenging to find chips that are not salted. So, you might want to skip the amount of extra salt in your recipe if you choose this substitute.

Smash the chips in a food processor or you can use a ziplock bag for this step. Add them to your crust. The food will taste delicious and you will even prefer chips to breadcrumbs.

11. Quinoa


If you choose to add quinoa to your food instead of breadcrumbs you will have to prepare it first. You will find the directions on the package.

However, you can retain that quinoa is cooked similar to rice. So, you will boil it in water and drain the water before you use the quinoa in your recipe.

You can use the same quantity of quinoa as you would use breadcrumbs and know that it will add an interesting flavor to your food.

If you never tried quinoa before, have a taste of it before you add it to your food. This way, you will know exactly how to adjust the rest of the ingredients to obtain the flavor you want.

12. Cereal


Choose a type of cereal with a neutral taste and you will be able to replace breadcrumbs in almost any type of recipe.

Stay away from the sweet cereal unless you want them for a dessert recipe. Since cereal is already coming in small dimensions, you might not have to smash them.

Evaluate if you need to break them even smaller or not according to your preferences. Use the same amount of cereal as you would use breadcrumbs and you will love the results.

13. Shredded coconut

Coconut Flour

You can find shredded coconut flakes in stores easily. It is a common ingredient in cookies or desserts. But you might be surprised by the great flavor it can add to your shrimp or chicken.

Use this substitute as you would use breadcrumbs in the composition of different crusts. It has a coconut taste and crunchy texture. Keep the same quantity of shredded coconut as you would use if you had breadcrumbs.

14. Expanded rice

Expanded rice comes in the shape of some rice rolls you will find easily in local stores and supermarkets at the snack section.

You don’t need to prepare them in any way as they are already cooked. However, you will have to smash them in small sizes so they will resemble breadcrumbs best.

Expanded rice rolls come in unflavoured and flavored versions. Pick the unflavoured type so your food will taste the same or similar to the original dish.

15. Biscuits


Biscuits can also be a great substitute for breadcrumbs. Even the simple biscuits are sweeter than breadcrumbs though, so pay attention to this aspect as your meatloaves or crusts will turn out sweeter too.

You can rebalance the food flavor if you increase the other seasoning in your recipes such as salt and pepper. Smash the biscuits in a food processor and use them in the same way you would use breadcrumbs.

16. Couscous


Couscous is a form of pasta that comes in little balls. It resembles rice and quinoa in terms of texture. The taste of couscous is quite similar to the taste of pasta and it will have little flavor without the seasoning you are adding to your recipe.

If you add couscous instead of breadcrumbs, you will need to cook them first. Just boil it in water and add a tablespoon of oil per one cup of couscous. Let it cool down before you use it in your recipe. Keep your couscous al dente when you boil it as it will get cooked again later.

17. Pasta

boiling pasta

Pasta of all kinds can replace breadcrumbs. You will however have to cook it first by following the instructions on the package.

After you cook the pasta, allow it to cool down and smash it or cut it with scissors. You can also smash the pasta uncooked and add it to your meal like that if you prefer more crunchiness.

18. Rice

Rice can be used just like quinoa instead of breadcrumbs. You will have to boil the rice or stir fry it but just enough to keep it crunchy. Once it is cooked, let it cool down. Then, add it to your recipe just as you would add the breadcrumbs.

You might find it appropriate to add more rice than your regular breadcrumbs quantity. It is a great ingredient for meatloaves and it is delicious in many baked and fried recipes.

19. Corn flakes

Corn flakes

Corn flakes are actually used a lot in many crust recipes and they will not disappoint you if you use them in other recipes either. They have a neutral yet sweeter taste that will work great with fish and white meat. You can use corn flakes in meatloaves as well.

You might have to boost the salt and pepper amount to maintain the same flavor. In terms of quantity, you can use the same amount of corn flakes as you would use breadcrumbs.

20. Grissini


You can also use grissini instead of breadcrumbs if you don’t have any of the substitutes above. You find them in the snacks section and they are usually unflavoured.

However, if you want them flavored you can get them with olive oil flavor as they will add a great taste to your food. Smash them in smaller pieces as they often come in long and dense sticks. You can use this substitute in any dishes from meatloaves to chicken crust.

What Can I Use Instead of Breadcrumbs on Keto?

If you are on a keto diet, the best substitute for breadcrumbs would be smashed almonds or other types of nuts. Almonds will give your food a similar texture but a stronger flavor.

Caloric speaking, these nuts are very rich so make sure to not add too many of them. You will be able to find in-store breadcrumbs, especially for a keto diet. This is not the most budget-friendly option. So, we suggest you try with a type of nuts first.

Can I Use Cornstarch Instead of Breadcrumbs?

Cornstarch is not a good substitute for breadcrumbs in any case. Uncooked, this ingredient is too crunchy and it can affect the texture of your food significantly.

On the other hand, the taste will not be very similar either. You can however use corn flakes successfully as you discovered in our selection of 20 substitutes for breadcrumbs.

Are Breadcrumbs Necessary for Meatballs?

Breadcrumbs or one of the substitutes in this guide is important for any meatballs recipe. If you don’t add breadcrumbs, or rice, quinoa, or couscous, your meatballs will be too hard and less juicy. The bread has the advantage of adding not just flavor but also texture to your food.

Final Words

As you can see, not having breadcrumbs is not a tragedy.

You can still put together a delicious meal by using one of the substitutes in today’s guide. Plus, you will not have to worry about the flavor of your food too much either.

Any product listed in this article will make your food taste good. And you might even prefer it with one of these substitutes rather than breadcrumbs.

Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!

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