Homemade Italian Breadcrumbs are easy to make, economical, a great way to use up old bread, and YOU control the ingredients! Or leave out the herbs for plain seasoned breadcrumbs.
If you decide to make a batch of homemade Italian Breadcrumbs, you'll definitely want to try this quick and easy Italian Baked Chicken or these family-friendly Shake 'n Bake Chicken Nuggets!
Y'all know I'm a sucker for make-your-own pantry staples. And today's homage to that theme can be used in countless recipes year-round...simple, effortless, Italian Breadcrumbs!
To be perfectly honest, y'all, this one is kind of silly. I mean, breadcrumbs? Who can't figure out how to make those? Yet plenty (most?) of us purchase them from the grocery store in a little canister, full of preservatives and artificial ingredients and far more expensive than the pennies that a few slices of bread would cost.
Furthermore, even if you already grind up your own bread into plain breadcrumbs, you might wonder what proportion of herbs to use for Italian Breadcrumbs, since plenty of recipes call for those. Well, no need to Google a recipe the next time you're wondering...I'm going to take care of you right here today!
Why Make Homemade Breadcrumbs?
Italian Breadcrumbs (or homemade seasoned breadcrumbs) take, like, two minutes to make, after which they can immediately be used. Or you can pop them in the fridge or freezer until your next recipe that requires them.
Super simple, no weird additives or preservatives (what exactly is calcium propionate anyway?), and totally economical, particularly since the bread you turn into these crumbs can be old, dried out, and something you were probably about to throw away anyway.
Just think of it as upcycling your bread! 😉
- Bread. When you get to the end of a loaf of bread, whether it's The Very Best Homemade Whole Wheat Bread or your favorite store-bought variety, that last heel can be kind of dried out. So I typically toss it in a baggie in the refrigerator or freezer, where it hangs out until it's been joined by a few more rejected bread buddies. There may end up being a lone hamburger bun in there, an old dinner roll, a bit of leftover French bread, some of it 100% whole wheat, some made with white flour. Whatever has seen better days (but isn't stale or molded, of course), I save in my trusty little baggie until I have enough bread to make dirtying my food processor worth my while.
- Dried herbs. I like to use parsley, basil, oregano, and thyme for that "Italian seasoning" vibe, but feel free to tweak the herbs to your liking.
- Spices. Specifically, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. You could add some onion powder as well if that floats your boat.
Can You Use Fresh Bread?
If you want to make this Italian Breadcrumbs recipe but your bread is too fresh, preheat the oven to 250°F and place the slices of bread directly on the oven rack.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the bread is dried out and toasty.
Remove the slices from the oven, allow to cool, and then proceed with the recipe.
How to Make Italian Breadcrumbs
Making your own Italian Breadcrumbs is pretty much effortless and takes a matter of minutes! I always grind my dried bread in a food processor, but a blender should work as well.
- Cut or tear your stale bread into hunks and put it in a large food processor or blender.
- Add dried herbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Process, blend, or pulse until fine crumbs form.
- Use your Italian Breadcrumbs immediately or store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer (depending on how long before you plan on using them).
Embarrassingly easy, right?
Customizing the Recipe
Not only are these homemade Italian Breadcrumbs less expensive and healthier than store-bought, but you can also control the sodium and/or tweak the herbs, if desired.
- For example, if you are watching your sodium intake, feel free to decrease amount of salt. You can also make your breadcrumbs with ¼ teaspoon of salt to begin with, taste, and then add the remaining ¼ teaspoon if you feel it's necessary.
- If you just loooove basil (or any other herb), go ahead and sprinkle in some extra.
- Oh, and if you happen to be a lucky duck with fresh herbs at your disposal, you may definitely incorporate those...just increase the amount used by three times, since the flavor of dried herbs is three times more concentrated than fresh.
How to Store Them
After the bread has been processed, simply transfer your Italian Breadcrumbs to an airtight container and refrigerate or freeze for future recipe-making convenience!
If you plan on using your breadcrumbs soon, they will keep in a jar in the refrigerator just fine.
Or, if you made a big batch that needs to last longer, place it inside two layers of freezer baggies and squeeze out any air. Homemade breadcrumbs will stay fresh for several months this way.
Whenever you need some Italian Breadcrumbs for a recipe, you can thaw for a few minutes at room temperature and then measure out. Or you can portion breadcrumbs by the cup or half-cup into small baggies before freezing. Just be sure to label the bag with the amount!
Easy as pie! Er, breadcrumbs. 😉
So your assignment today? Go forth and make homemade Italian Breadcrumbs (or plain seasoned breadcrumbs, if that's more your speed)! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain...in fact, I predict you'll never buy breadcrumbs again. 😉
More Homemade Make-Your-Own Kitchen Staples
- 6 ounces old/dried out bread, rolls, buns, etc., approximately equivalent to 4 to 5 slices of bread
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Tear stale bread into large pieces. Place in a large food processor or blender. Add dried herbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Process/blend/pulse until fine crumbs form.
- Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer (depending on how long before you use them).
- If you are watching your sodium intake, feel free to decrease amount of salt. You can also make your breadcrumbs with ¼ teaspoon of salt to begin with, taste, and then add the remaining ¼ teaspoon if you feel it's necessary.
- Tweak the herbs to your liking, or if you prefer to use fresh, be sure to increase the amount used since the flavor of dried herbs is more concentrated.
- If you plan on using your breadcrumbs soon, they will keep in the refrigerator just fine.
- If storing breadcrumbs in the freezer, place inside two freezer baggies and squeeze out any air. They will stay fresh for several months this way. Whenever you need breadcrumbs for a recipe, you can thaw for a few minutes at room temperature and then measure out. Or you can portion breadcrumbs by the cup or half-cup into small baggies before freezing.
Post originally published on July 5, 2014, and updated on May 20, 2021, and February 2, 2023.
These homemade Italian breadcrumbs are the best! Only breadcrumbs I use now!
Wow it really makes a difference making your own!! So fresh and delicious compared to store-bought Italian bread crumbs.
I used this recipe to make breadcrumbs for my homemade meatballs. The meatballs tasted better than ever! Bookmarking to keep.
Way too much thyme for my families taste. I didn’t have Italian bread crumbs and made this for my 2lb meatloaf recipe and no one liked it. The thyme was overpowering. Maybe a quarter tsp of it may work but not a big fan of thyme or any of my family.
Hi Daniel! If you and your family are not big fans of thyme, then you can and should certainly leave it out! 🙂