Breadcrumbs are the cornerstone of some of our favorite recipes ever. They’re so versatile that they can be used for both sweet and savory dishes, so being able to whip up a batch on short notice is essential – even if you don’t have a lot of tools!
Although food processors are one of the easiest ways to create breadcrumbs, it’s not essential.
In this article, we’ll be walking you through five other quick, simple, and effective ways to create delicious breadcrumbs for your recipes – no processor required!
What Bread Should You Use?
First things first… what bread should you use? Honestly – anything you have to spare is fine. You can even use leftover toast for extra-crunchy breadcrumbs!
Although any bread will get the job done, your usual grocery-store loaf (sweet, white and fluffy), is not always a popular choice. This bread will create distinctly sweet breadcrumbs that don’t complement every recipe.
Ideally, you’ll want your breadcrumbs to have a pretty neutral flavor – something like whole wheat and white mixed is a great choice.
Here are a few more kinds of bread you can use to create your breadcrumbs:
- Sourdough bread
- Hot dog buns or hamburger buns
- Gluten-free bread
- French bread
Can You Use Stale Bread For Breadcrumbs?
Yes, you can use your stale bread to make breadcrumbs – and it often works better than fresh bread! Stale bread is drier and will often produce a much crunchier consistency.
Even if you’re going to dry it out in the oven or toaster anyway, stale bread is easier to work with – and making breadcrumbs out of it is a great way to reduce food waste.
What Can You Use Breadcrumbs For?
Breadcrumbs are more versatile than you might think. Here are just a few ways you can use breadcrumbs to elevate your culinary creations:
Add Them To Soup
Adding breadcrumbs to soup is a great way to achieve a thicker consistency. Your breadcrumbs will dissolve straight away, and you can keep stirring them in until your soup is nice and thick.
This may not be the first use that springs to mind, but yes, you can use your breadcrumbs in meatballs! The breadcrumbs will help absorb the juice from your meat as it cooks, and trap all of that moisture inside your meatball.
This will give you tasty, juicy meatballs every time.
Before you roast your chicken, don’t forget to add some breadcrumbs! Mix your breadcrumbs up with some fresh herbs and butter, and spread it under the skin of the chicken (and on the outside if you want, too!).
It’s simple and SO delicious, you’ll never have your chicken another way again!
Crunchy Mac And Cheese
Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? Now, you can use your breadcrumbs to give your favorite recipe a little extra crunch!
Breadcrumbs are one of the best toppings you can put on your mac and cheese, especially when combined with an irresistible mix of garlic, butter, and cheese. There’s never been a better way to enjoy breadcrumbs.
This is just the tip of the iceberg – breadcrumbs are a powerful addition to a variety of both sweet and savory dishes, so what are you waiting for? Get creative with your breadcrumbs and see what you can create!
What Do You Need To Make Breadcrumbs Without A Food Processor?
If you haven’t got a food processor, you’ll need a few other tools to help you make your bread crumbs. These include:
- A rolling pin
- A box cheese grater
- Kitchen mallet
- Coffee or spice grinder
Note: What tools you use will depend on whether you’re using fresh bread or toast to make your breadcrumbs. Read on to discover which tools you’ll need to make your crumbs.
You’ll probably find at least one of these tools in your kitchen – and one is all you need!
If you’re making your bread crumbs with leftover toast, you’ll need to take extra care. Once the bread has been toasted, it’s often not as forgiving as fresh bread.
This means it can be easy to over-process your crumbs – once it’s done, it’s done, and you’ll end up with a powder that’s less than tasty. Don’t worry – we’ll help you avoid this common mistake below!
How To Make Breadcrumbs Without a Food Processor
Here’s how you can use just one of the tools above to create the perfect breadcrumbs – no processor required!
If you have a coffee or spice grinder – you’re in luck. Although you won’t usually use this grinder to create breadcrumbs, it’s so easy to do.
Just remember to clean your grinder thoroughly before making your breadcrumbs, to avoid transferring any unwanted flavors over to your recipe.
Note: Using a coffee or spice grinder will create soft crumbs. If you want a rougher texture, use one of the other methods below.
- Take two fresh slices of bread and rip them up into cubes
- Add a few pieces of bread to your grinder and grind six to eight times, or until you get the right consistency
- Put your crumbs to one side, and repeat the process on a new batch
- Repeat until all of your cubes have been ground up
Because coffee and spice grinders naturally create fine crumbs, we wouldn’t recommend using them with leftover toast. Otherwise, your breadcrumbs can quickly become powder. If you don’t have a choice, just remember to add smaller amounts to your grinder, add less pressure, and pulse fewer times to get the right consistency.
No. 2: The Box Grater
The box grater is another simple and effective way to make your bread crumbs without a processor. However, this will only work on dry or toasted bread. Do not attempt this method on fresh bread – it just won’t work!
Remember: when you’re using a grater, the size of the holes will determine the size of your breadcrumbs.
So, if you only have a large-hole grater but you need small crumbs, you probably won’t be pleased with the results. However, if the method seems right for you, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s pretty fast (and effective)!
- Take your dry or toasted bread, and angle it so that the side of the bread is making contact with the grater holes
- Move your dry or toasted bread up and down against the holes until the crumbs start forming under the grater
- Use a plate or chopping board beneath your grater to catch the crumbs, and keep grating until you’ve produced the desired amount of bread crumbs
If you’re using a box grater, there’s no need to chop your bread into smaller pieces. Grate the bread as a whole slice rather than small chunks for the most even results.
No. 3: Use A Blender
Here’s one of our favorite methods of all – the blender. If you don’t have a food processor but you have a blender to hand. You’re in the best position to make quick and easy breadcrumbs!
A kitchen blender is simple to use, and it’s often easier to achieve the desired consistency compared to other methods. Whether you want super fine or chunky breadcrumbs, you can get great results with your blender.
Here’s how to make the best breadcrumbs with your blender:
- Bread your fresh bread (or toast) into small pieces – don’t worry about making them even
- Throw a small batch into your blender
- Blitz them two or three times, and check the results
- If you’re happy, remove your crumbs from the blender. If you want a finer texture, blend another two times and check again
Note: Although you can achieve any sized crumbs with your blender, it can be hard to get them all even. You may need to pick through your batch and pull out any crumbs that are too small or too large.
No. 4: The Mallet
If you have a mallet, you’re in luck. The only other things you need are your bread, a plastic bag, and a bit of arm strength to make your bread crumbs!
Note: This method will work on dry or toasted bread only. Fresh bread will often fail to crumble, and instead, just break down into fine pieces and lump together.
- Break your dry or toasted bread down into smaller pieces
- Place your small pieces in a plastic bag or zipped bag
- Squeeze out any excess air, and begin hitting your crumbs with a mallet
- If the bread is dry enough, it should naturally crumble into breadcrumbs with just a few hits!
No. 5: Use A Rolling Pin And A Zip Bag
If you don’t have a rolling pin, a zip bag is another great way to create breadcrumbs without a food processor. Like the mallet technique, this will only work on dry or toasted bread. Here’s how to do it:
- Toast your bread until it’s evenly crisp
- Once cooled, place your toast in a zip bag, squeeze out any excess air, and zip it tightly
- Take your rolling pin and roll it over the bread until it starts to crumble
It’s as simple as that!
However, if your bread doesn’t start to crumble almost instantly, it’s not dry enough. Toasted bread should crumble rather than flatten, so you’ll need to use drier bread to get the right results.
Can You Use The Oven To Make Breadcrumbs?
Yes, you can also use your oven to help you make breadcrumbs!
If you’re using a method that calls for toasted bread, chop your fresh bread into smaller pieces, place them on a baking tray, and cook for around 25 minutes at medium heat until the bread is dry.
Just remember to take your bread out of the oven before it becomes too brown, or too dry.
Once you’ve removed your crumbs from the oven, leave them to cool. Once cooled, you can then use your dry bread with the rolling pin, box grater, or mallet method!
The Pan-Toast Variation
If you don’t have an oven (or a toaster), you could even use a pan to toast your bread.
Simply heat a large skillet over medium heat (non-stick is best), and heat up one tablespoon of olive oil. Once warm, place your bread into the pan and let them heat up.
After 4-5 minutes, flip your bread to the other side until toasted. Your bread should need 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on the heat you’re using.
Frequently Asked Questions
This depends on the type of bread and the method you’re using. If you’re using the oven, cook your bread for around 25 minutes until dry. In the pan, toast for around 6-10 minutes, and in the toaster, for 3-4 minutes until brown.
Some great alternatives for breadcrumbs include crackers, croutons, potato chips, cornflakes, almonds, and even seeds! For a neutral flavor, we’d recommend crackers or potato chips, however, sweeter recipes may benefit from almonds.
Fresh breadcrumbs are finely crumbled bread. These breadcrumbs are often lighter and contain more moisture, so they won’t store as long as dry breadcrumbs.
Dry breadcrumbs have usually been toasted in the oven or the toaster, and they’ll keep for a few months at room temperature, or in the refrigerator.
The Bottom Line
Although food processors are the most popular tool to make breadcrumbs, you certainly don’t need one!
No matter what tools you have to hand, you’ll probably find at least one you can make your breadcrumbs with. Just remember, not all of these methods work with fresh bread, so pay close attention to the method before you start.
You can use a grinder, rolling pin, mallet, blender, or even a cheese grater to produce both large and small breadcrumbs. Although you won’t be using a food processor, you won’t have to sacrifice your time.
These methods are quick, simple and effective, and we hope you enjoy trying them!
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