18 Best Panko Substitutes That You Can Try At Home

Panko in baking pan

Howdy! I was thinking about bread crusts and panko came to mind. Who wouldn’t love a crispy, crunchy topping to that smoky chicken? I love it to the extent that panko, even if optional, becomes an irreplaceable ingredient for me.

Not heard of panko? Panko is a bread crumb variety used for coating in baking or frying recipes. It ensures a delicate, crunchy texture for your food, making it super-yummy. It is a versatile ingredient in Japanese cuisine and is adored by many across the globe.

What happens if you are out of panko? Don’t be disheartened. There are substitutes that can be used instead of panko in your recipes. Some of the best panko substitutes are bread, crackers, tortilla chips, croutons, cereals, and pretzels.

Let us first deal with panko, and then I will help you with an array of substitutes that can victoriously replace panko in your cherished recipes.

Quick Peek: Panko

Panko

The following scribbles tell you what panko is, its flavor, texture, culinary uses, and health benefits.

What Is Panko?

Panko is made up of the words pan and ko. ‘Pan’ means bread, and ‘ko’ means flour. Also known as Japanese breadcrumbs, it comprises wheat flour, yeast, oil, and salt. Panko is prepared by processing white bread into flakes and drying. 

Describing Panko: Flavor, Texture, and Types

There are two types of Panko breadcrumbs; white and tan panko. The former is made from white bread and is devoid of any crust. While the latter is made using the whole loaf.

Panko absorbs less oil which helps them stay crispy for a long time. These breadcrumbs have a dry, light, airy, crispy, and flaky texture with little or no flavor.

Panko Vs. Breadcrumbs

So, what’s the difference between panko and breadcrumbs? Regular breadcrumbs can be made from any bread. They have a more delicate crumb than panko and a bread-like consistency. 

Uses of Panko

Panko can be used for coating fried foods owing to its ability to absorb less oil. It is now a very popular topping in pasta, casseroles, mac, and cheese.

Tonkatsu, kaki fry, Ebi fry, and korokke are popular recipes in Japanese cuisine that feature panko as a major ingredient.

Panko can be used as a binder in meatballs and veggie burgers. It acts as a thickening agent in soups and sauces as well. You can even garnish toasted panko for a delightful taste in your recipe.

What’s great about our crispy buddy is that it has no flavor of its own. Its airy texture helps capture the essence and flavor of other ingredients used in your recipe. Thus, you can safely expect the desired flavor you wish using panko. 

Panko On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Panko is not just a tasty delight to your recipes. There are a couple of health benefits associated with it. The presence of sodium in panko can keep a check on blood pressure.

It has moderate fat, which is safe for consumption and can contribute to healthy weight gain. The proteins found in panko can boost the performance of your brain.

Why Should We Substitute Panko?

Panko, for sure, is an unmissable ingredient if the recipe calls for it. But it is also not an easily available ingredient that you can spot in a grocery store.

You may easily get a pack of bread loves and prepare breadcrumbs for use, but the Japanese breadcrumbs that are panko are rare to find. This necessitates the need to find good substitutes for it. 

Also, you may run out of panko sooner than you think, and you decide to swap it with other suitable ingredients for a flavor and texture close to panko. Whatever be the case, let us get into knowing about the best substitutes for panko.

18 Best Panko Substitutes

Want to know what the alternatives for panko are? These are the top eighteen substitutes for panko;

1. Bread

Bread

Panko essentially is a type of breadcrumb. Other than bread, can you possibly imagine a better, best alternative to Panko? If you are out of Panko, get a pack of white bread, grind them in a food processor and use them to replace Panko.

You don’t want to grind them too finely to get that coarse texture of Panko. In fact, you can opt to grind any bread to substitute for panko.

2. Crackers

Crackers

Crackers are dry and baked food products made using flour. They are crispy and have a savory flavor. They come in different flavors as well.

Crushed plain crackers rather than salty crackers can be a good option for a panko substitute. They are easily available and relatively cheap as well. 

Talking about crackers, a spicy recipe comes to mind. Here is the recipe for spicy cheese crackers. Make these homemade crackers and enjoy.

3. Tortilla Chips

Tortilla Chips

Crushed tortilla chips make a good panko substitute. They have a light, crispy texture, very similar to Panko. For the chips to blend in well, dip them in a mixture of egg and flour before using them for coating.

With tortilla chips, you get a corn flavor as well. Using potato chips is also an option worth trying. Try crushing and blending plain chips if it is a big no to corn, potato, or any other flavor.

You know another great thing you can make with tortilla chips? Some fiery nachos! Here is the recipe for Guy Fieri’s trash can nachos. They are definitely worth making!

4. Croutons

Croutons

If you love Caesar salad, then you might know what croutons are. Croutons are tidbits of baked bread that are served with added seasonings such as herbs, spices, and oil or butter. Croutons are mostly cubical in shape and are used to give texture and flavor to soups and stews.

Being essentially chunks of fried bread, croutons are one of the ideal substitutes for panko, majorly due to the flavor and texture.

If we’re talking about croutons, you know I have a recipe for that as well. Here is the recipe for rye croutons.

5. Cereal

Cereal

Have you always sidelined cornflakes or oats, or any other breakfast cereal? Get them out of your pantry and crush them for an amazing replacement to Panko. Just don’t make it too powdery.

You’ll need that coarse texture in remembrance of Panko. Believe me; cereal as a classic ingredient will surely leave you with a delightful, delicious crunch.

Other than that, cereal is also great for ice cream serving if you are crafty. Here is the recipe for cereal ice cream bowls.

6. Nuts

Nuts

Get creative and swap your Panko with a blend of various nuts. Nuts are single-seeded fruits with a tough nutshell. Often chosen nuts are almonds and peaches.

Go ahead and try grinding those nuts until you get the texture of Panko. They ensure a nutty flavor but add in salt, pepper, or other seasonings if you want more.

7. Coconut Flakes

coconut flakes

Coconut flakes are simply large versions of shredded coconut. Rather than grating or scraping, coconut meat is cut into large pieces, which are then dried.

Sweetened coconut flakes have a sweet flavor, while unsweetened flakes have the taste and flavor of coconut.

For a much healthier, gluten-free option, go for coconut flakes. Coconut flakes have a great texture and delightful flavor and can be used in any dish, sweet or savory, to replace panko. Deep fry them for coating in your recipes.

Use your coconut flakes to make some shrimp but it’s preferable to use the unsweetened kind. Here is the recipe for Red Lobster coconut shrimp for you. Try this amazing copycat recipe!

8. Sesame Seeds

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are the edible seeds of the sesame plant. These are also known as benne. They have a sweet, nutty flavor and a crunchy texture. By toasting them, you can further enhance their flavor. 

 Sesame seeds are oil-rich, nutritious seeds that can substitute panko. The best news is that you don’t have to crush them. You can directly dip your food in a pile of sesame seeds and get it cooked. You may use egg and flour, which is quite optional. 

9. Rice Flour

Rice Flour

Rice flour is made by grinding finely milled rice. It is used in the culinary world as a base ingredient and as a thickening agent. It can be made either using white rice or brown rice.

Rice flour is a gluten-free alternative to panko. It has a sticky and chewy texture that can be used in any type of recipe. The characteristic crunchiness of panko is something that rice flour can’t give you, but still, a textured coating is guaranteed.

10. Coconut Flour

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is made by grinding dried coconut meat. It is a fine, white powder that is usually used as a substitute for white flour or other types of flour. It has a powdery structure and a distinctive aroma like that of coconut. 

Coconut flour is a low-carb panko substitute that can be used if you are not bothered with the flavor and aroma of coconut. 

11. Tapioca Starch

Tapioca Starch

Tapioca starch is the white starchy powder obtained from the cassava plant. It has a sticky, chewy texture with no flavor. It works very well as a binding as well as a thickening agent in any recipe.

Tapioca starch is one of the best gluten-free alternatives for panko due to the sticky texture, which will help you with all the coating in frying tasks.  

12. Pretzels

Pretzels

Pretzels are baked bread of European origin that is made using wheat or lye flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and butter. These have a characteristic shape of twisted knots commonly but are also found in various other shapes and sizes.

Pretzels have a mild, sweet flavor similar to crackers and a crispy, brittle texture. The use of lye gives pretzels its unique flavor. Crushed pretzels can be used as a substitute for panko due to the similarities in texture.

13. Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan is an Italian cheese variety made from cow’s milk. It is aged for a year at least. It is a type of dry hard cheese that has a fruity flavor with a brittle rind. It is available in both powdered and ground versions. 

Parmesan can be grated and used in lieu of panko bread crumbs, and you get a rich, cheesy flavor. For a close texture to that of panko, you can add parmesan cheese with butter or almond flour. 

14. Pork Rinds

Pork Rind

Pork rinds refer to the skin of a pig, which is used culinarily in many ways – these could be fried, baked, or roasted and are served as light snacks or as side dishes. These are also known as chicharrones. 

Pork rinds have a flavor similar to pretzels or crackers with subtle undertones of bacon flavor. These have a crispy, crunchy texture as well. Crushed pork rinds work very much similar to panko and thus is a good alternative for panko.

15. Golden Flaxseed

Golden Flax Seeed

Golden flaxseed is also known as linseed. It is obtained from the flax plant and is very popular for its health benefits.

How do golden flax seeds differ from brown flax seeds? These contain more polyunsaturated fatty acids, less monounsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants.

Golden flax seeds have a nutty flavor and a firm, crispy texture. Golden flax seeds in combination with egg wash can be a very healthy and delicious alternative for panko.

16. Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast, also known as baker’s or brewer’s yeast, is a food product that is basically deactivated yeast. It is available in yellow flakes, granules, or powder. It is a dairy-free product that contains vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids.

Nutritional yeast has a nutty flavor and a crispy texture. Nutritional yeast can work as an amazing panko substitute due to their textural characteristics and binding properties. 

17. Quinoa

Quinoa

Quinoa seeds are pseudo-grains which are the edible seeds of quinoa plants. These are rich in nutrients, specifically protein. These have a mild, nutty flavor and a firm texture.

Quinoa can be mixed with ground meat or preferred spices to create a mixture that can be used in place of panko. For better results, coat your desired product in quinoa flakes which are easily available.

18. Corn Starch

Corn Starch

Corn starch is made from the endosperm of corn kernels which has a high starch content. It is usually used as a thickening agent in soups and sauces. It has a bland flavor, very much like flour, and has a silky, smooth texture.

Although corn starch won’t give you the exact flavor or texture of panko, it can be considered a worthwhile alternative due to its thickening and binding properties.

Short Recap

That must have been an exhaustive reading task, possibly. If that was the case, the following points would help you remember the details on panko substitutes in a jiffy.

Flavor: Bread, crackers, tortilla chips, and croutons are the best substitutes for panko in terms of flavor.

Texture: Bread, crackers, pretzels, croutons, and pork rinds are the best substitutes for panko in terms of texture.

Final Musings

So, there you go. You are now familiar with the top seven substitutes for panko. There are many other substitutes, but the heroes mentioned above will give your dish the closest authentic taste to that of panko.

Go ahead and try them out. Let me know what worked out well. Happy crunching!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the gluten-free substitutes for panko?

Rice flour, tapioca starch, pork rinds, coconut flakes, and flax seeds are some of the gluten-free alternatives of panko.

What can I use instead of panko in meatballs?

Crushed crackers, breadcrumbs, pretzels or croutons can be used instead of panko in meatballs.

What are the best keto-friendly substitutes for panko?

Pork rinds, almond flour, sesame seeds, coconut flour and golden flax seeds are the best keto-friendly substitutes for panko.

Can I use flour instead of panko?

Certain types of flour, especially rice flour can be used instead of panko. 


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