Bread | Tips and Tricks

Bread Crumbs from Stale Bread

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We’ll show you how to turn stale bread into crispy, flavorful bread crumbs that you can use in a variety of dishes. Let’s get started!

Two bowls with bread crumbs on wooden board.Pin
Unseasoned, Dry Bread Crumbs

Bread crumbs are essential in many dishes, from coating chicken or fish to adding texture to casseroles. However, store-bought bread crumbs can be expensive and may contain additives or preservatives that you don’t want in your food.

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Making bread crumbs is a simple and cost-effective solution, and it’s a great way to reduce food waste by using stale bread that might otherwise go to waste.

What you need

  • Stale bread: white, whole wheat sandwich bread, sourdough bread, rolls, hot dog or hamburger buns, French bread or Italian bread, English muffins, even bagels, gluten-free bread, and cornbread can work. This is the only mandatory ingredient. The others are optional.
  • Olive oil: this is only needed if you would like to make flavored bread crumbs.
  • Seasonings: basil, parsley, oregano, or Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, and sage. Again, this is only required for flavored crumbs.
  • Other flavors: most commonly, hard cheeses are added, such as Parmesan cheese or Romano, or nutritional yeast, if you are going for a vegan version.
Ingredients; stale bread, olive oil.Pin
Ingredients for bread crumbs.

How to make them

Pro Tip: As you have single pieces of stale bread, freeze them until you have a good quantity for a batch of crumbs.

For fresh bread crumbs

Step One

When you have rolls with seeded crusts, just cut off most of the top crust.

Seeded roll.Pin
Seeded roll.
Crust removed from seeded roll.Pin
Remove crust.

Step Two

Break bread up into pieces. Add them to your food processor bowl or blender container.

If your crusts are hard, remove the crust.

Broken pieces of bread in food processor bowl.Pin
Break up bread pieces. Add to the food processor.

Step Three

Pulse until you have fine pieces. You can do batches with different sizes to use for various applications.

Broken up pieces of bread.Pin
Pulse until pieces are the desired size.

Step Four

Spread them out on a parchment-covered baking sheet in a thin layer. Freeze.

Fresh bread crumbs on parchment covered baking sheet.Pin
Spread out on the parchment-covered baking sheet.

Once frozen, quickly place them in jars or freezer bags and freeze. Freezing them first will keep them separated so that it will be easy to remove specific quantities for your needs. 

Or use fresh bread crumbs immediately.

Fresh bread crumbs in a freezer bag.Pin
Freeze in bags or jars.

For plain dried breadcrumbs

Preheat oven. See notes in the recipe below for temperatures and times. Baking them at higher temperatures will require watching, so they don’t get too browned.

We usually cook them at lower temperatures. This is because lower temps will dry them rather than bake them.

Perform steps one, two, three, and four above.

Step Five

Flip them halfway through.

Small spatula flipping the crumbs.Pin
Flip them halfway through.

For seasoned bread crumbs

Perform steps one, two, three, and four above.

Step Five

Add spices that you would like to use to a small bowl.

Spices added to small bowl.Pin
Add spices to a small bowl.

Step Six

Mix well.

Spices mixed in bowl.Pin
Mix well.

Step Seven

Drizzle bread crumbs with just a little olive oil.

Fresh bread crumbs drizzled with olive oil in a bowl.Pin
Drizzle with olive oil.

Step Eight

Add spices. Toss well, but gently, with your hands to combine.

Spices added.Pin
Add spices. Mix well.

Spread them out on a parchment-covered baking sheet in a thin layer.

Crumbs laid out on a baking sheet.Pin
Spread out on the sheet.

Put them in the oven at the desired temperature. (See recipe notes below) Flip halfway through cooking.

If they don’t feel dry, extend the time as needed. Cool to room temperature. Store. (see details in the  “how to store” section below.

Why make your own?

There are several good reasons to make bread crumbs from stale bread:

  1. Reduce food waste: We often discard spent bread, which you can repurpose into bread crumbs. This will reduce food waste and helps you get more value from your food dollar.
  2. Save money: Store-bought bread crumbs can be expensive when you use them frequently. Making your bread crumbs from stale bread will save you money over time.
  3. Control ingredients: Store-bought bread crumbs may contain additives or preservatives that you don’t want in your food. When you make bread crumbs, you have control over the ingredients.
  4. Customizable: You can customize your bread crumbs by adding different herbs, spices, or seasonings to suit your taste preferences and your dishes.

Making bread crumbs from stale bread is a simple and practical way to make the most of your grocery budget and ensure you have high-quality, flavorful bread crumbs whenever needed.

Bowls of dried bread crumbs with fresh bread.Pin

How to store them

Fresh bread crumbs can be refrigerated for 3-4 days. Freeze them in bags for longer storage. See the section above for fresh bread crumbs for helpful tips. Use within 3-6 months for the best flavor.

Dried ones should be stored in the pantry for a couple of weeks if they are totally dried. Add them to freezer bags and freeze them for longer storage. Dried bread crumbs will last about a year frozen.

What can you do with homemade bread crumbs?

You can use homemade bread crumbs in various dishes and recipes. Here are some ideas:

  1. Breading for fried or baked foods: Use them to bread fried or baked foods such as chicken, fish, or vegetables. Dip the food in beaten egg, then coat with bread crumbs before cooking.
  2. Meatballs or meatloaf: You can use them as a binder in meatballs or meatloaf recipes. We use fresh bread crumbs, which do a better job as a binder. 
  3. Casseroles or gratins: Bread crumbs can be sprinkled on casseroles or gratins to create a crispy, golden-brown topping.
  4. Stuffing or dressing: Bread crumbs are a crucial ingredient in stuffing or dressing for poultry, pork, or vegetarian dishes.
  5. Thickening soups or sauces: Use them to thicken soups or sauces, especially if you want to avoid using flour or cornstarch.
  6. Topping for pasta dishes: Sprinkle homemade bread crumbs on top of pasta dishes such as macaroni and cheese or spaghetti carbonara to add texture and flavor.
  7. Substitute for croutons: Sprinkle them on top of salads for a bit of added crunch when you run out of croutons.

Overall, homemade bread crumbs are a versatile ingredient that can add flavor, texture, and nutrition to a wide range of dishes. With a bit of creativity, you can find many ways to use them in your cooking.

Helpful tools

More recipes for pantry items

For a peek at the common things we keep in our fully stocked pantry, check here.

Wooden bowls of bread crumbs with a black and tan checked towel.Pin
Seasoned Dry Bread Crumbs

Making bread crumbs at home is a fast, easy project that is totally customizable and will save you money.

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today!

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Wooden bowl filled with bread crumbs.Pin

How to Make Bread Crumbs from Stale Bread

We’ll show you how to turn stale bread into crispy, flavorful bread crumbs that you can use in a variety of dishes. Let’s get started!
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: pantry item
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 437kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs 2-6 slices of bread, depending on the size

For seasoned bread crumbs

  • 1 drizzle Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoon parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon basil
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • salt optional

Instructions

For fresh bread crumbs

  • When you have rolls with seeded crusts, just cut off most of the top crust.
  • Break bread into pieces. Add them to your food processor. If your crusts are hard, remove the crust.
  • Pulse until pieces are your desired size.
  • Spread them out on a parchment-covered baking sheet, in a thin layer.
  • Freeze. Once frozen, quickly place them in jars or freezer bags and freeze. Freezing them first will keep them separated so that they will be easy to remove specific quantities for your needs.

For dried, plain

  • Preheat oven. See notes below for temperatures and times. Baking them at higher temperatures will require watching, so they don’t get too browned.
    We usually bake them at lower temperatures. This is because lower temps will dry them rather than bake them.
  • Perform steps one, two, three and four above. Bake for specified time. Flip them half way through.
  • Check them after allotted time has past. If the larger pieces don't seem dry, add additional time.
  • Remove. Cool. Store.

For dried, seasoned

  • Complete steps one, two, and three above.
  • Add spices that you would like to use to a small bowl. Mix well.
  • Drizzle the fresh crumbs with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
  • Add spices. Mix well, but gently.
  • Spread them On a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for time specified below. Flip them half way through.
  • Check them after allotted time has past. If the larger pieces don't seem dry, add additional time.
  • Remove. Cool. Store.
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Notes

Nutrition values are based on one cup of seasoned, dry bread crumbs.
How long should bake them?
Caution: The hotter your oven is, the less time they will need to bake, but the greater the chance they get too browned. Keep a close eye on them at higher temperatures.
Time is based on fairly small pieces of bread. Adjust the time as needed to dry them thoroughly.
200°F/ 90°C bake for 30-40 minutes
225°F/100°C bake for about 20 minutes
250°F/120°C bake for 10-20 minutes
300°F/145°C bake for 8-10 minutes
Use any leftover bread or rolls to bake bread crumbs. Even cornbread will work and makes delicious stuffing.
How to store them
Fresh bread crumbs can be refrigerated for 3-4 days. Freeze them in bags for longer storage. See the section above for fresh bread crumbs for helpful tips. Use within 3-6 months for the best flavor.
Dried ones should be stored in the pantry for a couple of weeks if they are totally dried. Add them to freezer bags and freeze them for longer storage. Dried bread crumbs will last about a year frozen.

Nutrition

Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 791mg | Potassium: 218mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 14IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 206mg | Iron: 5mg
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Originally published March 1, 2023.

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’m not throwing away stale bread again. This quick and easy breadcrumb recipe is a perfect use for it.

  2. 5 stars
    Love this and I’ll definitely make this again! We always have more leftover bread than we can consume.

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