Making your own gluten-free breadcrumbs is easy, quick and more economical than using store-bought. Here are three different methods and our thoughts on which ones are best suited for different types of recipes.

How To Make Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are a key ingredient in all sorts of delicious dishes, like meatballs, meatloaf, fried chicken, gratins and fruit crisps, to name a few.

Consequently, having a good substitution for conventional breadcrumbs is a must for any well-stocked, gluten-free kitchen. Fortunately, they're really easy to make and store (see below)!

Three Ways to Make Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs

Here are three different ways to make gluten-free breadcrumbs. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, so you may want to experiment yourself and keep a couple of varieties on hand for different types of recipes.

METHOD #1 – USING GLUTEN-FREE BREAD

This method is the most obvious way to make gluten-free breadcrumbs, but it's also the most time-consuming and expensive.

These crumbs make a deliciously crunchy bread coating but don't perform all that well as a binder.

You need a larger quantity of these crumbs to work in recipes like meatballs and meatloaf, and as a result, the flavor and texture of the bread competes with the other ingredients.

You'll need about 2 ounces of stale bread to make 1 cup of breadcrumbs.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and coat a baking sheet with olive oil spray.
  2. Place the bread in a toaster and toast until lightly browned. (See note below)
  3. Chop the toasted bread, place in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse into coarse, panko-sized crumbs.
  4. Spread the crumbs on the prepared baking sheet and coat lightly with olive oil spray.
  5. Bake until lightly toasted, 3 to 5 minutes (watch carefully not to over brown them).
  6. Note: If you're using fresh (not stale) bread, you'll need to dry the slices in a 300°F oven for 5 minutes before proceeding with the other instructions.

METHOD #2 – USING GLUTEN-FREE PRETZELS

This is the solution I use for most of my gluten free breadcrumbs as it delivers consistently good results with minimal effort and expense.

These crumbs make a tasty breaded coating that adheres well, browns nicely and stays crisp. They also make moist, flavorful meatballs that hold their shape in sauce, even when leftover.

Be sure to see my tips for making gluten-free meatballs below!

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and coat a baking sheet with olive oil spray.
  2. Break up enough pretzels to make 2 cups and place them in the work bowl of a food processor.
  3. Pulse into panko-sized crumbs and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake until lightly toasted, 3 to 5 minutes.

METHOD #3 – USING RICE CEREAL

This method is widely recommended online but is actually my least-favorite gluten-free breadcrumb substitution. I've found that rice cereal has a tendency to absorb more moisture from other ingredients than the breadcrumbs made from pretzels or stale bread.

Consequently, these crumbs are not a top choice if you're looking for a crispy coating on something like chicken fingers or oven-fried fish.

They do work as a binder in meatballs though and are great as a topping for fruit crisps or veggie casseroles when added toward the end of the baking time.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and coat a baking sheet with olive oil spray.
  2. Place 2 cups of Chex-style rice cereal in a food processor and pulse into coarse, panko-sized crumbs.
  3. Spread the crumbs on the prepared baking sheet and coat lightly with the olive oil spray.
  4. Bake until lightly toasted, 3 to 5 minutes (watch carefully not to over brown them).

TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST GLUTEN-FREE MEATBALLS

I have found that no matter what kind of gluten-free breadcrumbs I use, I have to bake my meatballs (35 minutes at 400°F) before adding them to sauce as they tend to fall apart when fried.

The baked version holds up in pasta sauce without turning into Bolognese, even when stored as leftovers.

Need a gluten-free pasta recommendation for those perfect meatballs you're making? We have you covered. Check out our post: Best Gluten-Free Substitutions: Pasta Brands.

STORING HOMEMADE GLUTEN-FREE BREADCRUMBS

All of these breadcrumbs can be made ahead in larger quantities and frozen in airtight containers or zip-top freezer bags for up to 2 months.

About the author: Contributing author Jennifer Partridge is an artist, teacher, home school mom and experienced cook who has perfected a delicious gluten-free lifestyle. Look for her advice, recipes and gluten-free substitutions throughout the site.

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