If you’re still buying breadcrumbs from the store, this is your sign to make homemade Italian breadcrumbs from scratch. I never buy store-bought breadcrumbs, since my family and I have been making our own for as long as I can remember. The taste of homemade breadcrumbs is unbeatable–fresher, deeper flavor, and crunchier texture–plus, in making them, you can support your favorite bakery by purchasing a loaf of their fresh bread. This simple recipe is excellent because it yields a large portion, which you can freeze, so you always have fresh breadcrumbs on hand. I store them in the freezer, in a resuable freezer bag, for up to 6 months. You don’t even need to thaw them–you can take them straight from the freezer and start cooking; they don’t clump up. I use these breadcrumbs for chicken cutlets, chicken parm, or any recipe that calls for breading. Made from fresh bread, and combined with nutty Parmigiano Reggiano, this easy pantry staple will elevate any dish.
- 2 fresh baguettes cut into pieces and dried overnight
- 2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (good quality cheese only)
- dry herbs, such as oregano, parsley, or Italian seasoning (optional)
- Cut the baguettes into thick slices and let them dry overnight. (For this part of the recipe, we store our bread in an unsealed bag or in a baking dish.) Alternatively, you can freeze any stale bread ends and collect them until you are ready to make breadcrumbs.
- The next day, the bread should be nice and hard. Using a powerful blender or food processor, add a few pieces at a time, and blend in batches at low speed, gradually turing up the speed to high, about 20 to 30 seconds total. The bread pieces should turn into fine crumbs. (I work with about 5 slices of bread at a time in my Vitamix.) Transfer the blended batches to a large bowl. Repeat until all of the bread is blended to fine crumbs.
- Add the grated cheese to the bowl of bread crumbs. Measure the cheese with your heart; there are no specific measurements here as you can add as much cheese as your heart desires.
- Give everything a good mix, and feel free to add any herbs of choice. At this point, I transfer the breadcrumbs to a resealable freezer bag, but you could also use them straight away in a recipe.
- The breadcrumbs will not clump up and you can use them straight out of the freezer without having to thaw them.