How to Make Breadcrumbs

Learn how to make breadcrumbs at home! Crispy, crunchy, and tossed with flavorful seasonings, they're a delicious topping for pasta, salads, and more.

Homemade breadcrumbs

Wait! Don’t toss that stale bread on your counter. Use it to make homemade breadcrumbs instead!

Up until recently, Jack and I rarely had stale bread hanging around the house. We just weren’t bread people. Every so often, we’d get a good crusty loaf to enjoy with a pot of soup, or Jack would make his own bread for a fun weekend project. But regular old sandwich bread? Nope, we never had it on hand.

But over the last year or so, Jack has started making sandwiches for lunch instead of going out or ordering in like he used to. As a result, we always have a loaf of bread in the kitchen…and I’ve fallen in love with homemade breadcrumbs. They’re crispy, crunchy, toasty, and rich, and you can season them up however you’d like. Toss them with a little lemon zest and grated pecorino cheese, and you have a tasty topping for almost anything. Pastas, salads, grain bowls… The store-bought kind is nowhere near as good.

Sourdough bread, grated cheese, lemon zest, olive oil, and salt

Homemade Breadcrumbs Recipe Ingredients

This recipe starts with 3 basic ingredients:

  • Bread, of course!  I like to use sourdough for its tangy flavor, but really, any type of bread will do. Stale bread works especially well, but because we’ll be toasting these breadcrumbs in the oven, fresh bread is fine too. It’ll just take a little longer to crisp up.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – It deepens the breadcrumbs’ flavor and helps them get toasty and golden in the oven.
  • And salt – To make the toasty, bread-y flavors pop!

If you want to make basic homemade breadcrumbs, that’s all you’ll need! But if you’re planning to use the breadcrumbs as a crispy topping for a pasta, a salad, or a casserole, I highly recommend seasoning them more. I like to toss mine with lemon zest and savory pecorino cheese. Vegan Parmesan, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and/or red pepper flakes would be great choices too.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Fresh bread crumbs in a food processor

How to Make Breadcrumbs

My method for how to make breadcrumbs is super simple! Here’s how it goes:

First, pulse the bread. Tear the bread slices into small pieces. Then, place the pieces of bread in a food processor and pulse to achieve your desired texture. For really fine breadcrumbs, remove the crust from the bread before you pulse it.

Hand spooning toasted bread crumbs into a bowl with cheese and lemon zest

Next, toast the breadcrumbs. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and toss them with the olive oil and salt. Spread them in an even layer, and bake at 350°F for 10-18 minutes, tossing halfway. They’re ready when they’re golden brown and crisp.

Then, season the breadcrumbs. This step is totally optional, but highly recommended. While the breadcrumbs are still warm, transfer them to a bowl and toss them with your desired seasonings. After you toss everything together, adjust the seasoning to taste.

That’s it! Sprinkle the seasoned breadcrumbs over anything that could use a crispy, crunchy topping. I love them on this cauliflower pasta, and they’re also a good sub for the croutons in this Caesar salad.

If you have a favorite way to use homemade breadcrumbs, let me know in the comments!

Homemade breadcrumbs recipe

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Homemade Breadcrumbs

rate this recipe:
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves 4
The next time you have a hunk of stale bread on your counter, follow this recipe to make homemade breadcrumbs! Seasoned breadcrumbs will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. After that, store them in the freezer, re-crisping them in the oven as necessary.


Seasoned Breadcrumbs:

optional additional seasonings:


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Pulse the bread pieces in the food processor until crumbly. For fine breadcrumbs, pulse more, for coarse breadcrumbs, pulse less.
  • Spread the crumbs on the baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt, and bake 10 to 18 minutes, tossing halfway, until golden brown and toasted.
  • Combine the lemon zest and cheese at the bottom of a large bowl. Add the breadcrumbs as they come out of the oven and toss. Taste and add any additional seasonings you like.


*For fine breadcrumbs, remove the crusts of your bread.


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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. CATHY

    Can you tell me how these bread crumbs would be on fried artichoke hearts? I would add the pecorino to them and just want to make sure they would adhere before I make them up. I do about 10 cans of hearts so wondering how much I would need to make. Thanks

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Cathy, for breaded foods like that I prefer to just use store-bought panko breadcrumbs. These should work too if you pulse them so that they’re fine enough to adhere without falling off.

  2. robert eckel

    5 stars
    I would not have thought of adding lemon zest . That is really tasty and so easy . Thank you for the recipe .

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved them!

  3. Janet phillips

    5 stars
    Super simple and just what I needed. Thanks!!!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.