14 Best Breadcrumbs Substitutes For Frying

Breadcrumbs have long been a staple ingredient when it comes to achieving that perfect crunch in frying recipes. However, finding suitable breadcrumbs substitutes for frying can be crucial if you’re gluten-sensitive, on a keto diet, or simply out of breadcrumbs.

But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with 14 great alternatives for breadcrumbs, each offering its unique flavor and texture, and some of them are gluten-free and low-carb.

frying breaded fish in oil using breadcrumbs substitutes

Looking for the perfect breadcrumbs substitute for frying? Check out this handy table to find the one that’s just right for you!

SubstituteBest ForWhy Are These Good Breadcrumbs Substitutes?
CornflakesChicken, FishUnique, slightly sweeter crunch. Often gluten-free.
PankoSeafood, ChickenLighter, airier texture; often used in gourmet recipes.
Ground Pork RindsKeto recipes, FishZero-carb, high-protein, and gluten-free with a meaty crunch.
Crushed CrackersVegetables, Cheese sticksVaried flavors based on the type of cracker used.
Rolled OatsHealthier options, ChickenHigh in fiber with a softer crunch. Gluten-free.
Almond MealFish, Gluten-free recipesNutrient-rich, nutty texture. Gluten-free and low-carb.
Coconut FlakesTropical dishes, ShrimpUnique tropical flavor. Gluten-free.
Rice KrispiesUnique textures, FishLighter, popping texture. Often gluten-free.
Quinoa FlakesHealth-conscious dishesComplete protein source with a softer texture. Gluten-free.
Grated ParmesanItalian dishes, Zucchini friesLow-carb and gluten-free; melts to create a crispy texture.
Flaxseed MealMeat, VegetablesHigh in omega-3 and fiber; gluten-free and low-carb. Nutty flavor.
Sesame SeedsMeat, VegetablesDistinctive crunch, rich in nutrients. Gluten-free.
Nutritional Yeast FlakesVegetarian dishes, TofuCheesy flavor without dairy. Gluten-free and high in B vitamins.
Crushed Potato ChipsCasual fare, FishCrispy texture with pre-seasoned flavor.

Read Also: How To Deep Fry Food At Home? — Oil Temperatures And Cooking Times.

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1. Crushed Cornflakes

crushed cornflakes as breadcrumbs substitutes

Cornflakes are not just for your morning cereal bowl. When crushed finely, they transform into an ideal breading material that works incredibly well for frying.

Best for

Primarily known for pairing well with chicken and fish, cornflakes add a distinctive, slightly sweet note to fried foods. Their inherent crunchiness maintains its character, even under the influence of hot oil.

How to Use?

Simply take your cornflakes and crush them into fine crumbs using a rolling pin or a food processor. Then, proceed to coat your chicken, fish, or vegetables just like you would with regular breadcrumbs.

Why Are Crushed Cornflakes A Good Substitute for Breadcrumbs?

Cornflakes are often gluten-free, but you should always check the packaging to make sure. Besides being a gluten-free option, they add an extra layer of crunch, providing a surprising textural element to your dishes.

How Does It Compare to Breadcrumbs?

When compared to breadcrumbs, cornflakes offer a crunchier, multi-dimensional texture. They also bring a subtle corn flavor that works well with a variety of spices and herbs.

2. Panko

panko breadcrumbs for frying

Panko crumbs are a Japanese-style breadcrumb known for their lighter, airy texture. These breadcrumbs are distinctively flakier, resulting in a crunch that feels different from traditional breadcrumbs.

Best for

Panko works exceptionally well with seafood and chicken, where its airy texture and ability to absorb less oil add a gourmet touch to the dishes.

How to Use?

Using Panko as a breadcrumb substitute is straightforward. It’s generally a one-for-one replacement, and you can mix it with herbs and spices for enhanced flavor.

Why Is Panko A Good Alternative for Breadcrumbs?

Note that Panko usually contains gluten. However, it tends to absorb less oil, resulting in a lighter, crispier texture in the final dish.

Comparison to Breadcrumbs

Panko crumbs offer a different crunch experience; they are less dense, and their flakiness provides a softer, almost delicate bite.

3. Ground Pork Rinds

pork rinds are gluten free substitute for breadcrumbs

Ground pork rinds, made from pig skin, might seem like an unconventional choice for frying, but they offer a keto-friendly alternative that brings a unique flavor profile and texture.

Best for

These are particularly suitable for keto and low-carb dieters and lend themselves well to fried fish recipes, where their robust, meaty flavor shines.

How to Use?

First, you’ll need to crush the pork rinds into a breadcrumb-like consistency. This can be done manually or with a food processor. Once crushed, proceed to use them as a coating for your protein.

Why Are Ground Pork Rinds A Good Alternative for Breadcrumbs?

Pork rinds are a zero-carb, high-protein alternative to breadcrumbs, fitting the bill for those following a ketogenic or low-carb diet.

Comparison to Breadcrumbs

While breadcrumbs offer a soft, almost pillowy crunch, pork rinds present a more substantial, meatier crunch and a decidedly different flavor, bordering on umami.

4. Crushed Crackers

using crushed crackers instead of breadcrumbs

Believe it or not, crushed crackers can serve as a nifty breadcrumb substitute. You can choose from various types—like Saltines or Ritz—to suit the flavor profile of your dish.

Best for

Crackers can be used to bread vegetables and cheese sticks, offering a unique taste and texture. The saltiness and additional flavors from the crackers can impart nuanced flavors to your dish.

How to Use?

Crushing crackers is simple: place them in a plastic bag and roll them into fine crumbs using a rolling pin. If you’re looking for a more consistent texture, a food processor works well, too.

Why Are Crushed Crackers Good Substitute for Breadcrumbs?

Crackers typically contain gluten, so be cautious if you have gluten sensitivities. However, they offer a variety of seasoning options, such as buttery or herb-infused, which can enrich the flavor palette of your dish.

How Does It Compare to Breadcrumbs?

Crackers tend to offer a similar texture to breadcrumbs but come with the benefit of varied seasonings, making each bite a bit more exciting and complex.

5. Rolled Oats

using oats instead of breadcrumbs

Rolled oats, commonly associated with breakfast porridge, can also serve as a breadcrumb substitute. They offer a different texture and a health benefit or two.

Best for

If you’re aiming for a healthier fry, rolled oats work well with chicken and vegetable dishes. Their natural nuttiness adds a comforting flavor profile.

How to Use?

You’ll want to pulse the rolled oats in a food processor until they reach a breadcrumb-like texture. Feel free to mix them with herbs or even a sprinkle of grated cheese for more nuanced flavors.

Why Are Oats A Good Substitute for Breadcrumbs?

Rolled oats are typically gluten-free (although cross-contamination in processing facilities can occur, so always check the packaging). They’re also rich in fiber, making them a wholesome option for those looking to add nutritional value to their fried dishes.


Compared to breadcrumbs, rolled oats have a softer crunch and a nutty flavor profile, offering a complex, multi-layered eating experience.

By now, this guide should arm you with multiple creative alternatives to breadcrumbs for your frying adventures.

6. Almond Meal

using almond meal for breadcrumbs

Almond meal is made from ground almonds and serves as a versatile ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. It’s especially popular as a gluten-free and low-carb alternative to traditional flours and breadcrumbs. Rich in nutrients like protein and healthy fats, almond meal adds a nutty flavor and textured bite to recipes, making it a unique and health-conscious choice for frying.

Best for

Almond meal is excellent for frying fish and serves as a key ingredient in various gluten-free recipes. Its texture adheres well to the fish, making it a reliable option for frying.

How to Use?

Pat your protein or vegetable dry and dip it into a beaten egg. Coat evenly with almond meal. Fry in hot oil until golden brown, then drain on paper towels. Enjoy your gluten-free, crispy dish!

Why Is Almond Meal A Good Substitute for Breadcrumbs?

Almond meal is both nutrient-rich and gluten-free, making it an excellent alternative to breadcrumbs for those with dietary restrictions. Being low-carb, it is also a boon for those following keto diets. The nutty flavor brings a new depth to dishes that ordinary breadcrumbs simply can’t match.

How Does It Compare to Breadcrumbs?

Compared to breadcrumbs, almond meal offers a distinctly nuttier and more textured bite. This quality adds a layer of complexity to fried foods, which can make your dishes stand out in a memorable way.

7. Coconut Flakes

Coconut flakes are shredded pieces of coconut meat that are commonly used in both sweet and savory dishes. They provide a unique tropical flavor and a crispy texture when used as a breadcrumb substitute for frying.

Also, being gluten-free, they are a fantastic option for those with dietary restrictions, and their sweet, exotic taste can elevate a dish from ordinary to extraordinary.

Best for

Coconut flakes are a match made in heaven for tropical dishes, particularly when frying shrimp. Their sweet flavor complements seafood remarkably well.

How to Use?

To use coconut flakes as a breadcrumbs substitute for frying, first, lightly toast the flakes in a dry skillet over low heat until they are golden brown. This enhances their flavor and makes them crispier.

Next, set up your typical breading station with flour, beaten eggs, and now your toasted coconut flakes instead of breadcrumbs.

First, dredge your chosen protein (like shrimp or chicken) in the flour, then dip it into the beaten eggs, and finally coat it generously with the toasted coconut flakes.

Proceed to fry as you would normally. The toasted coconut flakes will adhere well to the egg, creating a tropical, crispy crust when fried.

Why Are Coconut Flakes A Good Substitute for Breadcrumbs?

Coconut flakes are gluten-free and add a unique tropical flavor to your fried foods. The sweet and crispy texture they provide can transform a standard dish into something extraordinary.

Contrast with Breadcrumbs

While breadcrumbs offer a generally savory crunch, coconut flakes provide a crispy, sweet exterior. The flavor is so distinct that it can make you feel like you’re dining in a tropical paradise.

8. Rice Krispies

rice Krispies are a great alternative for breadcrumbs

Rice Krispies are a puffed rice cereal known for their distinctive “snap, crackle, and pop” when milk is added. Often used in desserts like Rice Krispies Treats, they also serve as a unique, often gluten-free alternative to breadcrumbs for frying. Their light, airy texture offers a playful twist, providing a less dense but equally crispy crust for your fried foods.

Best for

Rice Krispies are ideal for those who want to add a playful texture to their fried fish. Unfortunately, they’re often not gluten-free, making them unsuitable for those with specific dietary needs.

How to Use?

To use Rice Krispies as a breadcrumbs substitute for frying, start by placing the cereal in a zip-top bag or between two sheets of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin or the flat bottom of a pan to crush them into smaller pieces, aiming for a texture similar to traditional breadcrumbs.

Once crushed, place the Rice Krispies crumbs in a shallow dish and proceed to dredge your protein or vegetables in it, just as you would with regular breadcrumbs.

Fry according to your recipe’s instructions for a light, popping texture that’s often gluten-free and a delightful change from the norm.

Why Are Rice Krispies A Good Alternative for Breadcrumbs?

Rice Krispies offer a different experience with their light, popping texture. Often gluten-free, they’re also a more inclusive option for people who have gluten sensitivities.

Difference from Breadcrumbs

In contrast to the denser texture of breadcrumbs, Rice Krispies provide a lighter, airier crust. Their unique popping crunch offers a distinct tactile experience that can make your dish more engaging.

9. Quinoa Flakes

using quinoa flakes for substitute breadcrumbs

Quinoa flakes are created by steam-rolling whole quinoa grains, resulting in a flat, quick-cooking product. They offer a subtle, nutty flavor and are rich in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients.

These flakes are gluten-free and can serve as an excellent alternative to breadcrumbs for those looking for a health-conscious option. They work well in a variety of recipes, providing a lighter, nuttier texture in comparison to traditional breadcrumbs.

Best for

Quinoa flakes are great for health-conscious eaters and work well in recipes that aim for higher nutrient content. Their subtle flavor doesn’t overpower the dish, allowing other ingredients to shine.

How to Use?

To use quinoa flakes as a breadcrumbs substitute for frying, first measure out the amount of quinoa flakes you’ll need for your recipe. Place the flakes in a shallow dish for easy dredging.

Lightly coat your chosen protein or vegetable with a layer of flour, dip it into a beaten egg mixture for adhesion, and finally coat it evenly with the quinoa flakes. Once coated, proceed to fry your food in hot oil until it reaches a golden-brown color.

Why Are Quinoa Flakes A Good Substitute for Breadcrumbs?

As a complete protein and gluten-free option, quinoa flakes are both nutritious and inclusive. They’re rich in essential amino acids and vitamins, making them a healthful choice for those looking to substitute breadcrumbs.

Check out more rolled grains here.


Quinoa flakes are softer and offer a nuttier texture compared to traditional breadcrumbs. They can make your dish feel lighter while adding a unique, earthy flavor.

10. Grated Parmesan

Using grated Parmesan as substitute breadcrumbs

Grated Parmesan is a hard, aged cheese that’s finely ground into granules or shreds. It’s often used in Italian cuisine but has gained global popularity as a versatile ingredient.

When used as a substitute for breadcrumbs in frying, it melts to create a crispy, cheesy crust that’s both flavorful and satisfying, setting it apart from the more neutral taste of traditional breadcrumbs.

Being both low-carb and gluten-free, it’s an excellent option for those with dietary restrictions.

Best for

Grated Parmesan is a versatile choice, excellent for adding a cheesy twist to Italian dishes or coating zucchini fries. Its high melting point ensures a crispy exterior when fried.

How to Use?

To use grated Parmesan as a breadcrumb substitute for frying, start by placing the grated cheese in a shallow dish. Dredge your protein or vegetable of choice in a thin layer of flour, followed by a dip in beaten egg to help the cheese adhere.

Finally, coat the item thoroughly in the grated Parmesan, pressing lightly to ensure an even coating. Fry as you normally would, keeping in mind that Parmesan tends to brown quickly, so adjust your cooking time or temperature as needed. Enjoy your crispy, cheesy, gluten-free crust!

Why Is Grated Parmesan A Good Substitute for Breadcrumbs?

Parmesan cheese is both low-carb and gluten-free, which accommodates various diets. Its rich, salty flavor adds a unique dimension to fried foods that are different from what you’d get with breadcrumbs.


Grated Parmesan offers a robust, cheesy flavor compared to the relatively neutral taste of breadcrumbs. When fried, it melts into a crispy layer that’s incredibly satisfying, making it a crowd-pleaser in many fried dishes.

Feel free to incorporate these enriched sections into your article for a more comprehensive and informative read!

11. Flaxseed Meal

using Flaxseed Meal instead of breadcrumbs

Flaxseed meal is made from ground flaxseeds and is known for its nutty flavor and a plethora of health benefits, including omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

Best for

Flaxseed meal is incredibly versatile and pairs well with both meat and vegetable dishes. It has a natural affinity for flavors like garlic and rosemary, making it ideal for more savory fried items.

How to Use?

You can use flaxseed meal directly as a coating, although mixing it with herbs and spices is a fantastic way to enhance its natural flavors. For a more uniform texture, some people prefer to mix it with another keto-friendly option like grated Parmesan cheese.

Why Is Flaxseed Meal A Good Replacement for Breadcrumbs?

Flaxseed meal is not only gluten-free but also rich in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids. It’s a low-carb option that’s also high in fiber and protein, making it a multi-benefit addition to your keto or gluten-free lifestyle.


While breadcrumbs offer a more neutral taste, flaxseed meal provides a nuttier, more textured bite. Its darker color also adds a unique visual element to the dish, making it both delicious and appealing to the eye.

This ingredient not only serves as a substitute but also amps up the nutritional content of your dishes, offering a unique, health-conscious alternative for your frying needs.

12. Sesame Seeds

Bowl of Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are tiny, oil-rich seeds that have been used in cooking for thousands of years. They are popular in both sweet and savory dishes and can be used whole, ground, or toasted.

Best for

Sesame seeds are versatile and can be used for coating meat like chicken or fish, as well as vegetables. Their unique flavor profile brings an exotic touch to ordinary fried dishes.

How to Use?

For a finer texture, you can lightly grind the sesame seeds in a blender or spice grinder. You can also use them whole for a more pronounced texture. They can be mixed with other breadcrumb substitutes like flaxseed meal or Parmesan for a multi-dimensional coating.

Why Are Sesame Seeds A Good Substitute for Breadcrumbs?

Sesame seeds are gluten-free and offer a unique, nutty flavor. Rich in healthy fats and protein, they also bring additional nutrients like calcium and magnesium to your dish, making them a health-conscious choice.


Compared to breadcrumbs, sesame seeds offer a distinctive crunch and a complex, nutty flavor. Unlike breadcrumbs, they won’t absorb much of the oil, resulting in a lighter, crisper texture.

Sesame seeds not only offer a gluten-free alternative but also contribute essential nutrients and a global flair to your fried dishes. Keep in mind, however, that sesame seeds can be allergenic to some people, so consider your audience when choosing this option.

13. Nutritional Yeast Flakes

using nutritional yeast flakes instead of breadcrumbs

Nutritional yeast flakes are a superb breadcrumbs substitute for frying, especially suitable for vegan and vegetarian dishes. They are generally gluten-free and low-carb, making them a great choice for those with dietary restrictions.

These flakes offer a cheesy, umami flavor, enriching your fried foods with a unique, savory taste.

Read more about Nutritional Yeast – Vegan Superfood or Not Really?

Best for

Nutritional yeast flakes are best for vegetarian and vegan dishes. They are commonly used for coating tofu, tempeh, or even vegetables for frying.

How to Use?

To use nutritional yeast flakes as a breadcrumb substitute for frying, start by measuring out the same amount of nutritional yeast flakes as you would breadcrumbs in your recipe. Then, in a shallow bowl, mix the flakes with any spices or herbs you’d like to include for additional flavor.

Dredge your protein or vegetables in a wet batter (like a beaten egg) and then coat them evenly with the nutritional yeast mixture. Fry as you normally would, following your recipe’s instructions for temperature and time.

The result will be a crispy, cheesy-flavored crust that’s both dairy-free and gluten-free.

Why Are Nutritional Yeast Flakes A Good Switch for Breadcrumbs?

Nutritional yeast offers a cheesy flavor without dairy, making it an excellent option for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan. Moreover, it’s gluten-free and a rich source of B vitamins, making it a nutritious option as well.


Unlike breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast provides a cheese-like flavor that can add a new dimension to your dish. The texture is softer, so it won’t offer the same kind of crunch as breadcrumbs, but it compensates with a robust, savory flavor.

14. Crushed Potato Chips

crushing potato chips in a bag

Crushed potato chips can serve as a delectable and ultra-crispy alternative to traditional breadcrumbs. Ideal for frying chicken or fish, these chips offer a seasoned, salty crunch that can take your dish to the next level.

Many potato chips are also gluten-free, making them a viable option for those with gluten sensitivities; however, it’s essential to check the label to be certain.

Best for

Crushed potato chips are great for casual fare and are especially good for coating fish or even chicken for a fun twist.

How to Use?

To use crushed potato chips as a substitute for breadcrumbs in frying, start by choosing your favorite flavor of potato chips. Place them in a resealable plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into fine crumbs.

Alternatively, you can pulse the chips in a food processor until they reach a breadcrumb-like consistency. Then, simply dredge your protein or vegetable in flour and egg, as you usually would, before coating them in the crushed potato chips.

Proceed to fry until golden brown and crispy. Enjoy your unique, crunchy, and flavorful dish!

Why Are Crushed Potato Chips A Good Replacement for Breadcrumbs?

Potato chips come pre-seasoned and provide an immediate crispy texture. They are usually not gluten-free and are not low-carb, but they do offer a unique flavor profile that can make your fried foods stand out.


The texture of crushed potato chips is extremely crispy and can offer more flavor variations depending on the chip variety you choose. Compared to breadcrumbs, the result will be much crunchier and more intensely flavored, thanks to the pre-seasoning on the chips.

Remember, the best substitute depends on your specific needs—whether that’s to accommodate a gluten-free diet, reduce carb intake, or simply create a dish with a unique twist.

Ready to swap out those breadcrumbs and still get that crave-worthy crunch? Go ahead and give these substitutes a try in your kitchen. Trust me; you will be pleasantly surprised.

Happy frying!

Related Article: Why Soak Potatoes Before Frying? (What Do Chefs Say).

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About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.