What Is Panko?
Panko is Japanese bread crumbs that are made by crushing bread into powder. Generally it’s used for the coating of various types of deep-fried dishes in Japan.
When you make Japanese deep-fried dishes, for example, tonkatsu, fried shrimp, and croquette, it’s highly recommended to use panko instead of normal breadcrumbs.
Breadcrumbs sold in countries other than Japan are pretty finely crushed most of the time. Japanese one, on the other hand, is more roughly crashed bread powder, and that’s why it can make the fried dish extremely crunchy.
By the way, there are 2 types of panko: Raw panko and Dried panko.
▲Raw Panko: roughly crushed white bread
▲Dried Panko: normally finer than raw panko
Good Substitutes for Panko
You can probably get panko at Japanese (or Asian) grocery stores or online.
However, what if you can’t find any of it?
Here, I would like to introduce 10 best substitutes for panko that you can use so easy at home.
1. White Bread
White bread that you can get from stores can be good substitute because it’s almost the same material as the one of Japanese panko.
To make panko from white bread, it’s easier to use a food processor if you have one. Tear the bread off by your hands, and put it in a food processor. This can be good substitute for raw panko if you use it as it is.
Also, you can rest it in the refrigerator overnight to make dried panko.
If you don’t have a food processor, you should probably freeze the bread first, then grate it with the grater. The grated bread will be dried panko if you roast it in a frying pan or microwave it a little.
All you need to do is that putting the crackers in a plastic bag, and crushing them well. You can enjoy a crunchy texture by crushing it roughly.
I would recommend to use the one with no flavor, plain type of crackers so that it would be great substitute for panko. But if you don’t mind the flavor, you can use the one with some flavor, cheese or something else.
Cereals are also great substitute for panko, and it would create nice and crunchy texture. If you want to enjoy the texture more, maybe it’s better to crush just a little. Even the not crushed cereals are okay to use for coating of the fried foods. In that way, it’s a little hard to eat, but the texture would be very interesting.
Sugar coated cereals tend to make the dish too sweet and might ruin the food, so I would recommend to use non-sugar cereals.
4. Somen Noodles / Gelatin Noodles
When you use somen noodles or gelatin noodles (harusame), you don’t need to soak them in water in advance. Please just cut them into bite-sized, and use it as it is.
It’s not crunchy as panko, but crispy and great. But, be careful not to use too long noodles, otherwise it would hurt in your mouth.
▲Gelatin Noodles (Harusame)
You can substitute your favorite nuts, for example, almond and peanuts for panko.
All you need to do is that putting the nuts in a plastic bag, and crushing them well. The small nuts would be difficult to crush, if so you should use a rolling pin or something like that.
Nuts panko will give you great scent of nuts, and perfect match with oil.
Sesame has great flavor as you know, and matches so well with deep-frying dishes.
You don’t need to crush them when you use sesame, so it’s very easy to use.
There are 2 types of sesame: the black sesame and white sesame, and please use whichever you like.
7. Rice Crackers
Rice crackers (Senbei in Japanese) are very popular snack in Japan, and can be great substitute for panko.
Just like normal crackers, please crush them before cooking.
You will see rice crackers with soy sauce flavor, salty flavor, or sweet flavor at Asian grocery stores. I would say the salty flavor or soy sauce flavor matches better with fried food rather than the sweet one, but please try some of them to see what’s your favorite taste.
Probably you should use the thinly sliced ingredients, and take a shorter time to deep-fry because the rice crackers are easy to burn.
8. Okara (Soy Milk Pulp)
Okara is the residue that remains when squeezing soy milk in the process of producing tofu from soybeans.
What Is Okara and How Is It Used?
There are 2 types of okara: raw okara and dried (roasted) okara.
If you use raw okara as panko, the deep-fried dishes will be just like the one with raw panko which has more volume in size. And if you use the roasted one, it would be just like the one with dried panko which has more light texture.
9. Fu (Wheat Gluten Cake)
Fu is a processed food produced from wheat gluten as main raw material.
What Is Gluten Cake in Japan?
Fu is supposed to be used after it’s soaked in water to make it soft, but please use without doing that for panko. To make panko from fu, just grate the dried fu as it is.
Actually there are various types of fu, and it’s better to use the one that has hard and big texture, and easy to grate.
The texture of panko made from fu has neither crunchy nor crispy, but it has kind of like chewy texture.
10. Koya-Dofu (Freeze-dried Tofu)
Koya-dofu is a freeze-dried tofu. Tofu is freezed, aged at low temperature, and dried in the manufacturing process. The texture is hard and dried, so normally it’s soaked in water before cooking.
Just like “fu”, koya-dofu also should be grated as it is without being soaked in water.
Panko made from koya-dofu is totally different from the others, it has smooth and powdery texture.
How was the 10 best substitutes for panko?
If you have a chance, please try those materials for making deep-fried dishes.
Other than the top 10 materials above, I’ve heard that you can also use potato chips…!
I should probably try that once. haha
But, be careful not to burn your dishes when you substitute the followings for panko:
・The material with a lot of sugar
・The material that is already deep-fried (like potato chips)
Thank you for checking my blog today.
Enjoy your cooking!!