Gluten Free Bread Crumbs: Creative & Easy Substitutions

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Last Updated on November 14, 2023

Gluten free bread crumbs don’t have to be boring or tasteless! There are many things you can use in substitution of regular bread crumbs. This list of ideas will inspire you; from chickpea crumbs and veggie crumbles to potato chips, grain-free crackers, and more.

gluten free bread crumbs

Homemade Breadcrumbs

When I was growing up, we often made breadcrumbs out of stale bread or leftover bread (like the heels of the bread). Sometimes, such as on Thanksgiving, we would bake bread cubes at a low heat to dry them out before using it for stuffing. The end result was better breadcrumbs than store-bought bread crumbs.

Gluten Free Breadcrumbs

Since going gluten-free almost ten years ago, I’ve had to come up with different ways to make homemade gluten-free bread crumbs. Sometimes this has involved using leftover gluten-free bread that I dried out on a baking sheet, but not always.

Honestly, I don’t love the way gluten free bread from the grocery store tastes. Plus, many of the brands contain potato starch, and I cannot eat nightshade foods.

I have used my grain free bread recipe to make gluten free breadcrumbs, but sometimes I need a quicker substitution! (I include the steps to make bread crumbs using my grain free bread recipe at the bottom of this post).

So, if you are looking for a good gluten-free bread crumb substitute to use in place of traditional bread crumbs, take a look at our list below and get inspired.

Gluten Free Bread Crumbs

Typically, bread crumbs are used in one of two ways, as a topping to add crunch and texture on baked dishes, or as a binding agent. We’ll break down the different gluten-free breadcrumb substitutions into two separate lists.

Gluten-free Breadcrumb Toppings Substitutions

If you are looking for ideas on what to use in place of breadcrumbs for casseroles, macaroni and cheese bakes, au gratin potatoes, etc. then these options are great to consider.

Some substitutions make better crumbs as toppings and others as binding agents. You can find different ideas on what to use for things like meatloaf in the second list.

Gluten-Free Bread

Toast your favorite gluten-free bread until it becomes crispy, then process it into fine crumbs using a food processor. These homemade breadcrumbs can be used in any recipe calling for regular bread crumbs.

Gluten-Free Crackers

Simple Mills grain-free crackers with clean ingredients are my favorite store-bought crackers. They are not only healthy and tasty, but they work just like Ritz crackers would work as a topping.

gluten free crackers

Potato Chips

If you can eat nightshades and enjoy potato chips, they can be a great substitution for traditional breadcrumbs.

Plantain Chips

I really enjoy the taste of plantains vs potato chips! Plantain chips make a great AIP snack, and I have ground them up in my food processor and used as breadcrumbs when making meatloaf before. Artisan Tropic is my favorite brand of plantain chips.

plantain chips

Corn Tortilla Chips

Gluten-free tortilla chips can be used in place of regular breadcrumbs in some recipes, especially those with Mexican flavors.

Grain-Free Chips

If you are on a grain-free diet like me, then Siete makes some good grain-free tortilla-style chips.

grain free chips

Bean Crumbs

Bean-based products like bean chips or crisps can be processed into crumb-like consistency, offering both protein and fiber content alongside the desired texture.

Gluten-Free Pretzels

It can be difficult to find a good brand of gluten-free pretzels that aren’t processed to death with bad ingredients. This brand of gluten-free pretzels isn’t so bad, however it does contain potato starch.

gluten free pretzels

Rice Cakes

If you eat rice, rice cakes can be used as a substitution for gluten breadcrumbs.

Rice Cereals

Crush unsweetened rice cereal until you achieve the desired consistency resembling regular bread crumbs.

Cassava Chips

Crushed cassava chips are a great alternative if you cannot eat potato chips. This brand is delicious and made with whole, healthy ingredients.

cassava chips

Corn Flakes

Cornflakes can be crushed to create a coarse texture similar to bread crumbs. They work well for coating chicken or fish.

Chickpea Crumbs

It might sound a little strange, but chickpea crumbs make a great substitute for breadcrumbs. Just About Foods sells organic chickpea crumbs with just two ingredients: chickpea crumbs and salt.

chickpea crumbs

Waffle Bread Crumbs

Making homemade gluten free waffles is much easier than baking a loaf of bread! After you make the gluten-free waffles, simply bake them at a low heat until they are dry and hard. Then grind them up in the food processor or blender using the pulse option so you can control the texture.

Paleo AIP Seasoned Breading Mix

If you are on the autoimmune protocol and need to find a solution for breadcrumbs, check out this breading mix made with cassava root.

Grain-Free Cookbook
Sign up for our newsletter list and receive Grain-Free Cooking for FREE!
Featured Image

AIP breadcrumbs

Pork Rinds Or Cracklings

Place the pork rinds in a food processor or blender and pulse until they reach a breadcrumb-like consistency. You can also crush them manually using a rolling pin or mallet if you don’t have any equipment available.

Rolled Oats

Process certified gluten-free oats into fine crumbs using a food processor before using them as an alternative ingredient in recipes calling for breadcrumbs.

Crushed Nuts

Using nuts as crumbs is a genius idea (as long as you can have nuts!). You can grind up your own combination of nuts and spices (just make sure to pulse or you will get nut butter) or buy premade mixes by Appel Foods.

nut crumbs

Coconut Flakes

Finely shredded coconut flakes add flavor and crunchiness to your dishes, making them an ideal alternative ingredient for breading purposes. My favorite way to use coconut flakes as a breading is by making coconut shrimp.

Quinoa Flakes

Quinoa flakes provide a delicate crunch and make a great option for breading chicken or fish fillets.

Veggie Crumbles

Looking for a way to get in an extra serving of vegetables? These veggie crumbles contain real, whole ingredients. Just 1/4 C equals one full serving of vegetables. Some reviewers claim they’ll never use real bread crumbs again!

veggie breadcrumbs


  • Flaxseeds: With their high fiber content, ground flaxseeds act as binding agents and give a nutritious boost to your recipes.
  • Sesame Seeds: Toasted sesame seeds offer both visual appeal and additional flavor when used instead of traditional breadcrumbs.
  • Sunflower Seeds: Finely ground sunflower seeds mimic the texture of breadcrumbs while adding their own unique taste profile.

Yez! Foods Artisan Keto Bread Crumbs

These keto bread crumbs are low-carb, gluten-free, grain-free, and made with solid ingredients you don’t have to fear. Ingredients: almond flour, organic coconut flour, organic whole husk psyllium, organic chia seeds, yeast, himalayan pink sea salt, organic stevia powder, distilled water) organic flax seeds, black pepper, and paprika.

keto bread crumbs


Coarse cornmeal can be used as an alternative to breadcrumbs when making crusts or coatings for savory dishes.

Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Once cooked, you’ll find that nutritional yeast flakes provide a deliciously nutty and cheesy flavor while adding a crispy coating similar to traditional bread crumbs.

nutritional yeast flakes


Cooked polenta that has been chilled and then finely ground can serve as gluten-free breadcrumbs in some recipes.

Millet Flakes

Ground millet flakes offer a light and crunchy texture when used instead of traditional breadcrumbs in baked goods or coatings for fried foods.

Almond Flour Keto Breadcrumbs Mix

Need something convenient? Try these whole-foods breadcrumbs with clean ingredients: almond flour, egg whites, soluble tapioca fiber, salt, black pepper, rosemary, garlic, onion, xanthan gum, and rosemary extract. They make the perfect Italian bread crumbs substitute!

Italian breadcrumbs substitute

Riced Cauliflower

To make riced cauliflower as a breadcrumb substitute, follow these steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Take a head of cauliflower and remove the leaves and stem. Cut it into florets.
  3. Place the cauliflower florets in a food processor or blender in small batches. Pulse until they are broken down into rice-sized pieces.
  4. Spread the riced cauliflower evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is dry and starting to turn golden brown around the edges.
  6. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely before using as a breadcrumb substitute.

Gluten-free Panko Crumbs

Sometimes you need the specific texture that panko breadcrumbs provides. These gluten-free panko breadcrumbs contain canola oil, which isn’t on my list of good oils, but in a pinch, they may work for you if you can have potato starch.

gluten free panko crumbs

Almond Meal Or Flour

Ground almonds add richness and nutty flavor to your recipes while serving as an excellent replacement for traditional breadcrumbs.

Gluten-Free Graham Crackers

You can use gluten-free graham crackers as a substitute for breadcrumbs in sweet recipes.

gluten free graham crackers

Gluten-free Binding Agent Substitutions

If you are making a dish like meatloaf, then it’s not necessary to find a breadcrumb substitute for the top. The following gluten-free breadcrumb substitutes will work as a binding agent in place of regular breadcrumbs.

  • Psyllium Husk Powder: It adds moisture and helps bind ingredients together in recipes like breads and muffins. Substitute 1 tablespoon psyllium husk powder for each cup of flour.
  • Chia Seeds: When ground, chia seeds become sticky and act as great binders. Use them along with other ingredients to form a cohesive mixture when preparing meatballs or veggie patties.
  • Flaxseed Meal: Like chia seeds, flaxseed meal can be used as an egg substitute by mixing 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons water per egg required in the recipe.
  • Arrowroot Starch/Flour: Made from the root of arrowroot plants, this starch acts as a thickener and binder in sauces and soups while providing a glossy finish to dishes.
  • Tapioca Starch/Flour: Tapioca starch provides a smooth texture while acting as binding agents in place of regular breadcrumbs.
  • Coconut Flour: Although coconut flour has a unique texture and absorbs liquid differently than other flours, it can act as a binding agent in certain recipes when used in smaller quantities.
  • Cooked Rice: Cooked rice is a versatile ingredient that can act as a binder in various dishes. Its sticky texture helps hold ingredients together. To use cooked rice as a binder, simply add it to your recipe and mix well.
  • Uncooked Rice: If you don’t have cooked rice on hand, uncooked rice can also work as a binder. Grind the uncooked rice into fine flour using a blender or food processor. This rice flour can then be added to your recipe to help bind the ingredients together.
  • Gluten-free Stuffing Mix: Stuffing mix is primarily used for making stuffing but can also serve as a binder in other recipes such as meatloaf or veggie burgers. The breadcrumbs and seasonings in stuffing mix provide both structure and flavor to the dish.
  • Quinoa: Quinoa is an excellent gluten-free alternative that works well as a binding agent due to its high protein content and naturally sticky texture when cooked. Simply cook quinoa according to package instructions and incorporate it into your recipe.
  • Buckwheat: Buckwheat flour or groats are another option for replacing traditional binders like eggs or breadcrumbs in recipes where you want to avoid animal products or gluten-based ingredients.

Common Uses for Breadcrumbs

  • Breading for Fried Foods: Breadcrumbs can be used to coat and bread various foods before frying them, providing a crispy exterior.
  • Casserole Topping: Sprinkling breadcrumbs on top of gluten free casseroles before baking creates a crunchy and golden crust (must use a gluten free breadcrumb substitute).
  • Stuffing/Dressing: Breadcrumbs form an essential base in traditional stuffing recipes for holiday meals like Thanksgiving.
  • Vegetarian Patties/Burgers: Mixing breadcrumbs with vegetables or different types of beans can help create delicious vegetarian patties or burgers that hold their shape when cooked.
  • Quiches/Pies Crusts: Incorporating fine breadcrumbs into quiche or pie crusts provides structure and prevents them from becoming too soggy.
  • Macaroni and Cheese Topping: Adding buttered breadcrumbs as a topping to macaroni and cheese dishes gives them a nice crunch when baked.
  • Coating for Oven-Baked Chicken/Fish: Instead of deep-frying, you can use seasoned breadcrumbs to coat chicken breast fillets or fish filets before baking them in the oven until crispy.
  • Gratins/Au gratin Dishes: Layering root vegetables such as potatoes with cheese sauce and sprinkling a breadcrumb mixture on top creates a deliciously cheesy gratin dish with a crispy topping after baking.
  • Soups/Salads Garnish: Toasted breadcrumb croutons make an excellent garnish for soups or salads by adding both flavor and texture to your dish.
  • Meatloaf or Meatballs Binder: Adding breadcrumbs to meatloaf or meatball mixtures helps bind the ingredients together and adds texture.

Check out: 70+ Easy Ways to Use Leftover Meatballs For Quick Meals

Making Homemade Gluten Free Breadcrumbs

To prepare homemade gluten-free bread for use as breadcrumbs, follow thee simple steps below. You can start with my grain-free bread recipe.

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 300°F (150°C).
  2. Take the bread and cut it into small slices or cubes. The size of the pieces will depend on how coarse or fine you want your breadcrumbs to be.
  3. Place the bread pieces on a baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure there is enough space between each piece to allow for even drying.
  4. Season the breadcrumbs to your liking (see seasoning blend options below).
  5. Bake the bread in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until it becomes dry and crispy but not overly browned.
  6. Once the bread has cooled down completely, transfer it to a food processor or blender
  7. Pulse the dried bread until you achieve your desired breadcrumb texture – whether that’s fine crumbs or slightly coarser ones with some larger bits remaining
  8. If needed, sift through the processed breadcrumbs to remove any large chunks that didn’t break down completely
  9. Store your homemade breadcrumbs in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks, or freeze them if you won’t be using them right away.

Optional Seasonings for Breadcrumbs:

  • Basic seasoning: Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over the slices for a simple yet flavorful breadcrumb.
  • Herbed breadcrumbs: Combine dried herbs like parsley, thyme, oregano, basil, or rosemary with salt and sprinkle them over the sliced bread.
  • Italian breadcrumbs: Make an Italian seasoning blend using basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and garlic powder.
  • Spiced breadcrumbs: Add spices such as paprika, granulated garlic or garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, or chili flakes along with salt for an extra kick of flavor.

Gluten Free Breadcrumb FAQ

Do you have questions about swapping our breadcrumbs for gluten-free alternatives?

Can Substituting Breadcrumbs Change Flavors?

Depending on what you are using as breadcrumbs, the flavors of your recipe may change. It’s important to be aware of the seasonings used in store-bought goods so you can adjust the recipe accordingly, if necessary.

Should I Modify a Recipe if I Substitute Breadcrumbs?

Sometimes when you swap breadcrumbs for a gluten free alternative as a binder, you may need to modify your recipe a bit. For example, coconut flour typically requires more liquid in recipes compared to other substitutes, so you might dry out the recipe unless you add more liquid.

Gluten Free Breadcrumbs Final Thoughts

If you are looking for ways to make easy gluten-free breadcrumbs out of simple ingredients, we’ve shared some great ideas wtih you in this post. Now you can make those classic dishes using an alternative topping, giving you the extra crunch and crispy texture you are used to, but keeping it free from gluten.

Similar Posts