Before we went gluten free, I didn’t give much thought to bread crumbs. I mean, why would I? But once we were avoiding gluten– and, therefore, traditional bread crumbs– I realized just how many recipes call for it. Meat loaf, chicken nuggets, broccoli casserole, squash casserole, fried fish. Okay, full disclosure: I’m pretty sure I’ve never made fried fish, but still, lots of recipes call for bread crumbs.
At first, I just avoided making anything that called for bread crumbs or I left the bread crumbs out. But, let’s face it, broccoli or squash casserole just aren’t the same without that satisfying crunch on top. So, I had to find alternative sources of crunch. Luckily, there are several gluten free options!
Gluten Free Corn Cereals
Prior to going gluten free, I often used Kellogg’s Corn Flakes for making oven fried chicken and fried chicken nuggets. Unfortunately, Kellogg’s uses barley malt in their Corn Flakes, making them a no-no on a gluten free diet. Luckily, there are gluten free brands of corn flakes and corn squares:
- Nature’s Path Organic Corn Flakes
- Erewhon Corn Flakes
- Seitenbacher Gluten Free Whole Grain Corn Flakes
- Corn Chex
To use in recipes, simply crush in your food processor or blender. You can also crush them in your pestle and mortar. If you don’t have any of those things, place the cereal in a plastic bag and roll it with your rolling pin. You can also buy the corn flakes already crumbed from Southern Homestyle.
Gluten Free Rice Cereals
Rice cereals also provide a satisfying crunch and, since their flavor isn’t overpowering, they can work just as well in recipes. I like to use them for items that need to be fried or oven fried. Some brands to try:
- Rice Chex
- Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal
- Kellogg’s Gluten Free Rice Krispies (check the box; not all are gf)
- Nature’s Path Organic Crispy Rice
Gluten Free Cornbread
When I’m making meatloaf, kofta, broccoli casserole, squash casserole, or anything else that requires a binder or a crunchy topping, I like to make gluten free cornbread. You would think that all cornbread would be gluten free, but some actually use wheat flour. This is a completely unnecessary ingredient, so you can make gf cornbread at home. If you want to start from a mix, try one of these:
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix
- The Gluten Free Pantry Yankee Cornbread Mix
- Pamela’s Cornbread and Muffin Mix
- Nuffins Cornbread Mix
- Orgran Gluten Free Authentic Country Style Cornbread and Muffin Mix
- 1-2-3 Gluten Free Southern Style Cornbread Mix
- Hodgson Mill Cornbread Mix
Day-Old or Stale Gluten Free Bread
Gluten free bread can be pretty pricey, so you probably don’t want to make up a loaf just for bread crumbs. However, if you have some stale gluten free bread or you bought a loaf that’s simply too hard to use (it happens, unfortunately), don’t toss it out. Instead, put it in your food processor or blender, pulse it, and turn it into bread crumbs.
Commercial Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
There are also several on-the-ball companies now offering ready-made gluten free bread crumbs. I haven’t seen these at my local stores, but they’re available at Amazon and other websites:
- Gillian’s Foods
- Kinnikinnick Panko Style Bread Crumbs
- Aleia’s Gluten Free Italian Bread Crumbs
I was so happy to discover these alternatives to bread crumbs. I promise you, these are so good that you won’t even notice the difference. You can add Parmesan cheese and spices to get the taste you want. What’s your favorite gf bread crumb substitute?