The Difference Between Panko and Bread Crumbs

Delicious,crispy,panko,pork,schnitzel,with,wedges,&,fresh,pepperWhen it comes to cooking and baking, breadcrumbs are a versatile ingredient that can add texture and flavor to a variety of dishes. However, not all breadcrumbs are created equal. Two popular types of breadcrumbs that are often used in recipes are panko and traditional bread crumbs. While they may seem similar on the surface, there are distinct differences between the two. In this blog post, we will explore the difference between panko and bread crumbs.

1. Texture

One of the main differences between panko and bread crumbs lies in their texture. Traditional bread crumbs are made by pulverizing leftover bread, crusts and all, into small, fine crumbs. These crumbs have a soft and delicate texture, making them ideal for coating foods like chicken or fish. On the other hand, panko is a Japanese style of breadcrumbs that are made by baking bread without crusts, resulting in larger and coarser crumbs. Panko crumbs have a lighter and crispier texture, which adds a delightful crunch to fried or baked dishes.

2. Absorbency

Another difference between panko and bread crumbs is their absorbency. Due to their fine texture, traditional bread crumbs have a high absorbency rate. This can be advantageous in some recipes, as the bread crumbs can soak up excess moisture from ingredients like ground meat or vegetables, helping to bind the mixture together. Panko, on the other hand, has a lower absorbency rate. The larger crumbs do not soak up as much liquid, allowing them to retain their crispy texture even when used in wet batters or sauces.

3. Coating Ability

The texture and absorbency of panko and bread crumbs also affect their coating abilities. Traditional bread crumbs adhere well to the surface of foods, creating a crumbly and even coating. They are commonly used in recipes for breading and frying, as they provide a satisfying crunch and help to seal in moisture. Panko, however, excels in creating an extra crispy and light coating. The larger crumbs create air pockets when fried, resulting in a lighter and crunchier texture than traditional bread crumbs.

4. Culinary Applications

Both panko and bread crumbs have their own culinary applications. Traditional bread crumbs are commonly used in recipes that require a more delicate texture or when you want the breadcrumbs to blend into a dish. They are often used in meatloaf, meatballs, and as a binder in burgers. Panko, on the other hand, is best used when you want a crispy and distinct coating. It is widely used in Japanese cuisine to bread or coat dishes such as tonkatsu, tempura, and karaage. Panko is also a popular choice for creating crispy toppings on casseroles or gratins.

5. Shelf Life

When it comes to shelf life, there is a difference between panko and bread crumbs. Traditional bread crumbs have a shorter shelf life due to their fine texture and higher moisture content. They are more prone to becoming stale or absorbing moisture from the air, which can affect their texture and flavor over time. Panko, on the other hand, has a longer shelf life. The coarser texture and lower moisture content of panko crumbs help them stay crisp and fresh for a longer period, making them a pantry staple for many home cooks.


While panko and bread crumbs may both serve as a coating or ingredient in various dishes, their differences in texture, absorbency, coating ability, culinary applications, and shelf life make each one unique. Traditional bread crumbs offer a softer and finer texture, great absorbency, and an ability to blend into dishes. Panko, on the other hand, provides a light and crispy texture, reduced absorbency, and is perfect for creating a distinct and crunchy coating. Understanding these differences will allow you to choose the right breadcrumb option based on your desired outcome, ensuring that your dishes turn out just the way you want them.

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