If you love crunchy foods and you don’t know about the wonderful world of panko, your life is about to change!

What is panko?

Panko are Japanese breadcrumbs made from crustless white bread. They’re vastly different from regular breadcrumbs – fluffier and larger. The irregular flakes are what make Japanese tonkatsu so crunchy. Its drier and flakier consistency absorbs less oil which means lighter, crunchier fried foods.

It’s a big deal in Japan. Dedicated factories bake bread to different specifications just for panko. You can get fresh or dried versions in many different sized flakes. They even have different ways of baking the bread, either oven baked or electrically baked using currents. Many restaurants have fresh panko delivered daily. No panko, no life.

Japan’s Famous Nogami Shokupan Bread: People are Lining Up for Hours for this Fluffy White Bread | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is panko made from?

It’s made from a specific type of Japanese bread called shokupan (shown above), which literally means “eating bread” and can be thought of as “daily bread” or “regular bread.” Japanese shokupan is fluffy and soft, mild, and slightly sweet. Some say it is the best bread in the world and it inspires long lineups in Japan to get the best stuff.

Japan’s Famous Nogami Shokupan Bread: People are Lining Up for Hours for this Fluffy White Bread | www.iamafoodblog.com

What’s the difference between panko and bread crumbs?

  1. Regular bread crumbs are made from all kinds of bread which have been torn with the crusts still on. Panko is made from crustless white bread, which makes it finer, flakier and evenly white.
  2. Breadcrumbs come seasoned. Panko is plain.
  3. Breadcrumbs are smaller and rounder. Panko is large flakes and shards.

Fresh (nama) panko/生パン粉

This kind has a light and super crispy texture. Fresh panko has the most moisture because the bread hasn’t been dried or toasted, and it’s fluffier and more voluminous because it hasn’t been dried out. If you live in Japan you can buy the fresh stuff at bakeries and the grocery store, and no matter where you are, if you’re making it at home, you’re making nama panko!

Dried (kansa) panko/乾燥パン粉

You use dried panko for breading or binding (like in meatballs). It’s the more common kind that you’ll find packaged in grocery stores.

rolling hot dogs in panko | www.iamafoodblog.com

Flake sizes

  • Large flakes: Used to give food a thicker, more voluminous coating.
  • Medium flakes: The standard one.
  • Small flakes: Mostly use for small ingredients and also items that have high moisture content – small flakes give you more coverage than large.

Where to buy

It’s sold in most grocery stores in the Asian aisle but it’s cheaper to buy it at an Asian grocery store. You can also get it online. I prefer Japanese brands. With store brands, sometimes you’ll see something labeled panko but it looks like regular breadcrumbs. Check out the package and look for large, irregular, shards that are flat.

panko | www.iamafoodblog.com

What aisle would panko bread crumbs be in?

You can find it in the Asian aisle at most grocery stores, usually in a bag or cardboard box.

How to make panko breadcrumbs

  1. Trim the crusts off of white bread.
  2. Use the grater attachment of your food processor and grate the bread OR let the bread dry out a bit then use a coarse cheese grater to grate the bread.

In Japan they even sell special graters for this!

How to bread anything in a crispy, crunchy coat

  1. Set up three shallow dishes that are able to fit the items you are breading.
  2. Put flour in one dish, lightly beaten egg in the next dish, and panko in the last dish.
  3. Season your items with salt and pepper.
  4. Using one hand, dip your item in the flour, coating both sides. Shake off the excess flour and place it in the egg.
  5. Use your other (clean) hand to turn the items in the egg. Shake off any excess egg and place the items in the panko.
  6. Using the hand you used to flour, flip and press down on the items to coat, being sure to gently adhere the flakes all over. Shake off the excess flakes and you’re ready to cook!

breading station | www.iamafoodblog.com

Where to use

You can use it anywhere you would use regular breadcrumbs.

  • To coat fried food with a light, airy, delicately crisp texture.
  • To bind meats, like meatballs or meatloaf.
  • As a topping to add crunch to casseroles or pasta, like mac and cheese or Sicilian pasta.

deep frying korean corn dogs | www.iamafoodblog.com

If you’ve fallen in love, please try these recipes:

korean corn dog cheese pull | www.iamafoodblog.com


panko recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make panko breadcrumbs

It's probably better to buy the real thing though.
Serves 24
4.50 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1 loaf white bread preferably unsliced

Special Equipment


  • Trim the crusts off your white bread. If using unsliced bread, cut the bread into manageable 3-4" cubes.
  • Use the grater attachment of your food processor and grate the bread OR let the bread dry out a bit (15-30 min uncovered) then use a coarse cheese grater to grate the bread.

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
How to make panko breadcrumbs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 50 Calories from Fat 4
% Daily Value*
Fat 0.4g1%
Saturated Fat 0.01g0%
Cholesterol 0.01mg0%
Sodium 108mg5%
Potassium 0.01mg0%
Carbohydrates 10.8g4%
Fiber 0.01g0%
Sugar 1.7g2%
Protein 1.7g3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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