Breadcrumbs are a very versatile ingredient. They can be used to transform a tired pasta bake, hold meatballs together, or add a crunchy coating to a piece of fish.
If you’re into cooking, it can be useful to have a constant supply of breadcrumbs, and luckily for us, they’re very easy to store at home.
So, how do you store breadcrumbs? Fresh breadcrumbs will last up to a week in the pantry if stored in an airtight container. For longer-term storage, they should be placed in the freezer. Dry breadcrumbs should be kept in an airtight container in your pantry, where they’ll last for up to six months.
Types of breadcrumbs
The type of breadcrumb you have is an important distinction to make because there are differences in how each type should be stored.
Fresh or soft breadcrumbs are made with bread that hasn’t been dried out. The crumbs tend to be larger and more uneven compared to dried breadcrumbs, which gives them a softer, less crunchy texture.
Buttered breadcrumbs are fresh breadcrumbs that have been ‘buttered’ (mixed with melted butter) to give them a richer flavor.
Dry breadcrumbs are made using bread that’s been toasted or dried in the oven to remove all the moisture. Because the bread is so crunchy, it breaks up easily, creating a very fine-textured crumb.
Panko breadcrumbs are a variation of dry breadcrumbs. They’re made using a special type of bread that’s baked without a crust. They originated in Japan but are now popular across the world.
Panko breadcrumbs are more flakey than traditional breadcrumbs and have a light and crispy texture.
How to store homemade breadcrumbs
You can make both fresh and dried breadcrumbs at home. Here are our tips on how to store them to keep them at their best for as long as possible.
How to store fresh breadcrumbs
To store fresh breadcrumbs, keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for one week. Any longer and they’ll start to get stale or attract mold.
A long term storage solution is to put them in a freezer bag and freeze them. It’s not advisable to refrigerate fresh breadcrumbs because this can make them go stale faster.
How to store dry breadcrumbs
To store dry breadcrumbs, put them in an airtight container, and keep them in a cool, dry place. In most cases, dried breadcrumbs are fine to keep in the pantry for up to six months. But if you live in a humid environment, then you’re best off keeping your dried breadcrumbs in the fridge or freezer.
Prolonged humidity can introduce moisture into your breadcrumbs, which will drastically reduce their shelf life. Before you transfer any homemade dry breadcrumbs into their storage container, make sure they’re completely cool. If they’re still a bit warm, then they can sweat, resulting in unwanted moisture.
How to store panko breadcrumbs
Panko breadcrumbs are a type of dry breadcrumb so can last for at least 6 months at ambient temperatures. Keep them in an airtight container and away from moisture. If you live in a particularly humid area, keep the panko breadcrumbs in the fridge or freezer to prolong their life.
Can you freeze breadcrumbs?
Yes, you can freeze both fresh and dry breadcrumbs. Fresh breadcrumbs will stay at their best for 3-6 months in the freezer and dry breadcrumbs will last around a year. After that, they can start to lose some flavor and texture, but they’ll never become unsafe to eat as long as the temperature stays below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius).
To freeze, put the breadcrumbs in a sealed plastic bag and remove all the air before putting it in the freezer. If you’re planning to store the breadcrumbs for more than a few weeks, then it’s a good idea to double bag or wrap the plastic bag in aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
You don’t need to worry about portioning up the breadcrumbs before freezing because the crumbs are too small to stick together. If you do find any clumps, they should be easy to break up with your fingers. Just label the bag with the date you froze them, so you know how long they’ve been in the freezer for.
There’s also no need to worry about defrosting the breadcrumbs in advance, as they defrost so quickly once you take them out of the freezer. I use the breadcrumbs straight from the freezer, and they defrost as I am preparing the rest of the dish.
Because fresh breadcrumbs have some level of moisture in them, they can form ice crystals, which will make the breadcrumbs soggy as they melt. Look out for these as you take the breadcrumbs out and remove any obvious ones that you can see. If you find the breadcrumbs are going a bit soggy when you defrost them, spread them out thinly on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for a few minutes to crisp them up.
Do you need to refrigerate breadcrumbs?
No, there’s no need to refrigerate breadcrumbs. Dried breadcrumbs will last just as long at ambient temperatures as they would in the fridge, and storing fresh breadcrumbs in the fridge can actually shorten their life.
The cool temperatures found in fridges cause the starch molecules in bread to recrystallize much quicker than they would at room temperature, resulting in stale bread.
The only time it’s advisable to keep breadcrumbs in the fridge is if you live in a particularly humid climate. If the humidity level is consistently above 60, the extra moisture in the air can cause breadcrumbs to go bad. Keeping them in the fridge will protect them from the humidity and slow down any mold developing.
How long do breadcrumbs last?
Fresh breadcrumbs have the shortest shelf life and will go bad after a week unless frozen. In the freezer, fresh bread crumbs will be at their best for three months but will be safe to eat for much longer. Dry breadcrumbs will last for up to six months in the pantry and up to an entire year in the freezer.
Note that these timeframes are just guidelines. In reality, your breadcrumbs could last for a lot less, or a lot longer than the shelf-lives mentioned here. Things like the outside temperature, how often you open the container, and the type of bread used all impact how long the breadcrumbs can last.
The best thing to do is to check your breadcrumbs before you use them. If they look or smell strange, or have any signs of mold, simply don’t use them.
Do breadcrumbs go bad?
Fresh breadcrumbs will go bad (i.e develop mold) relatively quickly because of their high moisture content. Dried breadcrumbs, on the other hand, shouldn’t ever mold if they’re stored correctly.
Mold is caused by bacteria, and bacteria need moisture to survive. Dried breadcrumbs are devoid of moisture so mold won’t grow unless moisture is somehow introduced through humidity or heat.
Other than mold, another affliction fresh breadcrumbs can have is staleness. Stale breadcrumbs aren’t dangerous to eat, but you may prefer to make a new batch if you want your dish to be as fresh and delicious as possible.
How To Store Breadcrumbs & Keep Them Fresh
- 1 portion breadcrumbs
- To store fresh breadcrumbs, keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for one week. Any longer and they’ll start to get stale or attract mold.
- A long term storage solution is to put them in a freezer bag and freeze them. It’s not advisable to refrigerate fresh breadcrumbs because this can make them go stale faster.
- To store dry breadcrumbs, put them in an airtight container, and keep them in a cool, dry place.
- In most cases, dried breadcrumbs are fine to keep in the pantry for up to six months. But if you live in a humid environment, then you’re best off keeping your dried breadcrumbs in the fridge or freezer.
- Before you transfer any homemade dry breadcrumbs into their storage container, make sure they’re completely cool. If they’re still a bit warm, then they can sweat, resulting in unwanted moisture.