Today we’re going to be answering the question: does panko have gluten? But first, let’s take a look at what panko actually is. Then we can determine whether panko is suitable when following a gluten-free lifestyle.
What Is Panko?
Panko is essentially a type of breadcrumb. It is made from a crustless white bread; the bread is made into flakes and then dried out. You will often see panko in Japanese dishes as a coating. It’s often light and crispy, making it perfect for foods that you fry. As panko has that extra crunch, it’s great on anything savory and is also a great binding agent for foods like burgers and meatballs.
Panko is made using flour, yeast, oil, and salt. It’s suitable when following a vegan lifestyle.
What Is The Difference Between Panko and Breadcrumbs?
The difference between the two is that panko is lighter and crispier than the more traditional breadcrumbs. The flakes used in panko are also much larger, which means there’s a slightly different texture. Panko is also a far healthier option than breadcrumbs. It offers benefits such as being lower in fat, calories, and sodium than the breadcrumbs you’ll often see in your local grocery stores.
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Are Panko Breadcrumbs Gluten-Free?
As mentioned earlier, panko is made using white bread. As we know, white bread is made using wheat flour. This means that panko breadcrumbs are not gluten-free and you should not be consuming them if following a gluten-free diet. However, in more recent years gluten-free alternatives are starting to pop up in local grocery stores.
Gluten-Free Panko Substitute
If you’re looking to satisfy your panko craving, never fear! There’s plenty of gluten-free substitutes for you to try – and you can even try making them yourself. Let’s have a round-up of the best shop-bought panko breadcrumbs and recipes.
Jeff Nathan Creations
Jeff Nathan offers a range of flavors, which makes it one of the best options for gluten-free life. The flavors are Cajun, plain and seasoned. They’re quite expensive, but all options are on the pricier side. You can buy them here for $24 for three cannisters (one of each flavor). You’ll also likely find them in your local grocery store.
This brand is certified gluten-free, which means each product goes through vigorous testing and has to meet strict guidelines set by the FDA to ensure it’s safe for gluten-free consumption. It’s great as a coating or on dishes such as a casserole.
Kinnikinnick Panko Style Bread Crumbs
Kinnikinnick only offer one variant of panko-style bread crumbs, but it’s a popular product and is definitely the cheaper alternative. They aren’t just free from gluten. They’re also lab-tested against fish, sesame, mustard, yeast, sulphites, potatoes, eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, and soy! Meaning you can enjoy them on almost any diet.
The main ingredients are pea starch, white rice flour, and tapioca starch. If you order direct from the Kinnikinnick website, they’re around $5 per box. This brand is also certified gluten-free.
Ian’s Natural Foods
Ian’s only offers one flavor, but they’re very allergen-friendly. Whilst I couldn’t find any confirmation as to whether they’re certified gluten-free, this brand comes highly recommended by fellow celiacs. It’s around $6 for a bag and the main ingredients are rice flour, xanthan gum, and salt. This product also contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Make Your Own
Whilst they’re are a range of other brands you may like to try, it may be easier to try making it yourself. It’s super easy, takes just 5 minutes, and only requires one ingredient. Momables has a great Homemade Panko Breadcrumbs recipe. There’s a plethora of different recipes out there, so if you have a favorite, please feel free to let us know in the comments below.
Rice Chex Cereal
This is a great gluten-free alternative for panko breadcrumbs that crops up time and time again. Made from whole grain rice (it’s essentially just toasted rice!), it’s a brilliant substitute. Whether you want to blend the cereal, or bash it with a rolling pin in a sandwich bag – you can whip up gluten-free panko in no time at all! Rice Chex Cereal is also reasonably healthy and can provide a good supply of vitamins into your diet.
It’s a bit trickier if you’re using it for breading, but for sprinkling over dishes or vegetables – it’s perfect.
You can really use anything as a substitute if it can be pulverized. If Rice Chex isn’t your thing and you want to try something besides the options above, why not try these:
- Gluten-Free Oats (Bob’s Red Mill have a great selection of oats that are suitable)
- Gluten-Free Cornflakes (Nature’s Path are a good option)
- Cornmeal (Bod’s Red Mill, again, are the best choice here!)
- Ground Nuts (Most nuts are gluten-free but be sure to always check the label)
- Gluten-Free Bread (any gluten-free bread will work fine, but best to use white bread)
Or go wild and have a mixture of a few. Get experimenting and see what you can come up with.
As we’ve discovered, there’s a wide selection of options available online and in-store for us. If the gluten-free lifestyle is new to you, it can feel overwhelming but with time, you’ll realise it doesn’t need to be all that restricting at all.
If you’re buying panko breadcrumbs in store, remember to always check the labels (which I’m sure you already do) and opt for products certified or labelled gluten-free when possible. These are always the safest options for us.
If you have any other substitutes that are not in this article, please let us know in the comments below. And if you have a recipe you’d like to share – please do. Sharing is caring!
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