Quickly Turn Dry Bread Into Garlic Breadcrumbs

A wooden spoon stirs toasting breadcrumbs in a stainless steel frying pan cooking on an induction cooktop
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Make breadcrumbs and never waste bread again! Blitz dried bread in a high-speed blender or grate it by hand and cook the ensuing breadcrumbs in a little garlic-infused fat to make a crunchy topping for savory dishes such as salads, pasta and vegetable sides.

Looking online just now, I found this run-of-the-mill brand of breadcrumbs in a paper and plastic carton for a little over two dollars. While not expensive, at the same time, in the US we buy bread and toss up to one third of it. We throw out bread only to buy breadcrumbs.

The breadcrumbs

If you already have them, you can skip all of this breadcrumb making info. And if your bread is merely day-old and not dry like the bread I started with for this post, go here for breadcrumb making instructions.

two loaves of white bread cool on a silver rack surrounded by cooking tools and sitting on a dark wooden table
Why you teach your kids to cook

Because we didn’t eat quite all of MK’s delicious semolina-white bread shown above, the remaining hunk turned into a hard crust. In the old days, I would have tossed that hunk onto the compost heap. But by this very dry stage of bread, it grates into crumbs easily. No toasting necessary. (Charlotte’s Easy Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, once dry, also works well.)

While almost any bread will render breadcrumbs, grating up a brick-like piece of dried sourdough is a workout (for either me or my food processor). Instead, easily revive stale sourdough by dousing it with water and heating it in the oven briefly (go here and scroll to the bottom for more info).

Crunchy, garlicky goodness

Before cooking the breadcrumbs in fat, first infuse that fat with smashed garlic and set the roasted garlic aside for another dish (or just eat it immediately). Then toast the breadcrumbs and sprinkle them onto your dish. I topped a kale, wheat berry and preserved lemon salad with mine. Because preserved lemons contain so much salt, I didn’t salt my crumbs as they cooked but you certainly can.

Set the roasted garlic aside before cooking the breadcrumbs
A wooden spoon stirs toasting breadcrumbs in a stainless steel frying pan cooking on an induction cooktop
Stir the breadcrumbs constantly as they cook to a rich golden color
A ceramic bowl of kale, wheat berry and preserved lemon salad sits on a dark wooden table.
A bowl of kale, wheat berry and preserved lemon salad before adding the final topping
A ceramic bowl of kale, wheat berry and preserved lemon salad topped with fried breadcrumbs
Salad with a crunchy topping
A wooden spoon stirs toasting breadcrumbs in a stainless steel frying pan cooking on an induction cooktop
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5 from 1 vote

Crunchy Garlicky Breadcrumbs

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove smashed garlic
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • salt to taste (optional)


  • Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the smashed garlic and stir often until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove the roasted garlic from the pan and set aside for another use. (see Note)
  • Add the breadcrumbs to the oil and stir constantly until they turn a rich golden color, about 4 minutes. Stir in salt if adding. Immediately remove the breadcrumbs from the pan.
  • Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on salads, pasta dishes, vegetable side dishes, soups and so on.
  • Store remaining breadcrumbs in a jar in the refrigerator for up to five days.


Smear the roasted garlic on a piece of bread, add it to hummus or pesto or use it in place of fresh garlic when cooking just about anything. Or pop the delicious garlic into your mouth immediately.

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6 Replies to “Quickly Turn Dry Bread Into Garlic Breadcrumbs”

  1. Katy Sheridan says: Reply

    Oh yummy! My spouse is the chef in our family. He makes bread crumbs with all our old bread and stores it in the freezer. I have on occasion thought that crumbs was all that was in there. And I have to vacuum the freezer from time to time!

    1. Breadcrumbs are so useful! They can sort of get all over the place, more so when I make them. Your freezer sounds cleaner than mine 😀

  2. Breadcrumbs with garlic looks excellent. I must try it.
    I’m a big fan of turning stale bread into breadcrumbs and putting them in the freezer – so useful to have.

    1. Thank you, they are tasty. Breadcrumbs are so useful. I hate to run out of them. Enjoy!

    1. Garlic is always a good idea 😀

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