Difference between: breadcrumbs and Panko breadcrumbs

There are “regular” breadcrumbs and then there are Japanese-style Panko breadcrumbs. What gives?

uncooked chicken breast coated in breadcrumbs

First of all, it should be mentioned that you can indeed switch out breadcrumbs and Panko breadcrumbs for one another in recipes.

That being said, there are some differences.


  • Actually look like breadcrumbs.
  • Often come seasoned – Italian, garlic and herb, etc.
  • Soak up oil easily.
  • Are made from slightly stale, minced bread.
  • Are typically used to coat foods, or can be sprinkled on top.

Panko breadcrumbs:

  • Look like flakes instead of crumbs.
  • Are usually sold unseasoned.
  • Are plain and flavorless – a “blank canvas.”
  • Do not soak up oil easily, leaving a less greasy coating.
  • Are made from crustless bread.
  • Oddly, are made using electricity.
  • Are typically used to coat fried foods.

If you are coating a fried food, especially seafood, you’ll want to go with Panko breadcrumbs. If sprinkling on top of a casserole or macaroni and cheese, regular breadcrumbs should be your choice. 

Although again, Panko breadcrumbs and their counterpart can certainly be substituted for one another in a pinch.