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Which Is Better — Panko or Regular Breadcrumbs?

By Elaine Magee, RDAugust 02, 2011
From the WebMD Archives

I find people who like to cook are either big on using panko crumbs or regular breadcrumbs (the kind that come Italian-style or plain). I am not particularly picky and will use whichever is in my pantry at that particular time.

A Difference in Texture

I have to admit that panko crumbs look better as a coating or topping because the particles are bigger and they add a more defined texture to a dish. But for a smoother mixture, like a meatloaf or meatball recipe, using the finer regular breadcrumbs may work better.

Which Is Higher In Fat and Sodium?

I recently called for panko crumbs as topping to a zucchini casserole recipe. There were a couple comments from a reader who thought they were unhealthy and a source of trans-fat due to added hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

Check your particular brand of panko to be sure, but the brands I have seen do not contain partially hydrogenated oil. The brand that I use, Progresso Panko Crispy Bread Crumbs (Plain), contain: wheat flour (bleached), canola oil, yeast, dextrose, sugar, salt, and natural flavor.

If you compare 1/4 cup of plain panko to 1/4 cup of traditional bread crumbs (I compared Progresso products), you will find that:

Panko has the least amount of sodium (50 milligrams), plain traditional breadcrumbs are next with 220 mg, and Italian-style breadcrumbs have the highest amount of sodium with 470 milligrams.

Panko has the highest amount of total fat (2.5 grams) compared to 1.5 grams for traditional breadcrumbs. But panko has zero saturated fat compared to .5 grams saturated fat in traditional breadcrumbs.

If you are still concerned about using panko crumbs, you can always substitute fresh or dried breadcrumbs in recipes. If the panko crumbs are added as a topping to a casserole, you can simply leave them out.

What do you prefer…panko or traditional bread crumbs?

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