What is panko, and what can I use instead in recipes?  

Fried Panko Chicken Tendersenlarge
Photo: Oxmoor House

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If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

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In Japanese, "pan" means bread and "ko" means small pieces: panko is the Japanese name for sliver-shaped, coarse, crisp breadcrumbs that come from a specially prepared crustless bread. They add a distinctive crunchy texture to food, but the flavor is similar to that of most regular unseasoned bread crumbs.

For similar flavor, regular breadcrumbs may be substituted, but for similar texture, coarsely ground corn flakes are a better choice.

Recipe: "Fried" Panko Chicken Tenders

For more information on substitutions, see our Ingredient Substitutionsguide.

Marge Perry
Aug, 2011
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