Keto Bread Crumb Substitute

Keto Bread Crumb Substitute
Daniel Thompson

on September 05, 2019

When you transition to a keto diet, some lifestyle changes are easy to grasp, like eating more meat and cutting out bread and pasta. Other changes can catch you off guard, like when you’re making a dish and suddenly realize one of the ingredients is full of carbs. Breadcrumbs fall into this category. 

Though they’re rarely the star of a recipe, breadcrumbs play a supporting role in all kinds of dishes. They give fried chicken its signature crunch. They hold together meatloaf and burgers. They add a crispy crust to the top of casseroles. But they’re decidedly not low carb, so what’s a keto follower to do when they show up in a recipe?

In this post, we’ll show you five keto breadcrumb substitutes that can be used to bind other ingredients and achieve a crispy texture without pulling you out of ketosis. Plus, we’ll share a few of our favorite recipes that incorporate these keto swaps. 

How Bad Are Bread Crumbs for Keto?

As their name suggests, breadcrumbs are made from bread--either by tearing up fresh bread or grinding up dried bread. The resulting crumbs are then mixed with some combination of seasonings to add flavor. 

When mixed into meat recipes like meatballs and meat patties, breadcrumbs help retain moisture and bind the dish together. When used as a coating and cooked, they crisp up to add a layer of texture that can amp up a dish. 

One ounce of traditional breadcrumbs contains about 20 grams of carbs. If you’re sticking to a limit of 50 grams of carbs per day, that’s 40% of your entire day’s value--a significant portion for what amounts to the breading on a single chicken breast. 

Another common type of breadcrumb is called panko. This Japanese style breadcrumb is made from bread without crusts and tends to give a crispier, lighter finish than standard breadcrumbs. While it contains a bit of fiber, panko is no different from regular breadcrumbs in terms of net carbs.

So while neither of these common types of breadcrumbs are entirely off limits (unless you’re following an ultra low carb diet), they’re definitely in the danger zone for pushing you over your daily carb intake. 

5 Low Carb Substitutes for Breadcrumbs

Instead of risking your ketosis on regular breadcrumbs, try one of these keto-friendly alternatives. Though some may sound unusual, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the level of crunch and the added flavor profile they bring to an array of recipes. 

Almond Meal

Almond meal is made from coarsely ground almonds that are unblanched. Unblanched simply means the skin is left on, which results in a gritty texture that’s great for achieving crunch on the surface of meats and fish. 

Low in carbs and packed with nutrients, almond meal can provide a number of health benefits. It’s rich in monounsaturated fats, which help reduce the level of bad cholesterol in your blood and in turn lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. It’s a good source of Vitamin E, a fat-soluble nutrient that acts as an antioxidant fighting disease in the body.   

A single ounce of almond meal contains about 14 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein, so it brings the added benefit of beefing up your daily macro count when you add it to other dishes. 

You can pick up almond meal near the flour in the supermarket, but for breadcrumb purposes where you don’t need a super-fine texture, it’s just as easy to make your own by grinding whole almonds in a food processor or high-powered blender. Mix the resulting meal with a dash of sea salt and your favorite herbs for a yummy and easy keto breadcrumb swap. 

Parmesan Cheese

If you love the savory, cheesy goodness of chicken parmesan, you’ll love our next keto breadcrumb substitute: parmesan cheese. That’s right, everyone’s favorite Italian food staple does double duty as a crispy and flavorful coating. 

One ounce of parmesan (pre-grating) contains 11 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat. It’ll provide you with nearly a third of your recommended daily calcium intake and a healthy dose of phosphorus, which works hand in hand with calcium to help build strong bones. 

You can use parmesan cheese as a breadcrumb substitute on any kind of meat, but we like it best of all on chicken. For best results, coat your chicken with your favorite keto cooking oil or a bit of mustard and dredge it in thick grated parmesan before pan frying. Even people who aren’t on the keto diet will be asking for seconds of this delicious dish. 

Pork Rinds

Pork rinds are a popular keto snack because they’re high in fat and totally carb-free. But did you know they can also be used in place of breadcrumbs?

Made from the skin of a pig that’s been fried or roasted, pork rinds have the perfect crispy and flavor-rich profile to serve as a breading when baking or frying foods. Just crush them with your hands or use a low speed on your blender. 

An ounce of your average pork rinds contain about 17 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat, so they’re a nice way to add substance to a meal in addition to crunch. If the idea of coating meat with more meat seems a little too heavy for your tastes, try mixing pork rinds with a little almond meal, which we covered above. 

Coconut Flour

When a recipe calls for dredging, it means coating the main ingredient in flour prior to baking, sauteing or frying. But, as you know, traditional flour is a keto no-no. Instead, swap coconut flour in its place.

Coconut flour is made from dried, ground coconut meat (the white fleshy part inside a coconut) and comes with a range of surprising nutritional benefits. It’s high in both protein and dietary fiber, which some studies show may be effective at lowering cholesterol levels.  

Note that while the label on a package of coconut flour will show a moderate carb count, it’s offset by the high amount of dietary fiber. It’s net carbs we’re primarily concerned with. Two tablespoons of coconut flour contains just 5 grams of net carbs. 

Try coconut flour as a breading on crab cakes, veal cutlets, onion rings and other fried vegetables. 


We spotted this genius keto hack on Reddit: use Whisps in place of breadcrumbs. The low-carb crisps are a fan favorite among keto followers because they’re one of the few pre-packaged snacks that are actually keto friendly. 

Though they’re made from cheese, Whisps have a texture similar to that of a cracker, which makes them an excellent choice to use as the binding ingredient in meatloaf, meatballs, turkey burgers and the like. The come in a ton of unique flavors like bacon BBQ and tomato basil, which is a fun way to put a new twist on a traditional dish. 

Depending on the flavor you choose, a serving of Whisps contains between 1 and 2 grams of carbs and between 10 and 13 grams of protein. To crush them up with minimal mess, place a handful in a ziplock back and roll over it with a rolling pin. 

How to Use Them

Ready to forget about conventional breadcrumbs for good? Try these three tasty recipes made with keto breadcrumb substitutes. 

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders

Italian food is oh-so-good, but most traditional Italian recipes are a keto nightmare because they revolve around carbs. Not this one. 

Made with parmesan cheese instead of breadcrumbs, these parmesan crusted chicken tenders are golden, juicy and packed with flavor. Serve them atop a bed of zoodles and top with a slice of melted mozzarella cheese for a dish that rivals any Italian restaurant. For bonus points, whip up this keto marinara sauce to serve on the side. 

Low Carb Gluten Free Meatballs

You really can’t do meatballs right without some form of breadcrumbs. Without them, you’ll wind up with a plate of dry, crumbly chunks of meat. These keto meatballs use a combination of almond meal and parmesan cheese to solve the problem, binding the meat together and keeping the meatballs moist and tender. 

These meatballs are both low carb and gluten free and only require one pan, which is always a plus to make for manageable cleanup. They’re perfectly delicious on their own, with marinara sauce or served over your favorite veggie noodles, but we like to get creative and serve them on a skewer alongside some roasted vegetables like red bell pepper and zucchini. 

Low Carb Salmon Patties

When you need a keto meal in 20 minutes or less, turn to these amazing low carb salmon patties made with almond meal or coconut flour. They call for canned salmon, which is both keto friendly and more economical than fresh salmon when you’re on a tight budget. A healthy dose of seasoning with paprika, cumin and turmeric (which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties) packs a flavor punch. 

Cook each side until a spatula slides easily underneath--that’s how you know they’re ready to flip. Serve on their own or on top of a salad for a protein-rich lunch or dinner. 

About Left Coast Performance

Left Coast Performance is your source for keto-friendly recipes, low-carb ingredient ideas and premium keto products. Our clean proteins and dietary supplements fuel your keto lifestyle while direct-to-consumer pricing saves you money. We never use artificial flavors, coloring or fillers, and with our 100% no risk money back guarantee you can be confident you’ll be satisfied with your purchase. 

For more information on shopping, cooking and living the keto lifestyle, visit our blog and follow us on Instagram. Shop our selection of superior keto products (and enjoy free shipping every day!) at

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