DIY: Gluten-Free Panko

No, this write up won’t win any awards for creativity or best recipe ever, but if you are living a gluten-free lifestyle like we are then this might just be a Thanksgiving Day game changer! It seems like every recipe I look at lately calls for Panko.  *Maybe it is because I miss real Panko so much. Its ability to bread foods and top casseroles in a perfect, golden, crunchy, crusty topping makes Panko undeniably one of the most mouthwatering pantry staples of all. Since our gluten-free lifestyle change I have been grinding up every rice cracker, toasted gf bread, and gf cereal I can get my hands on to try and recreate that perfect crunchy bite and at last we have a winner! Here is how it happened…

If you were to look in other toddler’s snack bags you would probably find a handy little stash of gluten-laden Cheerios. Don’t get me wrong, I personally LOVE the little round bits of goodness, but for my son they are a one way ticket to a gnarly gluten reaction. My handy go-to cereal snack for him is Rice Chex; he loves it and squeals in delight when he sees the stash in his diaper bag. Last week when I was cleaning out the diaper bag from a week’s worth of grab & go snack packing I found a bag of pretty pitiful, pulverized Rice Chex. At first I didn’t think too much about it I just tossed the bag into the trash and went about my day. The epiphany happened a few days later when I saw a recipe on one of my favorite blogs for White Bean Casserole with a Crunchy Onion Topping, guess what makes that golden crunchy onion topping crunch…….Give up? PANKO, Agh!!!

So, there I was mouthwatering, stomach growling and if I must admit, pretty irritated that I couldn’t whip that dish up for dinner. Feeling pretty defeated by all of the Panko crusted dishes I was seeing posted online and unable to find anything else that distracted my overwhelming desire for that casserole I decided to go to my pantry and try to find some kind of dinner inspiration that didn’t involve crunchy, golden, Panko goodness. There were plenty of potential meals that I could have whipped up, but I just kept thinking obsessing about that casserole…I bet it would be delicious, crispy, golden and savory. *Does anyone else day dream about food they can’t eat? I think I have a problem! At that very moment, my amazing toddler came running in from the playroom begging for his favorite afternoon snack. * I think he sensed my desperation! I reached into the pantry and pulled out the big box of Rice Chex, made him a little snack cup which triggered the memory of that little bag of pulverized Chex. There they were…staring at me, and I was staring at them… they were begging me to try and turn them into a crispy, golden, gluten-free, Panko-esque casserole topper. *Why I have never tried this before is beyond me!

I grabbed a few handfuls, tossed them into a large Ziploc bag and broke out the rolling pin. I crushed them until they were light, airy and they looked flaky, like real Panko. Then, I whipped up the rest of those casserole ingredients, minus the turkey bacon, and crossed my fingers as it went into the oven. Can I just say it was an EPIC moment in my gluten-free kitchen when we sat down at the dinner table to eat our  faux-panko topped casserole?!  It may not seem like a big deal to you, it has forever changed the way I will bread, top, and stuff! All thanks to my miniature knight in shining armor craving his afternoon snack.

Have you ever had a moment in the kitchen that has changed how you prepare your meals and the ingredients you use forever?

We are happy to have shared this post at the Gluten-Free Friday’s link up party hosted by Vegetarian Mama, Eat.Live.Make, and Gluten Freed R.D.!  Hop on over to find more great gf recipes.

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  1. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies November 14, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I love this story! It’s so nice when things kind of fall into place like that. 🙂 I bet the chex are even a little MORE crunchy than real panko, so I’m curious to try it even though I do eat gluten!

    I kind of feel like my baked fried rice is my great kitchen innovation. I make it all the time now and whenever I do, I’m like, “Dang, I am a genius.” 😉

    1. admin November 14, 2012 at 1:30 pm


      Thanks! I think you are a genius, that baked fried rice is phenomenal!

  2. Gina Marie @ So Lets Hang Out November 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    This is such a great idea! I am definitely going to give it a try… plus, so much more cost effective than buying the gluten free panko that they sell at whole foods. Thanks for this! 🙂

    1. admin November 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks so much! I am always looking for inexpensive subs for my gluten-free recipes because buying gluten-free at the store can get pretty expensive.

  3. Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) November 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    This is SO smart!! Got it tweeted and pinned! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂

    We have a great collection of recipes going to get us ready for menu planning! Hope to see you this Thursday for another Gluten Free Fridays link up! It will be live at 7:05 eastern US time. Cindy from

    1. admin November 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      Thanks Cindy!

  4. Lynell March 17, 2014 at 7:42 am

    This is genius! I’ve tried crushed plantain chips for breading before, which worked out surprisingly ok, but this is a great idea.

  5. Darcey May 3, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    I think I love you!
    I too have been searching since I went GF/V about a year ago. I could find vegan OR gluten free, but not both! Thank you for such a simple fix.

    1. Meg May 4, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      Ha ha!! Darcey you are SO welcome! I am really glad that this will help you out.


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