How long can you store homemade bread crumbs?

Bread crumbs are a versatile ingredient that can be used to coat or bake breaded foods, as a topping for casseroles and other baked dishes, or as a filler in meatballs and meatloaf. Homemade bread crumbs are easy to make from excess bread or bread that’s starting to go stale. But how long will homemade bread crumbs stay fresh in the pantry or freezer?

Quick Answer

Properly stored, homemade bread crumbs will last:

  • Pantry: 1-2 weeks
  • Fridge: 1-2 months
  • Freezer: 6-12 months

How to tell if bread crumbs are bad

Here are some signs that indicate your bread crumbs have gone bad:

  • Mold growth
  • Stale, cardboard-like texture
  • Unpleasant sour smell
  • Rancid odor
  • Change in color

Pantry Storage

Storing bread crumbs at room temperature in a pantry or cupboard will preserve freshness for 1-2 weeks. Here are some tips for pantry storage:

  • Keep bread crumbs in an airtight container or ziplock bag.
  • Make sure crumbs are completely dry before storing to prevent mold growth.
  • Store away from light, heat, and moisture.
  • Check periodically for stale texture and off odors.

Refrigerator Storage

For longer shelf life of up to 1-2 months, store bread crumbs in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Refrigeration slows down starch retrogradation, which causes bread crumbs to go stale. Follow these guidelines for fridge storage:

  • Use air-tight glass, plastic, or stainless steel containers.
  • Avoid repeatedly opening the container as temperature fluctuations introduce moisture.
  • Check for mold growth, staleness, or rancid odors occasionally.

Freezer Storage

Freezing bread crumbs for 6-12 months prevents mold growth and staleness. For best quality, follow these freezer storage tips:

  • Spread crumbs in a single layer on a sheet pan and freeze until solid.
  • Transfer frozen crumbs to moisture-proof freezer bags or containers.
  • Squeeze out excess air and seal tightly.
  • Avoid temperature fluctuations by keeping freezer door closed.
  • Use freezer thermometer to monitor temperature at 0°F or below.

How to thaw and use frozen bread crumbs

It’s easy to defrost frozen bread crumbs for use in recipes:

  • Place sealed freezer bag of crumbs under cold running water.
  • Gently knead bag to break up crumbs as they thaw.
  • Or simply place sealed bag of crumbs in the refrigerator overnight to thaw slowly.
  • Use immediately after thawing.
  • Do not refreeze thawed bread crumbs.

Factors affecting bread crumb shelf life

Certain factors influence how long homemade bread crumbs will stay fresh and usable:

  • Storage temperature: Colder is better. Freezer longest, fridge next best.
  • Storage container: Airtight is best to keep out moisture and pests.
  • Preparation method: Well-dried crumbs last longer than sticky wet ones.
  • Ingredients: Bread with oil or eggs spoils faster than plain bread.

How to make bread crumbs last longer

You can extend the shelf life of homemade bread crumbs with these tips:

  • Freeze bread crumbs immediately after making for longest freshness.
  • Make sure bread is completely dry before crumbling.
  • Use airtight containers and plastic freezer bags.
  • Squeeze out excess air from bags before sealing.
  • Store bread crumbs in the back of the fridge or freezer where temperature is most stable.
  • Avoid introducing moisture by limiting openings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you store bread crumbs at room temperature?

It’s best not to store bread crumbs at room temperature for more than 1-2 weeks. Without refrigeration or freezing, bread crumbs stale quickly due to starch retrogradation. Mold growth, rancid odors, and unpleasant texture can develop at room temperature.

Should bread crumbs be kept in the fridge?

Yes, refrigerating bread crumbs in an airtight container extends shelf life to 1-2 months by slowing starch retrogradation and preventing mold growth. The cold temperature of the fridge keeps bread crumbs fresh longer than room temperature.

How do you know if old bread crumbs are still good?

Check old bread crumbs for mold, stale or cardboard-like texture, rancid or sour smell, and color changes. If there are no signs of spoilage, they should still be safe to use after tasting a small amount first. Trust your senses – if crumbs smell or taste unpleasant, throw them out.

Can stale bread be used for crumbs?

Yes, slightly stale or dried out bread can be used to make fresh bread crumbs. Remove any moldy portions and check for unpleasant odors before crumbling. To revive stale bread, sprinkle lightly with water and bake at 300°F for 10 minutes before crumbling.

Can you freeze bread crumbs after opening?

Previously frozen bread crumbs can be safely frozen again after opening if they have been properly stored and show no signs of spoilage. Place opened crumbs in airtight freezer bags or containers, squeezing out excess air before sealing. Freeze for up to 2-3 months after reopening.

Storing Other Types of Bread Crumbs

Panko Bread Crumbs

Unopened panko bread crumbs last 6-12 months past the printed “best by” date. After opening, store in an airtight container in the pantry up to 3 months. For longer shelf life, refrigerate up to 6 months or freeze up to 1 year.

Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs

Unopened seasoned crumbs last 1 year past the “best by” date. After opening, refrigerate up to 6 months. Do not store seasoned crumbs at room temperature as the oils and seasonings can spoil quickly.

Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs

Check package dates and storage instructions, as shelf life varies by brand. Most gluten-free crumbs last 4-6 months in the pantry before opening. Refrigerate opened containers up to 4 months. Freeze for up to 1 year.

How to use up bread crumbs

If your bread crumbs are nearing the end of their shelf life, try using them up in these tasty ways:

  • Coating for baked chicken, fish, pork chops, etc.
  • Mix into ground beef or turkey for burgers and meatloaf.
  • Topping for grilled cheese, mac & cheese, casseroles.
  • Filler in meatballs, fish cakes, crab cakes.
  • Breading for frying chicken, fish, veggies, etc.
  • Combine with herbs and butter to stuff under chicken skin.
  • Use as thickener for stews, soups, gravies.
  • Sprinkle on steamed vegetables.


With proper storage methods, homemade bread crumbs can keep for 1-2 weeks in the pantry, 1-2 months in the refrigerator, and 6-12 months in the freezer. Place cooled dry crumbs in airtight containers and bags. Monitor for mold, staleness, and unpleasant odors over time. Freeze for maximum shelf life. Remember to use oldest crumbs first and toss spoiled crumbs.

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