If you have a bag of panko stuck at the back of your pantry you may be wondering, how long do panko breadcrumbs last? This article answers this along with all your other burning panko questions.
Panko are flaky Japanese breadcrumbs with a crispy texture. They are a versatile ingredient used in Japanese cooking in dishes like tonkatsu.
The Japanese breadcrumbs are made from steamed, crustless bread that are processed into flakes and then dried. This gives them a different texture compared to Italian breadcrumbs.
In the 1500s, bread was introduced into Japanese via Portuguese sailors. The popular Japanese dish, tonkatsu (fried breaded pork cutlet), was inspired by German schnitzel. Panko was first developed to make this dish.
Now, panko is a popular ingredient not only in Japan, but all over the world. And it isn’t just used for the popular dish, tonkatsu.
Panko is notoriously used in tonkatsu, a breaded and fried pork cutlet served with white rice and often Japanese curry or a sweet dipping sauce.
It is great if you want to add a crispy coating to whatever you are making. It’s also used in dishes like chicken katsu, hambagu (hamburger steaks) and korroke (kabocha squash croquettes).
It can also be used to add a crunchy topping on top of macaroni and cheese, vegetable gratin or any casserole dish or as an ingredient inside of meatballs.
There are other kinds of breadcrumbs that you can find at the grocery store. There are Italian breadcrumbs, which some may consider regular breadcrumbs. You can get them plain or with added Italian seasonings.
You can also get gluten-free breadcrumbs which are a type of breadcrumbs that are made with gluten-free bread. There are also gluten-free versions of panko.
Where to buy
Store-bought panko is commonly available. You will likely find some at your local grocery store. If you can’t find any there, try an Asian grocery store or online.
How should you store panko?
If your panko comes in a resealable bag, make sure to press out any excess air and seal the bag completely after using. You can also use a bag clip to seal off air if your bag doesn’t come with a seal.
You can also transfer your panko to an airtight container. Make sure the container is completely sealed before putting it into storage.
Store your breadcrumbs in a dry place at room temperature until your next use. You can also store them in the refrigerator or freezer to extend shelf life for as long as possible.
How long does panko last?
There should be an expiration date listed somewhere on the panko bag or box. You can use this date to determine when to throw out your breadcrumbs.
Panko should last about six months before it goes bad as a rule of thumb. This number might be different depending on storage conditions.
Your panko will spoil sooner if stored unsealed, in a hot room (or outside) in a damp environment. It will last longer if it is properly sealed in a cold room or refrigerator and in a dry environment.
Signs of spoilage
There are a few signs that your panko has spoiled which you need to look out for. These are great indicators to use if you aren’t sure what the expiration date is or when you got the panko.
First, examine your panko. Are there any signs of mold? Mold growth may look like white fuzzy patches, dark spots or blueish green specks.
If you see anything that doesn’t look right, it’s best to stay on the safe side and toss the panko instead of risking it.
Next, give the panko a nice sniff. Panko should have a mild, starchy smell. If you notice an off smell or a rancid smell, it’s best to toss the panko.
When you first purchase your panko, get familiar with the smell of fresh panko so you have a reference point to work from. Any strong smell is a bad sign.
Next, feel the texture of the panko. It should feel dry and rough. If the panko feels soft and even has wet clumps, this is a sign your panko has gone bad.
Excess moisture speeds up the spoilage process and quickly turns panko bad. Make sure your panko is in an airtight container in a dry area to prevent this.
Hopefully you don’t get to this point, but if you end up eating the spoiled panko and it has a sour taste, it’s time to toss it. Panko should not have a strong taste.
Health risks of eating spoiled panko
So what happens when you accidentally consume spoiled panko? Well, food poisoning can look different depending on the kind of infecting bacteria and who it’s affecting.
Common symptoms of food poisoning include diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting or fever. The length and severity of the symptoms depend on the person and the bacteria consumed.
If you are experiencing bloody diarrhea, diarrhea that lasts more than three days, a high fever, consistent vomiting or signs of dehydration, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Tips to extend shelf life
If you want to ensure your panko lasts longer than that six months or the expiration date, make sure you follow the steps below and also look for signs of spoilage before consuming.
First, ensure you are storing your panko in a tightly sealed container. If possible, try to release as much air as you can from the container. This of course works better if your panko is stored in a sealable bag.
Next, store your panko in a cold room, the refrigerator or the freezer. The colder the environment, the longer your panko will stay fresh. Avoid storing your panko in a warm room or near any heat sources like the stove, oven or microwave.
Your panko will last the longest in a dry area as opposed to a humid environment. Sometimes you can’t control the humidity of a room, but you can avoid keeping the panko near a humidifier.
Panko will go bad faster if exposed to direct sunlight. Instead, keep your panko in a dark area where it won’t be exposed to much light. You can keep them in a kitchen drawer, cabinet or pantry for safe keeping.
How to freeze panko
If you would like to freeze your panko, transfer your panko to a freezer bag with an adjustable zipper opening. Lay flat and press out any excess air. Seal your bag and place it in your freezer flat. They should last about a year in the freezer before losing freshness.
How to toast panko
Toasting your panko gives it a richer, nuttier flavor and a crispier texture. It’s super easy to do and really adds something special to your dish.
A great way to toast your panko is on a pan over the stove. Over medium heat, add your panko. Use a spatula to move around your panko as it is being heated.
Continue this process until your panko is golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and use in whatever recipe you would like.
Make your own panko
Do you know that you can make your own homemade panko? While it won’t taste exactly the same as store bought panko, it can be a good way to use leftover bread.
First, cut the crust off your bread. Transfer to a food processor and pulse several times. While this is the best way, you can also grate your bread to flakes.
Transfer the shredded bread to a baking sheet and bake for 6-10 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t want your breadcrumbs to brown, so don’t keep them in for too long.
And that’s it! Once the breadcrumbs are dried in the oven, transfer them to an airtight container to consume later. Since they are homemade, they will only stay good for 1-2 months.
Recipes using panko
Tonkatsu (Fried Breaded Pork Cutlet)
Tonkatsu is one of my all time favorite comfort meals. I love serving it with a side of steamed white rice and either Japanese curry or katsu sauce, which is a sweet dipping sauce.
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup wheat flour or rice flour
- ¾ cup panko
- 1 pound pork loin chops
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup neutral oil
- In three separate shallow bowls or plates with a lip, add the beaten eggs, flour and panko.
- Cut your pork loin chops into four thin slices. Gently press off excess moisture with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
- Dip the pork first in the flour, then the egg, then the panko. Make sure each piece is fully coated with each ingredient before moving onto the next.
- In a pan over medium heat, add the cooking oil. Add the pork slices to the hot oil, frying them one or two at a time.
- Cook until each side is golden brown and the internal temperature has reached at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Enjoy with white rice and katsu sauce.
Notes: This recipe works great with chicken as well if you want to make chicken katsu. Simply replace the pork loin chops with chicken breast. Also, when coating the pork, be sure to dust off excess flour and ensure you let excess egg drip off each slice. After coating with panko, gently press the breadcrumbs into the pork.
Korokke (Japanese Croquettes)
Korokke or Japanese croquettes have a delicious crunchy texture on the outside and a warm, mushy texture on the inside. They are perfect for a snack, appetizer or side dish.
- 2 russet potatoes
- ½ yellow onion
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- ½ pound ground beef
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup wheat or rice flour
- 1 cup panko
- 2 eggs, beaten
- First, skin and cut your potatoes into small evenly sized pieces. Add potatoes to a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until boiled. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes bread apart easily with a fork.
- While potatoes are cooking, dice the yellow onion. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of neutral oil. Once hot, add the onion. Stir fry until browned, then add the ground beef, salt and pepper. Cook until the beef is browned.
- Once potatoes are done, transfer to a bowl and mash together. Add the onion and beef mixture and fold together.
- Using gloved hands, form the potato mixture into small ovals. You should be able to make about 8-10.
- Let cool in the refrigerator while you put the flour, panko and beaten eggs into three separate bowls.
- Coat the ovals in the flour, then the egg, then the panko. Set aside.
- In a large pan over medium heat, add ¼ cup of oil. Once hot, add half of the ovals. Fry on each side until golden brown. Remove and fry the other half.
- Serve with katsu sauce and white rice.
Notes: You can make this recipe with winter squash, pumpkin or sweet potato instead of russet potatoes. You can also add other vegetables like corn and mushrooms and other meat like ground chicken, seafood or make it vegetarian.
This recipe was adapted from justonecookbook.com.
Katsu or tonkatsu sauce is the perfect pair with tonkatsu or chicken katsu. It tastes delicious and adds a savory and sweet flavor to the dish.
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 3 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Use a spoon to mix the ingredients together. Enjoy with tonkatsu or korokke. Save the leftovers in the refrigerator and use within a week.
This recipe was adapted from justonecookbook.com.