Most breadcrumbs that you’d purchase pre-made at the store are very similar to the kind you’d make at home by toasting bread and crumbling it or rolling it fine with a rolling pin, whether or not you add seasonings. Panko, however is a little bit different, and it can’t really be made at home (though you could certainly substitute regular breadcrumbs for panko in most recipes – it won’t be quite the same, but close enough).
Don’t be fooled by recipes claiming to be a panko substitute which call for bread or crackers – this is not true panko! Panko is lighter, crispier and airier than regular breadcrumbs. Because panko is lighter and flakier than regular breadcrumbs, it’s perfect for fried foods, as it absorbs less oil and grease, making the end result not quite as heavy as a regular breading.
Panko is perfection. We always keep a container of panko Japanese-style breadcrumbs close by. Panko crumbs are flaky and light as a cloud. They create a crispy coating on just about anything that needs a little crunch from chicken tenders to breaded veggies and baked casseroles.