The 8 Best Substitutes For Cracker Meal

What can I use instead of cracker meal? If you have crackers, the best substitute is to make a homemade version. Alternatively, you can use dried breadcrumbs, Japanese panko, crushed tortilla chips, pretzel meal, crushed cornflakes, matzo meals, or crushed potato chips.

Cracker meal is also often called cracker crumbs. It is a crumbly meal made from finely crushed savory crackers. Cracker meal is a popular breading for frying or baking fish or pieces of meat. In addition, it can be used as a casserole topping, stuffing ingredient, or coating for baked veggie dishes. Sweet cracker meals can be made from graham crackers or crispy wafer cookies.

The Best Cracker Meal Substitutes

Homemade Cracker Meal

Cracker meals can be made at home by finely crushing savory crackers. Saltine crackers work well for this; however, any savory crackers can work if you need a fine, crumbly coating for food.

There are two ways to make homemade cracker meals. The simplest way is to put the dry crackers into a food processor until they are fine and crumbly.

You can also place them inside a thick, sealed plastic bag and crush the crackers with a rolling pin.

If a sweet cracker meal is required for desserts or as a fine coating on ice cream, the same process can be used to create a sweet homemade version. Use sweet crackers like graham crackers or wafer cookies.

Homemade cracker meals can be made, used, and stored in a dry, sealed packet or container like the store-bought product. A 14oz box of crackers will yield almost 3 cups of cracker meal.

Dried Breadcrumbs

Dried breadcrumbs are available as a finely crushed ready-to-use product or can be made using any leftover dried bread.

Bread can be dried in the oven before being crushed to create breadcrumbs. This works well as a substitute for cracker meal.

Like cracker meal, dried breadcrumbs can be stored in a sealed container. It can be used at a 1-to-1 ratio in place of cracker meal for breading items or as a topping.

Japanese Panko

Japanese panko is available as a ready-to-use, fine meal product. It is made from processed white breadcrumbs that have been dried to provide a crunchier consistency than regular dried breadcrumbs when fried. 

Panko is an excellent alternative to cracker meals, especially for fried food where a crispy result is required. However, it also works well for stuffings and toppings if you don’t have cracker meal available.

This versatile product adds crunch or volume but does not add much flavor to recipes. It can be substituted at a 1-to-1 ratio for cracker meal.

Tortilla Chips

Tortilla chips can be finely crushed to create an earthy-tasting substitute for cracker meals. This is an excellent option for anyone that needs a gluten-free replacement – just be sure to use pure corn tortilla chips.

Crushed tortilla chips can be used in the same way as cracker meals. Since it is made from maize, the texture may be slightly grittier than the highly refined cracker meal product, but the effect is still very palatable, and some people may prefer it.

Use finely crushed tortilla chips in the same ratio as cracker meal. Leftover tortilla chip meals can be stored in a sealed, dry container or bag.

Pretzel Crumbs

An easy cracker meal substitute is to use finely crushed pretzel sticks. Twisted pretzels will also work, but they are more difficult to crush.

Use a heavy, sealed plastic bag and run over it with a rolling pin, or put the pretzels in a blender to create a fine meal. Once it is the required texture, it will work well as a substitute for cracker meal in most applications.

Take note that pretzel crumbs are usually high in sodium, so you may need to reduce the amount of extra salt you add to the recipe. Use pretzel crumbs in the same ratio as cracker meals in recipes.

Crushed Corn Flakes

Cornflakes are a staple in many pantries. This versatile corn cereal can also work well as a breading or topping on vegetables or casseroles.

Finely crush cornflakes or pop them into a food processor to create a crunchy cracker meal substitute. Corn flakes contain gluten, so they are not a good substitute for anyone looking for a gluten-free cracker meal alternative.

Matzo Meal

Matzo meal can be purchased as a ready-to-pour product or made by crushing matzo flatbread to create the desired texture. The crispy wafer bread is made from unleavened flour and water mix.

Matzo is an excellent sodium-free cracker meal substitute. The fine meal can be used in the same ratio as cracker meal in recipes.

Crushed Potato Chips

When you need a crispy, crunchy, savory breading and have run out of cracker meal, try using crushed potato chips.

This is not a healthy option, so it shouldn’t be used regularly, but in case of an emergency, finely ground potato chips can work as a delicious stand-in for cracker meal.

Take note of the flavoring on the potato chips when using this option, as it may taint the recipe if the combination of tastes is incompatible.

Also, remember that potato chips usually contain a lot of salt, so you may not need to add any extra salt if you use this substitute.