What is Panko?

Japanese Bread Crumbs

Panko bread crumbs (or panko crumbs, where ‘panko’ means ‘bread powder’) are one ingredient that all cooks of present-day Japanese cuisine cannot be without. European traders were the first people to show the Japanese how to cook with panko breadcrumbs, and since then their use has spread throughout the country.

Panko is made using Japanese milk bread or Hokkaido bread; a soft, airy white bread which was developed in the twentieth century using a Chinese starter method called ‘tangzhong’. The crusts are removed and the bread is broken down into large flakes (rather than tiny crumbs) before being completely dried. This process makes Japanese bread crumbs crispier and more delicate than fresh bread crumbs or homemade bread crumbs, which in turn makes any dish made with Japanese breadcrumbs, such as chicken katsu cutlets for katsu curry or korokke potato croquettes, deliciously light and crunchy. Beyond Japanese cooking, Western chefs and home cooks are also embracing panko to make everything from crumbed fish and chicken to toppings for casseroles and macaroni cheese. 

If you are wondering where to buy panko bread crumbs, look no further than japancentre.com. We have a great range of Japanese panko available to buy online. 

Buy panko bread crumbs >

How Do I Use Panko?


The Japanese version of cutlets, katsu are slightly flattened pieces of chicken or pork covered in a fried Japanese breadcrumb coating. Katsu is one of Japanese cuisine’s most beloved fried foods, and you can find it in dishes as varied as Japanese-style katsu curry, egg and katsu donburi rice bowls, katsu ramen, katsu sandwiches, or katsu with a side of shredded greens.


A lighter, fluffier take on croquettes, Japanese korokke are crumbed patties of mashed meats, potatoes, and vegetables. They come in a variety of flavours, including beef and potato, pumpkin, and curry, and they are mainly enjoyed either as part of a bento lunch box or as a main evening meal, covered in Japanese Worcestershire sauce and served with salad.


Known as hambaagu in Japanese, burgers are commonly served in steakhouses and family restaurants topped with tomato sauce and served with salad. To make them, panko Japanese breadcrumbs and beef mince are combined with fried onions and various seasonings. This mixture is separated into patties and cooked in a frying pan or on a hot plate until the desired temperature is reached. Variations can be made using pork mince, lamb mince or, if you are not a meat-eater, tofu and/or edamame soy beans.


This tasty party food is a favourite at Japanese house parties and in Izakaya pubs. It is various bite-size pieces of meat, fish, and vegetables speared onto skewers and covered in panko bread crumbs, then deep fried for 1-2 minutes and served with tonkatsu or Worcestershire sauce.

Recipe Ideas