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Food Innovations Blog

Panko In Unexpected Places

April 5, 2011

By: Chef Beau Guthrie, Director of Culinary Innovation

Panko is the Japanese word for breadcrumbs.  In the last several years, panko has become the preferred crumb for most restaurant chefs, Japanese or otherwise.  The Japanese breadcrumb is also finding its way into the pantries of savvy home cooks.  The crumb is known for a neutral flavor, making it extremely versatile in all types of cuisine.  When using Panko as a coating, the crust fries up to a light crispy bite, with a dramatic, spiked, jagged texture.  But Panko is finding a home as more than just a crumb for coating.

In meatloaf, meatballs, and pasta fillings, panko can be used as a binding agent.  With very little flavor, no crust and an extremely porous cell structure, panko can be used in a variety of applications for binding up moisture and holding ingredients together.  Whether you are trying to bind up fat to prevent a dry meatball, or tying up the moisture coming off a mushroom filling for a ravioli, panko works wonders.

Being surrounded by all kinds of pankos from maple colored to corn panko, dried to fresh crumb, our group has come up with some interesting ways to use panko that are a little unorthodox.  Panko bread pudding is an extremely dense and decadent treat that can be eaten for dessert or even as a sweet way to start your day.  Panko biscuits are another option.  Mix panko, marscapone, egg and your desired seasonings and you can create a simple biscuit to accompany any meal.  One of my personal favorite ways to use panko is to make an encrusting sheet, also called Panko Butter, which is great to use on halibut, sole, or salmon fillets.  When baked in the oven on high heat, the butter bastes the fish and turns the panko into an elegant looking crust that is perfectly sized to your selected protein.

To try this delicious Panko Butter, you can follow my recipe below. I hope you enjoy it!

Panko Butter


1 Stick – Softened, Unsalted Butter

3/4 Cup – Panko Bread Crumbs

1 Tablespoon – Favorite Seasoning Blend

Add Salt (to taste)


1. Mix all ingredients together to form a dough-like ball.

2. Place ball inside a quart sized Ziploc bag.

3. Flatten ball to fill every corner of the bag. Even out the mixture with a rolling pin.

4. Freeze mixture (flattened) inside bag.

5. Cook meat, chicken or fish until almost done.

6. Cut portion of panko butter to fit the shape of meat and place on top.

7. Broil in oven until crispy and golden.


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