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The 5 Best Seafood Breadings

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Have you ever wondered how KFC gets their chicken so deliciously flavored and crispy? They use breading!

Breading consists of a mixture of flour, breadcrumbs, and seasoning ingredients. So, if you are looking to elevate your seafood, this is the way to go!

So, what are the best seafood breadings? The best seafood breadings naturally use breadcrumbs and flour. But, the real trick comes in the spices you use. Common spices that pair well with virtually any type of seafood include dried parsley, dill, cumin, pepper, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.

In today’s jam-packed article, we will dive deep into exactly what breading is, how to choose the perfect type of breadcrumb, and how to properly coat seafood. And, we have included 5 easy and drool-worthy recipes that can be used for any type of seafood!

What Is A Breading?

A breading is a mixture of dry ingredients that are used to add a crispy texture to food. This breading always contains dry breadcrumbs along with flour, corn starch, and other seasoning ingredients.

The type and combination of seasoning ingredients used are what adds flavor to the crunchy layer and ultimately, the ingredient being crumbed.

The best way to add flavor to a breading is by using spices and dried herbs. They should preferably be added to the flour and cornflour mixture. This way, they will be evenly distributed before the breadcrumbs are added.

Garlic makes an excellent addition and is almost always added. You can create extremely unique flavor profiles and take your guests on a culinary journey!

By using ingredients like cinnamon, star anise, garlic, pepper, and cloves, you can create delicious Chinese-inspired chicken bites. Or, by using dried basil, thyme, pepper, parsley, and cumin, you can create Italian deep-fried mozzarella sticks.

How To Bread Food

Breaded items are made using multiple layers of flour, liquid, and breading. This method used to make food crispy is called pane. Sometimes, ingredients can also be double-paned.

So, to start, you coat the food item in a layer of flour. Then, make sure to dust off any excess flour. The flour layer is mostly there to ensure that the item is completely dry before adding the liquid ingredient and breading.

Next, you coat the flour-dipped ingredient into a liquid. This liquid can be beaten eggs, an egg wash, or a dairy product.

Buttermilk and regular milk are some of the most common dairy products used. Personally, we prefer using eggs, as they help bind the breading to the food item of choice much better.

And finally, you coat the ingredient in the seasoned breading. This coating adds crispiness and flavor.

By repeating this process twice, you can add extra crispiness to your ingredient. And, it simultaneously creates a better-looking product too.

It is also worth mentioning that breaded seafood can be deep-fried or baked. Baking them is much healthier because you don’t have to use so much oil. You don’t have to use any oil at all! This also makes an air-fryer a fantastic cooking option.

What Makes A Seafood Breading?

Seafood breadings are specifically intended to pair well with seafood items. This mainly means using specific types of herbs and spices and also specific combinations of them.

Some common herbs and spices that pair well with most types of seafood include tarragon, chives, parsley, ginger, dill, cumin, smoked paprika, turmeric, and cinnamon.

Now, it is also important to take into account what you are coating. Prawns have an entirely different flavor to salmon and calamari.

At the end of the day, experimenting with different flavors is the best way to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t.

Choosing The Type Of Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs aren’t just breadcrumbs. There are actually more varieties than you may think. And, each type creates a unique texture.

The best way to choose which works for you is by experimenting. If you aren’t sure where to start, Panko breadcrumbs are always a safe option.

Panko breadcrumbs are large and very chunky crumbs that create the ultimate crunch. But, if left in contact with too much liquid for too long, they can become very soggy.

Regular breadcrumbs have a much finer consistency, almost resembling sand. These create a beautifully thin crust, but naturally, isn’t as crunchy as compared to Panko. However, they work very well for oddly shaped seafood items, like calamari tubes.

We do not recommend ever using untoasted crumbs. For breading, they become instantly soft when coming into contact with the liquid ingredient. And, no matter what you do, you won’t get the items crispy again!

And finally, you can also make your own breadcrumbs using specific types of bread. For example, make sourdough breadcrumbs or brioche breadcrumbs.

All you have to do is completely dry a few slices of the bread of your choice. Then, place it in a food processor or blender. Blend them until you have the desired-sized crumb.

The 5 Best Seafood Breadings

Below, we have developed 5 incredibly easy and delicious seafood breading recipes. We tried to include a variety of flavor profiles so that there is something for everyone!

These are all excellent to use for virtually any type of seafood you make. And, to use them is just as easy!

Recipe 1: Simple Seafood Breading

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • ½ cup cornflour 
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs

Recipe 2: Southern-Style Fried Seafood Breading

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • ½ cup cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay spice
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs

Recipe 3: Asian-Inspired Seafood Breading

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • ½ cup cornflour
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs

Recipe 4: Italian-spiced Seafood Breading

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • ½ cup cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs

Recipe 5: Tropical Seafood Breading

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, optional
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs

How To Cook These Breadings

There are two main ways you can cook these breadings. The difference is when the breadcrumbs are used. In the first method, the breadcrumbs are included in the recipe. In the second method, however, the breadcrumbs are used separately.

Method 1

The first method is definitely the easiest and contains the least amount of work. All you have to do is combine all of the ingredients in the recipe. 

To coat the seafood, simply dip the item into some beaten eggs (or the liquid of your choice) and then into the breading mixture.

While this method is the easiest, we don’t like it because of how ineffective it can be with certain items. Because you don’t have a flour layer first, the item usually has some excess moisture.

Then, the egg doesn’t adhere to it as well. To help prevent this, simply pat the seafood dry before coating it in egg (or your liquid).

The other problem with this method is that, in our opinion, the flavors aren’t as well distributed. And, the crunchiness is almost lost or “diluted” when mixed directly with the flour.

All that being said, this method still works and makes slightly less work.

Method 2

The second and most effective method is the traditional pan method. In this method, you won’t mix the ingredients with the breadcrumbs.

So, essentially you will combine everything in a bowl (flours, spices, and dried herbs) but place the breadcrumbs into a separate bowl.

Then, you will dip each seafood item into the seasoned flour first, then the liquid ingredient, and finally, the plain breadcrumbs.

This method makes the crispiest, most appealing, and most flavorful breaded seafood items.

Tips When Making Breaded Food

  • Always pat down the food being crumbed with a piece of kitchen towel. This will ensure that it doesn’t have any excess moisture and that the breading sticks well.
  • Always preheat your frying oil. Do not fry any food item from cold oil. This will just make the breaded food soggy.
  • The best temperature to fry breaded seafood in is between 320-360°F (160-180°C). At this temperature, you can evenly cook the seafood thoroughly without burning the breading. The same goes for when you are baking the items or air frying them.
  • If you decide to bake the breaded items, turn them over once half of the cooking time has elapsed. This will ensure that the item has been fully cooked and is evenly crispy on all sides.
  • We highly recommend checking the internal temperature of the seafood item (or at least the biggest piece in each batch). This will ensure that your seafood has been fully cooked and will reduce the risk of food poisoning from undercooked seafood.
  • Once your item has been fried, you can drain it on some kitchen or paper towel. Make sure to properly drain the fried ingredient to prevent them from becoming soggy while they are just standing.

Related Questions

What is the difference between a batter and breading?

A seafood breading consists of only dry ingredients. They include flour, cornflour, and seasoning ingredients. And, making breaded items requires layering flour, a liquid, and breadcrumbs.

A batter on the other hand is a liquid seasoned mixture. The item is dipped directly into the batter and immediately fried.

Can you make breaded items ahead of time?

You definitely can make any item ahead of time. Once breaded, simply place them on a lined baking tray and freeze them individually. Once they are completely frozen, you can combine the frozen pieces in one container or bag.

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