Ina Garten's Favorite Brand Of Breadcrumbs Is A Grocery Store Staple

There are various ways to use breadcrumbs, from thickening light soups to adding a delightful texture to pasta, casseroles, and baked goods. However, if you really want to elevate your recipes, consider opting for the Barefoot Contessa's favorite brand: 4C's seasoned bread crumbs.

These ready-made breadcrumbs are one of Ina Garten's favorite store-bought substitutions. While there are various breading brands available, such as Kikkoman's Japanese-style panko and Progresso's Italian-style variety, only the "good" breadcrumbs seem to receive Garten's seal of approval.

In this case, the celebrity chef chooses 4C's simple grocery store staple over higher-end varieties. While the brand's exact recipe remains a secret, we do know that 4C features a savory blend of herbs, spices, and pecorino romano cheese. Given that the brand — which offers an array of breadcrumb options, including salt-free, gluten-free, and plain bread crumbs — is preferred by Garten, it's certainly a worthy choice for our kitchens as well.

Breadcrumbs add both flavor and texture

As it turns out, 4C breadcrumbs are the key ingredient in making the TV personality's scrumptious "real meatballs" and spaghetti recipe, which calls for ¼ cup of seasoned dry bread crumbs. However, in addition to meats like ground veal, pork, and beef, the cookbook author shared that her meatball recipe isn't complete without freshly grated Parmesan cheese. "I think it's unusual in meatballs, but I think it gives it lots of flavor," she said while preparing the dish on a "Food Network" episode.

Garten notes that all of the ingredients she uses are designed to either add flavor to the meatballs or help hold them together. Although breadcrumbs are commonly used as a binder in meatballs and other dishes, such as meatloaf and crab cakes, her preference for 4C's seasoned breadcrumb variety appears to serve a dual purpose in this recipe — adding a boost of cheesy-herby goodness to every bite.

Garten uses fresh breadcrumbs, too

Along with seasoned dry breadcrumbs, Ina Garten's famous meatball recipe also calls for one cup of fresh white bread crumbs, which is equivalent to four slices of bread. When preparing a batch, Garten simply  removes the crust and chops the bread into large pieces using a food processor.

She recommends using a loaf of crusty white or sourdough bread to make the fresh crumbs, but luckily, she doesn't expect you to bake the bread from scratch. During a 2020 appearance on "Late Night With Seth Meyers," Garten made a rather surprising revelation: "I've never made a sourdough bread in my life," she admitted.

That's right; if you want fresh bread crumbs, there's no need to splurge on a fancy bread maker. Emphasizing practicality, the Barefoot Contessa suggests simply buying a loaf from your local bakery. This is just one of many reasons why we love her.