Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb traditionally used as a coating for deep-fried foods such as tonkatsu. The biggest difference between panko and standard breadcrumbs is that panko is made from bread without crusts, says Pam Becker, media representative for Progresso, which makes both types.
Panko’s crustless bread is coarsely ground into airy, large flakes that give fried foods a light, crunchy coating. The flakes tend to stay crispier longer than standard breadcrumbs because they don’t absorb as much grease.
Although predominantly used in Asian cuisine, panko has been gaining popularity in Western dishes, for example as an excellent topping for Eggplant Parmesan and as a binding agent for crab cakes or Veggie Burgers.