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30 June 2021

This tonkatsu sauce recipe is a classic sweet and tangy Japanese sauce with western influences, perfect for fried pork cutlets and easy to make.

We’re cooking up a batch of Homemade Tonkatsu Sauce today in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen. Would you care for some? 

Tonkatsu sauce is a sweet and tangy sauce from Japan that is traditionally served with “tonkatsu“, which are panko breaded and deep fried pork cutlets. It was created over a century ago by a chef named Kida Motojiro and is a Japanese take on Worcestershire sauce.

The sauce recipe has changed over the years, with chefs adding ingredients like tomatoes and fruit purees to make it more palatable to local consumers.

What follows here are two different ways to make it. The first is more of a restaurant style tonkatsu sauce with more ingredients, which will take a bit longer to make. The second version is a homemade, easy tonkatsu sauce that you can whip together in 5 minutes from simple condiments.

This version is more like popular Bulldog Sauce so loved by Japanese diners.

Let’s talk about how we make tonkatsu sauce, shall we?

A spoonful of Tonkatsu Sauce

Tonkatsu Sauce Ingredients

  • FOR AUTHENTIC TONKATSU SAUCE – More Restaurant Style
  • Vegetable Oil. For cooking.
  • Fruit and Vegetables. Onion, apple, tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste.
  • Liquids. Water, sake, vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce.
  • Seasonings. Salt, sugar, cayenne, white pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, bay leaf.
  • FOR EASY TONKATSU SAUCE (Homemade Bulldog Sauce)
  • Ketchup.
  • Worcestershire Sauce.
  • Sugar. Or use honey or brown sugar.
  • Soy Sauce.

Tonkatsu Sauce Ingredients

How to Make Tonkatsu Sauce – the Recipe Method

FOR AUTHENTIC TONKATSU SAUCE – Restaurant Style

Cook the Onion. Heat the oil in a large saucepan to medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes to soften.

Simmer Most of the Ingredients. Add the apple, tomatoes, garlic, sake, water, salt, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, tomato paste and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf, then allow the mixture to cool.

Cooking the ingredients to make Tonkatsu Sauce

Process and Strain. Transfer the ingredients to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Or, use a stick blender. Strain the ingredients back into the saucepan and discard the solids.

Straining the cooked ingredients to make Tonkatsu Sauce

Seasonings and Second Simmer. Add the seasonings and Worcestershire sauce. Heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool and serve.

Tonkatsu Sauce on a spoon

FOR EASY TONKATSU SAUCE (Homemade Bulldog Sauce)

Whisk the Ingredients. Whisk together the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and soy sauce in a small bowl.

Serve it Up. Serve as desired with Japanese breaded tonkatsu or as a dipping sauce.

Easy Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe

Boom! Done! Your homemade tonkatsu sauce is ready to serve. Looks great, doesn’t it? Which one did you make? The “restaurant style” version, or the “easy homemade” version? Got a preference?

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Amounts. The classic tonkatsu sauce recipe makes about 3.5 cups of sauce. The easy tonkatsu sauce recipe makes about 1/2 cup.
  • Additional Ingredients. Other popular ingredients to include in your recipe include celery, carrots or other vegetables, oyster sauce, mirin, sweet vinegar, mustard, and other seasonings like garlic, ginger and clove.

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy your new tonkatsu sauce recipe. Let me know if you make it, and how you made it your own. Did you make it more like the Bulldog brand?  I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. 

Tonkatsu Sauce dripping from a spoon

Cookbook Recommendation

If you love Japanese cuisine, check out the following cookbook. I’m learning a lot from it and used it to develop this recipe. Great book!

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Drizzling homemade Tonkatsu Sauce over Tonkatsu (Japanese fried pork cutlet)

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Tonkatsu Sauce on a spoon
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe

This tonkatsu sauce recipe is a classic sweet and tangy Japanese sauce with western influences, perfect for fried pork cutlets and easy to make.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
FOR THE EASY TONKATSU SAUCE5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Main Course, sauce
Cuisine: American, Japanese
Keyword: ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce
Servings: 56 tablespoons
Calories: 17kcal

Ingredients

FOR AUTHENTIC TONKATSU SAUCE

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 small apple 4 ounces, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 pound tomatoes chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup sake
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce or to taste
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

FOR EASY TONKATSU SAUCE (Homemade Bulldog Sauce)

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or use honey or brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Instructions

FOR AUTHENTIC TONKATSU SAUCE

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan to medium heat.
  • Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes to soften.
  • Add the apple, tomatoes, garlic, sake, water, salt, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, tomato paste and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Discard the bay leaf, then allow the mixture to cool.
  • Transfer the ingredients to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Or, use a stick blender.
  • Strain the ingredients back into the saucepan and discard the solids.
  • Add the seasonings and Worcestershire sauce. Heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Cool and serve.

FOR EASY TONKATSU SAUCE (Homemade Bulldog Sauce)

  • Whisk together the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and soy sauce in a small bowl.
  • Serve as desired.

Notes

Nutritional information estimated for the authentic tonkatsu sauce version.
The classic tonkatsu sauce recipe makes about 3.5 cups of sauce. The easy tonkatsu sauce recipe makes about 1/2 cup.

Nutrition

Calories: 17kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 182mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 46IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg