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5 July 2021

This tonkatsu recipe, aka “Pork Katsu”, is a classic Japanese dish of thin pork cutlets coated with panko breadcrumbs, then fried until golden and smothered in tonkatsu sauce. Comfort food at its finest.

Today we’re making a classic Japanese dish called “Tonkatsu”, and I think you’re going to love it.

Tonkatsu is a dish of thin pork fillets that are breaded with crispy panko then deep fried until juicy and golden brown. They’re crunchy and comforting, and absolutely outstanding when served with tangy tonkatsu sauce, which is essentially a Japanese BBQ sauce.

The recipe was created in 1899 by a chef named Kida Motojiro as part of the yoshoku movement, which then saw an explosion of Western cuisine done with Japanese techniques.

At the time, pork was an unusual ingredients, and it was fried in panko rather than done tempura style. Today, tonkatsu, or pork katsu, is a hugely popular dish.

It’s quick and easy to make, and you can spice it up as much as you’d like.

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

Freshly sliced Pork Katsu on a cutting board

Classic Tonkatsu Ingredients (Pork Katsu)

  • Boneless Pork Chops. Pork loin or pork shoulder is ideal for this recipe, though you can use your favorite cuts.
  • Salt and Pepper.
  • For Breading. Flour, Eggs, Panko Bread Crumbs.
  • Vegetable Oil. For frying. Use a neutral oil like corn oil or canola oil.
  • Cabbage. For traditional serving.
  • To Serve. Tonkatsu sauce, sliced green onion.

Sliced Pork Katsu on a plate with chopped cabbage

How to Make Tonkatsu – the Recipe Method

Flatten the Pork. Pound the pork cutlets with a kitchen mallet to flatten to 1/2 inch thickness. Season them with salt and pepper and set aside. Cover the pork with a bit of plastic wrap before pounding can help keep things clean.

Heat the Oil. Heat at least 1 inch of vegetable oil in a large wide pot over medium-high heat to 350 degrees If you are unable to measure the temperature, add a droplet of flour to the oil. It is ready when the flour sizzles. Do NOT bring the oil to a boil.

Set Up Your Breading Station. Set up your breading station with 3 shallow bowls in a row. Add the flour to the first bowl, the beaten eggs to the second bowl, and the panko bread crumbs to the third bowl.

3 bowls set up for making pork katsu, with flour, scrambled egg, and panko

Bread and Fry the Pork. Dip each pork cutlet first into the flour, then into the egg wash, then into the panko.

Coating the pork cutlet in flour

Be sure to get them nicely coated and leave no bare spots.

Breading the pork cutlet with panko bread crumbs

Set the panko coated pork cutlets into the hot oil and fry them for about 4-5 minutes, or until they turn golden brown.

Drain the Pork. Remove the fried pork and drain on a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet.

Fried panko breaded pork cutlets on a plate

Slice and Serve. Slice the pork into strips and serve with shredded cabbage and tonkatsu sauce. Garnish with green onion.

Mike slicing Pork Katsu on a cutting board

Boom! Done! Classic tonkatsu is ready to serve. Looks great, doesn’t it? You can also serve it with white rice or a spicy Japanese mustard. So good!

Pork Katsu on a plate

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Tonkatsu Sauce. Tonkatsu sauce is essential to a proper pork katsu recipe. It is basically a Japanese take on Worcestershire sauce. Check out my tonkatsu sauce recipe, which you can make a couple different ways, with an easy version and more of a restaurant style version.
  • Chicken Katsu. Use boneless chicken breast in place of the pork for chicken katsu, which is also a popular version of this recipe.

Easy Tonkatsu Sauce dripping from a spoon

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this tonkatsu recipe, aka pork katsu. Let me know if you make it. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Extra tonkatsu sauce for me, please!

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!

Pork Katsu on a plate, waiting for tonkatsu sauce

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Pork Katsu with tonkatsu sauce on a plate, ready to serve

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.

Pork Katsu Recipe
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5 from 2 votes

Tonkatsu Recipe (Pork Katsu)

This tonkatsu recipe, aka "Pork Katsu", is a classic Japanese dish of thin pork cutlets coated with panko breadcrumbs, then fried until golden and smothered in tonkatsu sauce. Comfort food at its finest.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Japanese
Keyword: fried, panko, pork
Servings: 4
Calories: 491kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 fillets boneless pork chops 3/4 inch thick - use pork loin or pork shoulder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 small green cabbage sliced or shredded
  • FOR SERVING: Tonkatsu sauce, sliced green onion

Instructions

  • Pound the pork cutlets with a kitchen mallet to flatten to 1/2 inch thickness. Season them with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Heat at least 1 inch of vegetable oil in a large wide pot over medium-high heat to 350 degrees If you are unable to measure the temperature, add a droplet of flour to the oil. It is ready when the flour sizzles. Do NOT bring the oil to a boil.
  • Set up your breading station with 3 bowls in a row. Add the flour to the first bowl, the beaten eggs to the second bowl, and the panko bread crumbs to the third bowl.
  • Dip each pork cutlet first into the flour, then into the egg wash, then into the panko. Be sure to get them nicely coated and leave no bare spots.
  • Set the breaded pork cutlets into the hot oil and fry them for about 4-5 minutes, or until they turn golden brown.
  • Remove the fried pork and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
  • Slice the pork into strips and serve with sliced cabbage and tonkatsu sauce. Garnish with green onion.

Notes

Nutritional information estimated without tonkatsu sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 491kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 170mg | Sodium: 358mg | Potassium: 1027mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 341IU | Vitamin C: 83mg | Calcium: 169mg | Iron: 5mg