The best Japanese Pork Katsu with sauce is easy to make with this step-by-step recipe. Tender, juicy pork loin cutlets with crispy Panko crust and thick Tonkatsu sauce served over rice make a wonderful dinner.
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Pork katsu (also known as pork tonkatsu) is a crispy, pan-fried Japanese pork cutlet coated in panko bread crumbs and topped with a delicious sauce called tonkatsu sauce. This is a Japanese dish that is satisfyingly crispy on the outside and deliciously moist on the inside. This pork katsu recipe is easy to make at home.
The pork katsu sauce, called tonkatsu sauce, that it’s served with gives this dish a jolt of tangy flavor. This tonkatsu sauce recipe is made with ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, Worcestershire sauce, fresh ginger, and garlic.
Can You Use Already Prepared Tonkatsu Sauce?
Of course, you can use a brand of pork katsu sauce if you wish, and there are many brands to choose from. To help you pick the best tonkatsu sauce, here’s a fascinating article describing the Great Tonkatsu Sauce Shootout in Hawaii, where there are many people of Japanese descent.
Katsu Pork Tips and Tricks
- Season the pork slices with salt beforehand and leave them in your refrigerator for at least one hour. If you leave them longer (two to four hours), this allows the salt to penetrate the pork, making it super flavorful and tender throughout.
- Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) is the only option for breading! These breadcrumbs add a crisp factor that any other type of breadcrumbs can’t match. You can even make your own panko.
- Note that coarse panko comes with a longer “grain.” This gives the katsu that highly desired coarse golden brown texture. You can use the finer stuff, but you will need to pack it on more.
- Gluten-Free Pork Katsu – You can buy gluten-free panko (e.g., the Kikkomann brand). You can also use gluten-free all-purpose flour.
Can You Make Katsu With a Different Meat?
Katsu is short for katsuretsu, which means cutlet in Japanese. Tonkatsu combines ton (meaning pork) and katsu (a shortened version of katsuretsu). Katsu describes any kind of cutlet (meat or seafood) fried in a crispy Japanese panko breadcrumb coating.
- Chicken Katsu – Pounded chicken katsu is delicious.
- Steak – Made with beef, this dish is called gyukatsu and is eaten rare. You need a good-quality, tender piece of meat.
- Salmon – Use a salmon steak – it does not need to be pounded. Also, salmon will take considerably less cooking time.
- Tofu – If you’re looking for a vegetarian katsu, using tofu would be a delicious option. Use an egg substitute such as Aquafaba.
How to Store Pork Katsu
Pork katsu will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. However, keep in mind that the breading will no longer be crispy.
There’s no easy way to reheat katsu so it comes out crisp and juicy. However, in Japan, there are tons of dishes that begin with crisply fried food that then gets doused in a soup or sauce that kills its crispness dead. So here’s a link that invites you to embrace the sogginess of leftovers.
Tonkatsu pork can be frozen uncooked. You can take it straight from the freezer, though the cooking will take a little longer. Freeze the pork katsu sauce in a separate container.
What to Serve With Pork Katsu
- Miso soup as a starter.
- Serve it the traditional Japanese way with steamed white rice and finely shredded cabbage. The cabbage adds a texture contrast and a refreshing taste to the savory fried pork katsu while also serving as a palate cleanser. As you pick up a piece of katsu pork with your chopsticks, make sure to include a serving of sliced cabbage in the same bite. It’s the best!
- You can julienne the cabbage finely by hand if you have good knife skills and a sharp blade, or, to make it easier, use a mandolin slicer. This link contains a description of how to shred cabbage in three different ways.
After shredding the cabbage, soak it in a large bowl of iced water for about 5 minutes to crisp it up. Drain, place in a plastic food bag and refrigerate until ready to serve.
If you don’t like cabbage, you could substitute finely shredded carrots.
- Serve your pork katsu with pickled cucumbers (tsukemono) on the side (see recipe below).
Here’s a list of what you need:
- Pork loin
- All-purpose flour
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil
- Soy sauce
- Brown sugar
- Worcestershire sauce
- Fresh ginger
How to Make Pork Katsu
- Place ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, Worcestershire sauce, ginger, and garlic in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
- Thinly slice the pork loin.
- Place each pork loin slice between plastic wrap and gently pound it out to be ¼-inch thick.
- Sprinkle salt on the pork slices, cover, and place them in the refrigerator for an hour.
- Set up a breading station with three bowls.
- Place the all-purpose flour into one bowl.
- Beat the eggs and water together very well, and pour into a second bowl.
- Place panko breadcrumbs into the third bowl.
- Place the pork slices in the flour then shake off any excess.
- Dip them into the egg wash, coat well, and then shake off any excess.
- Dredge them in panko breadcrumbs.
- Place the coated pork slices on a wire rack.
- Heat oil in an iron skillet or a stainless steel pan to 350 degrees.
- Add the pork slices to the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until the crust sets and is golden brown.
- Remove the pork slices from the pan and place them on a clean wire rack, to drain off excess oil.
- Place the pork in a 200-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
- When the pork is fully cooked, cut it into thin strips that you can pick up with chopsticks.
- Serve with rice, tonkatsu sauce, or your favorite brown sauce.
Love Japanese food? Try these recipes!
- Air Fryer Tempura
- Chicken Katsu
- Hibachi Steak Recipe
- Japanese Mustard Sauce
- Shrimp Tempura
- Tempura Batter Mix
- Yum Yum Sauce
Favorite Pork Recipes
- Cheesy Pork Chops
- Chinese Pork Ribs
- Oven Roasted Pork Loin
- Pork Chili Verde
- Pork Chops and Gravy
- Pork Guisada
- 1 pound pork loin cut into thin slices
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1½ tablespoons water
- 3 cups panko breadcrumbs
- vegetable oil for cooking
- ½ cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
In a small bowl combine ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, Worcestershire sauce, ginger, and finely minced garlic. Stir to combine. It is best if you let the sauce rest at least 30 minutes before serving.
Katsu Pork Preparation
Cut the pork loin into thin slices.
Place each pork loin slice between some plastic wrap and gently pound out the slice. You want it to be about ¼ inch thick.
Sprinkle salt on the pork slices, cover, and place them in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. This will help the pork break down and become super juicy. You could omit this step, but the pork will come out better if you let the pork rest.
Set up a breading station with three bowls.
Place the all-purpose flour into one bowl.
Beat the eggs and 1 1/2 tablespoons of water together very well, and pour into a second bowl.
Place panko breadcrumbs into the third bowl.
Place the pork slices in the flour and coat the entire surface then shake off any excess.
Dip them into the egg wash, coat well, then shake off any excess.
Dredge them in panko breadcrumbs.
Place the coated pork slices on a wire rack.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom ½ inch of either an iron skillet or a stainless steel pan and heat to 350 degrees. Your pan should be large enough not to overcrowd the pork.
Add the pork to the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the crust sets. Flip over and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Continue cooking the chicken and flipping it over until it is golden brown on both sides.
Remove the cooked pork slices from the pan and place them on a clean wire rack, to drain off excess oil.
Then place them into the preheated oven to finish cooking. The pork is still rare at this point, so you should place it into the oven for 8 to 10 minutes so it finishes cooking.
When the pork is fully cooked, cut it into thin strips that you can pick up with chopsticks.
Serve with rice, tonkatsu sauce, or your favorite brown sauce.