Tender, juicy Pork Katsu is always welcome at our dinner table! This fried Japanese pork cutlet recipe features delightfully crispy pork that’s sliced and served with a sweet and savory sauce.
Easy Pork Katsu Recipe
This easy Pork Katsu recipe is one of the best comfort meals out there!
These Japanese pork cutlets are juicy on the inside, delightfully crispy on the outside, and so easy to make! Slice it up real pretty and serve with a simple savory-sweet sauce, plus fresh lemon wedges to squeeze over the top. It’s kinda like schnitzel, if you’re more familiar with German food. So good!!
Why You’ll Love This Tonkatsu Recipe
Our oldest daughter studied abroad earlier this year, spent a few weeks in Munich, Germany. And she brought home a newfound love for pork schnitzel. This Japanese pork katsu is so very similar, and it makes all of us happy! Here are a few reasons why you’ll love this recipe:
- Quick to make. This recipe is quick and easy to prepare, with just 20 minutes or less of cooking time.
- Short ingredients list. From the breaded pork cutlet to the sauce, this recipe comes together with just a few ingredients. Common pantry staples like ketchup, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce make the tonkatsu sauce ultra-flavorful.
- Interesting and new! We love a great-tasting pork recipe, whether it’s stuffed pork chops, grilled pork chops, baked pork chops, or Vietnamese noodle salad with pork — and we’re always up for something new. This latest pork recipe is packed with flavor, plus we love the texture of the juicy, tender meat with its crispy exterior!
What Is Pork Katsu?
Pork katsu is a Japanese dish that consists of breaded, deep-fried pork loin or fillet. The word Ton comes from “pork” and Katsu is an abbreviation of Katsuretsu, originally from the English word “cutlet”.
Pork katsu is typically served alongside freshly shredded cabbage, with tonkatsu sauce for drizzling over the top of the pork. This thickened sauce has savory, sweet, and tangy flavor. You’ll often see slices of fresh lemon offered as well. When squeezed over the top of the fried pork, right before eating, the lemon adds an irresistible bright contrast.
Japanese katsu is similar to German schnitzel, where both dishes feature meat that is breaded and then fried. But Japanese pork katsu is substantially thicker, incorporates a panko breading (rather than stale breadcrumbs), is deep-fried (rather than pan-fried), and served with tangy katsu sauce.
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need to make pork katsu and tonkatsu.
Scroll down to the printable recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredient amounts.
- Pork loin chops – Use boneless pork that’s about ½ -inch thick. Pork loin or fillet are most commonly used for this dish.
- Salt & pepper – To taste. Don’t be afraid to season!
- Flour – All-purpose flour is needed to bread the cutlets.
- Eggs – Eggs help the flour and breadcrumbs stick to the pork so that it fries up crisp. It also adds rich flavor.
- Panko breadcrumbs – Panko is the traditional breadcrumb ingredient used in katsu recipes.
- Vegetable oil – To fry the pork.
Tonkatsu (Katsu) Sauce
- Ketchup – Use your preferred brand of ketchup. This adds a touch of sweet tomato flavor.
- Worcestershire sauce – To add savory tang to this sauce.
- Soy sauce – This adds salty, unami flavor.
- Mirin – This rice wine is a common ingredient in Japanese cooking. You could substitute with dry sherry or a sweet marsala wine.
- Sugar – For a bit more sweetness.
- Garlic powder – Or use 1 teaspoon of very finely minced garlic.
- Shredded cabbage – Use crisp iceberg lettuce if you wish.
- Lemon slices – To squeeze over the cooked pork.
How to Make Pork Katsu
Follow along with the photos below to easily make pork katsu for dinner tonight!
- Season the pork. Sprinkle both sides of the pork with salt & pepper.
- Set up a breading station. Place flour in one dish, beaten eggs in another, and panko breadcrumbs in a third dish.
- Bread the pork. Coat a pork cutlet in flour. Then dip into the beaten eggs. Finally, press the pork chop firmly into the panko breadcrumbs, coating it evenly on both sides. Repeat this process for all the pork cutlets.
- Heat the oil. Heat vegetable oil in a deep pan or skillet over medium heat. Test the oil’s temperature by dropping a small piece of breadcrumb into it; it should sizzle and float to the top immediately without burning.
- Fry the breaded pork. Carefully place the breaded pork into the hot oil, one or two at a time, and fry for about 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy. Make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot or the breadcrumbs will burn before the meat is fully cooked.
- Drain off excess oil. Once the pork katsu is cooked, transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil. Repeat the frying process until all pork is cooked.
- Make the tonkatsu sauce. While the pork is frying, prepare the tonkatsu (katsu) sauce. In a small bowl, combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, mirin, white sugar, and garlic powder and mix it, until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce is well combined.
- Cut the pork and serve with sauce. To serve, slice the pork katsu into thick strips. Serve it alongside fresh shredded cabbage. Drizzle the tonkatsu sauce over the cutlets or serve it on the side as a dipping sauce. Offer lemon slices for squeezing over the top.
Tips & Variations
Here are some tips, plus a few variations if you feel like changing things up a bit:
- Use panko breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs are made from soft white bread without crusts. Because panko flakes are larger than standard breadcrumbs they absorb less oil when the pork is fried, resulting in a light yet crisp katsu!
- Substitute chicken for pork. Similar to making this recipe vegetarian, you can swap in chicken breast for pork to make chicken katsu.
- Try seafood. Likewise, you can make seafood katsu! Just substitute salmon or your favorite white fish for the pork and proceed with the recipe.
- Tenderize the pork. For the tenderest pork katsu, go ahead and pound away at your pork! This will tenderize the meat before you cook it.
- Clean the oil between frying each cutlet. This small step that will help each piece of pork katsu turn out amazing. Use a fine mesh strainer or a slotted spoon to scoop out as many breadcrumbs out of the oil as possible. This ensures that there are no burnt pieces of breadcrumb.
What to Serve with Japanese Pork Cutlet
Besides shredded cabbage, which I highly recommend, what else can you serve with pork katsu? Here are a few of my suggestions:
- Hawaiian macaroni salad. Pork katsu is also popular in Hawaii. It’s a perfect side to Hawaiian macaroni salad, making a hearty yet light-tasting meal.
- A fresh salad. You can’t go wrong with a salad, especially when you’re serving fried meat! A nice side salad with this pork would be my creamy cucumber salad or chopped ramen noodle salad (leave out the chicken!).
- Rice. For the simplest side, serve pork katsu with my lime-spiked cilantro lime rice along with the shredded cabbage.
- Steamed greens. My super greens Panda Express copycat recipe is made for this pork katsu! The garlic-ginger sauce adds another flavor burst to the meal.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
Store any leftover pork katsu in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat, you can use an air fryer to bring out the crispy texture again: place the pork cutlet into the air fryer basket and air fry at 350°F for about 5 minutes or until heated through and crispy. Or you can place the pork on a microwave-safe plate and heat it in the microwave until hot. Note that your pork won’t be crisp if you reheat it in the microwave.
Can I Freeze Pork Katsu?
Yes, you can freeze pork katsu. After the pork has cooled, wrap each piece in plastic wrap, then place the pieces in a sealable, freezer-safe bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost the pork in the fridge before using it.
- 4 boneless pork loin chops (about ½ inch thick)
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup Japanese panko breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil for frying
Tonkatsu (Katsu) sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Shredded cabbage
- Lemon wedges
- For the pork katsu: Season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper.
- Set up a breading station with three shallow dishes. Place the flour in one dish, beaten eggs in another, and panko breadcrumbs in the third dish.
- Coat each pork chop in flour, shaking off any excess. Then dip it into the beaten eggs, allowing any excess to drip off. Finally, press the pork chop firmly into the panko breadcrumbs, making sure it's coated evenly on both sides. Repeat this process for all the pork chops.
- Heat vegetable oil in a deep pan or skillet over medium heat. You'll need enough oil to submerge the pork cutlets partially. Test the oil's temperature by dropping a small piece of breadcrumb into it; it should sizzle and float to the top immediately without burning.
- Carefully place the breaded pork chops into the hot oil, one or two at a time, and fry for about 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy. Make sure the oil doesn't get too hot or the breadcrumbs will burn before the meat is fully cooked.
- Once the pork katsu is cooked, transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil. Repeat the frying process with the remaining pork.
- For the tonkatsu sauce: While the pork katsu is frying, prepare the Tonkatsu (Katsu) sauce. In a small bowl, combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, mirin, white sugar, and garlic powder. Mix until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce is well combined.
- To serve: Slice the pork katsu into thick strips. Serve it alongside shredded cabbage. Drizzle the Tonkatsu sauce over the cutlets or serve it on the side as a dipping sauce. Offer fresh lemon wedges to squeeze over the top.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 466Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 161mgSodium: 924mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 3gSugar: 15gProtein: 32g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.