This Japanese style crispy breaded pork cutlet is always served on a bed of very finely shredded cabbage and spicy sauce similar to Western steak sauce. The cutlets are breaded in the wonderfully crunchy panko bread crumbs. The recipe for the sauce follows, but there are very good commercial bottled brands readily available in many large western supermarkets in the Asian food aisle (as are the panko bread crumbs). Pork is most commonly used but beef and chicken may also be used following the same recipe. Tonkatsu is so popular in Japan there are restaurants that specialize in the dish and serve nothing else.

Leftover cold tonkatsu makes an excellent sandwich for lunch the next day and is often sold in Japan as such.


4 one inch slices boneless pork loin pounded out to ½ inch thickness
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups Japanese panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper
oil for frying (peanut, canola or vegetable)
Very finely shredded cabbage

Gently pound the pork between two slices of plastic wrap to a thickness of ½ inch. Season with salt and pepper. Dust lightly with flour and shake off excess. Dip in the beaten egg and then coat well in the panko crumbs.

Preheat the oil in a large sauté pan pan over medium heat to 350 degrees. When the oil is hot, fry the cutlets without crowding them until golden brown on each side. Drain on a wire rack to maintain the crispness on the bottom. Serve with shredded cabbage and tonkatsu sauce.

Tonkatsu Sauce

½ cup ketchup
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup sake
¼ cup dark soy sauce
½ tsp sugar

Stir all of the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved, Serve on the side in dipping bowls or drizzled over top of the cutlets.

    • Tina
    • March 9th, 2013

    My son LOVES chicken Katsu…I will have to try him on this…lol would be so much cheaper then running down to Momiji for it!

    • Tammy
    • February 27th, 2013

    The sauce is best with smashed sesame seeds. They have special bowls just for smashing the seeds. Tonkotsu is also really good with curry which is called kotsu curry. I actually live in Japan and one of our favorite restaurants is Tonkatsu Toro. Yum!!!

  1. Wowsers! Yummy, for sure…

    • Justine
    • January 12th, 2010

    That sounds delicious! Thank you so much for this recipe!

  2. I can never find pork cutlets in the grocery, so thank you for reminding me I can just make my own. Will try your sauce when I do.

  3. Wow – a Las Vegas native! You are rare like me – a Los Angeles native!

    I love using Panko. It gives everything such a nice, light, crisp texture. I wonder what kind of oil would be used traditionally in Japan?

    Thanks for checking out our Great Ocean Road story too and … Happy New Year!

      • lvegas
      • January 11th, 2010

      Today, vegetable, peanut or canola oils are the most commonly used oils for frying in Japan. Sesame seed oil was traditionally used and some restuarants that specialize in tempura and tonkatsu still use it either alone or combined with peanut or vegetable oil.

  4. OMG! Can it really come out that way? I adore your site. Very professional, unique clean well written recipes with photos make me hungry. Exceptional blog and I shall return back for another bite of this luciousness.
    Thank you for sharing,
    Cheers PT,

    Visit me @

    • tastyeatsathome
    • January 11th, 2010

    That crispy crust looks beautiful! Yum!

  5. I’ve always wondered how to make a good Tonkatsu. I’ll definitely give this a try soon, Kathy!

  6. I happen to have everything in my fridge and pantry to make this, and am really looking forward to giving it a try!

  7. I just love dishes like this. Panko is my new favorite coating. It always turns out crunchy. Calorie wise, I end up using half the bread crumbs and end up with a much better dish.

    Great photos too!

  8. man Kathy, I could munch on these as a snack, so wonderful looking … bet the sauce is too, you know I love sauces, gonna try this out… about the name, when I first read it, I thought you sneezed…LOL … I couldn’t help but say ‘bless you’

  9. ooo this sounds really good so different never had anything like it, often wondered what sake tasted like…would love to try this….

  10. I grew up in Korea and had this for lunch whenever I went out with my friends on weekends! I love the sauce and the crispy battered pork or chicken. i want some now. 🙂

      • lvegas
      • January 10th, 2010

      I bet you have a really good version of the sauce for this, I’d love to have it!

  11. One of the most popular Japanese dishes. It can also be done with chicken.

    • Alright Col. Sanders, we get it. 🙂

      • Tammy
      • February 27th, 2013

      I actually prefer it with chicken over the pork.

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