This homemade chicken katsu recipe tastes like something you’d get at a Japanese restaurant! It features panko breaded chicken cutlets fried until golden brown and crispy.
Katsu chicken has always been my go-to order at Japanese restaurants. You can never go wrong with crispy breaded chicken and especially if it’s paired with all the fix-ins, like steamed white rice, cabbage salad, and lemon wedges.
After taking several Japanese cooking classes, I perfected my favorite dish and now make it in the comfort of my own home!
Table of Contents
What is chicken katsu?
Often referred to as Japanese chicken schnitzel, chicken katsu is made up of pounded chicken breast deep-fried in a light and crispy panko breadcrumb batter.
Topped with tonkatsu sauce, it’s often served with rice (katsu don) or with a side salad (often a Kani salad) as a side dish.
This dish may look incredibly fancy, but it’s one of the easiest and quickest crispy chicken recipes you’ll ever encounter. You’ll love it too because:
- Ready in 10 minutes. From prep to the finished dish, this chicken cooks in no time at all.
- Incredible flavor and texture. The texture of the chicken cutlets are crispy on the outside and perfectly moist and juicy in the middle. It’s seasoned just the right amount so you can slather the katsu sauce over the top.
- Oven and air fryer options. While frying yields the most traditional results, you can lighten this dish up considerably by baking it in the oven or using the air fryer.
As mentioned above, the ingredients for this recipe are ridiculously simple. They are actually quite similar to any kind of breaded chicken recipe.
- Chicken breast. Choose equal-sized chicken breasts so they all cook evenly and at the same time. You can also slice larger breasts in half which would also be easier to pound down.
- Soy sauce. A quick marinade substitute to give the chicken extra juiciness and flavor.
- Panko breadcrumbs. A must for anything fried or deep fried and the signature crunch!
- Egg. It helps the panko stick to the chicken.
- All-purpose flour. Helps with browning and keeping all the moisture inside. If your flour has clumps, be sure to sift it well first.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
- Oil. I used peanut oil because it has a high smoke point, which is great for deep frying. Canola oil and vegetable oil are two other great options.
- Chicken katsu sauce. The sweet, savory, and umami-forward sauce that makes this dish that much more delicious.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to make chicken katsu
This katsu chicken recipe really is easy to make: just be sure to pat dry the chicken before breading them.
Step 1- Prep the chicken. Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the soy sauce.
Step 2- Bread the chicken. Place the flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in three shallow bowls. First dredge the chicken with flour, shaking off any excess from it. Then dunk it in the egg, remove excess, then dip it in the panko crumbs, pressing down slightly so the crumbs adhere to the chicken.
Step 3-Fry the chicken. Add some oil to a large skillet and place it over medium-high heat. When the oil becomes hot, add the breaded chicken cutlets and cook each side for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown.
Alternative cooking methods
As someone who has a slew of air fryer recipes, you can bet your bottom dollar I tested this recipe in my air fryer too. Chicken katsu in the air fryer turns out almost as crispy as you’d expect, but just not as greasy!
To air fry, prep the chicken as instructed. Next, place a single layer of the chicken in a greased air fryer basket. Spray the top of the chicken with cooking spray. Now, air fry at 200C/400F for 8 minutes, flip, spray the other side with cooking spray, and cook for another 8 minutes.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Use other cuts of chicken. While chicken breasts are preferred, chicken tenderloins or chicken thighs can work, but you’d need to adjust the cooking time.
- Pound the chicken. If your chicken breast fillets are too thick, use a meat mallet to pound them down to around 1/2 inch thick.
- Always monitor the temperature of the cooking oil. We use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature and ensure it is always between 350-375F to prevent it from over or under-cooking.
- Cook the chicken immediately. Unlike other fried chicken recipes, there is no need to brine the chicken as the batter is designed to keep it moist and juicy.
To store: Place leftovers in airtight containers and store them in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
To freeze: Allow the chicken to cook completely to add to the freezer-safe bags and freeze for up to 3 months.
Reheating: Reheat in a hot skillet, in the oven, or in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Katsu and fried chicken both involve breaded and fried meat, but they differ in terms of breading, origin, and ways it’s served. Katsu features a panko breading and is served with rice and side dishes. Fried chicken uses a flour and spice coating, is universal, and is served in a plethora of ways.
Yes! To make baked chicken katsu, prep the chicken as instructed. Place it on a lined baking sheet and bake at 180C/350F for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
This recipe is suitable for celiacs when made with gluten-free flour and gluten-free panko bread crumbs.
More delicious ways to katsu
Chicken Katsu Recipe
- Pound the chicken breasts into 1/2-inch thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper and drizzle with soy sauce.
- In one bowl, add the flour, in a second bowl, add the panko bread crumbs, and in the third, add the egg.
- Dip each chicken breast fillet in the flour, followed by the egg, then the panko bread crumbs.
- Add oil to a non-stick pan. Once the oil reaches a temperature of at least 350F, drop the crumbed chicken breasts and fry for 4-5 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove the chicken from the heat once golden brown.
- Place the cooked chicken katsu on a paper towel to soak up extra oil before slicing and serving.
Recipe originally posted November 2022, but updated to include new information and a recipe video for your benefit.
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