Learn how to make perfect pork katsu, also known as tonkatsu, at home. This breaded pork cutlet is crunchy, incredibly delicious, and can be cooked in less than 10 minutes!
What is tonkatsu?
Tonkatsu is a Japanese-style deep-fried pork cutlet (it reminds us of a schnitzel). The best kind of tonkatsu is made from a fattier pork fillet and cooked in crispy skin.
You’ll love this homemade recipe because it’s:
- Simple. It’s ready in less than 10 minutes and follows a simple 3-step process.
- Versatile. While traditionally served with rice, you can pair it with salad or even in a katsu burger (or replace the chicken in our spicy chicken sandwiches!).
- Everyone loves it. If you are a fan of fried chicken or breaded chicken, you’ll no doubt love this.
What I love about this katsu pork is just how authentic it tastes. Just like our other Japanese recipes, it could rival a traditional restaurant!
What is tonkatsu made of?
Besides the pork fillets and some seasonings, there isn’t much else in this recipe. Here is what you’ll need:
- Pork fillet. I like using pork loin fillets, but pork steaks also work.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
- Flour. All-purpose flour.
- Egg. Room temperature.
- Panko. A must for that gorgeous golden crispy exterior.
- Katsu sauce. Skip the store-bought kind and make your own.
How to make pork katsu
Tonkatsu can be prepared using the simple 3-step process:
Step 1: Cut and season pork cutlet
Cut the cutlet to desired thickness and season with salt and pepper.
Step 2: Add the coating
Take three bowls for adding eggs, flour, and panko. Coat the cutlet with flour first, then the egg mix, and finally, the panko breadcrumbs. Always remove the excess crumbs.
Step 3: Fry the tonkatsu
Add oil to a deep pan or pot and let it reach 375F. Once hot, add the coated cutlet and fry for 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Once done, allow the cutlet to cool down before making slices.
Can I bake the pork?
If you aren’t a fan of deep frying, you can bake the breaded pork cutlet instead.
To bake: Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Once the pork is breaded, place it on a greased baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through. Once the pork reaches an internal temperature of 165F, it’s ready to slice and serve.
The beauty of this dish is that it’s quite easy to customize! Here are some ideas if you want to change things up:
- Flavor the panko. To enhance the flavor, mix onion powder and garlic powder with panko before coating the cutlets.
- Add more seasonings. To make it spicy, you can add red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, oregano, etc.
- Serve with dip and sauce. Serve tonkatsu with katsu sauce or any of your favorite dipping sauces (ironically, we love to dip in some big mac sauce).
Tips to make the best recipe
- Season the pork cutlets sometimes before cooking and keep them in the refrigerator. This allows the cutlets to become extra tender and juicy.
- To check if the meat is cooked, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. It should be 165F.
- If making multiple batches, keep an eye on the temperature of the cooking oil. Ideally, it should be 160F degrees.
- If you notice that the oil is dirty and there are bits of breading throughout, turn off the heat and remove those pieces.
To store. Place cooked pork cutlets in airtight containers or bags to store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To freeze. Use freezer-safe bags or containers to freeze leftovers for up to three months.
Reheating. You can reheat it in a non-stick pan or skillet until you hear it sizzling.
More Japanese recipes to try
Frequently asked questions
Tonkatsu is a deep-fried pork cutlet that is coated with panko breadcrumbs. It’s often served with rice and a generous drizzle of katsu sauce.
Swap out the flour and panko breadcrumbs for gluten-free counterparts.
While you can use boneless pork chops for this recipe, it’s leaner cut means the meat will not be as juicy. To combat this, you can soak the chops in some brine for 30 minutes before breading them.
- Season the pork with salt and pepper.
- Add the flour, eggs, and panko to three separate bowls.
- Dip the pork in the flour, shaking off any excess. Next, dip it in the egg, followed by the panko. Repeat the process until all the pork is breaded.
- Add oil to a non-stick pan or skillet. Once hot, add the pork and deep fry for 2-3 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Once the pork is golden brown, remove it from the pan and place it on paper towels to soak up excess oil. Repeat the process until all the pork is fried.
- Slice the pork katsu and drizzle with katsu sauce.
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