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Tonkatsu Japanese Breaded Pork Cutlet

Tonkatsu is a modern-day classic Japanese dish that features a crispy fried pork cutlet this recipe features a “homemade” simple katsu sauce.

I like to marinade my pork to turn the flavour all the way up to 11, but preparation takes just 15 minutes and cooking is comfortably under 10 minutes, making this a really quick dish.

"Homemade" katsu sauce being poured over crispy Japanese Tonkatsu pork cutlet.

Japanese Pork Cutlet or Schnitzel

Tonkatsu is a glorious Japanese dish that feels as familiar to me as a European as pasta or roast meat!

Essentially it is a pork schnitzel in all but name and it is hard to not see the link with a classic Wiener Schnitzel or Polish kotlet schabowy.

It was first seen in 1899 in a recognisable form in a restaurant called Rengatei in Tokyo.

The name is a compound of 2 words Ton, which means pork and Katsu which is a Japanese derivation of the French word cotelette.

We are essentially looking at a breadcrumb-coated fried pork cutlet or schnitzel.

The most popular version of katsu in the UK comes with a curry sauce. I have a chicken katsu curry and a vegetarian tofu katsu curry that both have the same homemade Japanese curry sauce.

However, tonkatsu usually comes served with a Japanese “Worcestershire sauce”, the most popular brand by far is Bulldog.

It is tough to find in the UK unless you go hunting online. I found a homemade version years ago (I can’t for the life of me remember where), but it is delicious and really easy to make with ingredients that I always have at hand.

Japanese Tonkatsu pork cutlet served with katsu sauce and "soused" cabbage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to marinate the pork?

No, quite often the pork is not marinated in this dish, but I like the additional level of flavour that it adds. I will usually leave it in the marinade for around a day.

If you are not marinating the pork then be sure to season it well before cooking, I recommend doing this when you flour the pork.

Can I use leaner pork?

Yes, tonkatsu is made with two types of pork in Japan. Loin which is called rōsu and is my preferred version, and tenderloin which is called hire.

The process is the same for both cuts of meat, although rather than cutting across the loin, I would cut tenderloin at a 30-45° angle to create a larger piece of meat.

How do I know when the pork is cooked?

Pork is generally considered safe when it reaches an internal temperature of 63°C or 145°F and is held there for at least two minutes. Although the UK Food Standards Agency still recommends a temperature of 70°C or 158°F.

I prefer the lower of these two temperatures, particularly for pork chops. I use a quick-read meat thermometer to check the temperature.

Can I Air Fry or bake tonkatsu?

You can, although I personally find the results very disappointing, but you will get a crust and the meat will cook.

It is better if you fry the breadcrumbs before coating the pork, but I would guess that negates the point of baking or air frying this dish.

Air fry at 180°C or 350°F for 16-20 minutes flipping halfway, bake at the same temperature but for 20-25 minutes.

Overhead Japanese Tonkatsu pork cutlet served with katsu sauce and "soused" cabbage.

Serving Suggestions

Tonkatsu is traditionally served with a lightly soused cabbage salad but it is a very versatile dish.

As with lots of Japanese food it is often served as part of a multi-course meal featuring things like miso soup, soba noodle salad and rice.

It also works well with plain rice, but it is completely “over-the-top good” with fried potatoes!

I cook this all of the time and will often serve my tonkatsu with an asparagus stir fry or even some stir fried broccoli.

Don’t forget that tonkatsu sauce, it is glorious in Welsh rarebit and I’ve even poured it over a bacon sandwich.

Close-up showing the texture of fried Japanese tonkatsu pork schnitzel.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 30cm or 12″ frying pan.
  • Thermometer for checking the oil temperature. I use a sugar thermometer.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Rolling pin.
  • Baking parchment.
  • Bowls to crumb the pork.
  • Large flat bowl to marinate the pork.
  • Kitchen tongs.
  • Small mixing bowl and fork.
  • Quick read meat thermometer.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
Yield: 2 Servings

Japanese Tonkatsu with a Homemade Katsu Sauce Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Marinade Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 22 minutes

Tonkatsu may have an exotic name but it will be a familiar concept to most people, it is essentially a breaded pork schnitzel or cutlet from Japan and it is absolutely glorious!


For the Breaded Pork

  • 400g (14oz ) Boneless Pork Loin Steaks (Around 20-25mm or ¾-1" Thick)
  • 3 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Mirin
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • ¼ Tsp White Pepper
  • 0-1 Tsp Salt (this may or may not be needed depending on your marinade time see FAQs)
  • 75g (¾ Cup) Dried Coarse Breadcrumbs
  • Oil for Frying

For the Katsu Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 1 Tsp Sugar


For the Breaded Pork Cutlet:

  1. Sandwich the pork loin steaks between two sheets of baking parchment and bash them with a rolling pin until they are around 15mm or a little over ½" thick.
  2. Make cuts in the fat on the pork at approximately 10-15mm (½") intervals, this si optional but it will stop the pork from curling up when you fry it.
  3. Mix the soy, mirin, and sugar in a flat bowl and add the pork, allow to marinade for as long as you can (up to 24 hours).
  4. Remove the pork from the marinade and dry it thoroughly.
  5. Place the egg in one flat bowl beat it, and place the breadcrumbs in another.
  6. Remove the pork from the marinade and dry it thoroughly.
  7. Mix the flour with the white pepper and salt, if you have not marinated the pork you will need all or most of it, if you have marinated for 24 hours you will need none of it.
  8. Dredge the pork with the flour, then dip it in the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs to get a nice even coating. Place the pork in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to firm up and dry out a little.
  9. Heat the 1cm (½") oil to 170C or 340F in a 30cm or 12" frying pan, then add the pork and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.

For the katsu Sauce:

  1. Simply mix together all of the ingredients and serve over the pork when cooked.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 802Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 233mgSodium: 2591mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 2gSugar: 22gProtein: 57g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Nicola @ Happy Healthy Motivated

Friday 7th of April 2017

I've seen this delicious dish in loads of restaurants, but I've never thought about making it myself. Now I know how simple it is to make, I'm going to give it a try!

Brian Jones

Monday 10th of April 2017

It really is stupidly simple, the sauce is a bit of a simplification on the sauce but it works, is close and really really good.

Bintu - Recipes From A Pantry

Friday 7th of April 2017

This looks like it is family friendly and totally delicious. Love the Japanese twist on a German dish

Brian Jones

Monday 10th of April 2017

I guess, I am rather childish and I love it so all children must like it right?


Friday 7th of April 2017

your pork schnitzel looks good! love the Japanese twist!

Brian Jones

Monday 10th of April 2017

Thank you.

Elizabeth @

Friday 7th of April 2017

Wow, this sounds fantastic! I admit I've never tried it before, but I love anything schnitzel, so I'm sure I'll adore it.

Brian Jones

Monday 10th of April 2017

It should be very familiar to you, just slightly different accompanying flavours.

Laura | Wandercooks

Friday 7th of April 2017

Japanese food is our all time favourite to eat and to cook, but for some reason we haven't yet tried to make tonkatsu. It's so yum too, so that definitely needs to change. Can't wait to give your recipe a try! (Also, love your photography, your tonkatsu looks super delish!)

Brian Jones

Monday 10th of April 2017

Thanks Laura, hop you enjoy it :)

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