Craving a crispy, juicy tonkatsu recipe (Japanese pork cutlet)? This classic Japanese dish features tender pork loin coated in a delightfully crunchy panko breadcrumb crust and is a satisfying meal that’s easier to make at home than you think.

Tonkatsu Pork Recipe \\

Looking for an easy Tonkatsu recipe?

This traditional Japanese dish comes together in 30 minutes and uses simple ingredients. There is a little thinking ahead and prep work that you will need to do, like making the homemade tonkatsu sauce and breading the pork ahead of time, but it comes together in less than 5 minutes once you are actually ready for dinner.

When hunger strikes and you’re tempted to get Asian takeout, make this tonkatsu recipe instead. We’re all about quick Asian fixin’s like our honey pork stir fry and Hawaiian pulled pork sandwiches. This recipe takes pork and classic Asian flavors and turns them into a flavorful, crispy masterpiece known as tonkatsu. Although this recipe may sound fancy, it’s totally doable and delicious. 

What Is Tonkatsu?

Tonkatsu, a beloved dish in Japanese cuisine, has a rich history steeped in tradition and flavor. Originating in the late 19th century, tonkatsu is essentially a deep-fried pork cutlet known for its crispy exterior and juicy interior. The dish gained popularity in Japan during the Meiji era, influenced by Western cuisine and techniques. Its name, “tonkatsu,” combines the Japanese words for “pork” (ton) and “cutlet” (katsu), reflecting its key ingredients and preparation method.

One story traces tonkatsu’s roots back to a Japanese restaurant in the late 1800s, where it was first introduced as a variation of Western-style breaded and fried meats. Another tale credits a Tokyo restaurant called “Rengatei” with creating the dish in 1899, inspired by the German dish “schnitzel.” Regardless of its exact origins, tonkatsu quickly captured the hearts and palates of the Japanese people, becoming a staple in homes, restaurants, and tonkatsu specialty shops (tonkatsu-ya) across the country.

Over the years, tonkatsu evolved and diversified, with variations like chicken katsu and katsu curry adding to its culinary legacy. Japanese grocery stores and markets began selling pre-packaged tonkatsu sauce, a tangy and savory condiment that perfectly complements the dish. Today, tonkatsu remains a beloved comfort food in Japan and beyond, cherished for its simple yet satisfying flavors and its ability to evoke memories of home-cooked meals and cherished family gatherings.

Tonkatsu Pork Recipe \\

What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • FLAVORFUL – The medley of flavors from the savory tonkatsu sauce creates a unique flavor profile that you won’t find in other dishes, making it a great way to jazz up your weeknight dinners. 
  • QUICK – This recipe takes 30 minutes to make, making it the perfect dinner for busy weeknights. 

What You Need to Make Tonkatsu

Pork Cutlets

  • Pork cutlet slices – Thinly pounded for tenderness.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bread or Panko breadcrumbs – Coats the pork cutlets, giving them a crispy texture when fried.
  • All-purpose flour – Helps the breading stick to the pork and adds extra crispiness.
  • Eggs – Binds the breading to the pork, ensuring it stays in place while frying.
  • Oil for deep frying – Used to fry the breaded pork until golden brown and crispy. Use any neutral oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil, peanut oil, or canola oil. 

Tonkatsu Sauce

  • Soy sauce – Adds a savory flavor to the sauce.
  • Steak sauce (like Heinz 57) – Adds richness and depth to the sauce.
  • Apple and onion – Add sweetness and aromatic flavors.
  • Canned crushed pineapple and juice – Adds a hint of fruity sweetness and acidity.
  • Worcestershire sauce – Enhances the savory and tangy flavors of the sauce.
  • Brown sugar – Adds sweetness and balances out the acidity.
  • Corn syrup – Adds sweetness and thickens the sauce for a glossy finish.

How to Make Tonkatsu

  • Sprinkle salt and pepper over the pork slices and set them aside.
  • Remove the crusts from the bread slices and pulse them in a food processor until they become coarse crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a shallow bowl.
  • Beat the eggs in another shallow bowl and pour some flour onto a plate.
  • Dip each pork slice in the flour, then the beaten egg, and finally the breadcrumbs. Stack the coated slices on a plate and cover them with plastic wrap. Chill them in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  • Heat oil in a pan over medium heat until it reaches about 350ºF. Test the oil by dropping in a breadcrumb – it should sizzle immediately. Fry the pork slices in the hot oil for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer them to a wire rack.
  • Fry the pork slices for a second time, this time for only 30 seconds to 1 minute, on each side until they’re evenly browned all over. Let them rest on the wire rack.
  • Drizzle the tangy Tonkatsu sauce over the fried pork slices and serve immediately.

Expert Recipe Tips

  • Draining Excess Oil: After frying, transfer the tonkatsu to a wire rack placed over a sheet pan to allow excess oil to drain away. This helps keep the tonkatsu crispy without becoming greasy.
  • Temperature Control: Maintain the oil at the right temperature, around 350-375ºF, for frying to achieve that golden brown crispy exterior. Use a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature and adjust the heat as needed.
  • Internal Temperature: Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the pork. It should reach at least 145ºF to be considered safe to eat. 
  • Perfecting the Breading: Use a breading station with shallow bowls for flour, egg wash, and panko breadcrumbs. Press the breadcrumbs onto the pork firmly to ensure even coating and maximum crispiness. For extra crunch, mix in some sesame seeds with the panko breadcrumbs.
Tonkatsu Pork Recipe \\

How to Store Leftovers & Reheat

If you have any leftover tonkatsu, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. To reheat, place it in a preheated oven or toaster oven at 375 ºF until warmed through (around 10-15 minutes), or reheat it in a skillet over medium heat.

What to serve with Japanese Tonkatsu

We served this Tonkatsu with white rice, Kani Salad, and an Asian slaw. Miso soup would also be delicious. 

Crispy crunchy pork is only 30 minutes away! Curb those takeout cravings with this tonkatsu recipe. If you try this recipe, please rate the recipe card and leave a comment down below to help out the next reader! 


This tonkatsu (Japanese pork cutlet) recipe delivers crispy, golden-brown panko crusted pork with a juicy, tender interior. An iconic Japanese dish, tonkatsu is easy to make at home with simple ingredients.
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Author: Kita


For the pork cutlets:

  • ¾ lb pork cutlet slices - ⅜” thick each, gently pounded
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 8 slices of white bread - or 2 cups Panko crumbs
  • ½ cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • Oil for frying

For the Tonkatsu sauce:

  • cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup steak sauce - I use Heinz 57
  • ½ apple - chopped
  • ½ small onion - chopped
  • 4 oz canned crushed pineapple and their juice
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup


For the sauce:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat. Boil and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes until it gets thickened and syrupy. Strain the sauce in the strainer pressing with spoon to get all the juice. Discard the filling and keep the sauce in the fridge until ready to use.

For the pork:

  • Season the pork slices with salt and pepper, set aside.
  • Cut off the crusts of white bread slices. Place them in the food processor and pulse a few times to get the coarse crumbs. Transfer the crumbs into shallow bowl.
  • Beat eggs in the shallow bowl and pour some flour into a plate as well.
  • Coat the pork slices with flour, egg, and bread crumbs. Stack them together on a plate and cover them with plastic wrap. Chill them for at least 1 hr.
  • For frying, Heat oil over medium heat, about 170 C. Test with a piece of bread crumbs to see if it bubbles up right away. Drop the pork slices and fry for 1-2 minutes each side. Transfer the meat on to wire rack. Fry again for the second time, only 30 seconds to 1- minutes on each side until they get nicely browned all over. Rest them on the rack.
  • Drizzle with Tonkatsu sauce over and serve immediately.

Nutritional informations provided as a courtesy and is only an approximatation. Values will changes based on ingredients used.

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Recipe FAQs

While traditional tonkatsu is made with pork, don’t be afraid to try chicken katsu or even tofu katsu for a lighter option. Adjust the frying time accordingly based on the protein you choose.

We don’t recommend it. We only recommend using panko breadcrumbs as panko breadcrumbs are lighter and airier than regular breadcrumbs, resulting in a crispier and crunchier coating for your tonkatsu. They also absorb less oil during frying, leading to a lighter and less greasy finished dish.

Tonkatsu sauce has a unique flavor profile, combining savory and tangy elements. It’s both rich and slightly sweet, with a hint of fruitiness from ingredients like apples or pineapple. You’ll also notice a touch of acidity and depth, adding complexity to its overall taste. The sauce is thick and glossy, providing a perfect complement to the crispy and juicy tonkatsu.


  1. I love that you made homemade breadcrumbs. It crisps up waaay better than the powdery kind they sell at the grocery store. What a great sauce. Lovely combination of sweet and salty.

  2. I’ve never had tonkatsu sauce and I don’t know why because that sounds amazing… This meal would also be a winner around here. Thank you for sharing, Kita….I love it!

    P.S. FB is great to get some feedback or catch up with an old friend, but just as you, I can’t believe all the stuff that people share on there… do they do it for attention?

  3. This looks like heaven. I love the sauce with the mix of apple and pineapple.

  4. Hmmm… Maybe I should get a facebook page. I’ve hesitated though, for a few reasons. Even my twitter doesn’t really have anything to do with my blog. I’ve never even considered it before but after reading this I’m semi-maybe-considering it now!
    Anyways, I LOVE tonkatsu. I haven’t had it in a while. If i didn’t already have dinner made for tonight (leftovers from yesterday) i’d go and get some tonight.

  5. Christina says:

    I try to ignore and not get involved in the FB drama. I’d rather spend my time in the kitchen. If I have to be on the computer then I’d rather troll food blogs! Your pork dish looks so tasty! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  6. Love Tonkatsu! I have to confess that I buy my sauce from the Asian market – they usually contain apples to give it the sweetness.

    When I was in Korea, I went to a Tonkatsu place, and they gave everyone little mortar and pestles to crush up their spices before adding the sauce. Fun!

  7. truer fbook words couldn’t be spoken. i am seriously annoyed by people’s choice of things to post. it makes me second guess impressions built over years. and yes, i think some of these people must do forensic analysis to figure out when someone goes missing. they will get over it. haha, who cares, we’re cooking!!

  8. fooddreamer says:

    Facebook is a weird, weird phenomenon, and I have less time and energy for it with each passing day. But I would love this pork cutlet!

  9. I also have never heard of this dish, but I have all the ingredients on hand and they are all tempting. I’m thinking that this will be a family pleaser!
    I’m with you on facebook. I find it helpful to stay in touch with friends (especially those far away) and for blog reasons like you do… but I really don’t want to be “friends” with every mom from my kid’s class. I was dropped by a few people who I really don’t know well, and I have to admit that it was somewhat of a relief not to have their personal info passing across my page.

  10. Beautiful pork dish 🙂 I’m not big pork lover but Im sure I would like this dish, it looks tasty

  11. Your tonkatsu looks delicious! Great job. I found you through Chef Dennis and really like your blog. Will visit often.

  12. Cooked this meal today! I have always looked for a different way to get creative with pork chop, this is definitely a plate that will be added to our dinner dish!! Delish! I skipped the pineapples cause I had nine but still equally tasty. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  13. Great recipe, tonkatsu was a big staple for me in the time I spent in Japan. If you really want to cut down on cooking time even more, just buy the pre-made tonkatsu sauce made by bulldog from your local asian foods grocery store. It may not be homemade and I’m sure it’s full of all kinds of additives but it still tastes great, and is what you’ll find served with your tonkatsu 9 out of 10 times in cheap japanese eateries. Here’s a pic with the correct hiragana characters in case the current label doesn’t have English on it

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