Tonkatsu. Juicy deep-fried pork cutlet coated in panko breadcrumbs served with a tangy tonkatsu sauce. Ready in 30 minutes!
What is a Tonkatsu?
Tonkatsu is a popular Japanese-style pork cutlet. The Japanese word "tonkatsu" means "pork cutlet" in English. The pork is coated in a flour mixture, beaten eggs, and fresh bread crumbs (aka Panko) and deep fried in oil on medium-high heat. This Japanese style pork cutlet is popularly served at many restaurants in Japan restaurants, Tonkatsu restaurants or in many Japanese households. Sometimes served with miso soup, white rice, cabbage slaw, over udon noodles, with katsu curry, or sandwiched between fluffy bread which is also known as a tonkatsu sandwich.
Tonkatsu is one of the most popular dishes in Japanese cooking. It's also a very common way to cook juicy pork in Japan. This delicious tonkatsu is usually served with a savory sauce at Tonkatsu restaurants or Japanese restaurants. There are different variations in making this simple dish in Japanese cooking but I will share a very simple and tasty way.
Other ways to enjoy Pork Tonkatsu
There are so many ways you can eat this traditional Japanese dish. You can have this Japanese pork cutlet over udon noodles, in curry sauce, in a sandwich or in katsudon! I even share a pork katsu sandwich or tonkatsu sandwich called a Wanpaku Sandwich. It's very popular in Japanese cuisine.
For this tonkatsu fried pork you’ll need the below ingredients. Please scroll down to below recipe card for exact measurements.
- Boneless pork loin chop: or substitute with pork chops with pork bone removed or thick slices of pork tenderloin.
- Salt: to season the surface of the pork
- Black pepper: a little bit of black pepper will be needed to season our boneless pork loins.
- Garlic powder: I like using garlic powder to season my Japanese pork cutlet for best results.
- Panko bread crumbs: or if you have fresh panko that would work well too! Or substitute with normal breadcrumbs.
- Beaten egg: to help our panko stick to the pork.
- All-purpose flour: to help flour the pork so the eggs can stick to the meat.
- Neutral oil: like avocado oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil or canola oil. Avoid olive oil, coconut oil or any heavy scented oils.
Homemade Tonkatsu Sauce:
- Worcestershire sauce: if you have Japanese Worcestershire sauce, opt for that!
- Oyster sauce: or substitute with vegetarian stir fry sauce if you don't like the taste of oyster sauce.
- White granulated sugar: or substitute with brown sugar or cane sugar
Note: Most Asian grocery stores will carry these ingredients. You may find some at your select grocery store or online, like on Amazon.
How to make Tonkatsu
Cut slits into Fat
First step: Cut slits into the layer of fat that surrounds the pork loin. No need to cut slits into the non-fat portion.
If your loins are thicker than 1 cm, tenderize with a meat mallet or with the back and side of your knife for tender pork.
Season on both sides with enough salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
Coat Pork in Flour
Prepare three shallow bowls. Add all-purpose flour into the first large bowl. In the second bowl, beat your eggs. In the third bowl, spread out the panko. Evenly coat each piece of pork into the flour first and shake off excess flour.
Coat in Eggs
Then, evenly coat the pork in the beaten eggs.
Coat in Panko Breadcrumbs
Lastly, generously coat the pork in panko – ensuring no bald spots. Repeat for the remaining loins.
In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat (350 degrees F). Check to see if the oil is hot enough by using an instant read thermometer or place a wooden chopstick in the oil and look for bubbles.
Deep Fry Pork
Carefully lower pork away from you. Do not overcrowd the pan. Cook the pork in batches (no more than 2 pieces per batch).
Deep frying on each side for 2-3 minutes or evenly golden brown (or an internal temperature of 145 F).
Remove from oil
Remove and transfer to a wire rack or paper towel lined plate to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
Serve with homemade tonkatsu sauce or storebought bulldog tonkatsu sauce.
Make Tonkatsu Sauce
In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients. Serve with tonkatsu!
Storage & Reheating
This dish will last up to 4 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge. To reheat, microwave for 2-3 minutes or reheat on the stovetop in a pan on medium heat until hot.
- Cut slits into the fat to prevent pork from curling. By cutting slits into the pork, it keeps your pork from curling as it fries due to the thick edge of fat that surrounds it.
- Tenderize the meat if thicker than 1 cm. You’re probably tempted to skip this step but if your pork loin is more than 1 cm thick, it’s highly recommended to tenderize it with a meat tenderizer or the back of your knife. This ensures that it cooks evenly without overcooking the exterior coating.
- Generously coat. Ensure when dredging your pork in the flour, eggs and panko that it’s evenly and well coated. Making sure that there are zero bald spots especially at your breading station.
- Deep fry until golden brown. Be patient when you go to deep fry, you’ll want to deep each loin over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown.
- Allow the fried pork to rest after frying. Allow the fried pork to rest for 5 minutes on a cooling rack or paper towel lined plate. The resting allows the juices to stay inside your pork, making your pork juicy.
What is the difference between tonkatsu and Tonkotsu?
Tonkatsu is a fried breaded cutlet and tonkotsu is a stock made with pork.
What is tonkatsu in Japanese?
Tonkatsu in Japanese is a deep-fried breaded tender pork cutlet. It's made of pork loin coated in cornstarch or flour, egg and panko breadcrumbs. The pork cutlet is deep fried in oil until golden brown and crispy. In Japanese translation, "Ton" means "pork" and "katsu" derives from "Katsuretsu" which means "cutlet" in English.
What part of pork is tonkatsu?
Pork loin is typically used for tonkatsu.
Can I use chicken breast instead of pork?
Yes! However, please refer to my Chicken Katsu recipe by clicking here.
Other recipes you may like!
If you enjoyed this tonkatsu cutlet recipe, you may enjoy these other recipes:
Easy & Quick Crispy Tonkatsu
- Cut slits into the layer of fat that surrounds your pork loin. No need to cut slits into the non-fat portion.
- If your loins are thicker than 1 cm, tenderize with a meat mallet or with the back and side of your knife.
- Season on both sides with enough salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
- Add all-purpose flour into a large bowl. In a second bowl, beat your eggs. In a third bowl, add and spread out panko.
- Evenly dredge each loin into the flour first, then eggs and lastly panko – ensuring no bald spots. Repeat for the remaining loins.
- In a heavy bottomed pot, heat vegetable oil over medium heat (350 F). Check to see if the oil is hot enough by placing a wooden chopstick in the oil and look for bubbles. Carefully lower pork away from you. Do not overcrowd the pan. Cook the pork in batches (no more than 2 pieces per batch) or it won't get as crispy.
- Deep frying on each side for 2-3 minutes or evenly golden brown (or an internal temperature of 145 F). Remove and transfer to a wire rack or paper towel lined plate to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- Remove and transfer pork to a wire rack or paper towel lined plate to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Repeat for remaining pieces of pork.
How to make Tonkatsu Sauce
- In a small bowl, well combine the sauce ingredients. Serve with tonkatsu!
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