Tonkatsu Japanese Fried Pork

Tonkatsu Japanese Fried Pork

The Spruce / Christine Ma

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Tonkatsu, or pork cutlet, is a Japanese dish of pork filet that is breaded with panko breadcrumbs and deep-fried. It is traditionally served with a dark, savory tonkatsu sauce and shredded green cabbage.

Pork tonkatsu is often found on the menus of Japanese restaurants and is also a very popular bento (boxed lunch) item. It is also a popular ingredient in katsu donburi (donburi is a one-dish meal of ingredients served over rice), which is tonkatsu served with cooked egg and a savory-sweet sauce. 

Tonkatsu is served with a savory tonkatsu sauce that is conveniently sold premade and is available in bottles on the shelves of Japanese and other Asian grocery stores. A popular brand of Japanese tonkatsu sauce is Bull Dog Tonkatsu Sauce; it's made with a mixture of fruits and vegetables to create a dark and savory sauce that is perfect for tonkatsu.

Traditionally, pork tonkatsu is served alongside a generous portion of finely shredded green cabbage. Often, tonkatsu sauce is drizzled on the cabbage as well. 

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Watch Now: Japanese Fried Pork (Tonkatsu) Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless pork chops

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 cup canola oil, for frying

  • 1/4 head green cabbage, shredded, for garnish

  • Tonkatsu sauce, for garnish

  • Karashi (hot Japanese mustard), optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for tonkatsu recipe

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  2. Cut the edge of the pork chops in several places. Season with salt and pepper.

    Pork chops with salt and pepper on a cutting board

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  3. Set up a breading station with 3 shallow dishes. Place flour in the first dish, lightly beaten egg in the second dish, and panko breadcrumbs in the third dish. 

    Bowls of flour, egg, and breadcrumbs for pork tonkatsu

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  4. Coat each pork chop generously with flour, shaking any excess off.

    Pork chops coated with flour

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  5. Dip pork into beaten egg.

    Pork cutlets dipped in egg

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  6. Coat pork with panko breadcrumbs and set aside on a platter.

    Pork cutlets coated in panko breadcrumbs

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  7. In a deep pan, heat the canola oil to around 340 F as measured on a frying thermometer.

    Heat canola oil in a pot

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  8. Deep-fry breaded pork for 5 to 6 minutes.

    Deep-fry pork

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  9. Turn pork over and fry about 5 more minutes or until cooked through and browned. 

    Pork fried in a skillet

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  10. Remove pork from oil and drain on paper towels.

    Fried pork cutlets draining on paper towels

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  11. While pork is resting, finely shred green cabbage and soak in ice-cold water.

    Shredded green cabbage soaking in a bowl of ice-cold water

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  12. Drain shredded cabbage well.

    Shredded cabbage drained into a bowl

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  13. Cut each tonkatsu lengthwise into small pieces and serve on plates with a side of the shredded cabbage. Drizzle some of the tonkatsu sauce over tonkatsu before eating. Serve karashi (hot Japanese mustard) on the side if you prefer. Enjoy.

    Pork tonkatsu served with tonkatsu sauce and shredded cabbage

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

What Is the Difference Between Tonkatsu and Tonkotsu?

Although the names of these two dishes sound similar, they are different. Tonkatsu refers to fried pork cutlets as described in this recipe, but tonkotsu is a broth made with pork bones, often used in a pork-based ramen dish.

Variations

Variations of pork tonkatsu are made with chicken filets instead of pork and known as chicken katsu.


You can also make this dish without gluten by choosing gluten-free breadcrumbs and potato starch instead of flour (or a gluten-free flour blend).

How to Store and Freeze Pork Tonkatsu

This dish will keep in the refrigerator for up to three or four days. Reheat on a baking sheet in a hot oven (400 F) for a few minutes, loosely tented in foil, which will protect the pork from drying out but also crisp it up. You can also freeze pork, individually wrapped in plastic or foil and then stored in zip-close freezer bags, for up to three months.