Have you tried Chicken Katsu in a Japanese restaurant? You can make this delicious boneless chicken cutlet at home. Armed with this recipe, you will have juicy chicken with an irresistible crispy crust.
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What makes this Katsu Chicken recipe so good?
Who doesn’t love chicken with a crispy texture? One of the standout features of chicken katsu is its crispy exterior. Panko breadcrumbs are used, and they deliver a crunch that satisfies. The inside of this crunchy delight is tender and seasoned to perfection. Chicken katsu is versatile, it can be served on top of a bred of rice, on top of a bed of cabbage, in a sandwich, or even as a topping for curry.
Why you will love this recipe
The ingredients are simple, so the flavor of your chicken will shine through. In less than 30 minutes, you can make crispy chicken that rivals any restaurant you will visit. You have endless possibilities in how you will serve this chicken.
What is Chicken Katsu?
The Japanese word katsu means cutlet in English and refers to meat pounded thin before being cooked. Chicken katsu is a Japanese dish known as panko chicken or tori katsu. Think of it as Japanese-style fried chicken.
Seasoned chicken is coated with panko breadcrumbs that are light and crispy when cooked. You get a satisfying crunch and a taste of moist and juicy chicken.
Chicken katsu is traditionally served with white rice and tonkatsu sauce, a thick and tangy Japanese vegetarian brown sauce. (You can see how to make this sauce below.) Don’t be afraid of making a Japanese dish – this one is straightforward.
This easy chicken katsu recipe can also make tonkatsu (Japanese-style fried pork) – substitute pork cutlets for the chicken.
What does Katsu taste like?
If you have never tried Katsu, it is a crispy and crunchy breading that is deep-fried. If you like chicken cutlets or chicken tenders, you will love this flavor.
If you have never been to a Japanese restaurant, I think this is one of the most approachable chicken entrees you can try. This Japanese chicken cutlet is like an elevated chicken fried chicken steak.
What is the difference between Katsu and Tonkatsu?
Chicken Katsu is made of thinly sliced chicken breasts. Tonkatsu is the same dish but made with pork. So if you want to make this recipe with pork, I recommend using thin slices of pork loin. Follow the same directions as listed below.
What are panko breadcrumbs?
If you’re unfamiliar with panko, rest assured that it’s not strange or complicated. Panko is simply a type of breadcrumb slightly different from ordinary breadcrumbs.
The difference lies in the particular kind of white bread that panko is made from. Panko is derived from a Japanese word used extensively for light breading in Japanese cooking.
Panko bread crumbs are lighter, crispier, and flakier than ordinary breadcrumbs. Because panko is not heavy, it absorbs less oil and grease, creating a wonderfully golden and crisp coating.
You can make your own panko or buy it at most supermarkets and, of course, from Amazon.
What is tonkatsu sauce?
Tonkatsu sauce, aka Chicken Katsu sauce, is a Japanese-style barbecue sauce. It’s rich, tangy, and perfect for dipping your favorite fried food or drizzling on sandwiches. You can also buy this sauce already prepared.
You can easily make this sauce yourself with ingredients you probably already have on hand – ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce, soy sauce, and a bit of freshly minced garlic or even garlic powder.
What does tonkatsu sauce taste like?
If you have never tried this savory sauce, it is like steak sauce but with a slightly different kick with soy sauce. It is the perfect sauce for this dish; you may want to try it with other fried meats. It’s so easy to make, and when you make it at home, you always have enough!
Tonkatsu sauce tastes great on chicken, pork, and beef. I have even used it to dip egg rolls into!
Chicken Katsu Ingredients
There are two components to this chicken katsu recipe katsu chicken and katsu sauce.
Here’s what you need for the katsu chicken:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- All-purpose flour
- Large eggs
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil for cooking
Here’s what you need for the chicken katsu sauce:
- Soy sauce
- Brown sugar
- Mirin (rice wine)
- Worcestershire sauce
- Fresh ginger root
- Garlic cloves
How to Make Tonkatsu Sauce
- Place ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, Worcestershire sauce, grated ginger, and finely minced garlic in a bowl. Stir to combine.
- Prepare the sauce at least 30 minutes before using it.
How to Make Chicken Katsu
- Place halved chicken breasts between plastic wrap and gently pound out the chicken to about ¼-inch thick.
- Salt the chicken liberally, cover it, and place it in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
- Set up a breading station with three shallow bowls. The first one with all-purpose flour, the second with eggs beaten with water, and the third with panko breadcrumbs.
- Place chicken in the flour, turn to coat it on all sides, then shake off any excess flour.
- Dip the floured chicken into the egg mixture, coat it well, then shake off any excess.
- Dredge the chicken in Panko breadcrumbs. Shake off excess.
- Place the breaded chicken on a wire rack.
- Preheat the oven to 200°F.
- Add enough vegetable oil or canola oil to a large cast-iron or stainless steel skillet to be ½-inch deep. Heat the oil over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F.
- Deep fry the chicken in the pan and cook it for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the crust sets. Flip the chicken over and cook it for 1 to 2 minutes. Continue cooking the chicken and flipping it over until it is golden brown on both sides.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet. Drain excess grease by placing it on a clean wire rack over a baking sheet. I don’t recommend using placing the chicken on paper towels because it will steam and the crust will get soggy. Place the chicken in the 200°F oven to finish cooking (until the internal temperature is 165°F degrees when checked with an instant-read thermometer).
- Cut the chicken into thin strips and serve with katsu sauce and rice.
If you need a gluten-free version, you can purchase gluten-free panko crumbs.
What can you serve with Chicken Katsu?
Serving homemade Chicken Katsu with complementary side dishes that will help round out the meal. Here are some options:
- Steamed White Rice: A classic pairing, providing a neutral base that complements the crispy chicken.
- Japanese Curry: Adding a rich and flavorful curry alongside Chicken Katsu creates a hearty and satisfying meal.
- Cabbage Salad: A light and refreshing side, often thinly sliced and dressed with a light vinaigrette.
- Miso Soup: A warm and comforting choice that adds a traditional Japanese touch.
- Pickled Vegetables: Such as radishes or cucumbers, offering a tangy contrast to the fried chicken.
- Soba Noodles: Cold or hot, these buckwheat noodles can be a delightful side, especially when seasoned with a light sauce.
- Tempura Vegetables: For an indulgent meal, adding various tempura-fried vegetables can be delightful.
- Sweet Corn: Either as a simple boiled corn or a more flavorful corn salad.
- Fried Rice: A more flavorful and filling option compared to plain white rice.
- Green Beans or Broccoli: Lightly steamed or sautéed with garlic, these vegetables can add a healthy and crunchy element to the meal.
These sides can balance the flavors and textures, making the Chicken Katsu meal more enjoyable and well-rounded.
Make Chicken Katsu for Dinner!
Everyone loves fried chicken, and everyone will love this crunchy and delicious copycat chicken katsu recipe. It’s a winner’s dinner! Serve with tonkatsu sauce or your favorite barbecue sauce. (See above for how to make your own tonkatsu sauce.) Tell me how your family enjoyed this Japanese fried chicken recipe – I love hearing from my fellow cooks.
How to Store Chicken Katsu Leftovers
- Refrigerate – in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I recommend waiting until the chicken has cooled to room temperature so it remains super crispy.
- Freeze – Place in the freezer in an airtight container or double wrap it in plastic for up to 3 months.
Best Ways to Reheat Chicken Katsu
When you reheat this, you will want to keep the breading crispy. Because of this, I recommend reheating it in an air fryer at 350°F for 4 to 5 minutes or heating it in the oven at 350°F for 5 to 8 minutes until it is warm.
Want to try your hand at more copycat Japanese recipes? Here are some for you
Best Crispy Chicken Recipes
- Chick Fil A Nugget Recipe
- Chicken Romano
- Chili’s Chicken Crispers
- Kentucky Fried Chicken
- Ritz Cracker Chicken
- Southern Fried Chicken
- Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Wingstop Chicken Thighs
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast cut in half horizontally
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons water
- 3 cups panko breadcrumbs
- vegetable oil for cooking
- Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl, and stir to combine.
- Let the sauce rest at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Place halved chicken breast between some plastic wrap and gently pound out the chicken until it is about ¼ inch thick.
- Salt the chicken liberally, cover, and place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. This will help the chicken break down and become super juicy. You could omit this step, but the chicken will come out better if you let the chicken rest.
- Set up a breading station with three bowls. Place the all-purpose flour into one bowl. Beat the eggs and 1 1/2 tablespoons of water together very well, and pour into a second bowl. Place the panko breadcrumbs into the third bowl.
- Coat the chicken as follows: Place the chicken into the flour and shake off any excess. Dip into the egg wash, coat well, and shake off any excess. Dredge in the panko breadcrumbs.
- Place the coated chicken on a wire rack.
- Preheat the oven to 200°F.
- Add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom ½ inch of either an iron skillet or a stainless steel pan and heat to 350°F. Your pan should be large enough not to overcrowd the chicken.
- Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the crust sets.
- Flip over and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Continue cooking the chicken and flipping it over until it is golden brown on both sides.
- Remove the chicken and place on a clean wire rack. Place into the preheated oven to finish cooking. Depending on the thickness of your chicken, the chicken may need another 7 or 8 minutes of cooking. Chicken should be 165°F before consuming.
- When the chicken is fully cooked, cut into thin strips that you can pick up with chopsticks.
- Serve with rice, tonkatsu sauce, or your favorite brown sauce.