5 Minute Recipes/ Asian Recipes/ Condiments and Sauces/ Japanese/ Recipes

Easy Tonkatsu Sauce – Restaurant Style

29/07/2021

Homemade Japanese Tonkatsu Sauce at its best! This easy restaurant style recipe includes the all important toasted sesame seeds for the perfect pairing with any katsu cutlet.

Small dish of Japanese tonkatsu ramen with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Why We Love This

Making your own tonkatsu sauce at home is so empowering, and the 5 ingredients are all staples! No trips to the Asian supermarket required.

Homemade Japanese sauces have so much more depth of flavour, and are easily adaptable so you can make it exactly how you like it.

Chicken katsu piece with sauce poured over the top.

What is Tonkatsu Sauce? 

Tonkatsu sauce (とんかつソース) is a Japanese sauce based on Worcestershire sauce. It is always paired with a katsu cutlet – usually pork, but chicken katsu is another popular option. 

The most famous commercial sauce is the Bull-Dog brand made from a mix of vegetables, fruit and spices in a vinegar base, which gives it a sour, tangy flavour.

Our recipe today is for a more restaurant / homemade style tonkatsu sauce, which includes toasted white sesame seeds. In some tonkatsu restaurants, you’ll be given a mortar and pestle (known as a suribachi) to grind your own sesame seeds at the table to add to your sauce!

What You’ll Need

  • Sesame Seeds – The integral ingredient for the restaurant version of this sauce. Dry toasting the seeds adds another layer of roasted nuttiness, but you can skip this step if you prefer. Sub with tahini in a pinch.
  • Soy Sauce – Use a Japanese soy sauce brand such as Kikkoman if you can, otherwise, any soy sauce will still work!
  • Worcestershire Sauce – This brings in the spices to mimic the store bought version. If you like a strong sauce, double the amount. 
  • Sugar – A kick of sugar helps to round out the saltiness from the soy.
  • Tomato Sauce – Also known as good ol’ ketchup. Regular tomato sauce works well, as the salt and sugar balances out the other flavours.
  • Hot Mustard – For those who like it spicy, add a little hot English mustard. Add a little at a time and test, as this flavour can quickly take over.

Ingredients laid out to make homemade tonkatsu sauce.

How to make Tonkatsu Sauce with Sesame:

  1. Dry roast white sesame seeds over low heat for 3 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  2. Transfer toasted sesame seeds to a suribachi or mortar and pestle and grind finely. Note: Skip if using tahini.
  3. In a small bowl, add the ground sesame seeds, soy sauce, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and optional hot mustard.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Dry Toasting – The key is low heat – if the pan is smoking, you’ve got it too high! Use the smallest burner available.
  • Tweak the Flavours – Feel free to tweak ingredient amounts to suit your own flavour profile!
  • Thin the Sauce – For a thinner consistency, add a ½ tbsp of water at a time until you reach the desired consistency and flavour.

FAQs

What’s the difference between tonkatsu and tonkotsu?

Tonkatsu translates to a crumbed and fried pork cutlet, whereas tonkotsu is a pork bone based ramen broth. Look out for the “a” in tonkatsu and the “o” in tonkotsu to tell the difference.

What is the taste of tonkatsu sauce?

Tonkatsu sauce is based on Worcestershire sauce, and is a little similar in taste. It’s a bold sauce, which includes a range of salty, sweet, sour and tangy notes. The version with toasted sesame seeds adds a further nuttiness to the mix, which helps bring it all together.

Can you substitute tonkatsu sauce?

Yes. If you don’t have all the ingredients to make your own, you can substitute with tomato, Worcestershire or barbecue sauce. Otherwise, you could also shake things up by using other Japanese sauces such as takoyaki, okonomiyaki or yakisoba sauce instead.

What else can I use this sauce for?

You can use this sauce as a marinade for grilled meats. As a dipping sauce, try it with chicken nanban, air fryer popcorn chicken, tsukune meatballs, or slather it on Japanese hamburgers!

Dipping a piece of chicken katsu into tonkatsu sauce.

Make more homemade Japanese sauces for your collection:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Bowl of homemade Japanese tonkatsu sauce with a garnish of white sesame seeds.

Easy Tonkatsu Sauce – Restaurant Style

Homemade Japanese tonkatsu sauce at its best. This easy restaurant style recipe includes the all important toasted sesame seeds for the perfect pairing with any katsu cutlet.
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 2 serves
Calories: 52kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Ingredients

Optional:

  • hot mustard to taste – start with ¼ tsp

Instructions

  • Dry roast white sesame seeds over low heat for a few minutes, continuously moving around the pan until they turn a nice golden brown.
  • Transfer to suribachi or mortar and pestle and grind finely.
  • In a small bowl, add the ground sesame seeds, soy sauce, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and optional hot mustard.

Video

YouTube video

Recipe Notes

  • Sesame Seeds – The integral ingredient for the restaurant version of this sauce. Dry toasting the seeds adds another layer of roasted nuttiness. The key is low heat – if the pan is smoking, you’ve got it too high! Use the smallest burner available. Otherwise, you can skip this step if you prefer and sub with tahini in a pinch.
  • Soy Sauce – Use a Japanese soy sauce brand such as Kikkoman if you can, otherwise, any soy sauce will still work!
  • Worcestershire Sauce – This brings in the spices to mimic the store bought version. If you like a strong sauce, double the amount. 
  • Sugar – A kick of sugar helps to round out the saltiness from the soy.
  • Tomato Sauce – Also known as good ol’ ketchup. Regular tomato sauce works well, as the salt and sugar balances out the other flavours.
  • Hot Mustard – For those who like it spicy, add a little hot English mustard. Add a little at a time and test, as this flavour can quickly take over.
  • Tweak the Flavours – Feel free to tweak ingredient amounts to suit your own flavour profile!
  • Thin the Sauce – For a thinner consistency, add a ½ tbsp of water at a time until you reach the desired consistency and flavour.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Easy Tonkatsu Sauce – Restaurant Style
Amount per Serving
Calories
52
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
2
g
3
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Sodium
 
613
mg
27
%
Potassium
 
95
mg
3
%
Carbohydrates
 
7
g
2
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
5
g
6
%
Protein
 
2
g
4
%
Vitamin A
 
42
IU
1
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
47
mg
5
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Easy Tonkatsu Sauce - Restaurant Style

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Cat Meow
    22/09/2021 at 3:57 am

    What can replace Worcestershire sauce?

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      22/09/2021 at 4:57 pm

      Worcestershire really is the backbone of this recipe, and many Japanese sauces. While you can substitute with a combination of soy sauce and ketchup, it would be missing the depth of flavour from real Worcestershire. Are you able to source it online or from an import store at all?

    • Reply
      Naomi
      18/07/2022 at 11:15 pm

      5 stars
      Hi love All the alternate options suggestions and variety listed in this recipe. Thank you for posting. Great work.

      Best,
      Naomi

      • Reply
        Wandercooks
        26/07/2022 at 7:41 pm

        You’re welcome Naomi!

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