Asian Recipes/ Dinner/ Japanese/ Recipes

Crispy Tonkatsu – Japanese Pork Cutlet

05/10/2023 (Last Updated: 23/03/2023)

Crunchy, golden brown tonkatsu, cooked to perfection in 30 mins! Try this amazing air fryer reboot of the iconic panko crumbed Japanese pork cutlets – no deep frying required.

A tonkatsu sliced on a plate with vegetables and chopsticks.

Why We Love This

This easy tonkatsu recipe will leave you with amazingly tender, juicy pork cutlets, surrounded by the classic crispy golden brown katsu coating.

Even better, with the air fryer you can enjoy maximum crunch, with less calories – using way less oil!

Enjoy it as a simple standalone meal or add to other recipes like katsu curry, katsu sandwich or hand roll sushi.

Save This Recipe Form

Want to save this recipe?

Enter your email below & we'll send it straight to your inbox. Plus you’ll get more great recipes and tips from us each week!

Related: Chicken Katsu / Popcorn Chicken / Thai Pork Stir Fry

A pair of chopsticks picks up a piece of tonkatsu off a plate.

What is Tonkatsu?

Just like hambagu (hamburger steaks), tonkatsu is another example of yoshoku or Japanese interpretations of Western cuisine.

The name tonkatsu (豚カツ, とんかつ or トンカツ) is made up of the words ton (meaning pig, or in this case pork) and katsu (meaning cutlet).

Pork cutlets are first coated in flour, dipped in an egg wash, and then coated in flaky panko breadcrumbs. Traditionally, katsu cutlets are deep fried, however when making it at home we prefer to use an air fryer for less mess (and less calories – win win)! 

Like katsu curry, this version originated in Tokyo but much earlier, during the Meiji period. Nowadays, you’ll find tonkatsu just about everywhere in Japan, from restaurants and izakaya to convenience stores! 

What You’ll Need

  • Pork Cutlets – You can use pork fillet, boneless pork chops or boneless pork loin steaks. Buy thin slices if you can, otherwise for thicker slices, simply pound them between two pieces of baking paper using a meat tenderiser or rolling pin. Sub with chicken thigh or chicken breast if you want to make chicken katsu instead. Or use firm tofu for a vegetarian-friendly alternative.
  • Panko – Japanese bread crumbs are larger and flakier than regular bread crumbs, giving you the extra crunchy golden coating that tonkatsu is known for. Use regular breadcrumbs if that’s all you have. You could even use seasoned stuffing mix in a pinch.
  • Flours – You’ll need plain flour / all purpose flour and cornstarch / corn flour for extra crunch (sub potato starch or just use plain flour if that’s all you have on hand). Season with salt and pepper
  • Vegetable Oil – A few drizzles here and there will add extra golden colour to the coating.
Ingredients laid out ready to make tonkatsu.

How to Make Tonkatsu

First, gather your ingredients: See recipe card below for measurements.

  1. Flatten the pork cutlets between two layers of baking paper, using a meat tenderiser or rolling pin to flatten. Aim for an even thickness or around 1 cm / ½ in thick.
  2. Place the plain flour and cornstarch onto a plate and mix together.
  1. Crack the egg onto a second plate and lightly beat.
  2. Pour the panko bread crumbs1 tbsp of vegetable oil and optional salt and pepper on a third plate, and roughly mix together.
  1. Pick up a pork cutlet and coat with the flour mix first, then dip into egg and finally, coat with the panko crumbs. Make sure all areas are covered well.
  2. Set your air fryer at 180°C / 360°F. Add in the crumbed pork, then drizzle another 1 tbsp of oil over the top. Cook for 12 minutes, then flip over. Oil this side with the final 1 tbsp of oil and cook for a further 12 minutes.
  3. Crank up the heat to 200°C / 400°F and cook for a final 3 minutes or until golden brown. Note: Cooking times may vary between air fryer brands, this was cooked in the Ninja Foodi.
  4. Slice while hot with a large knife and serve with homemade tonkatsu sauce and veggies or in katsu curry.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Pork Fat – You can leave it on or trim it off, it’s up to you. We found it’s not chewy at all, and melts in your mouth after frying! It’s a good idea to score slits around the edges to help stop it curling up as it cooks.
  • Cook in Batches – If you plan to feed a crowd, don’t be tempted to cook all the cutlets at once. Air fry only 1-2 per batch and leave plenty of space around each cutlet. That way they’ll cook up nice and crispy.
  • Big Knife – Use a big, chunky butcher’s knife for slicing the fried tonkatsu to achieve a nice neat slice without breaking off the crumb. We found it to be easier to cut while it’s still quite hot.
  • Serving Slices – Use the wide blade of the knife to slide under the tonkatsu pieces and transfer them straight onto your serving bowl or plate.
  • Storage – Tonkatsu is best enjoyed hot and crispy immediately after frying, or eaten cold the next day (if properly stored in the fridge in an airtight container). We don’t recommend freezing it.

FAQs

What should I serve with tonkatsu?

Tonkatsu is often served with side of shredded cabbage (on its own, or with a simple sesame dressing). It can also be served on top of rice (known as katsudon) with miso soup and Japanese tsukemono pickles such as takuan

We LOVE having it on top of Japanese curry with sushi rice, or roll up the sliced tonkatsu pieces in sushi hand rolls. They’re also amazing as part of a bento box for lunch. 

For a quick and easy meal why not serve with a simple side of wafu salad and/or Japanese potato salad.

What’s the best way to reheat leftovers?

For maximum crunch, reheat tonkatsu in the air fryer on a lower temperature – around 120°C / 250°F for 5 – 7 minutes until heated through. (However if you prefer speed over crunch you can heat it in the microwave as well).

What’s the difference between tonkatsu and tonkotsu?

They may sound similar, but these two Japanese dishes couldn’t be more different! As you now know, tonkatsu is a breaded, fried pork cutlet. Whereas tonkotsu is is a ramen noodle soup known for its rich and creamy pork broth. The latter is often served with chashu pork and ajitama ramen eggs.

Can I just deep fry them instead?

If you don’t have an air fryer you can definitely deep fry them instead. Make sure to use a neutral flavoured cooking oil with a high smoke point and heat properly before cooking. Deep fry the breaded pork cutlets until golden brown, then transfer to a plate lined with 1 or 2 paper towels to drain off excess oil.

You can make them even crispier by double frying. Cook them for only 1-2 minutes during the first fry, then take out and drain. Set aside to cool down to room temperature. Then reheat the oil and fry again for another minute.

Variations

  • Katsu Sando – Instead of slicing the fried Japanese pork cutlet into strips, pop it between two slices of buttered white bread. For best results, use Japanese shokupan bread if you can. (And don’t forget the tonkatsu sauce!)
  • Katsu Curry Udon – Serve your freshly cooked tonkatsu slices on top of a big bowl of curry udon.
  • Extra Flavour – Try adding garlic powder, curry powder or black pepper in with the flour mix.
Sliced tonkatsu topped with homemade tonkatsu sauce.

Try these amazing recipes next:

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

Chopsticks pick up a piece of sliced tonkatsu.

Crispy Tonkatsu – Japanese Pork Cutlet

Crunchy, golden brown tonkatsu, cooked to perfection in 30 mins! Try this amazing air fryer reboot of the iconic panko crumbed Japanese pork cutlets – no deep frying required.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 5 minutes
27 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 2 tonkatsu
Calories: 333kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $10

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place the pork cutlets between two layers of baking paper, and pound with a rolling pin to flatten. You want an even thickness, around 1 cm / ½ in thick.
    2 boneless pork cutlets
  • Get out three plates. Place the plain flour and cornstarch on the first plate and mix. Crack the egg onto the second plate and lightly beat. Pour the panko bread crumbs, 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and optional salt and pepper onto the third plate, and roughly mix together.
    ¾ cup panko bread crumbs, 1 egg, 2 tbsp plain flour / all purpose flour, 1 tbsp cornstarch / cornflour, 3 tbsp vegetable oil, Salt and pepper
  • Pick up a pork cutlet and coat with the flour mix first, then dip into egg and finally, coat with the panko crumbs. Make sure all areas are covered well.
  • Set your air fryer at 180°C / 360°F. Add in your crumbed pork, then drizzle another 1 tbsp of oil over the top.
    3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Cook for 12 minutes, then flip over. Oil this side with the final 1 tbsp of oil and cook for a further 12 minutes.
    3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Crank the heat up to 200°C / 400°F and cook for a final 3 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Note: Cooking times may vary between brands, this was cooked in the Ninja Foodi
  • Slice while hot with a large knife and serve with tonkatsu sauce and veggies or in katsu curry.

Video

YouTube video

Recipe Notes

  • Pork Fat – You can leave it on or trim it off, it’s up to you. We found it’s not chewy at all, and melts in your mouth after frying! It’s a good idea to score slits around the edges to help stop it curling up as it cooks.
  • Cook in Batches – If you plan to feed a crowd, don’t be tempted to cook all the cutlets at once. Air fry only 1-2 per batch and leave plenty of space around each cutlet. That way they’ll cook up nice and crispy.
  • Big Knife – Use a big, chunky butcher’s knife for slicing the fried tonkatsu to achieve a nice neat slice without breaking off the crumb. We found it to be easier to cut while it’s still quite hot.
  • Serving Slices – Use the wide blade of the knife to slide under the tonkatsu pieces and transfer them straight onto your serving bowl or plate.
  • Storage – Tonkatsu is best enjoyed hot and crispy immediately after frying, or eaten cold the next day (if properly stored in the fridge in an airtight container). We don’t recommend freezing it.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Crispy Tonkatsu – Japanese Pork Cutlet
Amount per Serving
Calories
333
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
8
g
12
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Trans Fat
 
0.04
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
3
g
Cholesterol
 
170
mg
57
%
Sodium
 
262
mg
11
%
Potassium
 
601
mg
17
%
Carbohydrates
 
26
g
9
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
37
g
74
%
Vitamin A
 
119
IU
2
%
Calcium
 
61
mg
6
%
Iron
 
3
mg
17
%
* 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

Crispy Tonkatsu - Japanese Pork Cutlet
265 Shares

Browse all our most popular Japanese recipes

Japanese mochi, matcha green tea ice-cream. okonomiyaki, gyoza and chicken katsu dishes, with the words "Click here for Japanese recipes" overlayed.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.