Chicken Katsu チキンカツ

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Chicken Katsu |

When you become parents of school-age children, your after school hours become pretty chaotic.  My children have piano lesson, swim lesson, ballet lesson…and homework that is due next day.  On many days, it’s only one hour left before dinner time and I still haven’t planned what to cook.

To avoid hearing “I’m hungry” for the next 2 hours, I have a few go to recipes that are perfect for these occasions.  These dishes typically utilize the (Japanese) ingredients I always keep in my kitchen.  Chicken Katsu is one of those easy recipes.

Chicken Katsu |

Even though the main ingredient is just chicken breast, when it’s breaded with flour, egg, and panko and deep fried, the chicken transform into crispy and juicy satisfying meal.  Chicken Katsu is very similar to chicken cutlet but for Japanese style cutlet, we enjoy it with So-su (ソース; “Sauce”).

When we say So-su or “sauce” in Japan, it refers to a thicker version of Worcestershire sauce slowly cooked with vegetables and fruits.  You might have tried some variations of this Japanese “sauce” when you eat Okonomiyaki, Yakisoba, Tonkatsu, Korokke, and other dishes in restaurants.  It’s not very common to make “sauce” from scratch at home in Japan since it requires many hours of cooking fruits and vegetables, so most people prefers to buy it from store instead.  However, for readers who have no access to Tonkatsu Sauce, I tried my best to make something similar.

Although deep fried food may be considered heavy or oily sometimes, if you fry it right the food tastes light and not too oily.  It takes practice to become comfortable with deep frying, but it’s a good skill to have for broadening your cooking options.

If you have leftover (or cook extra), don’t forget to make sandwiches with Chicken Katsu (so good!!).  Also try my Chicken Katsu Don which has been popular and one of the frequently cooked dish by readers.  Enjoy!

Chicken Katsu | Just One

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Chicken Katsu
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 3-4
  • 3 chicken breasts (1.6 lb)
  • 2 Tbsp. sake
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • All purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Panko
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Tonkatsu Sauce (Homemade recipe)
  1. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Slice the chicken diagonally.* This cutting technique is called “Sogigiri” in Japanese. Each piece will have more surface area so it will cook faster.
  2. Put the chicken in a bowl and add sake, salt, and pepper. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Dust the flour on the chicken and remove excess flour.
  4. Then dip it in beaten egg.
  5. Lastly, dredge the chicken in panko and remove the excess. If you have time, let the chicken sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  6. Heat ½ inch of oil in the cast iron skillet. Drop a piece of panko to see if the oil is ready. If you are new to deep frying, use a thermometer to check the temperature of oil (Read How To Deep Fry Food). The oil for Chicken Katsu should be 350F (180C) degree.
  7. Put 2-3 pieces of chicken in at a time. If you put too many chicken pieces, the temperature of oil will drop too quickly and the chicken will end up absorbing too much oil.
  8. Deep fry until both sides are golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack or paper towel-lined tray to remove excess oil.
  9. Between batches, make sure to pick up breadcrumbs. When you don’t pick them up, the breadcrumbs will get burnt and the oil will get darker. Make sure to keep the oil clean throughout deep frying.
The Japanese use chopsticks to eat Chicken Katsu, so if you plan to deep fry a whole chicken, you have to cut into small pieces after deep fry. However, it takes a longer time to deep fry a large piece of chicken, so I recommend to cut the chicken into smaller pieces before deep frying.

I use different pots and pans for deep/shallow frying and today I used a cast iron skillet to shallow fry.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.


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  1. Chicken Katsu sounds very delicious. Panko is very interesting bread crumbs, must try this recipe. I like your background and the holder for chopsticks is the winner -) Sauce looks yummy too! Thank you dear Nami for another amazing Japanese recipe.

  2. The crispy coating is so perfect and tempting! And such a simple meal that must taste fantastic! Even though my kids are much older, I’m still happy to find a yummy and quick dinner idea…thanks, Nami!

  3. Chicken katsu … yummy and simple to prepare. I actually have a bottle of tonkatsu sauce in the fridge ready for when I pull one of the chicken cutlets I cooked last week out of the freezer. :)

    I’ll have to try the sogigiri method of cutting chicken breasts the next time I have some in the house.

  4. donna mikasa

    Chicken katsu is a family favorite! I would use chicken tender strips or sometimes chicken thighs. I’d love to try your tonkatsu sauce, too!

  5. William Yap

    Do I need to add oil to the egg and spray water to regular panko like in Tonkatsu to keep the breaded coating from detaching? Thanks

    • Hi William! My Tonkatsu is a comprehensive recipe while this one is more of a quick and easy dinner. You can do the extra step too. Thank you for asking, and thanks for reading my blog! :)

  6. Eri

    Oh Nami, you;re really a savior I love the sauce in Yakisoba and I cant believe I have all the ingredients and it;s so easy to make! Thank you!
    I love the chicken, it;s true we have to be smart as parents of some hungry monsters!
    Hugs and Kisses!

  7. Kel

    Hi Nami! My family & I love chicken katsu. Thanks for including the sogigiri technique. I always wondered why my katsu and restaurant katsu differed in size, but I couldnt figure it out. I will try your techniques and recipe for dinner tomorrow night. Aloha!

    • Sogigiri is very helpful when you have thick meat. You want to make sure inside is cooked through. Luckily, Japanese uses chopsticks to eat, so small pieces are actually better. Haha. :) Thanks for your kind comment!

  8. I’ve never cooked with Sake and I like the idea of marinating chicken this way- nice technique to add flavor! A lovely delicious family meal, looks good with the green salad on the side;-)

  9. I’m so bad in deep-frying, so I can only dream of the chicken and pork katsu my mom used to make for me. We always served it with soysauce-vinegar and a cabbage salad squirted with mayo! :)

  10. Caroline

    Hmm looks delicious, I love chicken katsu! I made it the other day using your chicken katsu don recipe and served it with store-bought tonkatsu sauce and a salad instead of serving it over rice. It was really good. I don’t like the store-bought tonkatsu sauces much though, I find them too cloying somehow so I will try making your sauce! Thanks for posting this!

    • Hi Caroline! I’m glad you liked my Chicken Katsu Don recipe. :) I’m used to store-bought tonkatsu sauce that it never bothered me… haha. :)

      In Japan there are many brands/kinds of Tonkatsu Sauce including some organic ones, ones from famous Tonkatsu restaurant, ones with fancy ingredients, etc. I always buy some when I visit Japan. Hope those things will be available here one day.

      I’ll keep improving my sauce. Hopefully I can make it better and close to Tonkatsu Sauce I like. :) Thanks for your kind comment!

  11. I agree deep frying does not mean its oily there are more pan fried dishes that are oiler, its the technique in cooking them. Love this specially with that beer?? at the back

  12. I always have ingrained in my head pork tonkatsu but this also works with chicken quite nicely. It is like a Japanese Chicken Nugget… I know it is always so crazy in the evening with homework and activities… dinner just adds to the drama of it all. However, with this delicious dish it is a little less crazy.

  13. Nami, I like your Sogigiri method of slicing the meat. That’ll come in handy when I have to get dinner on the table fast! I also looked at your sub for Tonkatsu sauce — thanks for including that. (Someday, I might actually try simmering a batch of my own with the ingredients you listed above your “quick” recipe — sounds like a delicious combo of flavors!)

  14. Oh my, how crunchy and tasty this would be right now. I often make a fried chicken where I dip it in a beer batter and then in panko but your method sounds much easier and faster.

    Every mother knows how tough it can be to stretch those after school hours to get the homework done, the lessons finished and a good dinner on the table. Young mothers often don’t get enough credit for all they do.

  15. I like to order chicken katsu in a Japanese restaurant, but wont cook it at home since I do not deep fry food at all in our kitchen. Is it possible to bake it instead?

    • I know I’ll be asked this question… :) For Japanese katsu (tonkatsu, chicken katsu etc), I really recommend to deep fry it to have the same result.

      The thing is I don’t know how to keep the chicken so moist after baking for a long time. Deep frying takes only 5-6 minutes, and inside of chicken is so juicy. I’ve tried baking katsu before, but the “juiciness” is never the same.

      But of course you can still bake if you don’t want to deep fry and if don’t worry too much about juiciness. I’d recommend to use chicken thighs though (it’s more juicy than breast). Hope this helps! :)

  16. I know exactly what you’re talking about, Nami. I know what it’s like to rush in the door after all those after-school extra-curricular activities and then panicking about what to put on the table for dinner. This is a really yummy way to serve chicken breasts xx

  17. Well, you know, this reminds me of schnitzel, which is also my to go to recipe when things get too hectic after school. I prefer to bake mine, but from time to time I enjoy a shallow fried version. I like the sound of that sauce!

  18. We love Chicken Katsu whenever we eat at Japanese restaurants! Glad you showed how to make it here. I must try your recipe. Thanks for sharing, Nami ~ this will surely be a hit with my family! Thanks for the blog-visit, too :-)

  19. i know it seems rather common sense but thanks for the tip of grabbing the breadcrumbs between batches. i’m not a deep fryer in the house kinda girl, i’d just sooner bake these. or would that just not fly?

  20. This is defiantly one of favorites in my house and really like you said to go recipe especially when we have so much to do with and for kids. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I allow myself LOL! I Love love chicken katsu don and tonkatsu too. Tempting pics made me so hungry right now! 😀

  21. Orchidea

    Another fried chicken… it looks delicious. Both me and my husband loved the karaage!

    I was just going to write a comment on your blog and asked you if you also make boiled chestnuts in Japan… when I saw your comment on mine. So nice to hear that Japan and Italy have so many tings in common. And yes! we must be telepathic;).

  22. Linda | The Urban Mrs

    Delicious! This will go into my go to recipe collection. It’s a good idea to slice it before you fry it. I usually do the other way around, but now I know. And chicken katsu sandwich? I should try that.

  23. Wow, your chicken katsu looks much much better than any I’ve ever seen (from restaurants)! I like how you let the pieces stay thick and a little irregular-shaped, rather than flat and uniform– the ones in restaurants can sometimes taste a bit dry inside, but yours looks like it would be delicious! I have a deep-frying phobia, but I will still plan to try out this recipe at home… someday. :)

  24. My childhood was like that too – school, swim practice, violin practice, homework, sleep then repeat. It was crazy! But my mom made this chicken katsu from time to time and I absolutely loved it! It’s one of my go-to weeknight dinners! And that tonkatsu sauce is a must!

  25. I can see why your children love this dish. My kids would adore it. We have the same situation here with school, after school lessons and homework. I sometimes cook dinner while they are at school so I can get it all done and just reheat it at dinner time. It’s a crazy life (but fun). :)

  26. This looks really amazing! The name of the recipe sounds intimidating, but you break it down into such easy to follow steps that it’s not so scary anymore. :) I wonder if it’s at all possible to try and bake this instead of fry it? Have you ever experimented with that? Thanks for the great recipe!

    • I know I’ll be asked this question… For Japanese katsu (tonkatsu, chicken katsu etc), I really recommend to deep fry it to have the same result.

      The thing is I don’t know how to keep the chicken so moist after baking for a long time. Deep frying takes only 5-6 minutes, and inside of chicken is so juicy. I’ve tried baking katsu before, but the “juiciness” is never the same.

      But of course you can still bake if you don’t want to deep fry and if don’t worry too much about juiciness. I’d recommend to use chicken thighs though (it’s more juicy than breast). Hope this helps!

  27. This sounds terrific. Really good tip about cutting the chicken into small pieces – the frying takes little time that way. I need to fry more – I’m comfortable doing it, but rarely do because it’s a bit messy. But the results are so worth it! Great flavor, like in this dish. Good stuff – thanks.

  28. Oh gosh Nami – you can make this simple dish look so mouth-watering. No doubt kids and adults alike love it. Happy to learn the names of the different sauces…

  29. I went to Japan on a business trip for 10 days few years ago and fell in love with the country, people and food. Love love love your blog and so glad to find it. Chicken Katsu’s are irreristable.

  30. This looks so good! And great tip about removing stray bits of breadcrumb so the oil doesn’t get darker. I’ve never thought about that before when deep-frying, but it makes so much sense!

  31. Vivala-b.bird

    Hi Nami,

    My mum’s chicken cutlet was one of my favourite dish growing up. She specially made it for me a few weeks ago when I was craving it. Thanks to your recipe, I may be able to make something very similar to hers, as my mum does not write down her recipes and cooks from her head :)

    Thanks for sharing and I really look forward to cooking this soon.

    • My mom does not write recipes either. That’s one of the reasons why I started my blog – to keep my recipes for my children… :) Chicken Katsu is very simple recipe and most of Japanese cook very similarly (not to many variations). Hope you enjoy this recipe!

  32. Grubarazzi

    Great tip about taking out the breadcrumbs between batches. I love this simple recipe, especially the sauce drizzled on it. Yum!

  33. Nami, this (together with tonkatsu of course) is on the top of my list of favourite Japanese food. I prepare tonkatsu so often, but never show it to my readers (awful night photos, the reason I don’t post so many dishes). Your chicken katsu looks fabulous and perfect: the orange colour is just the way I love the crust most!
    You are right: deep-fried food is not that bad if you follow exactly the basic rules (high temperature, not overcrowding, completely dry ingredients…). It’s always better than shallow frying or pan frying with big amounts of oil.
    Thank you for making me hungry again :-)

  34. Your breaded crust is SO much lighter than the breaded crusts that I grew up with. Sometimes the crust on the chicken was so thick that it was hard to find the chicken! Yours looks perfect and I love the drizzle of TonKatsu sauce! I had to laugh about scooping out the bread pieces that had fallen off the chicken during frying. I always do that and then Bobby and I fight over who eats it first! :) By the time whatever it is that we’re frying is done, all the cooked crumbs have been eaten.

  35. Hi Nami,
    I love this recipe. Easy, quick and no fuss. I think there’s not one kid I know who doesn’t like fried chicken. Got to make this for my daughter.

  36. Ohh soo good. I have had chicken Katsu many times, when i lived in Korea it was very popular there too. This just looks fabulous. I am not looking forward to all the afters chool activities. . .i have a few years though.

  37. Oh, Nami, I’ve warned you before: If you think you are busy now, wait a couple more years and then you’ll see what busy is! My kids would love to eat this. Panko is one our favorite crunches that make everyone smile!

  38. That chicken katsu looks so yummy! Plus I really like your tip about removing excess bread crumbs from the oil between batches. Whenever I fry stuff I leave them in and my oil gets all icky. I’ll definitely give that tip a try next time!

  39. Nami, how did you know this is my favourite? Hehe! Chicken breast is probably my LEAST favourite part of the chicken, but when breaded and fried Japanese-style like this, I LOVE it! This is the best way, for me at least, to eat chicken breast. Good tip about skimming the loose bits of panko. I never did because I’m lazy, but I promise, next time, I will do this step :) You make everything look easy, Nami…even taking care of the kids! I don’t know how you keep up, I’m just amazed with you!

  40. I know what you mean, we need more hours, that’s what I ask for. Time start to be faster when kids went out from school…at the end of the day I just want to be in my bed, with some tea and TV off…

  41. Looks like a yummy simple dish that my family would love. I hardly every fry food I hate the smell in the house but occasionally I do, this would be a good one to try. I like to use my outside grill for frying since it has a burner for that. I will keep on the top of my go to list to, thanks Nami :)

  42. Robyn

    That looks AMAZING! I can almost taste it. My life sounds like yours, lessons, homework and parent teacher conference. I am going to try this recipe soon! Trying to come up with new recipes is half the battle. A new cookbook I am using has helped me alot! It is called, “Holly Clegg’s trim&TERRIFIC KITCHEN 101: Secrets to Cooking Confidence” by author Holly Clegg. It was created for the working or busy person who desires to cook but doesn’t have the time to spend in the kitchen. The book contains pantry-friendly ingredients. Convenient cooking of easy, healthy and delicious recipes.

  43. Nami this looks so delicious! I’m not too comfortable with frying foods because the oil splashing. But you are so right that if done correctly the food isn’t oily. Thanks for sharing this great recipe:)

  44. This looks amazing! I admit deep frying is not part of my skill set. I usually avoid it. But I love eating it as long as someone else deep fries it… which never happens though unless I visit my brother in Germany… :-)

  45. I never tried to dep fry with such shallow pan, maybe I should give it a go. You are right nami, if you know to deep fry, you have learned a valuable cooking technique. I was not into deep frying before, but my husband loves crispy chicken etc. Redently I discovered the tempera flour, which makes it so light.

    I still dont know how you manage your life with the kids and this blog all together, respect my friend! 😉

  46. Oh I definitely have many nights a week where we’re struggling to come up with a plan for dinner. I’m definitely going to do a katsu. The kids both like it, as do Mike and I, and I love how easy it is too. Great idea Nami! It’s amazing how fast that after school time fills up isn’t it!

  47. It’s always so hard to imagine you running around with two little ones and managing to put together these pretty dishes week after week. Seriously, everything you prepare is so artfully presented; I need your time management skills. :)

  48. I love reading your blog. You explain so many techniques and tips while sharing your recipe. I also like the Japanese terms you use because it is all new to me and I would love to learn new things about other cuisines :) You are awesome Nami. Thanks !!

  49. Coy

    As an alternative to the sogigiri cutting method what do you think about using chicken tenders? Also, After you soak the chicken in the sake do I need to dry them again before I dredge them in flour? Lately I’m living in Tokyo and have heard about a powder you mix with your leftover frying oil so that it solidifies and can be disposed of, is this true and if so what is it called? I love your blog, it has been an immense help since I moved to Japan and am trying to cook local foods.

  50. Megan H

    I made it for dinner a couple of nights ago. Turned out perfectly, even delicious next day at work. I could tell people were admiring my lunch. I will definitely make this again. Thanks Nami! Store bought tonkatsu sauce is good enough for me!

  51. Mdm khoo(malaysia)

    Dear nami, you’ve a very pretty picture of a young family which i showed to daughter and she requests for tako tao (if too much work then just ignore). We do not have the mould. She always buy ft night market. Just like your mum, you’re very hardworking and like cooking. Finally i wish your mother and your family a very happy new year.

    • Hi Mdm Khoo! Do you mean Takoyaki? I’m not sure what’s Tako (octopus) Tao (??) means. I have a mold at home but you really need one to make this dish. Thank you so much for your kind words! :) Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  52. Doug

    I just cooked this and it was great. It’s a lot easier than karaage and actually tasted better than teriyaki chicken to me. I think I’ll do this more often. I left out the egg and panko however to reduce the fat.

    • Hi Janelle! We use sake for meat and fish during prep time to get rid of meaty smell. If you don’t get bothered by the smell, you can skip it. Or you can use 1-2 Tbsp of white wine (not red) or Chinese rice wine if you have at home. Hope this helps! :)

  53. Cameron

    This is one of my favorite recipes to make for the family. After my brother went to Japan for 2 years he came back and made it for me. I love Katsu sauce and the only one I will buy is a brand called Bulldog Tonkatsu sauce. It can be found at any asian specility store. Hint. after many times making this…let the breading sit for a few…at least 15 min..or the breading will fall off.

    • Hi Cameron! My mom always let the breaded chicken in the fridge for 15 minutes as well (she does for Korokke and all the panko breaded food before deep frying). Thank you for your suggestion! I’ll suggest that in the recipe as well. :)

  54. Great sounding recipe! My daughter would like me to try making it for her, just got to get new oil for the deep fryer first. :)

    If you don’t mind, i’d like to recommend an online store. They sell tonkatsu and many other specialty Asian food items. Its called Asian Food Grocer and here is their tonkatsu

    i hope its ok to share a site, i blog too and get spammed mercilessly. i promise i’m not a spammer and i have no financial ties to that company, i just really like them.

    thanks again for the recipe!

  55. E

    Nami, have I told you I love you yet today?
    I have been trying sooo many of your recipes as of late and here is another winner! Thank you!! It came out looking sooo pretty!!! *.* And tastes even better!!!

    • Hello E! Haha thank you so much!!! You made my day! Very happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe (and other recipes!). :) xoxo

  56. Inah

    I love your blog ! I’ve been trying to do every single recipe hahaha, but it’s hard ! sometimes I can’t find the ingredients anywhere ;_;, btw, could I substitute sake with something else ?
    thank you~ !

  57. Diana @YourFlavorChef

    Soooo excited! I’ve wanted to try Chicken Katsu at home for years, and thanks to your great directions, I gave it a try today. We LOVED it!!!

  58. Julie B.

    I’d never seen the sogigiri method demonstrated before; thank you! I guess I always assumed chicken breasts were pounded flat for chicken katsu. I like that for small appetites or just 2 people, I could make this meal with just 1 or 2 breasts.

    • Sogigiri method is very useful for a lot of dishes. Instead of cutting straight down, you just have to cut diagonally, and you get more surface space to absorb more flavor and cook faster (because it’s thinner). Thank you for your comment, Julie! :)

  59. Sarah D

    Made this last night for my family and they really enjoyed it! Thanks for the recipe and I can’t wait to make it again!

  60. I made this for my partner’s birthday a few days ago and it was a hit! It was gone within minutes of serving it. Love it! Will be trying your other recipes.

    • Hi Danielle! I’m so happy to hear you and your partner liked the recipe! Thank you so much for trying this recipe! Hope you enjoy other recipes from my blog too! Thank you for your kind feedback. xo :)

  61. Melissa

    My husband and I lived in Manhattan for years before I dragged him back to my home state of IN. One thing we miss terribly is culinary diversity. And topping that list is good Japanese food! Next, would be Italian. So, I was thrilled to find your blog and I look forward to making many of your easy to follow recipes!! Thank you:)

    • Hi Melissa! How I wish to live in Manhattan! <3 Yeah the food choices must be amazing! Well, SF is not bad either, especially we have lots of good authentic Japanese restaurants and grocery stores. :)

      I hope you enjoy my blog. Some ingredients might be difficult to get, but use online shopping (amazon, Marukai, Mitsuwa, etc) to get basic condiments and hopefully you can use ingredients you have to enjoy making Japanese food at home!

      Thank you very much for following! :)