Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, this Baked Tonkatsu recipe is a total game changer. All you need are the right techniques and tips to achieve perfection. Served with a special sesame tonkatsu sauce, you can now enjoy this popular dish at home.
Gather all the ingredients. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). For a convection oven, reduce the temperature by 25ºF (15ºC). Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with an oven-safe wire rack or line it with parchment paper. I prefer using the wire rack as it allows hot air to circulate around the cutlets and prevents the panko underneath from getting crushed.
To Toast the Panko
Add the panko and the oil to a frying pan. Turn on the stove's heat to medium and stir the panko and toast until golden brown. Transfer the toasted panko to a shallow dish and allow it to cool.
To Make the Sesame Tonkatsu Sauce
Grind the black and white sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle, add the tonkatsu sauce, and mix it all together.
To Prepare the Pork
Cut off the extra fat and make several slits on the connective tissue between the meat and remaining fat. Tip: Red meat and fat have different elasticities, and they will shrink and expand at different rates when they are cooked. Making a few slits will allow the Tonkatsu to stay nice and flat and prevent the cutlets from curling up.
To tenderize the meat, pound both sides of the cutlets with a meat pounder; if you don’t have one, then use the back of the knife. Mold the flattened meat back into the original shape with your hands.
Sprinkle the cutlets with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Dredge each pork piece in the flour to coat completely and pat off the excess flour. Then, dip into the beaten egg and finally coat with the toasted panko. Press on the panko flakes to make sure they adhere to the pork.
Place the pork cutlets on the wire rack or parchment paper in the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 400ºF (200ºC) until the pork is no longer pink inside, about 20 minutes.
Cut the Tonkatsu into 1-inch pieces (so you can eat them with chopsticks) by pressing the knife directly down into the cutlets, instead of sawing back and forth. This way, the panko crust will not come off. Transfer to individual plates and serve immediately.
You can freeze the fried and cooled baked cutlets in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to a month. To reheat, bake it at 375ºF (190ºC) on a wire rack until the inside is warm.