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Food

Chicken Katsu Recipe: How to Make Crispy Japanese Chicken Katsu

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Oct 2, 2020 • 2 min read

Can’t get enough of crispy fried chicken? Then you might want to try chicken katsu, the Japanese version of fried chicken. Juicy chicken cutlets are pounded thin, coated in panko crumbs, and fried to golden perfection. Cook up a batch of these crispy cutlets to feast on at home—then grab a pair of chopsticks and reward yourself with strips of chicken dunked in sweet-and-savory tonkatsu sauce.

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What Is Chicken Katsu?

Chicken katsu is a popular Japanese dish of fried chicken where the meat is seasoned, dredged in flour, then dipped in egg and panko breadcrumbs—a flaky breadcrumb made with white bread. Chicken katsu is usually served with tonkatsu sauce, a side of shredded cabbage, and steamed white rice.

How Is Chicken Katsu Typically Served?

Chicken katsu is always served with tangy tonkatsu sauce—a thick, brown Japanese barbecue sauce made with Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and other seasonings. Other components of the dish are a side of rice and finely shredded raw cabbage that pairs with deep fried foods.

9 Variations on Chicken Katsu

Try the following twists on the traditional recipe for added flavor and texture.

  1. Chicken katsu curry: Chicken katsu is topped with Japanese-style curry sauce instead of tonkatsu sauce.
  2. Chicken katsu tenders: Chicken tenders that are breaded and fried katsu style and served as an appetizer.
  3. Chicken katsu don: Crispy chicken katsu served with an egg and onion mixture seasoned with black pepper over rice.
  4. Tonkatsu (pork katsu): Katsu made with pork cutlets instead of chicken. The highest quality pork katsu in Japaneses cuisine is made from Berkshire pork, known for its tenderness.
  5. Menchi katsu: A thin patty of minced ground beef or pork that is breaded in panko crumbs and deep fried.
  6. Gyukatsu: The Japanese version of chicken fried steak, made with steak that has been breaded in panko and fried.
  7. Salmon katsu: Fillet of skinless salmon, breaded in panko and fried katsu-style. Learn more about cooking salmon in our guide here.
  8. Ham katsu: A deep fried cutlet made with thin slices of ham coated in panko.
  9. Katsu sando: Chicken or pork katsu that is served as a sandwich in between two slices of white bread with the crusts removed.
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Chicken katsu with condiments

Crispy Chicken Katsu Recipe

Makes
4
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min

Ingredients

If you love fried chicken, try making Japanese chicken katsu for a satisfying weeknight dinner. The secret to this recipe is using juicy chicken thighs instead of chicken breast which can often dry out when fried. Learn more about cooking chicken and the correct internal temperature for cooked chicken here.

  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 48 ounces total)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, beaten with 2 tablespoons water
  • Panko bread crumbs, for coating
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
  • Tonkatsu sauce, for serving
  1. Using the flat side of a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound the chicken thighs to an even ½-inch thickness.
  2. Place the flour, beaten egg wash, and panko in three separate bowls and season with salt.
  3. Dredge one piece of chicken in flour, followed by dipping into the egg mixture and letting the excess drip off. Finish by coating generously with panko crumbs. Place chicken aside on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
  4. Heat ¼-inch of oil in a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chicken to the hot oil and fry for 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining chicken adding more oil as needed. Serve chicken with a side of tonkatsu dipping sauce.

Cook’s note: Tonkatsu sauce is a sweet Japanese barbecue sauce that is available in most Asian grocery stores.

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