Tonkatsu is a Japanese-style pork cutlet. It’s enjoyed by people of various ages. “Ton” means pork, and “Katsu” means cutlet. There is a homophone “勝つ”(katsu) which means “to win” in Japanese. Japanese people often eat tonkatsu especially when they have an important match or exam for good luck.
Compared to a western-style cutlet, Tonkatsu is fluffier and crispier because it’s deep-fried in plenty of oil, and panko is used for it. 


It seems “Panko” is already known outside of Japan. This Japanese word パン(pan) means “bread” and 粉(ko) means, in this case, “crumbs”.

There are many different types of Panko in the market. This time, I used the most common type which is dry and medium size crumbs. I think this is good for home cooking. 

Many tonkatsu restaurants use large and moist panko. You can make very fluffy and crispy tonkatsu using them. It’s absolutely delicious! Although I can buy both moist and dry Panko, I prefer using the dried ones at home to avoid absorbing too much oil. On occasion I like to have a cheat day and enjoy the extremely fluffy texture of tonkatsu at a restaurant. 

Fine panko absorbs less oil, but you can’t expect the fluffy texture as much. I usually use the fine panko when I make kushikatsu (Japanese cutlets on skewers). 

You can also find low oil absorption or low-carb panko here in Japan. So, you can choose any of them depending on your preference. 

Parts of pork used for tonkatsu

In general, either pork loin or filet is used for Tonkatsu. Pork loin tonkatsu is a bit fatty but the fat makes a slightly sweet and rich flavor.
Tonkatsu filet has a light flavor and the texture is soft. Tonkatsu restaurants prepare both types of pork. However, I think pork loin is a little bit more common.

Today, I used pork loin for this recipe. However, I’m going to introduce filet tonkatsu in the future. 


Shredded cabbage is almost always served with tonkatsu and it goes together nicely. Cabbage also protects your stomach from oily food and you can avoid heartburn. Some people eat the cabbage with dressing but some people put tonkatsu sauce on the cabbage. I love both!

I’m not going to write the specific amount of cabbage in my recipe because I always make a lot of shredded cabbage. Some tonkatsu restaurants have all-you-can-eat cabbage. Please enjoy shredded cabbage with tonkatsu as much as you like!

Lemon is often put on the side of tonkatsu to make you feel refreshed. 


Many people enjoy tonkatsu with tonkatsu sauce. It’s similar to worcestershire sauce but it’s thicker and sweeter.

This sauce is originally made for tonkatsu but it’s also used for other types of Japanese style cutlets. 

Instead of using tonkatsu sauce, you may opt for ponzu which is a sauce made from dashi, soy sauce, mirin and vinegar. The flavor is much lighter than tonkatsu sauce. Also, placing grated daikon radish on tonkatsu before adding ponzu sauce is a perfect way to add a refreshing flavor.

Japanese mustard called からし(karashi) also goes well with tonkatsu. For me it’s indispensable. For example, It’s like eating a hotdog with mustard. However, Japanese karashi is much more pungent than mustard. Be careful when you try it. 


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Recipe by MikaCourse: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: JapaneseDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 2 pork loins (about 1 cm thick/ 0.4 inch)

  • pinch of salt and pepper

  • 3 tbsp flour

  • 1 egg (medium size)

  • 1 cup panko

  • Enough canola oil to completely submerge the pork loins

  • Garnish
  • Cabbage (as much as you want)

  • Lemon, tomato (optional)

  • Tonkatsu/ Ponzu sauce


  • Prepare these ingredients.
  • Separate some cabbage leaves from the head and wash them. Cut off the hard stems.
    Roll a few leaves together and cut them into thin slices.

    Soke the cabbage in cool water. (In summer, icy water is recommended)
    When the shredded cabbage becomes crispy, drain it well.
  • Pound the pork lightely. You can use a pounder, rolling pin or frying pan.
    Use the tip of the knife to make several small incisions where the fat and meat connect. This is done to keep the loin flat while cooking.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Use a tea strainer to reduce the amount of flour and cover the pork evenly.
    Pat the excess flour off the pork loins.
  • Dip the pork loins in the beaten egg.
  • Place the pork loins in panko. Gently press the pork down to ensure panko has coated all the surfaces.
  • Heat the oil at 170 degrees celsius (388℉). Deep fry the pork loins for about 2 minutes, then turn them over and continue frying for another 2 minutes.
    Take the tonkatsu out and drain excess oil.
  • Cut the tonkatsu vertically into about 5-6 pieces to easily eat with chopsticks.

From my kitchen to your table. I hope you enjoy this delicious meal.

Thank you for allowing me to share my recipe with you. I hope to see you again soon.

Tried this recipe?

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I look forward to seeing your dish!