Chicken katsu has got to be one of my all time favorite things to make and eat. It’s like shake and bake chicken but holy heck, so much better!

Juicy, tender chicken, with crispy panko breadcrumbs on the outside, fluffy rice and crunchy cabbage?! Dream meal! Almost every culture has a breaded chicken cutlet and I love them all but chicken katsu has a special little katsu shape in my heart.

chicken katsu mountain | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is katsu?

Katsu is a Japanese transliterated word, meaning cutlet. It comes from tonkatsu (pictured below), which is a pork cutlet, but there are also all other kinds of katsu, which has turned into a term for panko breaded items. You can find tofu katsu, beef katsu, and of course, chicken katsu.

Easy oven baked pork tonkatsu: An extra thick, super juicy pork chop done up tonkatsu style, with light and crispy panko, only baked instead of deep-fried. #japanesefood #japanese #tonkatsu #porkchop #pork #recipes #ovenbaked #dinner #easydinner

Katsu in Japan

Japan has dedicated tonkatsu restaurants that focus on pork cutlets, along with seafood like ebi fry (panko deep fried shrimp) or kaki-fry (panko deep fried oyster). There are also katsu-sando which are pork cutlet sandwiches. Chicken katsu is not as popular as its pork counterpart in Japan but it’s insanely popular all over the world, probably because it’s very similar to chicken tenders or chicken schnitzel.

How is katsu served?

Katsu can come as part of a set meal (teishoku), as a rice bowl (donburi), with curry (curry katsu), or as a sandwich (katsu-sando). The most common is a teishoku set, where it’s served with rice, cabbage, pickles, and sauce.

chicken katsu | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make chicken katsu

  1. Prep the chicken cutlets. Lightly pound the chicken so that it’s about 1/2 inch thick. This helps it cook more evenly. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Flour. Dip the chicken in flour, shaking off any excess.
  3. Egg. Dip the chicken in the egg, coating both sides, shaking off the excess.
  4. Panko. Press the chicken into the panko, making sure the panko coats all of the chicken.
  5. Cook. Air fry, bake, or deep fry the chicken katsu.
  6. Enjoy! Slice, serve with rice, cabbage, sauce, and enjoy.

sliced katsu | www.iamafoodblog.com

Which kind of chicken for chicken katsu

You can make chicken katsu with either boneless skinless chicken breast or boneless skinless chicken thighs. Either way, you’ll want to lightly pound the chicken so that it isn’t too thick.

What is panko?

Panko are Japanese breadcrumbs. They’re vastly different from regular breadcrumbs – fluffier, larger, and made from crustless white bread. The irregular flakes of panko are what make katsu so crunchy. They’re dryer, flakier, and absorb less oil.

Panko is actually super interesting and a big deal in Japan. Dedicated panko factories bake bread to different panko specifications. You can get fresh panko, dried panko, and different sized flakes. They even have different ways of baking the bread, either oven baked or electrically baked using currents. A lot of restaurants get fresh panko delivered to them daily.

toasted panko | www.iamafoodblog.com

Where to buy panko

Panko is sold in most grocery stores in the Asian aisle but it’s cheaper to buy it at an Asian grocery store. You can also get it online. I prefer Japanese brands of panko, sometimes you’ll see something labeled panko but it looks like regular breadcrumbs. Take a look at the package and buy panko with large, irregular, shards that are flat.

How to set up a katsu breading station

Just like how you bread regular chicken you need flour, egg, and panko.

Set up three shallow dishes that are able to fit your chicken.

Put flour in one dish, lightly beaten egg in the next dish, and panko in the last dish.

Season your chicken with salt and pepper, then using one hand, dip it in the flour, coating both sides. Shake off the excess flour and place it in the egg.

Use your other hand to turn the chicken in the egg, making sure it’s coated all over. Shake off any excess egg and place the chicken in the panko.

Using the hand you used to flour the chicken, flip and press down on the chicken to coat in panko, being sure to gently adhere the panko all over. Shake off the excess panko and you’re ready to cook!

breading station | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to cook chicken katsu

Air fried/baked chicken katsu

If you’re air frying or baking chicken katsu you’ll need to toast your panko before coating your chicken. The deeply golden signature color of chicken katsu is part of why it’s so appetizing and if you bake or air fry, there won’t be a lot of color on the panko because it won’t be deep fried. Dry toasting it before hand fixes that! All you need to do is add the panko to a dry pan and toast over medium heat, stirring. Drizzle on a bit of oil and stir until golden and toasty. Just before it’s brown, remove the panko from the pan and place in a shallow bowl to cool completely. From there you just coat your chicken the same as ever.

To air fry: Place the prepared chicken katsu on a rack inside the air fryer and air fry at 400°F for 12-15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.

To bake: Heat the oven to 400°F. Place the prepared chicken katsu on a rack and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.

air fried chicken katsu | www.iamafoodblog.com

Deep fried chicken katsu

Deep fried chicken katsu will give you the juiciest, most evenly browned katsu, but it’s also the messiest.

To deep fry: Heat up 2-3 inches of neutral oil in a deep pan over medium high heat until it reaches 350°F. Gently place the coated chicken katsu into the oil and fry, flipping once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 2-4 minutes per side.

For perfectly cooked katsu, invest in a instant read thermometer. You can use it whenever you cook meat and it ensures that you’re never eating dry, overcooked chicken breast. The best kind of thermometer is a thermocouple style, but you don’t have to spring for the fancy expensive ones: this one is nice and inexpensive and still super fast.

Turkey Menchi Katsu Burger Recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

Chicken katsu sauce

Chicken katsu is usually served with sosu, which is the Japanese transliteration of sauce. It’s a thick, sweet and tangy brown sauce that’s loosely based on Worcester sauce. Made from vegetables, fruits, and spices, there are several kinds and thickness used for a variety of Japanese dishes. The sosu most commonly served with chicken katsu is tonkatsu sauce. It’s thick and mild, and full of umami. You can buy it online, popular brands are Bulldog or Otafuku. If you can’t find it, you can make an approximation of it easily at home.

Chicken katsu sauce recipe

2 tbsp ketchup
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp sugar

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.

chicken katsu | www.iamafoodblog.com

What to serve with chicken katsu

If you want to create a teishoku or set meal, serve up your katsu with fluffy rice, shredded cabbage with Japanese dressing, miso soup, and Japanese pickles!

chicken katsu recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Chicken Katsu Recipe

Juicy, tender chicken, with crispy panko breadcrumbs on the outside, fluffy rice and crunchy cabbage.
Serves 2
4.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breast lightly pounded
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 cup panko

Special Equipment

  • air fryer

Instructions

  • Season both sides of the chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper.
    If air frying or baking, toast the panko: Add the panko to a dry pan and toast over medium heat, stirring. Drizzle on 1 tablespoon neutral oil and stir until golden and toasty. Remove from the heat and place the panko in a shallow bowl to cool.
    toasted panko | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Set up 3 shallow dishes, one with the flour, one with the lightly beaten egg, and one with the panko.
    breading station | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Using one hand, dip the chicken into the flour, coating both sides. Shake off the excess flour and place it in the egg.
    chicken in flour | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Use your other hand to turn the chicken in the egg, making sure it’s coated all over. Shake off any excess egg and place the chicken in the panko.
    chicken in egg | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Using the hand you used to flour the chicken, flip and press down on the chicken to coat in panko, being sure to gently adhere the panko all over. Shake off the excess panko and you’re ready to cook.
    breaded chicken | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • To air fry: Place the prepared chicken katsu on a lightly oiled rack inside the air fryer and air fry at 400°F for 12-15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.
    To bake: Heat the oven to 400°F. Place the prepared chicken katsu on a lightly oiled rack and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.
    To deep fry: Heat up 2-3 inches of neutral oil in a deep pan over medium high heat until it reaches 350°F. Gently place the coated chicken katsu into the oil and fry, flipping once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 2-4 minutes per side
    air fried chicken katsu | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • After the katsu is cooked, let it cool slightly before cutting it into strips and serving it with rice, shredded cabbage, and katsu sauce. Enjoy!
    chicken katsu | www.iamafoodblog.com

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Katsu Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 280 Calories from Fat 59
% Daily Value*
Fat 6.5g10%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 154mg51%
Sodium 286mg12%
Potassium 501mg14%
Carbohydrates 22.6g8%
Fiber 1.3g5%
Sugar 1.9g2%
Protein 30.5g61%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Comments

  1. Sabrina says:

    5 stars
    thank you, another fun Japanese dish new to me, I need to go there, even if only for the savory food but I wouldn’t run away from a full on sushi blow out in Tokyo either, anyway love these flavors and especially the more unusual ones for me like the katsu sauce itself

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