Why you’ll love it

This chicken katsu, a Japanese fried chicken, is tender, juicy chicken coated in panko breadcrumbs and fried until golden and crunchy on the outside. It’s drizzled with a classic sweet and salty, tonkatsu sauce and served over rice with finely shredded cabbage.

Just like a Japanese version of schnitzel, chicken katsu is so easy to make at home and that crunchy coated tender chicken is totally irresistible.

Try these Beef teriyaki bowls too.

Sliced chicken katsu on a bed of rice and cabbage.

What is chicken katsu

Chicken katsu (known in Japan as torikatsu or chikin katsu and sometimes elsewhere as panko chicken) is panko-coated chicken cutlets, fried until golden crunchy. It’s a much loved Japanese comfort food. It is the chicken version of tonkatsu which is made with pork cutlet.

Katsu is classically served with a tonkatsu sauce drizzled over the top and rice and / or finely shredded cabbage.

Chicken katsu can be served up in a variety of ways too. Served in a bowl on top of rice, it is known as chicken katsu don or donburi. It’s often served between slices of Japanese milk bread and called katsu sando. Another famous way to serve it is with a curry sauce – called katsu curry (katsukarē). You’ll often find it wrapped up in rice and seaweed either in sushi or onigirazu.

Ingredients for chicken katsu

Ingredients for chicken katsu.

Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.

  • Chicken breast: Most often made with skinless boneless chicken breast, you can make katsu chicken with chicken thighs too.
  • Seasoning: The only seasoning you need is a little salt and pepper.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: Panko bread crumbs are Japanese breadcrumbs. They’re larger, crispier and lighter than regular breadcrumbs.
  • Flour: The flour is used to dredge / coat the chicken first. Just plain flour (all purpose flour) is perfect here.
  • Egg: An egg is used to help stick the panko crumbs to the chicken.
  • Oil: You’ll need a neutral flavoured vegetable oil for frying too. Often deep-fried, I shallow fry my chicken katsu just like my classic chicken schnitzel recipe – being easier, less mess and less waste.

That’s it! Just 6 ingredients for the chicken plus sauce and sides which you’ll find out more about in my section about what to serve with chicken katsu.

How to make chicken katsu

Making katsu chicken is seriously simple. You just bread chicken cutlets then shallow fry until golden. You can deep fry them if you prefer but shallow frying works just as well; the only difference is you need to turn it and it doesn’t waste as much oil.

Showing how to bread the katsu.

Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.

  1. Cutlet the chicken: If you’re using 4 very small chicken breasts just pound the thicker part to make the thickness of the whole breast a little more even. If using 2 medium chicken breasts like I do here, slice them in half through the thickness so you have two thinner chicken breasts about 6mm / ¼ inch-thick or so. You shouldn’t need to pound them any further unless you’re using larger chicken breasts than the recipe suggests. See my post on how to make chicken cutlets for more info.
  2. Bread the chicken: Grab yourself 3 high-sided dishes or pans large enough to fit the chicken breast. Add flour to one, egg to the second and panko breadcrumbs to the third. First, dip and flip one chicken cutlet in the flour and shake off the excess. Second, coat it all over in egg and let the excess drip off. Finally, dip and flip it in the panko but this time use your hands to really press the crumbs onto the chicken.
Showing how to fry the katsu.
  1. Fry the chicken: Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Gently lower in two pieces of chicken (depending on the size of your pan – you don’t want to overcrowd the pan or it will boil rather than fry).
  2. Flip: Once the underneath is golden, and you should see the chicken cooked mostly up the sides, flip them over carefully and cook the other side for another couple of minutes.
Tonkatsu sauce being drizzled over katsu chicken.

Tips and tricks

  • The quantity of breading ingredients -flour, egg and breadcrumbs – will depend on the size of your chicken pieces.
  • The amount of oil you need in the pan will depend on the size of the pan. You want it to come about half way up the side of the chicken once the chicken goes in, so start with a depth of about 4-5mm (⅕ inch).
  • Make sure the oil is hot enough before adding the chicken. Add a few flakes of breadcrumbs into the oil – they should sizzle pretty much immediately. Or dip the end of a wooden spoon into the oil and it should start bubbling.
  • The time it takes for the chicken to cook will depend on it’s thickness. If you stick the size recommended in the recipe (250g / ~9oz) and slice them in half through the thickness to turn them into cutlets, the 2-3 minutes per side will be perfect.
  • I find the best way to test if the chicken is cooked through is to slice into the thickest part and make sure it’s no longer pink. It’s very hard to get an accurate reading from a digital thermometer when the chicken is very thin. You could try an instant-read thermometer to see how that goes.

What to serve with chicken katsu

Sides for chicken katsu.

Chicken katsu is traditionally served with rice or finely shredded cabbage salad or both and it’s always drizzled with tonkatsu sauce or has it on the side for dipping. Sometimes the cabbage will be dressed with a Japanese sesame sauce known as goma dare.

I serve mine with all of these. I like to add some finely shredded carrot to the cabbage as well and I make my own sesame dressing which is just amazing. It’s tangy, nutty, savoury and just a little sweet too.

On top of that I add some furikake seasoning (a Japanese seaweed seasoning) over the top of the cooked rice and I add a little dollop of Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise on the side because fried chicken is always good with a little mayo, right?!

Katsu sauce, mostly known as tonkatsu sauce, is a mixture of fruit puree, tomato paste, soy sauce, garlic, onion and vinegar. Many online recipes use ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and they just don’t taste right. I’m working on my own, more authentic, version and will link to it here when I’ve perfected it.

Japanese sesame dressing being poured over shredded cabbage and carrot.

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Chicken katsu with tonkatsu sauce on a plate with rice.
5 from 1 rating
Chicken katsu, a classic Japanese comfort food, is so easy to make at home. It's perfect with rice, tonkatsu sauce and finely shredded cabbage.


  • 500 g chicken breasts (2 medium or 4 small)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • cup plain flour (all-purpoe flour) (43g / 1 ½oz)
  • 1-2 cups panko breadcrumbs (Japanese breadcrumbs) (90g / 3.2oz)
  • 1-2 large egg
  • 1-2 cups neutral flavoured vegetable oil

For Serving

  • ½ cup tonkatsu sauce, or to taste
  • 4 cups cooked koshihikari rice, hot
  • ¼ medium head green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 medium carrot, finely shredded
  • Japanese sesame dressing
  • Furikake seasoning, optional
  • Kewpie mayonnaise, optional

For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided



  • SIDES:
    Make sure your to get your rice started before the chicken as the chicken cooks fairly quickly. Also, shred your vegetables and get your dressings or seasonings on hand. Dress the cabbage and carrot in the sesame dressing.
    If using small chicken pieces (around 120g each 4oz), lay the breasts on a chopping board, cover with plastic wrap and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to gently pound the thicker part, just to even out the thickness all over a little. Medium chicken breasts are a little easier to find. Place one at a time onto a chopping board and, with one palm on top, use a sharp knife to slice through it’s thickness so that you have 2 thinner pieces. See my cutlets post.
  • Season the chicken all over with the salt and pepper.
    Into a large skillet or deep frying pan, pour oil to a depth of about 4-5mm (⅕ inch) deep. Heat for a few minutes over medium-high heat.
    Once the oil is hot, add 1-2 chicken breast pieces (depending on the size of your pan – you don’t want to overcrowd it or the chicken will boil in the oil instead of fry).
  • Cook the chicken for 2-3 minutes until the underneath is golden brown. It should be cooked most or all the way up the sides by this point. Use tongs to carefully flip the chicken and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  • Line a plate with paper towel. Transfer the cooked chicken to the paper towel while you cook the rest. They will stay hot for quite a while, long enough to do one more fry so if you’re frying 2 at a time, they’ll be fine. If you’re frying one at a time, keep the cooked ones in a oven preheated to warming temp or serve immediately.
  • SERVE:
    Place some rice on each plate and season with furikake if using. Add some cabbage and carrot on the other side of the plate. Slice the katsu chicken into finger size pieces, and lay it over the top of the rice. Drizzle tonkatsu sauce over the chicken. Add a dollop of Kewpie mayonnaise to the plate for dipping, if using, and serve.
  • Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.


  1. Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Check yours before measuring.
  2. Breadcrumbs and egg quantities will depend on the exact size of your chicken breasts.
  3. Oil quantity will depend on the size of your pan.
  4. Nutrition details are approximate only – scroll below the recipe to find the full nutritional information.
Have you tried this recipe?Don’t forget to leave a rating and comment below and let me know how it was! I love hearing from you. Nutrition information is approximate and derived from an online calculator. The brands you use may cause variations.
Nutrition Facts
Chicken Katsu
Amount Per Serving
Calories 837 Calories from Fat 549
% Daily Value*
Fat 61g94%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Trans Fat 0.4g
Polyunsaturated Fat 33g
Monounsaturated Fat 14g
Cholesterol 122mg41%
Sodium 1430mg62%
Potassium 707mg20%
Carbohydrates 40g13%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 2703IU54%
Vitamin C 23mg28%
Calcium 81mg8%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.