Crispy Pork Loin Tonkatsu (Rosu Katsu) Recipe

Though it may not be the first protein you'd think to whip up on a busy weeknight, pork loin is incredibly quick and easy to make — and this Japanese version of fried pork loin (tonkatsu) is a prime example. "I love the versatility of tonkatsu: It can be enjoyed as a topping for Japanese curry, sandwiched between two slices of Japanese milk bread for a homemade katsu sando, enjoyed in the form of katsudon (a fried cutlet and egg bowl), or simply drizzled with tonkatsu sauce, as my mother usually serves it," explains recipe developer Rika Hoffman

And as far as that tonkatsu sauce is concerned, it's an ingredient you shouldn't skip or substitute, as it really helps define this Japanese dish. "Bull-Dog tonkatsu sauce is a sweet and tangy condiment made with fruits and vegetables like apple, lemon, tomato, carrot, and onion, and flavored with a spice blend that includes ginger, red pepper, and cloves," Hoffman details. "The sauce is used to dress both the tonkatsu and the accompanying cabbage." If you have about half an hour and some pork loin on hand, then, this is the perfect easy dinner you can whip up for two.

Gather the ingredients for crispy pork loin tonkatsu

For this recipe, the primary ingredients you'll need to grab from the store are the pork (choose loins of about 6-7 ounces each), panko bread crumbs, cabbage, and Bull-Dog tonkatsu sauce. The other items — salt, pepper, flour, an egg, and neutral oil for frying — are likely ingredients you already have on hand. 

Just don't be tempted to switch out the panko bread crumbs for a different variety, as Hoffman says these are the key to getting the perfect tonkatsu fry. "Using panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) helps yield a lighter and crispier crust. Compared to typical breadcrumbs, flakes of panko are larger and drier and absorb less oil when frying," she explains. 

Prep the pork loin

Get started by prepping the pork. You want to pound or roll out the meat until it's an even thickness — about ¼-½ inch — which Hoffman explains will help the pork cook more uniformly. You can use a meat tenderizer if you have one, but you can also use the top ridge of a knife (as Hoffman does) or a rolling pin. If you use a rolling pin, just put the meat cutlets in a plastic bag first to avoid transferring the juices to your pin. 

When the meat has been pounded evenly, use the salt and pepper to season both sides of the pork.

Dredge the pork loins

Set up your dredging station so you can quickly bread your pork loins. You'll want to beat the egg in a small bowl, setting it up between a plate of flour and a plate of panko crumbs. To bread your meat, start by coating both sides of the pork in flour. Dust off any excess to prevent it from mucking up the egg. Dip the floured pork into the egg (coating both sides), then finish up by evenly dredging the meat in the panko crumbs. 

Fry the pork for the first time

Much like other fried foods, tonkatsu is even better when fried twice. To get your frying station ready, add the oil to a deep pan or skillet and bring the heat to high — it's important that the oil is hot enough to crisp up the bread crumbs. To test the heat, Hoffman suggests dropping some panko into the pan to see if it sizzles and floats. If so, you're ready to add your cutlets to the oil. Simply drop them in (individually or both at the same time, depending on the size of your pan), and let them cook for 3 minutes, flipping them over after 90 seconds. When they're nice and golden brown, remove them from the pan and let them cool on a rack for 3 more minutes. 

This resting period is important. "Thanks to carry-over cooking, as the tonkatsu rests after frying, it continues to cook internally," Hoffman explains. So if you want properly cooked pork, don't cut this rest time short. 

Fry the pork for the second time

While the pork is resting, prepare for the second fry by scooping out any remaining breadcrumbs from the oil with a fine mesh sieve. At the end of the 3-minute rest period, simply add the pork to the pan again and let the cutlets fry for another minute. It's this second fry that Hoffman says makes the tonkatsu especially crispy. Remove the meat from the oil and place it on a rack to cool. 

Slice and serve the fried pork

The tonkatsu is now ready to slice and enjoy! When it's cool enough to handle, slice it into strips across the grain and serve alongside the finely chopped cabbage — a traditional side that balances out the pork with light, cool, crunchy freshness. Drizzle both items with the tonkatsu sauce for a perfectly flavorful meal. 

If you're looking to add more elements to your dinner, Hoffman suggests serving a classic Japanese teishoku, or set meal. This includes short-grain white rice, tsukemono (Japanese pickles), and a bowl of miso soup. And if you don't like cabbage? "Instead of julienned cabbage, tonkatsu can be accompanied by a simple salad of lettuce, tomato, and cucumber," Hoffman says. 

Also, while tonkatsu technically keeps for a few days in the fridge, Hoffman says it's one of those dishes that's best enjoyed hot and crispy. But she says if you do have leftovers, they're best to reheat in the oven or air fryer to help recreate that crispy fried texture.

Crispy Pork Loin Tonkatsu (Rosu Katsu) Recipe
5 from 36 ratings
When you're craving something crispy, juicy, and seriously savory, fry up this Japanese tonkatsu in a matter of minutes.
Prep Time
Cook Time
crispy pork loin tonkatsu
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 2 slices pork loin or tenderloin (about 6-7 ounces each)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 ½ cups neutral oil
  • Finely chopped cabbage, for serving
  • Bull-Dog tonkatsu sauce, for serving
  1. Pound the pork until flattened to ¼-½ inch thick using a meat tenderizer. (The top ridge of a knife or a rolling pin also works.)
  2. Season both sides of the meat with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Prepare your dredging station with a plate each of the flour and panko, as well as a bowl of the beaten egg. Coat each cutlet with flour (making sure to dust off the excess), then the egg, and finally the panko.
  4. Place the oil into a large pan and set it over high heat. To test if the oil is hot enough, drop in a piece of panko and see if it sizzles and floats to the surface. Once it does, add the breaded cutlets and cook for 3 minutes (flipping halfway) until they are golden brown. Remove the tonkatsu to a cooling rack and let rest for 3 minutes.
  5. Prepare to double-fry the tonkatsu. Use a sieve to clean the oil by scooping out any remaining crumbs. Add the cutlets and fry for a minute on each side. Remove the tonkatsu from the oil and place on a cooling rack to cool for a minute or so.
  6. Cut the tonkatsu into strips and serve with finely chopped cabbage and a drizzle of Bull-Dog tonkatsu sauce.
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