Chicken katsu, also known as Japanese style fried chicken cutlet, are flatten chicken breasts breaded and deep fried until golden brown, typically served with white rice, katsu sauce, salad or shredded cabbage, and a side of miso soup. It's a super easy chicken recipe that can be made in less than 30 minutes. If you prefer a no frying alternative, try our air fryer chicken katsu instead!
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What is chicken katsu?
Chicken katsu, or Japanese fried chicken cutlet, is an alternative to classic tonkatsu, which is made with pork. Both are popular Japanese fried cutlets made by pounding out the protein, then breading with flour, egg, and panko, and frying until the outside is golden brown and crispy.
You'd often find chicken katsu served as a dish on its own with white rice, katsu sauce, a mound of shredded cabbage or a light salad, and a side of miso soup. It's also common to serve chicken katsu with curry, in a bento, or as a chicken katsudon.
Chicken katsu ingredient notes
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the ingredient quantities!
- Skinless boneless chicken breast - If you can't get chicken breasts that are boneless and skinless, you can always just remove it yourself. Also, most of chicken in US are pretty big, so we are slicing it in half to make two portions. If your chicken breasts are smaller, use two instead.
- All-purpose flour, egg, and panko - These three ingredients for the 3-stage breading process. Panko is also known as Japanese breadcrumbs. It is coarser and produces airier, lighter, and crisper cry.
- Salt and pepper - For seasoning the chicken
- Oil for frying - Any neutral, high-smoke point oil is fine. We like to use canola, soybean, and avocado oil.
- Cooked white rice and shredded cabbage (for serving)
- Ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, sugar - These ingredients are what katsu sauce is made of. If you prefer, you could use store bough katsu sauce. We recommend the Bulldog brand katsu sauce.
How to make chicken katsu
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe and instructions!
1. Split chicken breast. With the chicken breast flat on the cutting board, slice the chicken in half. Make sure to hold the chicken breast with your palm on top to prevent being in the path of your knife.
2. Flatten the chicken. Place the chicken breasts, flat side down, and pound them out using he flat side of the meat mallet to about ½ inch thick. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
🌟 Pro tip: Use a piece of plastic wrap to cover the chicken breast when pounding. This will prevent the chicken from tearing and getting stuck onto the meat mallet.
3. Bread the chicken. Coat the chicken with flour on both sides and around the edges. Tap off the excess.
Next, dip the floured chicken in the egg and let the excess drip off. Lastly, cover with panko. Make sure to firmly pack the panko onto the chicken to help it stick. Set aside and repeat with remaining chicken.
4. Fry the chicken katsu. Heat 2 inches of oil to 350°F. Once hot, slide in the breaded chicken. Fry for 5 to 6 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through. Fry in batches if needed.
Once done, remove from oil and allow to drain and rest on a rack or paper towel for 3 to 5 minutes before cutting.
5. Make the katsu sauce. In a bowl, mix together Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, oyster sauce, and sugar until well combined.
6. Serve. Cut the chicken katsu into desired size strips and serve with steamed white rice, a bed or shredded cabbage (with or without dressing of choice), and the katsu sauce. Enjoy!
- Cover the chicken breasts with a sheet of cling wrap before flattening to help with splatters and to prevent the chicken from stick to the meat mallet and tearing.
- Flatten the chicken breasts into similar thickness. This promotes even cooking. The ideal thickness is around ½ inch but no thicker.
- Fry at 350°F and maintain the oil temperature between 340°F and 360°F. Low oil temperature may yield undercooked chicken and greasy crust. Too high oil temperature may result in dry chicken and dark crust.
The best way to store leftover chicken katsu is to keep it whole. Don't cut it. After frying, allow it to cool completely before refrigerating or freezing. It will be good for up to 4 days in the fridge or up to 2 weeks in the freezer. Make sure to store in an airtight container.
You can also store uncooked chicken katsu. If refrigerating, store in an airtight container after the breading process. They can be stacked and will be good for up to 3 to 4 days.
If freezing, arrange the breaded chicken on a parchment lined sheet pan or plate, making sure they do not touch. If stacking, layer parchment paper between each katsu. Freeze until solid then transfer to an airtight container. They will be good for up to 1 month. To cook: Fry at 350°F. For refrigerated chicken, fry for about 6 to 7 minutes. For frozen chicken katsu, preheat the oil to 375°F then maintain it at 350°F. Fry for about 8 minutes.
Oven method: Place the chicken katsu on baking rack over a sheet pan. Bake at 350°F for about 10 minutes or until it's hot inside and crispy on the outside. Bake for an additional 5 minutes if frozen.
Air fryer method: Place the chicken katsu into the air fryer basket and air fry at 325°F for 5 to 10 minutes (an additional 5 minutes if frozen) until it's hot inside and crispy on the outside.
Katsu is commonly made with pork or chicken. For our chicken katsu recipe, boneless, skinless chicken breast is flattened, breaded with flour, egg, and panko, and fried until golden brown and crispy.
Katsu translates to cutlet. The chicken is pounded and flatten out before breading and frying. Regular fried chicken is simply seasoned (or brined), breaded, and fried. Also, katsu is breaded with panko and fried chicken is usually breaded with flour.
Although you can use regular breadcrumbs instead of panko, the texture of the katsu will be different. Panko gives the chicken katsu a light, crispy texture. Breadcrumb yields a more compact, denser crust.
We highly recommend that you do pound out the chicken. This is so that the chicken is even in thickness, which promotes even cooking.
For the chicken katsu:
For the katsu sauce:
- Cooked white rice
- Green cabbage thinly shredded (with or without dressing)
- Prepare the chicken:Prepare the breading station with the flour, beaten egg, and panko, each in its own container. Also, preheat about 2 inches of oil to 350°F.
- With the chicken breast flat on the cutting board, slice the chicken in half. Try your best to keep the chicken breast even in thickness and be careful when slicing!
- Place the chicken breasts, flat side down, and pound them out using he flat side of the meat mallet to about ½ inch thick. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.*We recommend covering the chicken with a sheet of plastic wrap when pounding to prevent the chicken from tearing.*
- Bread the chicken breast, one at a time, starting with the flour. Coat the chicken breast on both sides and the edges with flour and lightly tap to dust off the excess. Then dip the floured chicken into the beaten egg. Make sure to coat it completely and allow the excess egg to drip off. Lastly, cover the chicken with panko. Make sure to firmly pack the panko onto the chicken to help it stick. Set aside and repeat with remaining chicken.
- Fry the chicken katsu:When the oil is hot and ready, gently place the breaded chicken into the oil. Fry for 5 to 6 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through. *If needed, fry in batches and make sure to maintain the oil temperature between 340°F and 360°F.*
- Once done, remove the chicken katsu from the oil and allow them to drain and rest on a rack or paper towels for 3 to 5 minutes before cutting.
- Make the katsu sauce:In a bowl, mix together all of the katsu sauce ingredients until well combined (Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, oyster sauce, and sugar).
- To serve:Cut the chicken katsu into desired size strips and serve with steamed white rice, a bed or shredded cabbage (with or without dressing of choice), and the katsu sauce. Enjoy!