Made with crispy breaded chicken and served with a sweet and tangy Tonkatsu Sauce, this Baked Chicken Katsu is a healthier version of a classic Japanese recipe.
What is Chicken Katsu?
Katsu is a popular Japanese cooking technique that means to coat a thin cutlet, such as pork or chicken, in panko bread crumbs and then pan-fry until crispy. Whether using pork or chicken, it is often served with a sweet and savory Tonkastu Sauce and steamed rice.
Let me tell you, Chicken Katsu is delicious. The chicken is crispy, crunchy, and juicy, just as good fried chicken should be. And the sauce adds intrigue to the otherwise simple dish.
Baked Chicken Katsu
My recipe for Chicken Katsu was inspired by my travels, not to Japan, but to Hawaii, where this Japanese dish happens to be very popular.
However, unlike the classically heavy fried dish, this recipe for Chicken Katsu has been lightened up, by being baked using the same technique I do for baked chicken tenders, which keeps the chicken crispy, crunchy, yet juicy.
Served with a Tonkatsu Sauce, which is like a Japanese Barbecue Sauce made with a base of ketchup and soy. It is sweet and savory and tastes amazing drizzled on just about everything, but pairs especially well with Chicken Katsu.
This recipe for Baked Chicken Katsu is easy to make, yet feels like a sophisticated take on chicken nuggets dipped in ketchup. So yes, the kids LOVE this chicken as well.
Notes on Key Ingredients
- Chicken: Use either thinly sliced chicken breasts, chicken cutlets, or chicken breasts that you slice into cutlets yourself.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: There is NO substitute for panko breadcrumbs if you want to have authentic Chicken Katsu. The panko is light and crisps up so much better than traditional breadcrumbs.
- Tonkatsu Sauce: The sauce served with Chicken Katsu is known as Tonkatsu sauce and is made with a combination of ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, fresh ginger, garlic, and molasses. Be sure to use freshly grated ginger root for the most authentic flavor.
How To Make Chicken Katsu
Step One: Prepare the Sauce
The first step to preparing this dish is to prepare the Tonkatsu Sauce. This will give the flavors time to deepen and develop while you prepare the chicken.
- Simply mix together the ketchup, molasses, soy sauce, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and freshly grated ginger root together in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.
Step Two: Pound Chicken Breast
The key to good Chicken Katsu is to start with thin chicken cutlets. That way the meat will cook quickly and evenly, in the time it takes for the breading to brown.
- Trim the chicken of any unwanted fat. If using chicken breasts, not cutlets, cut each breast in half lengthwise so you end up with thin, evenly-sized chicken cutlets.
- Lay the chicken cutlets between two layers of plastic wrap. Pound out chicken until ¼-1/2 inch thick.
- Season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken.
Step Three: Bread Cutlets
- Set out three shallow dishes. In one dish, combine the flour with a bit of salt and garlic powder.
- In the second dish, whisk the eggs with a bit of salt and water.
- And place the panko breadcrumbs into the final dish.
- Working with one cutlet at a time, dredge the seasoned chicken in flour to coat, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, coating both sides, let excess drip off, then press into bread crumbs, using your hands to ensure the chicken cutlet is evenly coated.
- Place breaded chicken onto a baking cooking rack that has been fitted on top of a baking sheet.
Step Four: Bake
Typically Chicken Katsu is fried. However, I have lightened this recipe up significantly by baking the Chicken Katsu instead of frying it. The chicken still turns out crispy and golden brown, yet it is much lower in fat and calories than the fried version.
- Spray the chicken generously with cooking spray. It should be enough to make the breadcrumbs glisten and this will help crisp up the panko perfectly.
- Bake until golden.
Chicken Katsu is traditionally served with Tonkatsu sauce and rice, shredded cabbage, and sliced green onions, for a complete meal that is full of flavor and texture. I typically pair this chicken with either Instant Pot White Rice or Instant Pot Brown Rice.
You can also opt to serve the chicken katsu on a bun topped with cabbage and Tonkatsu sauce for a tasty, unique chicken sandwich if desired.
More Favorite Chicken Recipes
- Honey Lemon Chicken
- Moo Goo Gai Pan
- Stir-Fried Chicken and Bok Choy
- Orange Chicken
- Chicken Asparagus Stir Fry
- Baked Pesto Chicken
Need more inspiration for planning meals that your family will love? Sign up for my FREE Meal Plans and each week you will get a meal plan with a shopping list.
If you enjoyed this recipe for Baked Chicken Katsu, I would love for you to leave a comment and review!
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger root
- 2 (8 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 4 chicken cutlets
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder divided
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
- Cooking spray for baking
For Serving (optional)
- steamed rice
- finely shredded cabbage
- green onions
- In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the Tonkatsu sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place an oven-safe baking rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly spray with non-stick spray.
- Trim the chicken of any unwanted fat. If using chicken breasts, cut them crosswise to form 4 chicken cutlets. Lay cutlets between two layers of plastic wrap. Pound out chicken until ¼-inch thick. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken.
- Combine flour and ½ teaspoon salt and garlic powder in a shallow dish and mix well. In a separate shallow dish, whisk eggs together with ½ teaspoon salt and water. Place the breadcrumbs in a final shallow dish.
- Working with one cutlet at a time, dredge the seasoned chicken in flour to coat, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, coating both sides, let excess drip off, then press into bread crumbs, using your hands to ensure the chicken cutlet is evenly coated. Place breaded chicken onto the prepared baking sheet and repeat until the cutlets are all breaded.
- Spray the chicken generously with cooking spray. It should be enough to make the breadcrumbs glisten.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden and the chicken has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Slice cutlets into thick slices and serve with the Tonkatsu sauce over rice, with a side of shredded cabbage if desired.