Are you ready for epic crunch? Not only is this Baked Chicken Katsu (チキンカツ) Recipe just as crispy as the deep fried Japanese original, it stays crispy even longer!
What is chicken Katsu?
Chicken katsu (チキンカツ) is a Japanese panko coated chicken cutlet.
Sometimes also referred to as torikatsu, this simple dish is usually deep fried, topped with tonkatsu sauce and served alongside shredded cabbage (or a green salad).
Now, if the word tonkatsu sounds familiar, that’s because it’s used when referring to both to the delicious Japanese BBQ sauce (more on that in a sec) – and the fried pork cutlet it is normally poured on top of.
Yep – this Japanese baked chicken cutlet recipe is actually a variation of tonkatsu (豚カツ) – which is a breaded and fried pork cutlet. And while the original is pretty delicious in its own right, I actually prefer the chicken version.
You might say this baked chicken katsu is a couple steps removed from the original pork katsu.
It’s lighter than the iconic original Japanese fried chicken katsu – but with a depth of flavor and crunch that somehow makes it seem more indulgent.
But, trust me, you’re going to love it!
Imagine a tender and juicy chicken breast covered with panko breadcrumbs… so crispy, you would swear it’s deep fried! Mmmmm 😋 Yes, it’s that good!
What is panko?
Panko (パン粉) breadcrumbs are large and airy Japanese breadcrumbs used predominantly as a breading in fried dishes.
When fried, they produce a light, airy crunch that is at odds with having been immersed in cooking oil. You see, panko breadcrumbs resist taking on cooking oil and grease.
Therefore, they result in a light and vivacious crunch – much more so than traditional breadcrumbs.
Ingredients for Baked Chicken Katsu
- Chicken Breast: You’ll need about 1/2 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast to make this recipe.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: Crunchier and airier than traditional breadcrumbs, using panko in this recipe will leave you with a perfectly crispy exterior. Don’t be surprised if there’s a chorus of audible crunches around the table when everyone digs in! Panko is fairly easy to track down in most grocery stores these days – or grab panko on Amazon.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: You’ll use this when toasting the breadcrumbs in a pan.
- All Purpose Flour and an Egg: This is the classic combination to use when applying breading to a protein (more on that in the next section).
- Salt and Pepper: Add dimension to your breading’s flavor with a little dash of the old S&P.
How to bake chicken Katsu
Something tells me you’re going to be so happy when you see just how easy it is to whip up this Japanese katsu chicken recipe in your own home kitchen.
- Now, when baking, the secret to those crispy panko breadcrumbs is to briefly toast them in a pan with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
- When the breadcrumbs turn golden brown, transfer to a bowl and you’re ready to bake your chicken katsu. This simple method ensures that the breadcrumbs will stay nice and crispy for a long time. (When I shot this recipe, the chicken actually stayed crispy for four hours. Who knows how much longer it would have stayed that way if we hadn’t finally devoured it after the photoshoot!)
- Next, pound the chicken breasts to about a half-inch thickness.
- Then simply dip your chicken in flour, then in a beaten egg – and finally in panko breadcrumbs. Lightly press both sides to ensure they are evenly coated.
- Bake at 400°F for about 12-13 minutes on EACH SIDE. Once your chicken cutlets reach an internal temperature of 165°F, you’re good to plate them up and serve with tonkatsu sauce.
Hey, I told you it was easy!
What is katsu sauce / tonkatsu sauce?
Now, this baked chicken katsu recipe is great on it own. And if you have a favorite way to serve breaded chicken cutlets, go for it! They would be delicious with anything from ketchup to BBQ sauce to mayo – or even tartar sauce.
But if you want to eat chicken katsu the way they do in Japan, serve it with tonkatsu sauce (とんかつソース).
To give you a quick (oversimplified) explanation, tonkatsu sauce is basically the Japanese version of barbecue sauce, but a bit sweeter and tangier.
You can find it at your local Asian supermarket or buy it here on Amazon.
But did you know that you can also make it at home with only 4 simple ingredients that I bet are in your pantry or fridge right now!? It’ll take you all of 2 minutes to make.
Seriously – follow this easy recipe for homemade tonkatsu sauce, and you’ll be devouring breaded chicken katsu cutlets in no time, without the trip to the Asian grocery store!
The best part is that it’s a super versatile sauce.
I often swap tonkatsu sauce into recipes that call for ketchup because the taste is a bit more complex. It’s even sandwich friendly. Heck, you could say that tonkatsu goes pretty well with just about everything served on a bun!
What to serve with baked chicken katsu
This crispy baked katsu cutlet goes so well with shredded cabbage that you might want to level up and serve it alongside this colorful Asian slaw, this smoky Japanese cabbage salad with katsuobushi – or even this fruity red cabbage slaw.
And if you’re looking for a traditional Japanese side dish, this Japanese cucumber salad (sunomono) makes the perfect accompaniment!
And don’t forget about the most iconic sauce to drizzle on top of your baked chicken katsu: Homemade Tonkatsu Sauce!
What about you? Do you prefer fried or baked chicken katsu? Or are you a die hard fan of the original pork tonkatsu? Tell me about your preferences in the comments.
Happy cooking, friends!
Other delicious and easy Asian chicken recipes:
Did you like this Baked Chicken Katsu Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
Baked Chicken Katsu Recipe
This baked chicken katsu recipe is just as crispy as the deep fried version and stays crispy even longer!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 2 people 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Japanese
- Move one of the oven racks to the upper-middle part and preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place three shallow bowls one next to another and fill the first one with flour and the second with the egg. Leave the third one empty for now – this will be for the panko breadcrumbs.
- In a small pan over medium heat, add breadcrumbs and olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper and cook until breadcrumbs are golden brown. Turn the heat off and add breadcrumbs to the last shallow bowl.
- Pound chicken to about 1/2-inch thickness and dip each piece in flour, egg and panko breadcrumbs. Press gently to coat the chicken evenly on each side.
- Place chicken pieces on parchment paper and bake in the oven for 12-13 minutes on each side, until the chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165° Fahrenheit (75° Celsius).
- Serve with tonkatsu sauce or ketchup.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 298
- Sugar: 0.6 g
- Sodium: 129.6 mg
- Fat: 12.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 13.4 g
- Fiber: 0.6 g
- Protein: 30.6 g
- Cholesterol: 175.7 mg
Keywords: recipe, poultry, Japanese, baked, main