This breaded pork cutlet may resemble my Pork Schnitzel, but there are a couple of things that make it katsu. The thick, sweet and savory sauce served over the cutlet, steamed rice, and shredded fresh cabbage served on the side.
Much like the pork schnitzel this recipe is very basic and simple and comes together pretty quickly. You end up with crunchy panko crumbs on the outside and tender and delicious pork inside.
Scroll down to read more about how it all comes together or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
What Is Katsu?
Katsu is a Japanese dish that gets breaded with panko and deep fried. When it’s specifically pork katsu, it’s known as tonkatsu. For this tonkatsu recipe though, we’re skipping the mess of the deep fryer and making it in the air fryer instead!
For the pork, you need thin pork cutlets. I like to use pork sirloin, but you can also use pork tenderloin, the important thing is that they are turned into cutlets. You can try another version with this Breaded Pork Cutlets in the Air Fryer recipe too.
Making Pork Katsu
You can purchase pork cutlets or prepare them yourself by pounding pork sirloin chops to 1/4-inch thickness. Then bread them by dredging each cutlet in flour, dipping in an egg wash, and coating with panko bread crumbs.
I love using panko bread crumbs when I’m breading meat, but this recipe requires panko. It just wouldn’t be katsu without them. For this recipe, olive oil is combined with the panko to aid in the browning in the air fryer.
I prefer to season the cutlets with salt and pepper prior to breading rather than seasoning the breadcrumbs. I feel like they are more evenly seasoned that way.
Make sure that there’s enough room around the cutlets when you place them in the air fryer. If there isn’t enough room, the breading will not crisp up and the whole point of a katsu – or any breaded cutlet – is to get the crispiest, crunchiest crust.
You may need to work in batches to accomplish this. If so, pre-heat your oven to 180˚F to keep the cooked katsu warm and crisp while the remaining cutlets are cooking.
How To Serve Pork Katsu
Traditionally, katsu is cut into thin strips before serving and the sauce is spooned over the top. You can purchase katsu sauce in most grocery stores or if you prefer, you can make it at home. It’s kind of a Japanese BBQ sauce with ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and a few other ingredients. Serious Eats has a simple recipe that utilizes things that you’re likely to have in your pantry.
A side of steamed rice and shredded cabbage or a simple cabbage salad and you’ll have dinner on the table in no time at all.
More Air Fryer Pork Recipes
Juicy, tender pork cutlets wrapped in a crispy layer of breadcrumbs with a sweet-and-savory sauce drizzled over the top makes this Air Fryer Pork Katsu an easy dish to fall in love with.
Serve with Homemade or store-bought Katsu sauce, shredded cabbage, cooked rice, and lemon wedges.
- 4 boneless pork sirloin cutlets, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- Place one pork cutlet between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4-inch thickness. (See how in the post). Repeat with remaining cutlets.
- Season both sides of each of the pork cutlets with salt and pepper.
- On your work surface, line up three shallow bowls, cake or pie pans are perfect.
- In the first, place the flour.
- In the second, whisk together the eggs.
- In the third, combine the breadcrumbs and olive oil. Mix to coat all bread crumbs with the oil.
- Start by dredging both sides of a pork cutlet in the flour, then dipping both sides into the eggs and then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Repeat with the remaining cutlets.
- Working in batches if necessary, place the breaded pork cutlets in the air fryer basket without overlapping.
- Set the temperature to 360˚F and cook for 10 minutes. Turn cutlets over half-way through the cooking time.
- Remove from air fryer basket and keep warm in a pre-heated 180˚F oven.
- Repeat until all pork chops are cooked.
- Serve with rice, shredded cabbage, lemon wedges, and homemade or store-bought katsu sauce.
Love this recipe? I’d appreciate it if you could scroll down and add a *5 star rating* to help others know they’ll love it as well!
This post originally appeared in January 2020 and was revised and republished in August 2023.