Chicken Katsu (Super Crispy!) – VIDEO

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This crispy, homemade Chicken Katsu is unbelievably crispy on the outside and so juicy on the inside! I was inspired to make it from my recent trips to Hawaii and Japan where you can find Chicken Katsu everywhere! Watch the video recipe and learn how to make the crispiest, juiciest Chicken Katsu!

Chicken katsu cutlets on a tray.

Watch the Chicken Katsu Recipe Video Below!

Chicken Katsu is one of those dishes that I always have to order when I see it on the menu! In Hawaii, it’s served as part of a ‘plate lunch’, with white rice and homemade Hawaiian Macaroni Salad. No matter where you order it, it’ll always come with a side of Tonkatsu Sauce – some people like to use Bulldog Sauce but it’s so easy to make at home, you should give it a try. If you have extra Chicken Katsu at home or if you feel like taking it one step further, you can add Japanese curry on top to make Chicken Katsu Curry – this was one of my first viral recipes and is still a top comfort food for me!

If you don’t want to deep fry chicken at home, check out my Air Fryer Chicken Katsu recipe instead! I love cooking with my air fryer, as I’m able to replicate the same crispy, juicy results without having to fry in oil.

Chicken Katsu plated with rice and mac salad.

Ingredients for Chicken Katsu

You only need a handful of ingredients (that you probably already have in your pantry) to make the best Chicken Katsu at home!

  • 1 lb chicken thigh
    • I like to use boneless and skinless chicken thigh, which I pound to roughly 1/2″ thick. You want to pound your meat so it is roughly the same thickness (it doesn’t have to be perfect) – this ensures that your chicken will cook evenly!
    • You can use bone-in and skin-on chicken thigh but you will have to remove the bone and skin yourself. (It’s totally doable – I do it myself often, especially when I’m butchering a whole chicken at home.)
    • You can substitute with chicken breast but keep an eye on the cooking time, as chicken breast can dry out quicker than chicken thigh.
  • 2 eggs – this is for your breading.
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour – this is for your breading.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs – this is a KEY ingredient for this recipe!
    • Panko breadcrumbs are made from a special type of white bread that is baked without a crust. The bread is sliced into large, thin slices and dried out; the dried bread is then ground into coarse flakes that are larger and lighter than traditional breadcrumbs. This is why the best Chicken Katsu is breaded in panko breadcrumbs – the lighter panko breadcrumbs allow for a crispier, lighter crunch than traditional breading (like for fried chicken).
    • I do not recommend substituting panko breadcrumbs – if you don’t have it, you can still make this recipe but it will not be Chicken Katsu (it’ll be more like my Fried Chicken recipe, which is one of my top posts on my website!)
  • neutral oil for frying – My go-to neutral oil is Avocado Oil. You can also use Canola or Vegetable Oil. I do NOT recommend olive oil.
    • If you want to avoid frying in oil, check out my Air Fryer Chicken Katsu recipe for similar crispy, juicy results but cooked in an air fryer!
Raw ingredients for Chicken Katsu.

Which bread crumbs are best for Chicken Katsu?

Panko breadcrumbs are the best breading for a crispy, authentic Chicken Katsu! They are made from a special type of white bread that is baked without a crust. The bread is sliced into large, thin slices and dried out; the dried bread is then ground into coarse flakes that are larger and lighter than traditional breadcrumbs.

The dryer and flakier consistency of panko breadcrumbs allows less oil absorption when deep frying your Chicken cutlets. This means the end result will be lighter and CRISPIER.

Can I substitute chicken thigh for other protein?

Yes, you absolutely can! You can use chicken breast (just watch for the cooking time, as chicken breast can dry out quicker than chicken thigh), pork tenderloin (also called Pork Katsu) or pork chops. You can even use tenderized steak for katsu (I had this in Japan and it is SO delicious)!

Chicken Katsu: Recipe Instructions

1. Season and pound the chicken to an even thickness

Pound the chicken to 1/2″ thick and season both sides with salt and pepper. Pounding the chicken ensures that it cooks evenly and is tender throughout. The salt will absorb into the chicken keeping it nice and juicy during the frying process!

Pounding chicken thigh with a mallet.

2. Make the wet batter

Mix together the egg, flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to form a wet batter. The consistency should be slightly looser than pancake batter (add water if needed). The batter helps the panko breadcrumbs stick to the chicken and also adds flavor.

3. Bread the chicken

Dredge the chicken completely in the wet batter and let any excess drip off. Transfer the chicken into the panko breadcrumbs and coat well, making sure there are no bald spots. Panko breadcrumbs are light and crispy, which gives the Chicken Katsu a crispy texture.

Breading chicken cutlets in panko breadcrumbs.

4. Fry the Chicken in Neutral oil

Fry the chicken in neutral oil that has been heated to 350°F for 4-6 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165°F. Frying the Chicken Katsu at the right temperature ensures that it cooks quickly and evenly without becoming too oily. Once the Chicken Katsu is fried, place it on a wire rack to drain excess oil. This will help to keep the Chicken Katsu crispy.

Crispy chicken katsu in a deep fryer.

PRO TipS

Expert Tips for the Juiciest and Crispiest Chicken Katsu:

  • Pound the chicken evenly: Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the chicken thighs to an even thickness about 1/2″ thick. This will ensure that the Chicken Katsu cooks evenly and is tender throughout.
  • Season the chicken: Before breading the chicken, season it with salt and pepper to enhance the flavor and retain juiciness. The salt will absorb into the meat and ensure the chicken is properly seasoned!
  • Use Panko breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs are light and crispy, which gives the Chicken Katsu a great texture. Regular breadcrumbs can be used, but they won’t give you the same result.
  • Fry at the right temperature:
    • Fry the Chicken Katsu in oil that has been heated to 350°F (180°C) for the best results. This will ensure that the Chicken Katsu cooks quickly and evenly without becoming too oily.
    • Use a thermometer to monitor your oil temperature!
      • If you are frying multiple pieces at one time, you may notice that your oil temperature is lower than 350°F (180°C) . If your temperature drops to below 325°F (160°C), it means you are overcrowding the pan and frying too many pieces at one time. Take a couple pieces out in order to allow the oil to come back to temperature.
      • If your oil is too high, reduce your heat and wait for the temperature to come down before continuing.
  • Drain excess oil: Once the Chicken Katsu is fried, place it on a wire rack to drain excess oil. This will help to keep the Chicken Katsu crispy.

Storage and Reheating

You can store any cutlets in an air tight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

To reheat the chicken, I prefer the air fryer – reheat the chicken for 8-10 minutes at 350°F or in the oven at 400° for 15 minutes. The exterior should be crispy while keeping the inside juicy!

If you love fried chicken as much as I do, check out my other Fried Chicken recipes – my Japanese Fried Chicken – Chicken Karaage is a crowd pleaser, my Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken is so addictive, and my Korean Fried Chicken is out of this world delicious!

If you tried this Chicken Katsu or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

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5 from 60 votes

Chicken Katsu (Video)

Servings: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Chicken katsu cutlets on a tray.
This crispy, homemade Chicken Katsu is unbelievably crispy on the outside and so juicy on the inside! I was inspired to make them from my recent trips to Hawaii and Japan where you can find chicken katsu everywhere!

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Pound chicken to 1/2" thickness and season both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Mix together egg, flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to form a wet batter. The consistency should be slightly looser than pancake batter (add water if needed).
  • Dredge chicken completely and let any excess drip off. Transfer chicken into panko breadcrumbs and coat well, making sure there are no bald spots.
  • Fry at 350°F for 4-6 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165°F. Set aside on a wire rack to cool. Serve with rice and mac salad and enjoy!

Notes

KEY TIPS
  • Pound the chicken evenly: Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the chicken thighs to an even thickness about 1/2″ thick. This will ensure that the Chicken Katsu cooks evenly and is tender throughout.
  • Season the chicken: Before breading the chicken, season it with salt and pepper to enhance the flavor and retain juiciness. The salt will absorb into the meat and ensure the chicken is properly seasoned!
  • Use Panko breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs are light and crispy, which gives the Chicken Katsu a great texture. Regular breadcrumbs can be used, but they won’t give you the same result.
  • Fry at the right temperature:
      • Fry the Chicken Katsu in oil that has been heated to 350°F (180°C) for the best results. This will ensure that the Chicken Katsu cooks quickly and evenly without becoming too oily.
      • Use a thermometer to monitor your oil temperature!
          • If you are frying multiple pieces at one time, you may notice that your oil temperature is lower than 350°F (180°C) . If your temperature drops to below 325°F (160°C), it means you are overcrowding the pan and frying too many pieces at one time. Take a couple pieces out in order to allow the oil to come back to temperature.
          • If your oil is too high, reduce your heat and wait for the temperature to come down before continuing.
  • Drain excess oil: Once the Chicken Katsu is fried, place it on a wire rack to drain excess oil. This will help to keep the Chicken Katsu crispy.
 

STORAGE & REHEATING

You can store any Chicken Katsu leftovers in an air tight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
To reheat the chicken, I prefer the air fryer – reheat the chicken for 8-10 minutes at 350°F or in the oven at 400° for 15 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 422kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 26gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 193mgSodium: 629mgPotassium: 340mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 209IUVitamin C: 0.01mgCalcium: 79mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Hawaiian, Japanese
Tried this recipe?Mention @cj.eats_ or tag #cjeatsrecipes!

About CJ

I’m a third generation Chinese-American home cook who has always loved cooking & eating! Welcome to my food blog, where you can find trusted, tested, easy & approachable recipes for the everyday home cook that taste delicious! I am so glad you're here!

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