Air Fryer Pork Katsu: How to Make Japanese Tonkatsu

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Air fryer pork katsu (tonkatsu) is crispy, moist, and delicious without all the oil of deep-frying. It’s versatile and can be enjoyed on its own or used in many different Japanese dishes!


This post is sponsored by the National Pork Board. As always, all opinions are my own.

air fryer pork katsu with rice and shredded cabbage

What is Tonkatsu?

Tonkatsu is also known as pork katsu. It is a popular Japanese dish consisting of breaded and deep-fried pork cutlets.

Traditionally, tonkatsu is made by coating pork in panko breadcrumbs and deep-frying it in hot oil. The result is a crispy and irresistible exterior with a tender and moist center.

Pork katsu can be a dish on its own or as a component of other Japanese dishes such as tonkatsu sandos, tonkatsu curry, or tonkatsu rice plates.

RELATED: HOW TO MAKE JAPANESE KATSU CURRY: EASY FLAVORFUL RECIPE

Advantages of An Air Fryer

The recipe I am sharing here is for the same pork katsu we know and love but an easy and healthier version in the air fryer.

With the invention of air fryers, we can now enjoy this dish with significantly less oil, making it a healthier choice without compromising on taste and texture.

Additionally, air fryers save you from the messy splatter of deep frying and has an easier clean up! You also won’t get that intense frying odor that can linger in your home.

I am obsessed with my air fryer and it has become one of my favorite kitchen accessories over the years. The air fryer I use and love is the Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1.

Ingredients for Air Fryer Pork Katsu

To create an amazing air fryer pork katsu, gather the following ingredients:

  • Boneless Pork Chops: Lean and tender, these pork chops are the main character of this recipe. Visit pork.org for more pork cooking ideas and inspiration!
  • Flour: Coating the pork chops with flour provides a smooth surface for the egg wash, contributing to the overall crispiness of the dish.
  • Eggs: The beaten eggs act as a binding agent for the panko breadcrumbs.
  • Panko: The secret to tonkatsu’s signature crunch. Panko breadcrumbs result in a light, almost airy, and irresistible crispy coating.
  • Salt and Pepper: These are essential seasonings to any recipe. They add saltiness, warmth, enhances the pork’s flavor, and adds flavor the breading.
  • Aromatics: This flavorful trio of garlic, ginger, and onion powders are the perfect blend of seasonings for pork katsu.
  • Neutral Oil Cooking Spray: Neutral oil is an oil with little to no flavor. Some examples are vegetable, canola, corn, avocado, safflower, and peanut oils. Spray this onto the pork katsu in order to achieve a crispy texture but with minimal oil for a healthier meal.

RELATED: VIETNAMESE PORK CHOPS IN THE AIR FRYER

How to Make Air Fryer Pork Katsu

Follow these simple steps to prepare and cook your air fryer pork katsu!

As always there is a recipe card at the end that you can print out or pin to Pinterest. Feel free to bookmark this recipe for later or share with a friend!

Prepare the Boneless Pork Chops

Start by pounding the boneless pork chops to tenderize and thin them out into ¼-½ inch thick chops.

Thickness depends on your personal preference. Pound more for thinner cutlets that will cook quicker and be more crispy. Pound less for thicker cutlets that may take longer to cook but will be more moist and meaty.

After you pound the pork to your thickness of preference, cut 1 inch slits (about 3-4 cuts) around the outer edges of the pork chop to prevent it from curling up when cooked.

Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Set it aside and let the seasonings penetrate the pork while you prepare the breading station.

thin and tenderize boneless pork chop with a meat tenderizer

Create the Breading Station

Prepare a breading station with three shallow dishes or containers.

Place all-purpose flour, whisked eggs, and panko breadcrumbs each in its own separate dish or container.

Season all three to taste with salt pepper, garlic powder, ginger powder, and onion powder. I usually just eyeball it and add a little sprinkle of each.

The breading station allows for a smooth and efficient coating process.

breading station with flour, eggs, and panko breadcrumbs

Coat the Pork Chops

Dredge each of the seasoned boneless pork chop in the flour, shaking off any excess.

Then, dip it into the egg mixture, making sure to coat it evenly and completely.

Finally, press the pork chops into the seasoned panko breadcrumbs, ensuring a generous and even coating. There should be no wet spots.

The combination of flour, egg, and panko creates a crispy and delicious crust around the pork.

RELATED: UDON CARBONARA: EASY JAPANESE TWIST ON AN ITALIAN CLASSIC

Air Fry the Pork Katsu

Begin by preheating your air fryer to 400°F. Lightly grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray to prevent sticking.

Place the breaded pork chops into the air fryer basket in a single layer, making sure they don’t overlap. Cooking in a single layer ensures even air circulation, allowing every part to get crispy, and resulting in uniformly cooked pork katsu.

Cook the pork katsu in the air fryer for about 12 minutes, flipping them halfway through to ensure even cooking. Also spray on additional cooking oil at the halfway mark.

The cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the pork chops and air fryer.

The pork should be golden brown and crispy on the outside, with an internal temperature of 145°F.

Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket to allow proper air circulation. You may need to do multiple batches depending on the size of your air fryer.

air fryer pork katsu Japanese tonkatsu recipe

Serving Suggestions

Once cooked, transfer the air fried pork katsu to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. This will help maintain the crispy texture.

The crispy and succulent pork katsu can be enjoyed on its own or served as part of many popular Japanese dishes.

Serve it as a rice plate with shredded cabbage and tonkatsu sauce for a classic Japanese experience. It is simple but the combination of flavors and textures makes for an amazing meal.

Air fryer pork katsu is also great as part of a tonkatsu sandwich. These Japanese sandwiches typically consists of fluffy milk bread and various fillings such as crispy pork katsu! I recommend also spreading katsu sauce on the bread and topping with some thinly sliced fresh cabbage.

One of my favorite things to make with pork katsu is Japanese tonkatsu curry. It is so flavorful, comforting, and has a nice combination of textures. This dish consists of the crispy tonkatsu on top of fluffy rice and a luscious curry.

All in all, tonkatsu is so versatile and can be used to create many different dishes by adding just a few additional items. You will never get bored with this recipe!

RELATED: KATSU SAUCE RECIPE: QUICK & EASY 4-INGREDIENT CONDIMENT

Leftovers and Reheating

Handling leftovers and reheating your air fried pork katsu is easy and you can definitely enjoy it for another meal.

Once the pork katsu is cooked and if you have any leftovers, allow them to cool before storing them in an airtight container.

Refrigerate the leftovers promptly to maintain their freshness and prevent any potential spoilage.

When it’s time to reheat, the best method is to again use the air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F and place the leftover pork katsu in a single layer in the basket. Reheat for about 5 minutes or until it is thoroughly warm.

To repeat, avoid overcrowding the air fryer to ensure even heating. This way, you’ll enjoy the same crispiness and juiciness as the original serving, making the leftovers just as good as the first time around.

To maintain quality, do not reheat the pork katsu more than once.

air fryer pork katsu dipped in katsu sauce

Save This Recipe for Air Fryer Pork Katsu

In conclusion, air fryer pork katsu is a delicious and healthier alternative to the traditional deep-fried version.

Because of the many ways that tonkatsu can be served, this one recipe can be used for many meals. I hope this deliciously crispy, succulent pork katsu becomes a staple in your home!

Did you make this recipe? I would love to see! Tag me on IG @feedmi_ or TikTok @feedmi

Air Fryer Pork Katsu (Japanese Tonkatsu)

Air fryer pork katsu is crispy and delicious without all the oil of deep-frying. It can be enjoyed on its own or used in many Japanese dishes!
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 4 (~1.5 lbs) pork chops, boneless
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 2 cups panko
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • ginger powder to taste
  • onion powder to taste
  • neutral oil cooking spray

Instructions

  • Pound the pork to tenderize and thin into ¼"-½" thick chops.
  • Cut 1" slits (about 3-4 cuts) around the outer edges of the pork chop to prevent it from curling up when cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place flour, eggs, and panko each in its own separate plates/containers. Season each with salt, pepper, ginger powder, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste.
  • Coat the pork in the following order: flour, eggs, and panko.
  • Spray neutral cooking oil on both sides of the pork chops. Air fry for about 12 minutes on 400℉, depending on the thickness. Flip it halfway and spray on more cooking oil. The internal temperature of the pork should reach 145°F. Do not overcrowd, you may need to do multiple batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
  • Serve the air fryer pork katsu in your favorite dish such as a tonkatsu sando, Japanese tonkatsu curry, or tonkatsu rice plate with shredded cabbage, rice, and katsu sauce!

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