This easy Tonkatsu Sauce is flavorful and easy to make with only four ingredients. It's sweet, savory, and tangy and tastes delicious on panko-crusted fried foods. If you've never made homemade tonkatsu sauce, I highly recommend it!
Tonkatsu sauce, also known as Katsu sauce, is a thick, brown sauce that is typically served with katsu or fried cutlet dishes in Japan. It's often described as Japan's barbeque sauce.
Traditionally tonkatsu sauce is made by simmering and pureeing various fruits, vegetables, and seasonings. However, a quick version can be made by combining four common seasonings: ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. The resulting sauce is tangy, sweet, and savory, with a deeply complex flavor profile that pairs perfectly with the richness of fried cutlet dishes.
🛒 Where to buy?
Although it's simple to make Tonkatsu sauce, there may be times when you don't want to go through the effort of cooking. In such cases, a bottle of Tonkatsu sauce can be purchased at most Asian or Japanese grocery stores.
If you don't have access to a physical store, you can always buy it online from Amazon, Walmart, or Japan Centre. Bulldog Tonkatsu Sauce is one of the most popular ones you can buy.
- Ketchup - adds tanginess and fruitiness to the sauce
- Worcestershire sauce - adds depth of flavor and umami to the sauce. It also contributes a slightly sweet and sour taste. It also causes me embarrassment every time I have to pronounce its name.
- Soy sauce - adds saltiness and umami. Make sure you use light soy sauce and not dark soy sauce.
- Sugar - helps balance the other flavors and also thickens the tonkatsu sauce slightly when it dissolves.
Step 1. Combine ingredients
There's only one step to this recipe. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to three months.
There are honestly so many different variations of tonkatsu sauce, but they all turn out more or less the same. You'll notice that ketchup and Worcestershire sauce are always required, but the other ingredients can be swapped out for similar ones.
- Oyster sauce instead of soy sauce - Both of these sauces are Chinese fermented sauces. They’re salty and have a complex flavor profile from fermentation. The oyster sauce will result in a thicker sauce, but I prefer the taste of soy sauce.
- Brown sugar instead of white sugar - Brown sugar will lend a slightly more complex molasses flavor.
- Dijon mustard - Many recipes add a small amount to brighten up the flavors. But remember that Dijon will make the sauce paler - if that's something you care about.
🥡 Storage & Leftovers
Storing: Store tonkatsu sauce in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
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Easy Tonkatsu sauce
- ⅓ cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or Oyster sauce)
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to 3 months.