Tonkatsu Sauce (Japanese-Style Barbecue Sauce) Recipe

A small white square dish of tonkatsu sauce next to a fried cutlet.

Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

A few weeks ago I picked up some pork katsu for lunch, only to return to the office and find a vacant space where the that thick sweet and salty tonkatsu sauce should have been. As I tried to down the rather dry and flavorless katsu, I was forced to dig deep into the bowels of my desk to find what must have been a two-year old McDonalds ketchup packet—to inject some sort of sauciness into my fried pork. It was at this point that I vowed never go without my tonkatsu sauce ever again and decided to learn how to make it.

For what tastes like a rather complex sauce, it's very simple to put together. Although eaten alongside Japanese breaded and fried cutlets, the origins are actually British, with tonkatsu sauce being a sweeter and thicker variation of Worcestershire.

A quick mix of ketchup and Worcestershire gets you most of the way there. I added some soy sauce for extra salt, sugar and mirin for more sweetness, and mustard and garlic powder to add complexity. The end result was the exact sauce I was missing that sad day I was forced into using an inferior product to go with my crispy golden katsu.

Recipe Facts

3.3

(7)

Active: 5 mins
Total: 5 mins
Serves: 4 servings
Makes: 1/2 cup

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Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon mirin

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together ketchup, Worcestershire, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, mustard, and garlic powder. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

    Whisk in a small bowl of richly-flavored tonkatsu sauce

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
51 Calories
0g Fat
12g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 51
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 516mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 2mg 10%
Calcium 15mg 1%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 146mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)