A recipe for Katsu Sando (カツサンド, Japanese Pork Cutlet Sandwich)! Fried panko-crusted pork cutlets are paired with fluffy sandwich bread, a tangy Katsu sauce, and thinly sliced cabbage.
Katsu Sando (カツサンド) is one of my favorite quick and flavorful lunchtime treats. It is especially perfect for when I am looking for something comforting and simple.
Slices of boneless pork are coated in flour, then egg and panko breadcrumbs before frying until crisp and golden. Serve between two slices of thick and fluffy shokupan (soft and slightly sweet sandwich bread) flavored with butter, mustard, katsu sauce and optionally a handful of crisp shredded cabbage. It can even be refrigerated a few hours in advance to pack for a picnic or bento.
While I kept this Katsu Sando light, I have been coming across some fun and exciting variations lately here in Los Angeles. The Caprese-style from Katsu Bar in Cerritos was especially delicious with the addition of basil, tomato, fresh mozzarella, a berry Katsu Sauce, and balsamic vinaigrette.
For the best contrast between the light and fluffy bread and the fried cutlet and cabbage, try to use a thicker sliced shokupan if available. Lately, I have been using store-bought since it is readily available here, but I also have a recipe for homemade Shokupan (Japanese Sandwich Bread). You can toast the bread if desired.
I usually stick with pork when making Katsu Sando, but chicken is also popular. The more extravagant Wagyu has been trending recently and I also can’t wait to try this Egg Katsu Sando from Omnivore’s Cookbook. Looking for something not fried? Just One Cookbook has a version using the oven.
Coat the Tonkatsu in panko (パン粉, Japanese breadcrumbs) for crisp, yet light texture. If not available, you can substitute by making your own.
A Few Tips
It isn’t required, but I usually soak the thinly sliced cabbage in a bowl of ice water for about 10 minutes. This will help make the cabbage especially crisp. Drain well and pat dry if there is any remaining moisture before placing on the bread.
Spread a thin layer of the butter on each slice of bread first before assembling the rest of the sandwich. It will act as a barrier to keep the other ingredients from soaking in, especially if you will be refrigerating for a few hours before serving.
Pound the pork cutlets to your desired thickness. I have seen anywhere from 1/4-3/4 inch (0.5-1.25 cm) thick. Cut small slits across the fat to help keep it from curling up while frying.
I have included a recipe for a quick and easy homemade Katsu Sauce. Some recipes for a more authentic sauce can contain over 20 ingredients with additions such as apple, prune, and vegetables. If available, you can also swap for your favorite store-bought version.
After assembly, press the sandwiches between two plates topped with a can for additional weight for about five minutes. This will keep the sandwich together and prevent all the cabbage from falling out. Following this step, cut each sandwich in half to make two rectangles before serving.
I originally shared this recipe on Sunday Supper Movement and updated the recipe and photos on February 25, 2021.
Katsu Sando (Japanese Pork Cutlet Sandwich) Recipe
Adapted from Just One Cookbook
Katsu Sando (Japanese Pork Cutlet Sandwich)
- 1/4 cup (55 grams) ketchup
- 3 tablespoons (44 milliliters) Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) Oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 napa or green cabbage
- 4 boneless pork cutlets about 1 pound, 450 grams
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cup (105 grams) panko Japanese breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 8 square thick white sandwich bread slices crust removed
- Butter for spreading on bread
- Mustard for spreading on bread, Karashi, whole grain, or Dijon
To make the Katsu Sauce:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, mayonnaise, sugar, soy sauce, and garlic powder until smooth.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the Katsu Sando:
- Thinly slice the cabbage and place in a large bowl. Fill with ice water and allow to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Drain well.
- Cut off any excess fat and make small cuts across the fat on the pork cultets. Pound each cutlet to desired thickness, between 1/4-1/2 inch (about 0.5-1.25 cm) thick, and gently press into a similar shape to the bread slices. Season both sides of each cutlet with salt and pepper.
- Place the flour in a wide bowl, beat together the eggs in another bowl, and place the panko in a third bowl.
- Coat a cutlet thoroughly in the flour, then the egg. Allow the excess to drip off, then completely coat on all sides with the panko. Repeat with remaining cutlets.
- Fill a large pan with about 1/4 inch (0.5-1 cm) of oil and place over medium heat. Once hot, add the coated cutlets in batches and fry until golden and cooked through, 2-5 minutes per side depending on the cutlet thickness. Transfer to a towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining cutlets.
- Spread the tops of all the bread slices with a thin layer of butter. Top half of the slices with a thin layer of mustard and the other half with the prepared katsu sauce.
- Cover the mustard covered bread slice with a small handful of the drained cabbage. Cover the katsu sauce bread slice with the fried pork cutlet. Carefully bring the sandwiches together with the cabbage facing the pork.
- Place the arranged sandwich on a plate. Carefully top with another plate and a can or other item of similar weight and allow to sit for 5 minutes to press.
- Cut the sandwiches in half and serve the Katsu Sando immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a day.