Irresistible Japanese Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe – Easy And Flavorful

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I suggest making Tonkatsu Sauce at home. I recommend this recipe because it ensures your sauce tastes fresh. It’s one of the easiest recipes you’ll find. If you’re worried about getting it right, don’t be. With a few ingredients and steps, you’ll always have the perfect condiment. I recommend serving it with fried dishes. But remember, it’s best to use fresh ingredients. You’ll need them for the best flavor. If any issues arise, usually, a quick taste test can help resolve the issue.

Searching for the perfect sauce can be daunting, especially when surrounded by the rich flavors of Middle-Eastern and European cuisines during my travels.

On a recent visit to a friend’s place in Tokyo, I was introduced to Tonkatsu Sauce. It was unlike any other – a fusion of sweetness, tanginess, and depth.

Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe

But when I returned home, finding a similar sauce in restaurants proved challenging. Even my kids’ surprise request for the sauce after a delightful restaurant visit reminded me of its unique taste. I knew I needed to recreate that flavor. 

If you’re worried about replicating the same richness and depth, I suggest you follow the plan I’ve laid out. I recommend this Tonkatsu Sauce recipe as one of the easiest and most effective ways to achieve that authentic taste. 

Through this, you’ll ensure your meals always have that extra zing, making every dish unforgettable.

What Is A Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe?

Tonkatsu Sauce is a popular Japanese condiment, usually served with deep-fried breaded pork cutlets, known as “Tonkatsu.” It’s a savory, slightly sweet, and tangy sauce. You’ll need ingredients like Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, ketchup, and sugar to make it. 

Some variations also include mustard or garlic for added depth. The process is simple: mix the ingredients until they achieve a harmonious blend.

It’s one of the easiest sauces to prepare. I recommend using it not just for Tonkatsu but also as a dip for other fried foods or as a flavorful addition to sandwiches.

History Of Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe

Tonkatsu Sauce has its roots in Japan’s adaptation of Western cuisine during the Meiji era. The sauce was crafted to complement Tonkatsu, a breaded and fried pork cutlet inspired by Western-style schnitzels. The precise individual who invented the sauce is not widely documented. 

However, it’s believed that Japanese chefs, aiming to blend the tastes of both Western and Eastern culinary traditions, created this sauce.

Combining ingredients like Worcestershire sauce with British origins and traditional Japanese elements showcases this melding of flavors. 

Interesting Facts About Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe 

  • Global Influence: Tonkatsu Sauce’s ingredients, like Worcestershire sauce, reflect global influences, merging East and West.
  • Versatility: While crafted for Tonkatsu, many use the sauce on other dishes, from omelets to burgers.
  • Variations: Different regions in Japan have slight variations, adjusting sweetness or tanginess.
  • DIY Popularity: Due to its simple recipe, it’s one of the easiest homemade sauces in Japanese households.
  • Commercial Brands: Some renowned brands, like Bulldog, have produced Tonkatsu Sauce for over a century.
  • Shelf Life: When stored properly, Tonkatsu Sauce can last long, making it a staple in many pantries.
  • Cultural Symbol: The sauce’s popularity and adaptation from Western influences symbolize Japan’s culinary evolution.
  • Pairings: Apart from pork, it’s also a favored dip for seafood in some Japanese regions.
Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe

What Are The Regional Adaptations Of This Sauce?

While having a standard base, Tonkatsu Sauce has seen regional adaptations across Japan, reflecting local preferences and available ingredients. In the Kansai region, the sauce tends to be sweeter, often adding more sugar or fruits like apples. 

Conversely, they prefer a tangier version in the Kanto region, usually achieved by adding more Worcestershire sauce or vinegar. In Okinawa, there’s a propensity for a spicier kick, incorporating local chili peppers or spices. 

Some areas even infuse it with local spirits or sake for additional depth. These variations showcase the diversity of Japanese culinary traditions, ensuring that even within a single sauce, there’s a world of flavors to explore.

What Will Make You Love This Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe? 

The Tonkatsu Sauce recipe is truly a delight for the palate. First, its perfect balance of sweet, savory, and tangy elements ensures your taste buds are always in for a treat.

I recommend it because of its versatility; it enhances not just Tonkatsu but various dishes, from grilled meats to vegetable stir-fries

If you’re worried about preparation, it’s one of the easiest recipes to follow, and the ingredients are usually readily available.

Furthermore, the ability to tweak it according to personal preferences makes it universally appealing. You can adjust it to your liking if you desire more sweetness or an added spicy kick

Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe

Ingredients List

Ketchup1 cup
Dry Mustard Powder4 teaspoons
Garlic Powder1 1/2 teaspoons
Ground Black Pepper1 1/2 teaspoons
Worcestershire Sauce3 tablespoons

Ingredient Tips 

  • Ketchup: Opt for a brand with fewer preservatives and sugars. The purer the tomato flavor, the better your sauce will be.
  • Dry Mustard Powder: Freshness matters. If yours has been in the pantry for a while, consider buying a new one for a robust flavor.
  • Garlic Powder: While garlic powder is convenient, you can use finely minced fresh garlic as a substitute if you want a fresher taste.
  • Ground Black Pepper: Freshly ground black pepper is usually more aromatic and flavorful than pre-ground.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Some brands can be saltier than others. Always taste before adding salt to your sauce.
  • Adjust to Taste: Remember, these measurements are guidelines. It’s best to adjust based on personal preferences or depending on the specific brand of ingredients used.

What Are The Variations Of Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe? 

Tonkatsu Sauce is versatile, and many enjoy experimenting with its flavors.

Here are some popular variations:

  • Fruit-infused: Adding grated apples or plums gives a natural sweetness and depth.
  • Spicy Kick: Incorporating chili flakes or hot sauce caters to those who enjoy a fiery touch.
  • Sesame Flair: Toasted seeds or sesame oil can be added for a nutty undertone.
  • Honeyed Variation: Replace sugar with honey for a richer sweetness.
  • Vinegar Twist: Add a dash of rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar for an extra tang.
  • Umami Boost: A splash of soy sauce or miso paste elevates the umami flavor.
  • Herbed Version: Freshly chopped herbs like cilantro or basil infuse a refreshing note.
Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe

Recipe Directions

Cooking Method

  • Combine ketchup, mustard powder, garlic powder, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Ensure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  • Once blended, cover the bowl with a lid or cling film.


  • Refrigerate the mixture for at least 1 hour. This rest time allows the flavors to meld and intensify.
  • After resting, give the sauce one final stir. It’s now ready to be served!
  • Allowing the sauce to sit ensures a deeper and more harmonized flavor profile, making it a perfect complement to various dishes.

Scaling The Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe 

Scaling the Tonkatsu Sauce recipe can be a straightforward task:

  • Doubling: If you plan to serve more people or wish to store some for later, simply double every ingredient. For instance, use 2 cups of ketchup instead of 1.
  • Halving: If you’re making it for a smaller group, halve each ingredient. This means using 1/2 cup of ketchup and halving the measurements for other ingredients.
  • Consistency: Regardless of scaling up or down, ensure the sauce’s consistency remains smooth. Adjust with a little water if it becomes too thick.
  • Taste: After scaling, always taste. You’ll need to ensure the balance of flavors remains intact, especially when adjusting quantities.
Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe

Can This Sauce Be Used As A Marinade, Dipping Sauce, Or Dressing For Salads? 

The versatility of Tonkatsu Sauce extends beyond its traditional use:

  • Marinade: Its tangy and savory profile makes it an excellent marinade for meats, especially chicken or pork. The ingredients help tenderize and infuse flavor into the meat.
  • Dipping Sauce: This is one of the easiest and most popular uses. It pairs well with fried foods, grilled meats, and even vegetable sticks, offering a delightful contrast of flavors.
  • Dressing for Salads: While unconventional, you can use Tonkatsu Sauce as a salad dressing. Its tanginess complements leafy greens and crunchy veggies. However, I recommend diluting it slightly with olive oil or vinegar to achieve a more dressing-like consistency.

What Are The Best Dishes To Accompany Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe?

Tonkatsu Sauce, with its distinctive flavor, pairs wonderfully with various dishes:

  • Tonkatsu: The traditional pairing, these are breaded and deep-fried pork cutlets.
  • Chicken Katsu: A poultry version of the classic Tonkatsu, equally delicious when paired with the sauce.
  • Vegetable Tempura: The sauce adds depth to lightly battered and fried vegetables.
  • Yakitori: A drizzle or dip can enhance grilled skewered chicken or other meats.
  • Okonomiyaki: A savory Japanese pancake often drizzled with Tonkatsu Sauce.
  • Korokke: Japanese meat or vegetable-filled croquettes find a perfect partner in this sauce.
  • Rice Bowls: Drizzle over grilled meats or veggies on rice.
  • Sandwiches: Use as a spread to elevate a simple sandwich.
Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe

What Are Some Classic Dishes That Feature Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe?

Tonkatsu Sauce is prominently featured in several classic Japanese dishes:

  • Tonkatsu: The namesake dish it’s a breaded and fried pork cutlet served with a generous side of the sauce.
  • Chicken Katsu: This is the chicken counterpart to Tonkatsu, often served with rice and drizzled with sauce.
  • Korokke: These are Japanese croquettes, typically made from mashed potatoes or ground meat, and are commonly paired with the sauce for dipping.
  • Okonomiyaki: Often referred to as a Japanese pancake, this savory dish is frequently topped with Tonkatsu Sauce for added flavor.
  • Katsu Sando: A Japanese sandwich featuring a Tonkatsu (or Chicken Katsu) cutlet, it often spreads the sauce on the bread, enhancing its taste.

What Are The Key Flavor Profiles And Taste Sensations That Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe Offers?

Tonkatsu Sauce boasts a symphony of flavors that tantalize the palate:

  • Savory: The primary taste sensation, it’s rich and hearty, often attributed to the Worcestershire sauce.
  • Sweet: Ketchup and sometimes added sugars impart a gentle sweetness that balances the sauce.
  • Tangy: The acidity from ingredients like ketchup and Worcestershire sauce gives it a zesty kick.
  • Spicy: While not overwhelmingly hot, the mustard powder and black pepper introduce a subtle warmth.
  • Umami: This deep, savory essence is a signature of Tonkatsu Sauce, often resulting from the blend of various ingredients.

Can This Sauce Be Stored And Preserved For Future Use? What Is Its Shelf Life?

  • Yes, Tonkatsu Sauce can be stored and preserved for future use. Once prepared, transferring the sauce to an airtight container or a glass bottle with a tight-sealing lid is best. The sauce can last for up to a month when stored in the refrigerator.
  • For extended shelf life, ensure the container is always sealed correctly and avoid introducing contaminants by using clean utensils each time you access the sauce.
  • If you notice any off-odors, mold, or change in texture, it’s best to discard it. Regularly checking the sauce and ensuring it’s kept in a cool, dry place helps maintain its freshness and flavor.

What Are The Substitutes For Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe?

If you’re in a pinch and don’t have Tonkatsu Sauce on hand, several alternatives can mimic its flavor profile:

  • Worcestershire Sauce & Ketchup: A quick mix of these can emulate the primary flavors of Tonkatsu Sauce.
  • BBQ Sauce: While it has a distinct taste, it can serve as a close substitute in many dishes due to its sweet and tangy notes.
  • Steak Sauce: Brands like A1 have a tangy, savory profile similar to Tonkatsu.
  • Oyster Sauce: It offers a sweet and salty umami punch, though it lacks the tanginess of Tonkatsu.
  • Soy Sauce & Honey: Mixing these gives a balance of salty and sweet, though it’s thinner in consistency.
  • Hoison Sauce: It’s sweeter but can be diluted and adjusted with vinegar for tang.
Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe

How To Adjust The Consistency Of The Sauce?

Adjusting the consistency of the Tonkatsu Sauce can be done with simple additions:

For a Thicker Sauce

  • Reduce: Simmer the sauce on low heat, allowing it to reduce and thicken.
  • Starch: A slurry made from cornstarch or arrowroot powder and water can be stirred to thicken it.

For a Thinner Sauce

  • Liquids: Add small amounts of water, broth, or even a dash of soy sauce until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Vinegar: If you want to maintain its tanginess while thinning, a bit of vinegar can help.

Should We Serve The Sauce Cold Or Warm?

Tonkatsu Sauce is traditionally served at room temperature or slightly cold. Serving it chilled from the refrigerator enhances its refreshing quality.

It perfectly complements hot, fried dishes like Tonkatsu or Chicken Katsu. The contrast between a cool sauce and a warm dish is usually preferred if you’re using it as a dipping sauce.

However, if you’re incorporating Tonkatsu Sauce into a cooked dish or using it as a base for gravy or stew, it can be warmed up.

But typically, there’s no need to heat the sauce separately before serving. Ensure it’s adequately stored and brought to the desired temperature before consumption.

Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe

Nutritional Values

Tonkatsu Sauce is a flavorful condiment containing carbs from ketchup and sugars, with minor amounts of protein and fat. Its sodium content can be significant due to Worcestershire and soy sauce.

What Are The Total Calories In Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe? 

The total calories in Tonkatsu Sauce largely depend on the specific ingredients and their quantities used. For a basic recipe containing ketchup, mustard powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce:

  • Ketchup: About 20 calories per tablespoon
  • Worcestershire Sauce: About 5 calories per tablespoon
  • Other ingredients: Minimal calorie contribution

For a typical serving, the calorie count could range from 40-70 calories. However, always refer to specific product labels or conduct a detailed nutritional analysis for precise calorie information.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe

Here are some dietary considerations related to Tonkatsu Sauce:

  • Gluten: Worcestershire sauce often contains soy sauce, which has wheat. Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should look for gluten-free variants.
  • Vegan/Vegetarian: Traditional Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies. Vegans and vegetarians should opt for a plant-based version.
  • Sodium: The sauce can be high in salt due to Worcestershire and soy sauce. Those on a low-sodium diet should be cautious.
  • Sugar: Ketchup and some Worcestershire sauces contain added sugars, impacting those monitoring sugar intake.
  • Allergens: Ingredients like mustard might cause reactions in some individuals.
  • Preservatives: Store-bought versions might contain preservatives or additives, so reading labels is essential.

Nutrition Table

Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe

What Are The Common Mistakes While Making This Sauce?

When preparing Tonkatsu Sauce, avoid these common mistakes to ensure the best flavor and consistency:

  • Overseasoning: It’s easy to make the sauce too salty or too sweet. Always start with less and adjust the seasoning gradually after tasting.
  • Not Allowing Flavors to Blend: Rushing and using the sauce immediately after mixing won’t give the ingredients enough time to meld. Letting it rest, as traditionally recommended, enhances the flavor.
  • Using Low-Quality Ingredients: The sauce’s taste heavily depends on the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce brands. Using high-quality, well-reviewed products will make a difference.
  • Inconsistent Mixing: Not stirring the ingredients thoroughly can lead to an uneven flavor profile.
  • Improper Storage: Storing the sauce in a non-airtight container or not refrigerating it can decrease its shelf life and alter its taste.
  • Not Adjusting to Preference: While following a recipe is good, it’s essential to tweak the sauce based on personal or family preferences for the best experience.

What Are Some Creative Uses Of Leftover Sauce? 

Leftover Tonkatsu Sauce can be utilized in various inventive ways:

  • Stir-Fry Base: Mix it into vegetable or meat stir-fries for a tangy twist.
  • Sandwich Spread: Use it as a flavorful spread for sandwiches or wraps.
  • Pizza Base: Swap out traditional pizza sauce for Tonkatsu for a unique flavor profile.
  • Meat Glaze: Brush onto grilled meats or roasts during the last few minutes of cooking.
  • Pasta Sauce: Mix with sautéed vegetables and pasta for an Asian-inspired dish.
  • Soup Enhancer: Add a spoonful to broths or soups for depth.
  • Dressing Base: Thin it with vinegar and oil to create a salad dressing.
Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe

Special Tools & Equipment Needed

  • Mixing Bowl: A good-sized bowl helps in combining all the ingredients evenly.
  • Whisk: To ensure a smooth and well-blended sauce without any lumps.
  • Measuring Spoons & Cups: For accurate ingredient quantities, ensuring consistency in flavor.
  • Glass Jar with Lid: Best for storing the sauce, as it’s non-reactive and keeps the sauce fresh.
  • Spatula: Useful for scraping out every bit of the sauce from the bowl.
  • Fine Mesh Strainer: If you’re looking for an ultra-smooth consistency, straining the sauce can help.
  • Funnel: Helps in transferring the sauce to storage bottles without spills.
  • Labels & Markers: If storing for later, labeling the jar with the date ensures you remember its freshness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Fresh Garlic Instead Of Garlic Powder?

Yes, you can. If using fresh garlic, finely mince or grate it for a smoother texture in the sauce. Fresh garlic will impart a more potent flavor, so adjust the quantity based on your preference.

Is There A Difference Between Store-Bought And Homemade Tonkatsu Sauce?

Homemade Tonkatsu Sauce often has a fresher taste and allows for customization in flavor and consistency. Store-bought versions can be more consistent but might contain preservatives or additional ingredients.

How Can I Make A Spicier Version Of The Sauce?

Add some heat, incorporating chili flakes, hot sauce, or even a bit of freshly chopped chili pepper. Adjust the spiciness level according to your preference.

What If I Don’t Have Worcestershire Sauce?

While Worcestershire sauce gives the Tonkatsu Sauce its distinctive flavor, in a pinch, you can use a combination of soy sauce, a touch of tamarind paste, and a sprinkle of sugar to emulate its taste.

Can I Freeze The Tonkatsu Sauce For Longer Storage?

It is possible to freeze the sauce. Move it into a freezer-safe, airtight container, allowing room for expansion at the top. Before serving, let it defrost in the fridge and give it a thorough stir.

Irresistible Japanese Tonkatsu Sauce Recipe – Easy And Flavorful

5 from 3 votes
Recipe by Lana Rivera Course: Sauces


Prep time




Ferment/Rest Time



Tonkatsu Sauce is a savory and tangy Japanese condiment, perfect for complementing fried dishes like Tonkatsu. With a harmonious blend of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and spices, it’s a versatile sauce that elevates meals, offering a delightful fusion of sweetness, tang, and depth in every bite. A must-try for flavor enthusiasts!


  • 1 cup 1 Ketchup

  • 4 teaspoons 4 Dry Mustard Powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons 1 1/2 Garlic Powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons 1 1/2 Ground Black Pepper

  • 3 tablespoons 3 Worcestershire Sauce

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Gather Ingredients
    1 cup ketchup
    4 teaspoons dry mustard powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
    3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Prepare Mixing Bowl
    Ensure the bowl is clean and dry to prevent unwanted reactions with the sauce ingredients.
  • Combining Ingredients
    Pour the ketchup into the bowl.
    Add the dry mustard powder, garlic powder, and ground black pepper.
    Drizzle in the Worcestershire sauce.
  • Mix Thoroughly
    Stir the mixture with a whisk or a spoon until all ingredients are well combined. Ensure there are no lumps or unmixed portions.
  • Resting
    Cover the bowl with a lid or cling film. Allow the sauce to sit, ideally in the refrigerator, for at least 1 hour. This resting period lets the flavors meld together.
  • Final Stir
    After resting, give the sauce one last stir to ensure uniformity.
  • Serve or Store
    Use immediately, or transfer to an airtight container or glass bottle for storage. If storing, label the container with the date for future reference.
  • Enjoy
    Use the sauce as a dip, marinade, or dressing, and savor the rich flavors it adds to your dishes!

Recipe Video


  • Customization: Tonkatsu Sauce is highly adaptable. Feel free to adjust the sweetness or tanginess levels based on personal preferences. You can experiment with honey or brown sugar for a different kind of sweetness.
  • Shelf Life: When stored properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator, homemade Tonkatsu Sauce can last up to a month. If the sauce starts to emit an off-odor or changes texture, it’s best to discard it.
  • Consistency: The sauce’s thickness can be modified. A splash of water or broth can be added for a thinner consistency. Conversely, if you desire a thicker sauce, you can reduce it on low heat.
  • Vegan Version: For a vegan alternative, ensure the Worcestershire sauce is vegan-friendly, as traditional versions contain anchovies.
  • Gluten Concerns: Check the Worcestershire sauce for gluten; some versions may contain it. Opt for a gluten-free variant if needed.

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