This chicken katsu burger recipe places a crunchy tender chicken cutlet, prepared using the classic Japanese katsu method of panko-breaded and deep-fried chicken, between spicy Asian slaw, tangy Japanese-style barbecue sauce, and soft burger buns. Serve with hand-cut fries and you’re in chicken katsu burger heaven.
While we love Japanese pork tonkatsu in sandwiches, tender chicken thighs fried with panko crumbs give the kind of crunch we love about the Belles Hot Chicken burger, where the super soft bun contrasts perfectly with the crispy breaded deep-fried chicken skin. With this burger, it’s the panko breadcrumbs that offer that crunch that we love so much.
A Japanese tonkatsu burger has the kind of elegance and precision of a dainty afternoon tea burger served on a tiered silver tray while Vivaldi’s Four Seasons plays imperceptibly in the background. By comparison, my chicken katsu burger would be served on a wooden board with hand-cut fries, a crafted pale ale, and Led Zeppelin blasting in the background of a noisy Izakaya bar.
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Now let me tell you about my chicken katsu burger recipe.
Chicken Katsu Burger Recipe for the Crunchiest Tender Chicken Cutlet with Spicy Slaw
Whenever we make a chicken katsu curry (Lara loves both Japanese and Vietnamese curry powder based curries so it’s often) we always make extra breaded chicken so that we can make these chicken katsu burgers the next day for lunch.
We just make the dressing, barbecue sauce and spicy slaw, reheat the chicken katsu, toast up the buns, and if it’s for a relaxed coffee-table dinner we’ll make some hand-cut fries as well.
We also serve this with a spicy Asian slaw that I’ve been working on for a while. A lot of Asian slaws are too wet for a burger as they contain rice vinegar and fish sauce. As it’s a hearty burger, I make a creamy slaw instead, with a mayo-based sauce made with Japanese mayonnaise to hold the cabbage and carrot together. Also, because we love Japanese mayonnaise.
Tips for Making This Chicken Katsu Burger Recipe
Just a few tips to making this chicken katsu burger recipe. While it’s not hard to make, preparation is everything with this chicken katsu burger. Make the sauce, make the slaw, and toast the buns.
You could also make some fries and keep them warm in the oven. If you have a few people over, you could fry off the chicken, place it in the oven with the fries, and assemble the katsu burgers when your guests arrive.
The best types of oil for frying at (reasonably) high temperatures are oils with a high smoke point. The smoke point is, obviously, when smoke starts to rise from the oil. As well as probably setting off your smoke alarm, the oil will be burnt and bitter tasting when it reaches this point. The best oils for high temperature frying are rice bran oil, which has a smoke point of 230˚C or peanut oil, which has the same smoke point.
Sure, you could use store-bought tonkatsu sauce for this chicken katsu burger recipe, but homemade sauce is infinitely better and is simple to make. This tonkatsu sauce recipe can be made with ingredients that you’ll probably have at home if you make Asian food, except perhaps Worcestershire sauce.
Most importantly, note that you cannot substitute any other breadcrumbs for panko breadcrumbs when deep-frying katsu. You can pick panko crumbs up from a local Asian grocer or order through Amazon.
Chicken Katsu Burger Recipe
- 2 skinless chicken thigh fillets around 150 g each
- ½ cup plain flour
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 cup panko crumbs more as needed
- 2 burger buns sliced and toasted
- 45 g tomato sauce ketchup
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 70 g savoy cabbage sliced finely
- 50 g carrot grated into long strips
- 1 tsp white sesame seeds or to taste
- 2 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
- 1 tsp Sriracha sauce
- Make the tonkatsu sauce first. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until the sugar has melted. Allow to cool.
- To make the slaw, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and check for seasoning.
- Place a round of cabbage on the bottom half of each bun and spread over a good layer of the tonkatsu sauce. Add a little extra mayo on the toasted top bun. Place each set of buns on a serving plate ready to serve.
- Heat the oil in a tall frying pan to 180˚C. Dip the chicken thighs in flour, then the egg, then the panko crumbs, shaking off excess in between each dip. Carefully place the chicken thighs in the frying pan, turning every minute until golden (3-4 minutes). Check for doneness with a thermometer, the chicken should read at least 74˚C.
- Drain and place on the bottom bun. Top with the slaw, top the bun and serve.
Please do let us know in the Comments below if you make our chicken katsu burger recipe as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.