Craving Katsu? Learn How To Make Katsu Sauce at Home!

Craving Katsu? Learn How To Make Katsu Sauce at Home!


Katsu – be it chicken katsu, pork katsu, or even veggie katsu – is a Japanese culinary masterpiece. But what truly sets these dishes’ flavors apart is katsu sauce. This rich, tangy dip adds a sweetness that complements the crispy fried katsu perfectly. The problem? Finding quality katsu sauce at the store can be a challenge, and that’s why we’re sharing how to make katsu sauce in this article.

Craving Katsu? Learn How To Make Katsu Sauce at Home!

What is Katsu Sauce?

Katsu sauce, also known as tonkatsu sauce, is a condiment traditionally used in Japanese cuisine. It has a complex flavor profile that combines sweet, tangy, savory, and umami notes. This unique taste comes from a blend of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and other seasonings. It is the perfect dip for crispy katsu dishes, adding a burst of flavor and moisture to each bite.

How to Make Katsu Sauce

Ready to make some? Follow our guide below:



  • ¼ cup ketchup (preferably a brand with a richer tomato flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (or soy sauce for a vegetarian option)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (optional, for a hint of sweetness)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon grated ginger (optional)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional, for a touch of heat)
  • Water (optional, for consistency)


  1. Gather Your Ingredients: Ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce (or soy sauce), brown sugar, rice vinegar, and all the optional ingredients.
  2. Whisk it Up: In a small saucepan, whisk together the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce (or soy sauce), brown sugar, rice vinegar, mirin (if using), garlic, and ginger (if using).
  3. Bring it to a Simmer: Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer. Let it simmer gently for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the flavors to meld.
  4. Spice it Up (Optional): If you crave a little heat, whisk in a pinch of cayenne pepper. Start slow and taste as you go – you can always add more but you can’t take it away!
  5. Adjust Consistency (Optional): Ideally, katsu should be slightly thicker than ketchup. If your sauce seems too thin, add a teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with a tablespoon of water to create a slurry. Whisk the slurry into the simmering sauce and cook for another minute, or until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency. Note: Adding cornstarch can slightly dull the flavor, so use it sparingly.
  6. Cool and Serve: Remove the sauce from the heat and let it cool slightly. Your homemade sauce is now ready to be enjoyed! Store leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Katsu Sauce Substitutes: When DIY Isn’t an Option

Short on time or ingredients? Here are some substitutes you can consider:

  • Store-Bought: While homemade is always best, some grocery stores, especially those with a good Asian food selection, might carry katsu sauce.
  • Japanese BBQ Sauce (Yakitori Sauce): This sauce has a similar flavor profile, with a slightly smokier note.
  • Combination of Ketchup and Worcestershire Sauce: This is a simple substitute, but it won’t capture the full complexity of authentic katsu sauce.

Important Note: When using substitutes, be sure to check the ingredients for any allergens you might have.

Is Japanese BBQ Sauce the Same as Katsu Sauce?

Both Japanese BBQ sauce (yakitori sauce) and katsu sauce are condiments used in Japanese cuisine. They share some similarities, with a base of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar. However, there are some key differences:

  • Flavor Profile: Katsu sauce is typically sweeter and tangier than Japanese BBQ sauce, which often has a smokier flavor.
  • Ingredients: Japanese BBQ sauce might include additional ingredients like sake, mirin, or soy sauce, which contribute to a deeper umami flavor compared to katsu sauce.
  • Usage: While both sauces can be used for dipping, Japanese BBQ sauce is primarily used for grilling meats, while katsu is the go-to dipping sauce for crispy katsu dishes.



Katsu sauce, with its unique blend of sweet, tangy, and savory flavors, is the perfect complement to crispy katsu dishes.

Now, armed with the knowledge of how to make your own katsu sauce at home, you can ditch the store-bought bottles and create this enjoyable condiment in your kitchen and share it with friends and family.