Katsudon (pork cutlet rice bowl)


Today I spent an hour wandering around Shinjuku looking for some warmer clothes. All I came home with is a wine hued puffy vest that I’m not entirely in love with and the realization that I have complicated tastes in clothes.

Thankfully, food is one area where I’m pretty simple. For me, food needs to nourish my body, titillate my tastebuds, and be easy to make. Perhaps that’s why I’m such a sucker for donburi. What’s a donburi you ask? Literally it means “bowl” in Japanese, but it also refers to a type of dish. Imagine a meat dish, a veggie dish, an egg dish and rice dish colliding into a kaleidoscopic delicious mess in a bowl and you’ll have a pretty good picture of what I’m talking about.


While donburi can be made with any chopped up meat such as chicken or beef, one of my favorites is katsudon. The “katsu” is short for tonkatsu and “don” is an abbreviation of donburi. It’s a popular lunchtime meal in Japan and the best part is that it can be made with leftover tonkatsu from the night before.

Tonkatsu donburi

The panko coating on the pork cutlets absorb the sweet and savory sauce while sautéed onions add big flavor to the dish. The egg not only binds the katsudon together, it also absorbs the flavors in the sauce before redistributing them into the rice below. Eaten together it’s at once meaty, luscious, savory and sweet and has the remarkable ability to satisfy about ten different cravings all at once.

Katsudon (pork cutlet rice bowl)

1/3 cup dashi stock(you can use water in a pinch)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 large eggs

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion sliced thin
2 tonkatsu cutlets, sliced (recipe)

1 green onion, sliced thin
cooked white rice

In a small bowl, combine the dash, sugar and soy sauce. In a separate bowl, add the 3 eggs, then lightly beat.

Add the oil to a hot frying pan, then add the onions. Sauté until they are fragrant and start to turn translucent. Pour the dashi mixture over the onions, then nestle the tonkatsu into the onions. Drizzle the egg over everything and then sprinkle with green onions. Cover with a lid and cook until the egg is mostly set (about 1 minute).

Split the rice between two large bowls, then top each bowl with the tonkatsu and egg. Serve the katsudon immediately.

  • http://www.tomaytotomaaahto.com Ruby

    What a fabulous mess of colours and flavours – love it!

    • Carl

      I made this recipe last night. I had my wife helping and at one point was in a hurry and reached into the cabinet and grabbed the Soy sauce and the Mirin and handed them to her and told her to mix the Dashi, Soy, and Mirin while I fried the onions. I thought the Katsudon flavor was great and my wife thought the same. Imagine my surprise when we were cleaning up after and I found that what I had handed her, in my haste, instead of the bottle of Mirin was a bottle of Tarragon vinegar. Like I said though the flavor was very good anyway.

  • http://www.thefoodpirates.com/ Darren Tran

    Looks too good.  Too easy.  Guess I know what’s for dinner tonight 😀

  • Angela@Spinachtiger

    This is an Asian dish I think I can actually make with some confidence. It’s approachable. Good luck finding clothes. Food shopping is much easier for me than clothing shopping. BTW, I am finally at wordpress using the thesis theme. It’s so easy and life changing for me. Thanks for offering to help, but we had no glitches, thankfully.

  • Anonymous

    Welcome to Tokyo – I have been following your recipes since I recently found a recipe for a ippudo-style tonkotsu ramen, just wish I had some trotters now! Your pictures are great too, I’ve just taken up photography… Let us know if you need any company on your food-adventures here !!

  • http://twitter.com/JanBenn Jan Bennett

    Oh my – this looks amazing!  What a lovely looking dish!

  • http://resumecvservice.com/ professional resume

    looks tasty)))

  • http://ginger-snapped.com meg jones wall

    this looks so delicious – bright and colorful, so many flavors and textures. can’t wait to try this out!

  • Andrea

    Try a restaurant called Katsukura in the Takashimaya Times Square building near Shinjuku Station!  I commented in more detail on your tonkatsu recipe accompanying this one.  Continue to love your blog and your photos!  Enjoy your trip! 

  • http://www.abrowntable.com/ A Brown Table

    Thanks for the recipe, this will be prepared tomorrow night to tide me over the cold and wet week ahead in D.C.!

  • Anonymous

    That looks like it would be super flavorful and nourishing. I love all the different elements of the dish and the egg on top, that’s the kicker for me. :-)

  • Farida

    That looks so delicious and yummy…. wanna to try it soon, thanks

  • Anna

    I love even just the plain Pork Katsudon…You made it even more lovable! Thanks for posting such a fantastic and easy to prepare recipe!

  • Paolo @ DisgracesOnTheMenu

    Lately this has become my favorite dish! I only recently discovered, with not many Japanese restaurants serving it in Vancouver. The combination of the ingredients is phenomenal – real comfort food to me. Thanks for the recipe and for sharing your amazing pictures. 

  • Nipponnin

    What? Were you in Japan? I totally jealous of whoever goes there. I love katsudon. I know a few places that serve terrific katsu in Japan.  Your pictures are super nice!

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  • Terrell

    I just made this for lunch and it was so delicious!!! the sauce was great but let me share a TIP! when you prepare your pork loin make sure you have a 3/4inch slab anything bigger than it might not cook all the way in the deep fryer.  So if you have a big slab of pork just cut it horizontally in half! anyway great dish and great tips thanks again!

  • BI

    Marc: my family loves your recipes. Thank you for helping me cook healthy and traditional food for my half Japanese sons! I feel it is important in many ways to keep them in tune with their heritage plus it is better for them than macaroni and cheese. I have made about all your Japanese recipes that are kid friendly. I can’t wait to see more (hint hint)! Thank you again!!

  • Guest

    Thank you very much for the recipe. I realize I could save quite an amount of money from the delicious yet pricey Japanese dishes by making my own. I make a lot of Tonkatsu tonight and my partner absolutely loves it! He had 2 ‘n a half bowl of rice with just Tonkatsu and he mentioned something about the restaurant quality, loll

  • http://www.facebook.com/neal.joyce Joyce Neal

     Thank you for the recipe I lived in Japan for three and a half years and Katsudon was my favorite dish.

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  • Asian Dan

    Love love love this! Thank you for your background and commentary on the dish. It adds so much more than a traditional recipe. Great pictures, excellent writing, clean and easy to read. Someone to aspire to… Cant wait to make this.

  • Moose

    I just made this, thanks to your recipes (I used your tonkatsu recipe, too). I have to thank you. This is the greatest thing I have ever put in my mouth. Thank you.

  • Agatha

    Thank you so much for the recipe! Im gonna cook this one later.

  • Gracy

    used this recipe in my assingnment! THANK YOU FOR THAT AWESOME GRADE!

  • Sodamoeba

    This is the best thing I’ve cooked yet. I finally found all the
    ingredients for dashi at a huge international store in my hometown, and
    when I came back to college I was so happy to be able to cook up this
    recipe. All of my roommates loved it, too, which is kind of the best

  • Adam Kirylczuk

    Great, and nice pictures too! I will definitely make it soon.

  • Joany H

    please help i can not find dashi sauce or granulated any were even tried eden foods web site.

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  • Jaime

    Thank you for this recipe! I always loved katsudon but wasn’t sure I could make it. Turned out great! I improvised a little as I didn’t have dashi, but it still came out yummy.

    • Guest

      May I asked what you replaced dashi with?

      • Stan

        Use chicken broth.

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  • Abigail Eom

    Thanks so much!
    I was looking for a good katsudon recipe and here it is!
    I cannot WAIT to eat this after it’s done!

  • Eletau

    The amount of dashi in the recipe is for powdered dashi or liquid one? e.g. if I only have a powdered dashi, should I first make it liquid using the instructions on the pack and _then_ measure the amount needed for this recipe, or should I just add 1/3 cups of dashi powder?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Yes you need to dilute it according to the package directions. Dashi is soup stock. You have dashinomoto which means “base for dashi”.

  • jls

    Hi, I have question about substituting dashi for water. What would I be missing when doing so?

    Thank you so much for this website. I’ve spent so much time looking for authentic wonton and ramen broths, it’s great to finally have a proper recipe!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Dashi is Japanese stock. It would be like replacing the chicken stock in gravy with water. You’ll still get salt from the soysauce, but you’ll lose most of the flavor.

  • http://birdseyeview.blogtownhall.com/default.aspx BpSitRep

    Looks like a great recipe to follow, will try it tonight, thanks for posting it.

  • Bethany R.

    After having looked over a couple different katsudon recipes, I notice that most of them call for mirin as well. I was wondering if it would be better to add mirin or leave it out? What would it do to the flavor?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Bethany, good question. Mirin is usually added for two reasons the first is to add flavor, the second is to add sweetness. Real mirin is a delicious ingredient that’s naturally sweet (no sugar added) and adds wonderful aged wine notes similar to Madiera or Sherry. Unfortunately most mirin found in the US is simply sake that’s had corn syrup added. In this particular recipe there’s already a ton of flavor from the dashi, and sweetness from the sugar, so I didn’t include any mirin, but if you can get ahold of some good mirin, you can substitute 1 tablespoon into this recipe in place of the sugar.

  • http://kobayo.com/ Takeru

    This website makes me hungry lol! Will try many of your recipes thanks! Hopefully I can become healthy!!

  • Franklin

    This was excellent. I added a bit of minced ginger to the onions while simmering and finished with a good mirin from our local japanese market instead of sugar. I also brined the cutlets in a 7% brine for about an hour before frying to keep them moist and juicy. Delicious and satisfying. This one is a keeper.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Franklin, those sound like some great adaptations! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed:-)

  • Marie

    Can you suggest something in place of Dashi?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Chicken stock or water would work, but it’s the dashi that gives it the Japanese taste.

      • sokjae

        Usually it is made from kelp, dried bonito (katsuo bushi), radish (daikon) and minor ingredients like hint of ginger. Enrich the flavor with soy sauce. FYI, don’t boil katsuobushi long or it will ruin the stock/dashi

        • sokjae

          Diulted tsuyu can be used but always watch your sodium consumption.

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  • SK

    Thanks for the excellent recipe. Got the total seal of approval from SUPER-picky husband “exactly like what you would pay for in a restaurant” and the three-year old gobbled hers up too. My first ever attempt at one of our favourites. So simple, especially when the cutlet was already fried up from a previous meal.

  • Alana

    On Friday, I made your tonkatsu recipe, and tonight we had katsudon for dinner. Everyone loved the meals, thank you! (We’ll have to look for tonkatsu sauce though, Lea and Perrins didn’t quite fit the bill.)

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  • http://thevirtualonlineassistant.com/ Nica, Virtual Assistant

    Didn’t have dashi so I just used water and added a bit of ginger as sokjae did and it tasted really good!

    • Mel Charisse Zapanta Resurrecc

      what is the measurement for water and ginger? i also ddnt have dashi.

  • Nathan

    I made this week ago, but didn’t have enough eggs to both batter the pork and put in the katsudon so I used miso pork instead of fried. I think I like the miso pork better.
    Is there a name for what I make?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Nathan, I’m not sure what miso pork is, but maybe “miso pork rice bowl”? If you’re looking for a Japanese name, that would translate to: “miso buta don”.

  • Max Power

    i used this recipe to make oyakodon out of a leftover grilled chicken thighs and it came out superb. super fast and delicious

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Max, great idea!

  • Tiffany Cheng

    Katsudon is one of my favorite food, and I absolutely love Katsudon with beef katsu.

  • Ellisa

    Hi, Marc. Could I somehow use Sake and Mirin in this recipe??

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Sure, just add it in with the dash. If you use mirin you’ll want to reduce the amount of sugar in the sauce.

  • Mike Brouillette

    I add frozen sweet peas at the same time as the sliced onions, leaving them almost raw when served. Nice textural counter-point! I might try raw snow peas at the very last before serving. Oooh! Shiitake or enokitake !

  • Katrina

    Is it necessary or much flavorful if I use kikkoman soy sauce or any brand will do?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Katrina, I typically use Kikkoman or Yamasa, but any Japanese soy sauce should work. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with other countries soy sauces but there are a lot of variations in concentration and sweetness. Japanese soy sauce tends to be lighter than a lot of other Asian soy sauce.

      • Katrina

        Yay! Thank you very much for sharing this recipe. My husband loved it, I just made it tonight. :)

  • http://pislamonauseacentral.tumblr.com/ Gary Rumain

    I love pork katsudon! One of my favorite Japanese dishes (along with yakiniku-don, etc. ;-). Unfortunately, none of the local Japanese restaurants near me here in Sydney make it look as delicious as this.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Gary, this is definitely one of those dishes that’s simple to make, but there are small things that make a big difference in the outcome. Hope you get a chance to try it out:-)

      • http://pislamonauseacentral.tumblr.com/ Gary Rumain

        I would love to but I’m a very mediocre cook. Maybe with lots of practice. 😉

        • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

          You can’t get much practice if you don’t try:-)

          • http://pislamonauseacentral.tumblr.com/ Gary Rumain

            I know. The best I can do is bacon and eggs. Been doing it for a while but also been meaning to look up what sort of cheese or veggies to add to the omelet to give it a bit of extra zing. I don’t suppose you have any suggestions or recipes I can look at. It has to be at the beginner level, though. I figure if I can master that, I could progress to more complicated things.

          • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

            Hi Gary, this is one of my favorite omelettes, and it’s easy to do because it doesn’t involve stuffing a thin layer of egg with something: http://www.pbs.org/food/fresh-tastes/masala-omelette/ As for cheeses, any melting cheese works good, personally I love gruyere or comte in an omelette, but if you prefer something milder, cheddar or fontina would work.

          • http://pislamonauseacentral.tumblr.com/ Gary Rumain

            Thanks. I wasn’t sure what kind of cheese would work. But I’ll pick up some cheddar the next time I go shopping and try it. I was thinking of adding something like shallots to the omelet but I’d been meaning to look up Spanish omelet or Western omelet. Basically, something simple that a beginner like me couldn’t mess up too badly.

          • http://pislamonauseacentral.tumblr.com/ Gary Rumain

            I’ve been meaning to tell you, I found a very nice local smoked cheddar and am using it in my omelets with great success. Thank you for the advice, Marc.

          • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

            Sounds good, glad to hear you’re found something that works for you!


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