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Savory Tweaks: 5 BEST Tonkatsu Sauce Substitutes

Tonkatsu sauce is a thick Japanese condiment made of apples, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and other spices.

Traditionally served over fried pork cutlets or tonkatsu, it is a delicious addition to salads, sandwiches, and other dishes.

But what do you do if you don’t have tonkatsu sauce on hand? Fear not — there are plenty of substitutes for tonkatsu sauce available.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the five best substitutes for tonkatsu sauce and give you some tips on how to make them yourself at home.

So read on and discover the delicious possibilities of a world without tonkatsu sauce.

What is Tonkatsu Sauce?

Tonkatsu Sauce is a popular condiment in Japanese cuisine.

It is a classic combination of Worcestershire sauce, onion, garlic and other ingredients that provide a sweet and savory flavor.

A variety of brands make tonkatsu sauce and it’s usually found in the ethnic aisle of well-stocked grocery stores.

Tonkatsu sauce is often used as a flavorful accompaniment for deep-fried pork cutlets called tonkatsu, as well as other types of fried meats.

More broadly, it’s excellent for adding intensity to sauces, marinades and dressings or used on its own simply as a dipping sauce.

How to Use and Serve Tonkatsu Sauce?

Tonkatsu sauce is a thick, brown sauce with a flavor profile that combines sweetness and saltiness.

It pairs particularly well with deep-fried food like tonkatsu, karaage, and tempura.

Tonkatsu Sauce can also be served as a condiment for burgers, croquetas, and hot dogs.

To use it as a dip or sauce, simply pour Tonkatsu Sauce onto the plate or mix it into mayonnaise for an extra kick to burger toppings.

It can also be used as an ingredient in marinades or salad dressings for added flavor and richness.

Tonkatsu Sauce is also versatile enough to be used beyond just dipping food; for example, adding it to simmering dishes like stews or curries will give them a unique flavor and depth of taste.

The bold flavors of Tonkatsu Sauce also go great when added to stir-fry dishes such as yakisoba – it’s easily adaptable to many different cooking styles.

5 BEST Tonkatsu Sauce Substitutes to Consider

It’s most commonly served as a dipping sauce with tonkatsu (pork cutlet), but it’s also delicious with fries, tempura and all sorts of other foods.

If you need a Tonkatsu Sauce substitute, there are plenty of options, some of which may already be in your cupboard.

Here are the 5 best options to consider:

1 – Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a popular condiment that is commonly used as a dipping sauce, marinade, and in various recipes.

Its distinct umami flavors make it an ideal alternative for Tonkatsu Sauce.

Worcestershire has a balanced taste which is both sweet and savory.

It contains vinegars, sugar, molasses, onions, anchovies, garlic, soy sauce and spices.

Worcestershire Sauce can help give your dish the same salty-sweet flavor as Tonkatsu Sauce but may not have the richness of toasted sesame oil needed to truly replicate this Japanese condiment.

Be sure to adjust your other ingredients and seasonings when using Worcestershire as a substitute for Tonkatsu Sauce in order to get the most flavor from it.

2 – Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a classic condiment, beloved the world over.

It works especially well as a tonkatsu sauce substitute because it has so many umami flavors.

Soy sauce is also incredibly common and easy to find.

Simply mix some soy sauce with a bit of Worcestershire Sauce for some added sweetness and piquancy and you’re all set for tonkatsu.

Keep in mind that using soy sauce will change the flavor of your dish somewhat, but it’s still a great stand-in for tonkatsu sauce in a pinch.

3 – Miso Paste

Miso paste is a widely-used ingredient in various dishes in Japanese cuisine like miso soup, natto, and more.

It’s sweet and salty flavor makes it a great alternative for tonkatsu sauce.

To make miso tonkatsu sauce, combine equal parts of either white or red miso paste with water to thin it out.

Then stir in some soy sauce and mirin until the desired taste is achieved.

Additionally, you can add some honey if you want it to be sweeter.

The result will be an umami-rich tonkatsu sauce that you can use on your favorite pork cutlet dishes, but also as a dipping sauce for other dishes like French fries or tempura.

4 – BBQ Sauce

Barbecue sauce is a thick and tangy condiment made from tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, and various spices.

It originated in the United States in the 18th century, but has become popular around the world.

BBQ sauce is often used as a marinade for meat or as an accompaniment to grilled dishes.

It can also be used to give extra flavor to fried dishes such as Tonkatsu.

BBQ sauce has a sweet flavor that is similar to Tonkatsu Sauce and can easily be used in its place as a substitute.

To make a delicious homemade BBQ sauce for use with Tonkatsu, mix together tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, honey or sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika or chili powder smoked paprika and lemon juice.

5 – Ketchup

Ketchup is one of the most popular alternatives to tonkatsu sauce.

It may not be as authentic, but it’s certainly a viable option for those who don’t have access to tonkatsu sauce.

Ketchup has a sweeter flavor profile than tonkatsu sauce and its tomato base also technically makes it a closer hybrid of Worcestershire and ketchup.

Adding some ginger and garlic in combination with ketchup can help recreate the more complex flavors associated with tonkatsu sauce.


Tonkatsu sauce is a classic Japanese condiment made from fruits, vegetables, and spices.

It’s thick and sweet, with a hint of tanginess and just enough heat to make it interesting.

You can use it as a dip for various fried foods including tonkatsu, or as a topping for noodle dishes like soba and udon.

If you don’t have access to Tonkatsu sauce, there are plenty of good substitutes out there.

Depending on the dish you’re making, Worcestershire sauce can be used in place of Tonkatsu Sauce to give the same sweet-yet-tangy flavor.

For something completely different, try using mayonnaise or sesame oil + soy sauce or hoisin sauce + sugar.

No matter which substitute you choose, just remember that it’s all about personal preference – so experiment until you find something that tastes great to you.

With these easy solutions at hand, achieving delicious Tonkatsu flavor doesn’t have to be complicated.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Tonkatsu Sauce?

Tonkatsu sauce is a thick, dark, Worcestershire-like Japanese condiment served with pork cutlets.

It has a sweet and savory flavor, made with fruit, vegetables, and spices.

What are the 5 BEST substitutes for Tonkatsu Sauce?

The 5 BEST substitutes for Tonkatsu Sauce are Worcestershire sauce, BBQ sauce, Ketchup, Oyster sauce and Hoisin sauce.

How can I make my own Tonkatsu Sauce?

To make your own Tonkatsu Sauce, you will need to combine soy sauce, Mirin (a sweet rice wine), Worcestershire sauce, sugar and garlic.

5 BEST Tonkatsu Sauce Substitutes to Consider

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes


  • 1 – Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 – Soy Sauce
  • 3 – Miso Paste
  • 4 – BBQ Sauce
  • 5 – Ketchup


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
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