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The 5 BEST Substitutes for Tonkatsu Sauce

Have you ever encountered Tonkatsu Sauce in your pantry and wondered what this perplexing sauce is?

As a versatile condiment enjoyed across Japan, Tonkatsu Sauce is used to flavor pork cutlets, vegetables, noodles, and more.

But if you don’t have Tonkatsu Sauce on hand, how can you replicate the flavor it brings to dishes?

To get the same punchy flavor and texture, substitute with variations of Worcestershire sauce or ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or BBQ sauce.

Learn how to cook with these five best substitutes for Tonkatsu Sauce, and never worry about missing out on a delicious dish.

What is Tonkatsu Sauce?

Tonkatsu sauce is a unique condiment from Japan.

It’s the perfect accompaniment for fried pork cutlet and is great to dip your panko-crusted food into.

The sauce is made from tomato paste, onions, apples, and other ingredients that lend it a flavor that can only be described as Japanese barbeque-style.

Its texture is thick yet creamy, making it just right for dunking or spreading on a variety of foods.

One of the best uses of tonkatsu sauce is when it’s used to top rice and noodles dishes like yakisoba or udon noodle bowls.

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It can also be used in stir-fries, marinades, and even as an ingredient in homemade dressings and sauces.

There’s no end to the possibilities.

With its savory depth of flavor, tonkatsu sauce brings added life to any dish – especially those that are fried.

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Tonkatsu Sauce

If you’re an avid Japanese cuisine lover, then you’ll know all about Tonkatsu Sauce.

With a combination of sweetness and sourness, it brings out the best flavors in fried pork cutlets.

But what if you can’t get your hands on this special sauce? Don’t worry – there are plenty of substitutes that can bring just as much flavor to the table.

Here are our top 5 picks for the best substitutes for Tonkatsu Sauce:

1 – Worcestershire Sauce

If you’re a foodie, chances are you’ve heard of the seemingly unappealing Worcestershire sauce.

Used as a condiment for many dishes, from sandwiches to a Bloody Mary, there’s more to this multifaceted sauce than meets the eye.

Though it is often regarded as an odd flavor, subtle hints of garlic, lemon, and clove come together in harmony and produce an oddly delicious taste.

The texture is thick and creamy with brownish syrup-like consistency that sticks well to the dish of your choice.

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Additionally, Worcestershire sauce can be used as a substitute for Tonkatsu sauce, albeit not.

Some key ingredients, like fruit purees, are replaced with sardines and anchovies extract, giving it an umami kick.

2 – Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a culinary staple used in hundreds of dishes from Asian cuisines.

It has a salty taste, but this can be tempered by adding sweet flavors or spices.

Its texture may surprise some as it is not a liquid, nor is it viscous like most sauces; soy sauce has more of a molasses-like texture.

Substituting soy sauce for Tonkatsu sauce, which is traditionally made with fruity flavors and often contains Worcestershire, is not difficult as they share many common flavor notes.

Simply replace the Tonkatsu sauce with an equal portion of soy sauce and add one tablespoon of Worcestershire to taste.

This combination captures the sweetness noted in traditional Tonkatsu recipes, plus the added umami found in many Asian sauces.

3 – Miso Paste

Miso paste is a Japanese fermented food typically made from soybeans and salt, creating a really flavourful ingredient that can be used for many dishes.

It is also renowned for its nutritional values, such as an abundance of vitamins B1, and B2 and minerals like zinc.

The texture of miso paste ranges depending on the variety, from smooth variants like saikyo miso to more coarse regional varieties such as awase miso or mugi (barley) miso.

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Its unique salty and umami taste works well with ingredients such as fish or vegetables – making it a great addition to any meal.

Furthermore, it can be used to substitute tonkatsu sauce to create a healthy alternative that’s still bursting with flavor.

To use, simply mix it into scrambled eggs or stir-fries for the perfect accompaniment.

Miso paste is truly a delightful ingredient that adds remarkable flavor and character to food.

4 – BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce is a delicious and intensely flavorful condiment.

It’s an umami-rich sauce that is made from a combination of vinegar, sugar, garlic, and spices.

While it’s most often used as a marinade or finishing glaze for pork and beef dishes, there are many other delicious recipes you can use it in.

Its powerful mix of sweet and smoky flavors has made it an important cooking ingredient all over the world.

Texture-wise, the thick consistency of BBQ sauce makes it perfect for coating large pieces of meat prior to grilling or baking.

If you’re looking to enjoy something new at your next meal, why not try using BBQ sauce instead of tonkatsu during cooking? Just one tablespoon can add layers of flavor without overpowering a dish, making it the perfect substitute.

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5 – Ketchup

Ketchup the beloved condiment of many a meal.

Its sweet, tangy, and full-bodied tomato flavor goes great with anything ranging from french fries to scrambled eggs.

Its textural quality is an interesting addition boasting both a puree-like consistency and tiny bits of distinguished tomato seeds that pleasantly burst into one’s mouth.

Ketchup can also be used as a substitute for tonkatsu sauce while being less expensive and more readily available.

All it takes is a dash of Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper, and sugar to give one’s ketchup a more delicate complexity fitting for tonkatsu.

So spice up your kitchen with ketchup.


In conclusion, there are many alternatives to Tonkatsu sauce that can be used in its place.

From soy sauce to BBQ sauce, each of these ingredients has their own unique flavor and texture profile that can take your dishes from mundane to extraordinary.

Experimenting with new flavors and being creative can turn any dish into an exciting culinary experience – so don’t be afraid to try something new.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Tonkatsu Sauce

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Tonkatsu Sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Miso Paste
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Ketchup


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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