Katsu vs. Teriyaki

Last Updated on June 15th, 2023

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When it comes to sauces, there are few that are as recognizable as teriyaki sauce. Originating from Hawaii, the Pacific islands, it combines low-sodium soy sauce, white sugar, garlic, and onion powders, to name a few. 

Katsu, which is a crispy, breadcrumb-coated, deep-fried pork cutlet, has graced the tables of families in Italy (called Milanese), Germany (called Schnitzel), and Japan, where it is called Katsu. 

As for the sauce, properly addressed as Tonkatsu can be used on other meats, including beef and chicken, and for the vegan in the group, tofu. Tonkatsu is made with simple ingredients, featuring ketchup, Worcestershire and soy sauces, and Dijon mustard. 

What are the Similarities?

When it comes to these two varieties of sauce, there is going to be a common ingredient that connects them. The soy sauce offers a nice salty medium for the other flavors and seasonings to be made into a nice dressing or marinade. 

Each of these sauces will have certain dishes that utilize these flavors all around the globe, not to mention that they both have a unique versatility when it comes to them being added to recipes. 

From Barbeque to Asian-inspired dishes, these two sauces can be put on just about any food and complement the flavors. 


What are the Differences?

The biggest differences start with the ingredients outside of the Soy sauce base. For comparison’s sake, below is a list of those ingredients, starting with homemade teriyaki sauce and followed up by Tonkatsu:


Teriyaki sauce:


  • White sugar
  • Cider Vinegar
  • Water
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Ground Ginger
  • Cornstarch


Tonkatsu sauce:


  • Ketchup
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Dijon Mustard


As can be seen clearly, there is going to be a more simplified process when it comes to making the Tonkatsu compared to the more complex set of seasonings found in the Teriyaki. 

This is a surprising bit of information, for many think of Teriyaki as a simple sauce bought from the supermarket.


Pros vs Cons: Katsu vs Teriyaki

Regarding the pros of Teriyaki and Katsu, one could point out the versatility of both; however, for a different pro, teriyaki sauce will have a nice sweetness that compliments dishes like sweet and sweet and sour pork or can be fantastic on grilled meats. 

On the other hand, the cons will be found in the store-bought variations of the teriyaki sauce, which boasts outrageous amounts of sodium, in some cases upwards of nearly seven hundred milligrams.

 The con of katsu could be found in the net carbs, which can adversely affect those on carb-free diets and can be averaged to be around seventeen grams. The pro, like Frank’s Hot sauce, you can put this sauce on just about everything considered to be food. 


Which One is Easier to Prepare?

This is going to be close. Even though there are going to be more ingredients when it comes to Teriyaki sauce, the two of these sauces are not difficult to mix up. 

For conversation’s sake, let’s look at the ingredients list provided in an earlier section of this article, and it will be there that we find the distinguishing factor. 

Teriyaki sauce is going to consist of around eight ingredients, which need to be heated in a saucepan, then allowed to simmer before the desired consistency is accomplished. 

Tonkatsu sauce is going to be extremely easy, even when compared to Teriyaki, which only needs to be mixed together until the consistency is smooth. 


Which one is More Versatile?

Teriyaki can be mixed into a variety of different marinades, sauces, and seasonings; plus is going to be a main ingredient for many Asiatic dishes. 

Then you have the Tonkatsu sauce, which is going to be the add-to-everything sauce. There is hardly going to be a comparison when it comes to the many different foods that this simple sauce can enhance. 

Do not, however, be misled, and this comparison is going to be much closer than it seems. 

There are going to be some recipes that will not benefit from the tangy, spicy flavors that come with the Tonkatsu sauce, which makes this comparison closer to a tie and too close to call. 


Final Thoughts on Katsu vs. Teriyaki 

Each of these sweet, savory sauces will be something you might want to ensure in the pantry. Each pair is easy to find and can be fun to try new combinations with. 

There are sauces alone that will provide a nice sweetness. Katsu adds some spiciness and tanginess, but do not hesitate to add any additional seasonings that could be the next perfect marinade. 

Most of the best foods started out as an accident in the kitchen, which can be a comfort, knowing that you can’t really make a mistake, just some undesirable combinations, and mixtures. 


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