Copycat of Hawaii’s L&L Chicken Katsu Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Read about our privacy policy.

Deep fried chicken covered in panko…that’s what I call a winnah!

chicken katsu

Remember eating chicken katsu at L&L? Hawaiian BBQ I remember clearly eating in the food court next to Sports Authority on Maui. After a long day at the beach, my dad took us there to eat lunch. I always got the chicken katsu, or orange chicken, with a side of rice and mac salad. Those were the good days!

cutting chicken katsu

Chicken katsu is so common in Hawaii, that it has been sold in bento boxes at 7-11, it’s on Zippy’s bento box menu, sold at the local food truck as a plate lunch, and it has been brought to many parties and get-togethers.

Order a Pack of 10 Recipe Cards

10 printed recipe cards featuring Hawaii’s local recipes. Handmade with Aloha! More details here >>> Recipe Cards

Is Chicken Katsu Japanese?

Yes, chicken katsu is Japanese. So why is chicken katsu considered a dish of Hawaii? Simply put, it has been adopted to be part of Hawaii’s many cultural dishes.

chicken katsu

The Japanese immigrated to Hawaii to work in the plantation fields and in hopes to make a better living. They brought their many cultural practices, including food.

Chicken katsu is not a “Hawaiian” dish, but it has become a local Hawaii dish. I grew up eating this dish and so have many other islanders.

What is Panko?

Panko is a Japanese style of breadcrumbs. It’s what’s used to create a light crispy and crunchy outer layer for deep fried foods like chicken katsu.


Because panko is Japanese it is pronounced as pahn-koh. Not pain-ko. I’m not trying to bash on people pronouncing it wrong, but if it’s becoming a trend now, let’s try to make an effort to get something simple correct!

Chicken thigh vs breast

In almost any local recipe that calls for chicken, it WILL be chicken thigh. It is way juicer and meatier than the breast.

But you are more than welcome to use chicken breast if you’d like to have leaner meat and to watch your calories.

tenderize chicken

Chicken katsu vs tonkatsu

The most common katsu is chicken katsu. Here and there you’ll probably have come across a menu that offers tonkatsu. It is pretty much the same as chicken katsu but replaced with pork

How to dredge chicken katsu

Dredging chicken katsu is really easy. You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Chicken thighs
  • Seasoning
  • Flour
  • Eggs & milk
  • Panko
dredging station

First tenderize or flatten the chicken so that it can be evenly cooked. Then season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.

Lightly dredge the chicken in flour. Gently shake it to dust off any excess flour. Dip it into the egg and milk combo. Coat it in the Japanese breadcrumbs, panko, by pressing lightly on each side of the chicken in the panko pile.

chicken in panko

You’re initial reaction is to have all of the panko stick to the chicken to get a crunchy katsu, but trust me, it will fall off when frying. So if any of the panko falls off when coating it, let it be. That way you will not need to clean up any fallen panko in the oil.

Frying chicken katsu

The best temperature to fry chicken katsu is at 350°F. It’s also normal for the panko to fall off of the chicken, so don’t worry too much about that.

frying katsu

As you continue to fry it more, it will be good to clean up the bottom of the pot from the panko to prevent it from burning and dirtying the oil.

Curry and chicken katsu combo

More than likely you’ll probably have seen the combo of chicken katsu with curry. It really is a great combination of having crunchy fried chicken with a spicy curry on hot white rice.

Although chicken katsu goes well with curry, it is also good on its own. I personally like it this way! I dip it into Bulldog’s katsu sauce and bite into a crunchy-crispy piece of katsu…I think I have died and gone to heaven!

Video Tutorial

*The recipe has been UPDATED! It has now evolved to be even more onolicious!

Check out this video to help you gain more insight on how to make Chicken Katsu. Also, subscribe to my YouTube to help support me so I can continue making more of these contents. Mahalo!

Chicken Katsu – L&L Hawaiian Style

Chicken katsu is a popular Hawaiian local dish. It originated from Japan but eventually it became a beloved local favorite dish.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:30 minutes
Cook Time:30 minutes
Total Time:1 hour


  • Fryer


  • 6-10 chicken thighs
  • seasoning
  • flour
  • whisked eggs
  • 2 tsp milk (optional)
  • panko Japanese bread crumbs
  • 2-3 cups oil

Katsu Sauce

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp mirin (white wine)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 clove minced garlic


  • Heat an inch or two of oil in a pot over medium heat. Whisk together the eggs in a small bowl. Optional to add in milk to help stretch the egg. Add about 5 spoonful of flour to a plate and two handfuls of panko to a separate plate.
  • Tenderize or flatten the chicken with a mallet. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Dredge chicken thighs in flour, dip it in the whisked eggs, and lastly cover both sides in panko, lightly pressing down on each side.
  • Add the chicken to the oil and let it cook for 5 minutes each side or until it is golden brown.
  • Meanwhile add all the ingredients for the tonkatsu sauce to a small bowl and whisk it until all is mixed together well.
  • Serve the chicken katsu over hot rice along with the katsu sauce. Enjoy!
Servings: 8


  1. 5 stars
    Made a double batch of this today and fed a bunch of Hawaiians, got many compliments!! Excellent recipe!! The sauce is a little more pungent than I remember at L&L in Mililani, I like it better! I’m also going get some Bull Dog sauce and try that.

  2. 5 stars
    My brother told me about this BBQ place AND this dish. Since I wanted to try it immediately, I made the Katsu sauce to go with a batch of Asian fried chicken wings I had just made. Oh my gosh! My new favorite “universal” sauce!!!! The only thing i’m going to add to it this weekend for my football party? A pinch of red pepper flakes! Easy to make, delicious tasting and appealing to the eye. Being a chef? I am impressed and will be using this many times! Thank you for a great tasting recipe! Five star rating is well deserved!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating