How To Cook Crackling Pork Belly

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Crunchy, crackling pork belly has finally been introduced to my family and we have fallen for it, hook, line, and sinker! Scroll on down to the bottom of this post to learn how to cook pork belly and see both of the recipes that my family has been enjoying.

Recipes for how to cook crackling pork belly in the oven and for pan-fried pork belly in just 15 minutes!

How To Cook Pork Belly

Pork belly is much more flavorful than a traditional pork roast, with a hint of the smokiness of bacon. Tender bites of meat that almost melt in your mouth, next to crunchy, crackling skin is a fantastic combination.

I’m so pleased that I’ve had the opportunity to learn how to cook pork belly. Now that I have two well-tested and simple methods for cooking this type of meat, I am excited to branch out and see how many other ways there are to enjoy pork belly!

If you’re cooking pork belly for the first time, learn from my experience and look for it first at the Asian markets in your area. Pork belly was easy to find there and it was roughly a third the price of everywhere else I found it.

Recipes for how to cook crackling pork belly in the oven and for pan-fried pork belly in just 15 minutes!

Tips for Cooking Pork Belly

First, look for a pork belly that is relatively even in thickness and size. The best pork belly I’ve made was the same thickness across and a fairly uniform rectangle.

While a perfectly even cut isn’t always possible, the crackling was much more easy to achieve on the uniform pieces.

Second, use plenty of salt! Use far more than you think you need. If you do not use enough salt, the skin will remain chewy and it will not be very tasty at all.

The fat layer under the skin will react with the salt causing it to puff up and become the crunchy crackling that tastes so good!

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How To Cook Crackling Pork Belly

4.75 from 4 votes
Pork belly is much more flavorful than a traditional pork roast, with a hint of the smokiness of bacon.
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Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2-3 pounds pork belly
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with one oven rack in the middle and another about 6 inches under the broiler, if it’s on top of your oven. Prepare the pork belly by scoring the skin with a very sharp blade. (I used this inexpensive utility cutter and it worked perfectly.) You want to cut lines through the skin, about half an inch apart all the way across the pork belly, without cutting too much of the fat and exposing the meat. There should be stripes across the whole belly where you have scored the skin. Place the scored pork belly on a large baking sheet or roasting pan, preferably with a wire rack underneath the pork.
  • Drizzle the pork with oil and rub it all over both sides of the meat. Sprinkle the pork belly all over with salt, taking care to generously rub it into the slits you’ve made on the skin. Sprinkle with pepper. Place the pork on the middle oven rack and roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and roast an additional 25 minutes per pound. For a 2 1/2 pound roast this is approximately an hour more. Test the roast by poking a skewer into it and seeing if the juices are clear or still milky white.
  • Increase the heat to broil and move the roast to the oven shelf under the broiler. Set a timer and broil the roast for 60 seconds, check it and broil an additional 30 seconds, but only as needed! When all of the skin has bubbled up and is puffy, crackling, and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Notes

First, look for pork belly that is relatively even in thickness and size. The best pork belly I made was the same thickness across and a fairly uniform rectangle. While a perfectly even cut isn’t always possible, the crackling was much more easy to achieve on the uniform pieces. Second, use plenty of salt! Use far more than you think you need. If you do not use enough salt, the skin will remain chewy and it will not be very tasty at all. The fat layer under the skin will react with the salt causing it to puff up and become the crunchy crackling that tastes so good!

Nutrition

Calories: 603kcal · Protein: 10g · Fat: 61g · Saturated Fat: 22g · Cholesterol: 81mg · Sodium: 908mg · Potassium: 209mg · Vitamin A: 10IU · Vitamin C: 0.3mg · Calcium: 6mg · Iron: 0.6mg
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Recipes for how to cook crackling pork belly in the oven and for pan-fried pork belly in just 15 minutes!

While the oven-roasted pork belly is a beautiful thing, sometimes, you just don’t have time to wait or the desire to heat up the kitchen!

I combined the cooking method for our Pan Fried Chicken with the ease of Skillet Chicken Bits to make this Skillet Fried Pork Belly possible in less than 15 minutes!

Quick Pork Belly Recipe

The higher fat content of pork belly makes it tender enough to work beautifully as a quick skillet meat. The pork turns out a little bit crispy and just chewy enough to make you savor each bite. My kids went nuts over this pork, and there wasn’t a bite leftover.

I served these bites of pork belly with Salt Potatoes and Sriracha Honey Roasted Broccoli. I’m sure it will be delicious with Simple Asian Rice and Roasted Summer Vegetables as well.

COOK’S NOTE: I trimmed the skin and about half of the fat off of the pork belly for this simple skillet pork. I tried several different skillet cooking methods and there just was no comparison to oven roasting for the crunchy crackling skin. This is a much lighter version and it works great for a weeknight dinner!

{Pan Fried} Pork Belly Bites
Yield: 4-5 servings
(printable recipe)

2 tablespoons olive or flavorless coconut oil
2 pounds pork belly
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Remove the skin and about half of the fat layer from the pork belly and discard. Slice the remaining meat into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Test the oil with a drop of water. If it sizzles, add half of the pieces of pork to the skillet in a single layer.* Let the meat cook for 3 minutes, until browned, then carefully turn each piece over and cook an additional 2-3 minutes on each side, about 8-10 minutes total. Remove to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the pork. Enjoy!

* I recommend covering the pan with a grease shield to avoid making a mess of your stove.

Disclosure: This blog post was sponsored by the National Pork Board. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands I love that help make this site possible!

{originally published 8/19/14 – recipe notes and photos updated 2/8/22}

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Rob says

    I bought a pork belly yesterday for tonight’s dinner. I’m expecting all the goodness and wonderful flavor without all the work required when eating a German “Schweinshaxe,” or pig knuckle.

    I will report back.

    By the way, I get my pig knuckles in Chinatown, so that’s where I went for the pork belly. It was $2.00 a pound cheaper than the Mexican market!

  2. David says

    lots of things on my pork bucket list, but the top 4 are:
    make my own bacon
    pork belly burn ends
    perfecting pork chops – so they don’t dry out and I can repeat the recipe with confidence.
    roasting a whole pig

  3. Allyson says

    I’ve used this recipe every time I make crackling pork belly for my family I always make it a big ole pot of butter beans and corn bread it’s one of our fall favorites and we really enjoy it. I also use the oven recipe for pork belly tacos for when we have guests over to watch football on game night just a great simple recipe and I recommend it to anyone trying to cook it for the first time4 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      It’s worth a try, Robin. I’ve never made it that way. The skin is what gets the “crackling” layer though, so you’ll want to watch and adjust the time as needed.

  4. Matt says

    This is by far the tastiest and easiest pork belly crackling I have ever cooked. My wife never was to crazy about pork belly till I tried your recipe. Mahalo5 stars

  5. Mike says

    This recipe is delicious but the cook time if you follow the recipe is a little longer than listed. I have made it a few times and both times I have added a bit of Pepper and rosemary for a bit of extra flavor. I think you can add your own spices as well to suite your taste.5 stars