Kirbie's Cravings

Crispy Golden Pork Belly

photo of sliced pork belly on a plate
This is the best pork belly recipe I’ve made. The pork skin is incredibly crispy, perfectly golden, and the prep work is very minimal compared to all the other pork bellies I’ve made. No need to score or puncture holes in the skin. My search is over for the perfect pork belly recipe.

overhead photo of sliced pork belly on a plate

I’ve been obsessed with making the perfect crispy pork belly. I’ve had some success (here and here), but one thing that really bothered me was having to score the skin because it makes it hard to slice pieces with the skin intact. I’ve eaten pork belly that has unscored skin so I knew it was possible, but I hadn’t yet come across a recipe that didn’t require that step and when I tried not scoring it, the skin just wouldn’t get crispy enough.
close-up photo of two slices of the crispy pork belly
Then I came across this recipe found on Rasa Malaysia for an easy Chinese Roast Pork, a recipe she got from a friend. The recipe prep is very minimal. You don’t need to dry the skin overnight, marinade the meat, score the skin, or puncture holes. What really intrigued me was that it uses a salt crust to crisp the skin.

The salt forms a crust when it’s baking, so you can remove the entire thing without having the skin turn too salty.
photo collage showing the salt crust before and after it's baked

close-up photo of four slices of pork belly
The skin then crisps up beautifully, staying a golden brown rather than getting too dark or burnt.

I did make some modifications to the recipe, especially the prep as well as the cooking times. Just based on my previous experience I knew the meat wouldn’t be nearly as flavorful or juicy without the marinade because I’ve tried just doing the rub right before cooking and it really isn’t the same. I also wanted to make sure the skin was extra dry, so I went ahead and put it in the fridge for several hours to dry out and give time for the meat to marinate. The prep is still pretty minimal, you just have to plan ahead.
overhead photo of four slices of pork belly
The end result? This was everything I was looking for. The skin is fantastically crunchy and stays so for hours. The meat is juicy and flavorful too. The pork slices cleanly. This is just such an easy and almost fool-proof recipe too. I’ve been nervous about making pork belly for parties because sometimes the skin starts to burn, sometimes it doesn’t crisp evenly, the skin starts to fall apart when slicing, etc. But none of these issues here. This pork belly is such a thing of beauty and definitely a recipe I’m going to make for a party soon.close-up photo of a slices of pork belly on a plate

Update! Recipe now updated with video


crispy golden pork belly slices

Crispy Golden Pork Belly

Servings: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Chinese
This pork belly has skin that is incredibly crispy, perfectly golden, and the prep work is very minimal compared to all the other pork bellies I've made. 
4.95 from 20 votes

Ingredients

  • 2 lb pork belly
  • 1 cup table salt

For the Marinade

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup shaoxing rice wine
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar you can replace with sugar substitute for low carb or keto
  • 2 cloves garlic minced

Instructions

  • Using a paper towel, pat skin of pork belly until it is completely dry. Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl and then pour into a rectangular pan that is big enough to hold the pork belly. Place pork belly into the pan, making sure only the meat touches the marinade and the skin stays completely dry. If the marinade level is too high you can pour some of it out. Place in fridge for several hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Completely line a roasting pan with foil (this will make clean-up much easier). Pour 1 inch of water into bottom of pan. Place wire rack on top of roasting pan to hold the pork belly. Place the pork belly on the wire rack. The pork belly will cook above the water, with the pork drippings dripping down below into the water. Make sure the pork belly is level (if one part is lower/shorter the skin will not cook evenly. if you have to, use something oven-safe to prop up a shorter part to keep it completely level). Spread 1 cup of salt evenly across the pork belly skin. Place into top half of oven. Bake for about 40 minutes until meat looks cooked.
  • Remove pork belly and increase oven temperature to 465°F. The salt that was poured over pork belly should have formed a crust. Remove salt crust from pork belly. Wipe off any excess salt from the pork belly skin. Once oven has reached desired temperature, place pork belly back into oven.  Bake for another 30 minutes until skin is completely bubbly and crisp. Let pork belly cool a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Video

Notes

  • Crust idea adapted from Rasa Malaysia
  • If you are doing a low carb diet you can substitute the brown sugar with a sugar substitute
  • If possible, I recommend purchasing your pork belly from a Chinese market like 99 Ranch. The meat department at 99 Ranch sells 2 lb pork bellies that are designed for this Chinese-style of roasted pork belly. Make sure you don't let the butcher scour the skin. 
  • Nutrition information provided is for the pork belly only. It is difficult to determine the amount of salt and marinade absorbed into the pork belly, so they are not included in the nutrition facts. 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.125of recipe, Calories: 587kcal, Protein: 10g, Fat: 60g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 36mg, Potassium: 209mg, Vitamin A: 10IU, Vitamin C: 0.3mg, Calcium: 6mg, Iron: 0.6mg

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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316 comments on “Crispy Golden Pork Belly”

  1. This is just beautiful. Marinated for about 15 minutes and turned out perfect for us. It would’ve been too salty otherwise. Salt crusted up like it shouldve. My pork belly wasn’t as even as I thought it was so at first only the outside crisped up. No problem, I just let it rest for a few minutes and cut the outside part and threw it back in  the oven for another 30. Worked like a charm. Next day it was still as crispy and moist as it was the night before. My family can’t stop raving. Just follow the direction(s) guys. Thanks so much

  2. Have tried this with average crackle result ,are your temperatures,for a fan forced oven or not !

  3. What a success making pork belly for the first time with your recipe! I would post a photo but unable to in the comments. We enjoyed the very moisty yet ultra crispy pork belly!! Thankyou!

    • I’m so happy to hear that! unfortunately the comments don’t allow for photos but feel free to email me a photo or post on my facebook page or tag me if you share on instagram. I’d love to see how it came out!

  4. Skin too hard to cut, followed exact directiona

    • it sounds like you might have left it in the broiler part too long because that is the part where the skin crisps up. Depending on the thickness of your pork belly skin and also oven, you may have needed to take it out a little sooner. I’m sorry you had some issues. I hope it was still okay

  5. I made this for friends last night, let it marinate (used apple cider instead of rice wine, added coriander and Chinese five spice) in the fridge for 3+ hours and after the first 40 minutes I emptied the water from the pan, replaced with apple cider vinegar and put the pork back in without the rack. Was delicious! Highly recommend!

  6. My question is how long do you cook at 350 before you cover the skin with salt and turn the temp up and place on top rack. some clarification would be helpful. Thanks!

    • I’m sorry if you don’t find the instructions clear. The skin should already have the salt crust on before you put it in the oven for the first time. As stated in step 2, you preheat the oven, and then you prep the pork belly on the rack, the water bath, then cover it with salt and then you bake it at 350F.

  7. Used your your method for Christmas dinner last night and it worked a treat. Instructions were straight forward and I received heaps of compliments for it. Thanks and Merry Christmas!!!

  8. Ive tried your recipe 4 or 5 times now came out perfect !!! Thanks for sharing!!

  9. Hi! I’m so excited to try out your recipe for our Chinese new year dinner that I’m hosting! The skin looks crazy crispy! I have question about the skin. When you buy your pork belly, does this recipe work with pork belly that has been skinned? A lot of stores actually remove that super tough, yellowish, hard-to-cut outer skin layer and just leave the thick, white fat layer WITHOUT the skin on top. I’m having a hard time finding a slab of pork belly that actually has the super tough skin on top of the fat in the Asian stores (and Costco) here in Seattle area. Just wanted to double check on what you use. Thanks!

    • I use pork belly with skin, which I buy from Ranch 99. I think a lot of chinese markets will carry the pork belly you are looking for as it’s a popular dish to make this time of year.

  10. Hi my butcher doesn’t sell pork belly with the skin on will this still work? on just the fat part 

    • Unfortunately, I believe this only works with skin. You may want to try out Chinese supermarkets as they usually sell slabs of pork belly with skin as it’s a popular dish to make

  11. I made this last night and the meat was very juicy and flavorful but my problem was that the skin bubbled up big bubbles instead of small ones like your picture. A lot of the parts and sections of the skin were also too salty to even eat. It was crunchy though! what can I do different to get the skin not salty next time?? I made sure it was completely dry for about 6 hours before putting on the salt crust to bake, fyi.

    • Hmm, the salt crust should add a little salt flavor to the crust but not make it too salty to eat. Was the skin of your pork belly scorched at all? Because that would cause too much salt to seep into the skin. I know when I buy my pork belly I have to specifically request the butcher not score the skin for me. Also once you remove the salt crust, if there is some excess salt left on your pork belly, you should wipe that off before the second bake. I hope that helps.

  12. Wow, I have been in all corners of the internet looking for a great pork belly recipe and ended up here on your very familiar website that I look at daily!!   Should have thought to look here first!    I am making this rig now for Bahn mi sandwiches in honor of the year of the dog!  

  13. Made this several times now. Thanks for sharing the recipe, the instruction is very clear. The more I make it the easier it gets, and it tastes better than the one sold in restaurant.

  14. Do you have a photo or video on how the roasting should be done with water?

  15. I have come back to this recipe time and time again – I really love crackling, and this is the most consistent and reliable method for maximum crunchiness! Thank you so much 🙂

  16. I tried this awesome recipe for the first time ever, and omg heaven!!! It turned out perfectly the first time round. I used a chunk of side pork instead of pork belly (only cause that what I’d bought before looking up this recipe) but it worked just as good. The only sad thing was that it didn’t last very long (was eaten too fast lol)
    Really easy recipe to follow ?
    Thank you so much!!

  17. Can I get some advice on how to cut up the roasted pork into small bite sized pieces without the skin separating too much? I find the cutting part most tricky. Not sure if it’s the knife that I’m using (a sharpened chef’s knife).

    • I use a meat cleaver. It needs to be a very strong, swift, single fluid cut each time if possible. You should be able to slice through the skin in a single motion. If you’ve ever seen them cutting it at chinese bbq places, or maybe look at videos, that may give you a better understanding.

  18. Thanks Kirby! This works a treat. Unfortunately the pork belly had been scored by the butcher, very roughly, and a little deep in one spot so as it cooked the juices came through but other than that one area the rest of the crackling was magnificent. Next time I’ll ask for unscored meat.

  19. I hope you are still reading comments on this recipe you posted years ago. This looks so amazing and is so beautiful. My question is what specifically do I look for to get a pork belly. I know my regular supermarket won’t have them. I live in Houston a and there are tons of Asian markets. I need to know specifically what to ask or look for. 

    • Do you have a 99 Ranch Market in Houston? Chinese markets like 99 Ranch carry pork belly slabs that are around 2 lbs and ideal for this recipe. You just need to make sure to ask the butcher not to score the skin for you

  20. The recipe worked for me- for the first time, I had a crunchy skin.  Putting salt on top really helped. Very happy.  Next time around, might marinade slightly differently and possibly even let the marinate fluid stay in the pan along with the water during the oven process.

    • I’m glad it turned out well for you!

      • Marinated the pork over night. Cooked for tonight’s dinner. Followed exact recipe? Perfect ? Pork was succulent and juicy, crackle was Superb, golden and crunchy all over. Definitely a 5?looked just like in the pictures ??? without exaggerating. Thank you so much KIRBIE for sharing a wonderful recipe.?

      • yay! So happy this recipe worked well for you!

  21. I’m not having any trouble getting the skin crispy, which is great.  And the meat is so tender juicy and tasty. But the problem is that the skin is a really hard kind of crispy, like you really have to bite hard to chew it.   Yours looks like a light crispy skin vs my break your teeth crispy skin. Any idea what I might be doing wrong to cause this to happen?  Thank you!

    • YOu can try reducing the final baking time by a few minutes. Or choose a pork belly that has a thinner layer of skin

  22. I’m wondering if flavouring the salt is a bad idea? i want to do more of a European version on this using fennel seeds and some fresh herbs like sage, ans thyme. Would I spoil it if I mixed some ground fennel seed into the salt???

    • You do not want to flavor the salt for this recipe. The salt is there to draw out the moisture from the pork belly and crisp up the skin. You wouldn’t be able to taste the herbs added and adding those herbs could prevent the salt crust from doing its job. If you wish to add herbs, add it to the meat of the pork belly or in the marinade.

  23. OMG! I’ve tried a few other recipes to get the crispy skin, but they never worked. The skin would crisp somewhat, but then still be really hard and tough. This one came out perfectly the first try! Wish I could post pictures to show how pretty it was. I made a small piece at first and was surprised to see that the meat and skin shrunk by almost half, leaving the salt layer intact, like a playing card sitting on top. I took that off for the second cook, and the skin crisped perfectly. Also, the meat was still super tender, even after all that time in a hot oven.

  24. So excited!! I’ve had my pork in the fridge for 22 hours. I have really altered the marinade though, I’m doing an Italian herb pork belly instead, but cooking it exactly how you say to cook it. Olive oil, pepper and herbs marinating over night should work well. I am serving this with pumpkin, capsicum, zucchini, pine nuts and feta tossed through baby spinach. Let’s see how we go! I just needed a quicker method to cooking. Thanks
    For sharing

  25. I have used this recipe over and over again over the last year. Brilliant recipe, always turns out perfectly crisp, mouthwatering pork belly. Last true test was on Xmas day where I dished out 50 perfect pieces of pork belly. Thanks so much!

  26. Can I do the first bake then wait to do the second bake the next day?

  27. Awesome recipe! New favorite

  28. Thank you!!! The skin is soo lovely and crunchy!!!

  29. KIRBIE I have done this recipe 3 times now without issue. Tonight the crust did not form. I even cooked it for additional 7 minutes at 350. I cook 5 pounds at a time and try for about 1/4 to 1/8 an inch crust. Tonight I got little patches of crust, but it did not form a complete “cap” as it has done before. Any ideas on what I did wrong?

    • Dean, you mentioned you’ve made this recipe without issue before so I don’t know what went wrong. Perhaps it is because of the size of the pork belly? The cooking times in the recipe are for a 2lb. If your 5lb was much thicker it may need additional time. Also if this pork belly had a thicker section of skin/fat, it would also affect the cooking time and results.

  30. When returning to oven at higher temp, does the pan still have water?

  31. Hi Kirbie

    I tried this recipe when we had visitor last month and it was a hit. I’m quite nervous especially when I’m adding heaps of salt not really sure if it will come out like yours but it paid off. Thanks for sharing this recipe ? cooking another one tonight.

  32. Fantastic!!!! Will never cook any other way again. Have already shared recipe with friends.

  33. Where’s that video, again?

  34. I have tried a few recipes for Crispy Pork Belly, this is by far the easiest and best. I did a couple of minor adjustments. Rubbed some five spice powder after the first 40 minutes and while waiting for temperature to go up to 465F. After it is done, it didn’t appear to be crusty, so I broiled it until the skin is bubbly. Skin was super crispy. 

  35. Glad this recipe is still online!

    I tried it and added 5spice to the marinade. Cooked it per directions and it’s an amazing meal in these stay at home times, thanks.

  36. Awesome recipe.
    What a success making pork belly the first time with your recipe !!!
    Most area all crackling except in the middle had small part was not pop, not sure why ??
    Just want to know the salt crust can use as table salt after baked ? I used Himalayan pine table salt on top of pork belly.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe. If your middle section wasn’t level that may be why it didn’t crackle as much. I have not tried to reuse the salt.

  37. Hi there, doing it right now and mine too have the crust problem. Did u use a specific mode or just static? Also when u said top half, how close to to the roof? Should be it. Mine sitted 24 hrs in the fridge and using static mode. Now I’m giving it 5 mins of grill to burn it crisp

    • top half of the oven means you want it in the upper half. you don’t want it close to the roof. you should place your oven rack in the middle of the oven, and place the pork belly there. I am unsure what you mean by static.

  38. This recipe was a game changer and this is the only method I will use (from now on) to cook pork belly. Thank you! 

  39. Tried this recipe tonight, I had every ingredient and followed all instructions. Although I didn’t have a great quality of meat and I cooked this in a Portable electric oven. ( still cooked brilliantly )  It still turned out perfect!!  I also made fried rice to go with it.  Next time I’m going  try a different marinade. 
    So yummy. 

  40. I’ve cooked pork belly slabs various ways including pre-boiling, baking and frying. Tried your recipe for the first time this weekend including marinade and it came out really well and was a huge hit at the dinner table. I had to adjust my cooking time on the 2nd part though as my pork belly was closer to 5 lbs. Portions of the skin were bubbly and crispy (mostly end parts with less meat while only a small part of the middle slightly bubbled but was still super crisp). My pork belly piece was definitely not equally flat but still worked well. Meaty portion stayed tender and juicy. Will definitely use this technique again. Salt crust was pretty cool too!

  41. I tried out this recipe as I didn’t have time for my usual 48 hour pork belly recipe and it turned out great. Super easy prep, crispy skin guaranteed while also leaving the meat tender and juicy. I highly recommend it. Thanks Kirbie 

  42. I’m over the moon!
    I’m a crackling girl, but what o really liked about this recipe is that it didn’t leave the crackling oily.
    It was quite dry with the perfect crisp and the flavor was awesome.
    I poured some of my marinade into the water in the pan and when I served it, just drizzled a little of the water over. Very tasty, thank you!

  43. I love Vietnam and visit regularly. I love pork bellies but have never been able to cook them successfully……until using this recipe. Totally perfect and identical to the best I’ve had in Hanoi.

  44. I love Vietnam and visit regularly. I love pork bellies but have never been able to cook them successfully……until using this recipe. Totally perfect and identical to the best I’ve had in Hanoi.
    But my pork was slightly overcooked, it was a small piece. Where in the cooking process could I shave off 5-10 minutes – in the salt process or the 2nd roast ?
    Thanks again……divine !!

  45. Unbelievable. I’ll try hoisin for the base next time but the salt crust is quite a spectacle and works a treat.

  46. Hi Kirbie

    Just read all your reviews and now decided to use your recipe.
    Im feeling confident. We follow a Keto lifestlye so swopping brown sugar for Sukin Gold otherwise everything the same.

  47. I did this and it turned out beautifully. I marinated it overnight. And when it cooked, the meat just melted in your mouth. So good!!

  48. Thanks for this recipe. Perfect pork.

  49. Hi there!
    Tried the recipe but i guess i didnt get the same thing as what you got.

    Did you remove the water bath on step 4? I didnt see it on the video and you didnt mention anything about it on step 4.

    • I’m sorry you didn’t get the same results. The water bath does not get removed. In the video you can still see that the pork sits on top of the water bath the whole time.

  50. The meat was good, but my skin didn’t get bubbly and was still thick and fatty. It was also. Wry tough. What did I do wrong? I want to make this like you did.

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