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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318 comments on “Crispy Golden Pork Belly”

  1. I am abosoutely going to try this, sometime soon.  A few years ago when I first had pork belly in a restaurant I found Morimoto’s recipe (it’s a 2 or 3 day ordeal?!) and attempted it.  It did turn out pretty good because I was following the reprinted recipe by a food blogger  – who documented it step by step with pictures etc.. as HE was making the recipe.     It yielded good results but was a bit more labor intensive than I prefer. 

    This one looks tasty!

    • this one is quite easy! hope you like it!

      • Kirbie,
        This recipe is everything. Tried it ast night with a few additions…..liquid smoke, chinese five spice, smoked paprika, and ginger powder; also used half the sugar but dark brown because that’s what I had.. Came out absolutely divine but next time I may blend the fresh garlic for a more pronounced flavor. Thanks for this super recipe, you’re a rock star!!!

      • wow, I love the idea of adding liquid smoke! thanks for sharing. I’m so glad this worked out well for you!

      • Can this pork belly be keto friendly without all the sugar?

      • you can make the pork belly without the marinade or you can use a diff marinade that doesn’t have sugar

      • I tried this but couldn’t get the skin so golden and crispy. I even left in it extra. is it meant to be broiled at the end or just cooked in the hotter oven temperature?

        I am trying again so any additional pointers would be great!

        Thanks

      • Hi there, the pork belly should not need to be broiled, just the higher cooking temp should be enough to cook the skin. Some things to keep in mind though: if your pork belly is bigger than it may need more cooking time. Also try to avoid baking other things while making the pork belly as it can also cause the heat to not distribute evenly. If it still isn’t crisping with longer baking time, you can try broiling it for a few minutes and that should crisp it up.

  2. This looks AMAZING! Definitely saving this recipe to try soon 😀

  3. Wow!  That pork belly sure looks delicious!

  4. OMG Kirbie. Going to make this for sure. Thanx for figuring out the recipe in a simpler form.

  5. This pork belly looks so delicious and SO crispy. Definitely could devour some right now.. love the crackling.

  6. That crispy pork belly looks amazing, especially the skin! 

    • usually i always pick the skin off and just eat the skin, but i thought the skin and meat went together so well on this one

  7. It looks so delicious, I’ll definitely try making it. Never thought will be
    so easy.

  8. Really interesting way of cooking the pork belly – I’ve tried several meats in a salt crust (most succesfully guinea fowl) but never Pork. I take a different approach normally but will try this one out. I normally slow braise (can be done days ahead) and then remove the skin and crisp that separately (it stays crisp for over a day). Here’s the recipe if you’d like it https://timedeating.co.uk/braised-pork-belly-celeriac-puree-pickled-oyster-mushrooms-pork-caramel-sauce-crackling/

  9. Oooo, salt crust! I have done the overnight thing with the scored top and vinegar on top to help draw out the moisture and I liked it well enough but the salt crust sounds like a good plan. Will have to try that out! 

  10. Wow that skin looks good.  I’m totally drooling right now!!

  11. Thanks for the idea! Does your recipe assume the shaoxing wine is salted or not?

    • I’ve only seen one kind of shaoxing wine before. never seen an option for salted or unsalted. but it’s such a small amount for the marinade that i dont think it should make a difference.

  12. Thanks! Looks easy enough for me to try. Do you know what’s in the dipping sauce that comes with the crispy pork belly you buy at the store? 

    • I actually don’t usually buy it from the store, so I don’t recall exactly but I believe it’s a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and garlic

  13. Made this for my friendsgiving and family Thanksgiving and I think I got better reviews on this than the turkey. My only modification was to add 5 spice to the marinade for more flavor and I served it with hoisin sauce, which was entirely unnecessary since the pork belly was so flavorful already.

    • glad it worked out so well for you! I add 5-spice sometimes too. it sort of depends who I’m cooking for as some of my friends don’t really like that flavor

  14. My salt didn’t form a crust.   I used kosher salt.   Was I supposed to mix it with water or egg whites first or something?

    • I used plain table salt for this recipe. But I think kosher salt should also work. You do not need to mix the salt with anything first. did you do anything else differently? I know several people have tried this recipe with great success. In fact, someone just showed me an instagram last night.

  15. Did you just use Kosher salt for the crust?

  16. I didn’t do anything else differently.   I have an electric oven that maybe was the difference.  

    • When you say electric oven, do you mean something different than the typical oven installed in kitchens which are also electric?

  17. no, a normal kitchen electric oven.   It was really good, the salt just didnt form a crust, I had to kind of scrape it off.

    • hmm, the only thing I can think of is if your oven didn’t reach hot enough temperature (I also recommend you place the pork in the top half of the oven versus the bottom half) or if your pork wasn’t dry enough. The skin needs to be pretty dry, which is why it sits out in the fridge overnight. if the skin wasn’t dry enough then the salt might have too much moisture to form a crust. I’m glad it still turned out well though.

  18. I love the simplicity and the pictures. I’m going to try this tonight. Question about the pork belly. Where did you find a piece that was so even and had such a good mix of meat and fat ?. And how much per pound ? Here in the Bay area, I tried a few asian and mexican supermarkets (Ranch 99 and Mi Pueblo) but the pieces are overfly fatty with not much meat on there and it’s not very even

    • I actually got mine at Ranch 99. If you ask them, they will show you all the pieces in the display box and you can choose. I try to use the most even one that isn’t too fatty. I usually wait until it is on sale, as the selection seems to be better then

  19. This looks amazing. Can I use “salt pork belly?” I didn’t realize this is what i bought until i got home and i would hate to waste it. With the salt crust you recommend and the salt cure I’m worried it might be too much. Thank you!

  20. I have tried making this using another recipe previously and while it tasted really good, the clean-up of the oven was a disaster. Oil splatter everywhere. Just wanted to find out if the salt crust helps to contain the splatter or if you have any tips on preventing this? 🙂

    Thanks!

    • I think the salt crust does help a little with the splatter. I would recommend that after you remove the salt crust and you have to continue to cook the skin, put a very loose foil tent over the pork belly. this will prevent splatter once the salt crust is removed.

  21. To die for. The best pork belly I’ve ever eaten.

  22. I am such a huge fan of Pork Belly!

    Having never cooked one without braising it first, can you comment on the texture of the finished product?

    The ones that I have cooked with the aforementioned method (I generally braise, press overnight in refrigerator, then sear slices in a skillet) basically are fork tender and nearly melt away when chewed…is this a more “roast-like” preparation?

    • the meat is not as tender as a braise, it’s more like a roast. but it’s still delicious with that crispy skin!

  23. Hi from Phuket, Thailand. On the second cooking.. do you still place water in the tray?

  24. Thank’s. did leave watre in. Worked out superb. Next time.. today, I’ll remove the tray from the oven 1/2 way so I can really level the pork, last time was a bit haphazard trying to level it in the furnace. Added cilantro, ginger and sesame oil to the marinade. Also. having made such a super marinade. I’ll freeze it for the next time.. doesn’t make sense to chuck it.. or should I? Regards from Siam.

  25. How does the skin feel after the first salt bake. Is it crispy then or getting there
    I’ve tried this a few times now and the results are inconsistent
    The skin tends to be firm and a dull red color after the first salt bake but crispy once done
    But there are some places where it’s still soft and I have to use the broiler to finish it off
    I think the piece of pork belly matters too. I’ve found 2 kinds in many asian supermarkets i.e A and B. The more expensive one has more fat, less meat and is more uneven. It’s more suited to making bacon. And the more expensive one, you still need to pick out which piece to use. I find the one with firmer skin leads to better results

  26. Tried this a couple of times now, loved the perfect crackling first time round but found the meat a little dry for my liking, so for the second go, after the first bake I drained the water and dripping from the pan, removed the wire rack and salt crust, lay the pork belly back onto the foil and then poured apple cider  into the pan to cover the meat but not the skin and then back into the oven for the high temp bake.
    This resulted in succulent moist meat, perfect crackling and the cider made a fantastic base for a flavour rich gravy.

    • interesting technique. I think it might be the cut of meat you have too. I haven’t had any issues with the meat getting dry. perhaps you are using a leaner pork belly.

  27. i am trying it tonight. 

  28. wow o wow its the best crispy pork belly  .. I  am so awesome a cook…well  you can be too just like me..just follow the  instruction  and it will be all so perfect..enjoy…thanks

  29. You said that you removed the salt crust in one piece when you took out the pork belly to increase the oven temp? So when you put the pork belly back in the oven, you place the removed salt crust back on the belly?

  30. Awesome, thanks Kirbie. I found a 13lb pork belly slab that I’m using half of it to cure and smoke into bacon, and was looking for a recipe for the other half of the slab to make for a Father’s day gathering next week. I’m going to try this, looks delicious!

  31. JUST WOW!!! The skin was incredibly crunchy.  I have made many variations of pork belly.  This is hands down the best!!!

    • I’m so glad you think so! I’ve made many too and this is def my favorite. Plus it’s so much easier than other versions!

  32. Hi,
    Lovely idea! I’m trying it tonight’s dinner and the the meat was already in the oven. I spotted an error in the last line of instruction though; I know you meant to say “cool the meat” not “cook the meat” haha. Otherwise it’ll definitely be overcooked.

  33. I tried this tonight and it was amazing. My husband smoked the pork belly in a grill for a little while then brought it inside for me to prepare. Super easy and delicious! A success! 

  34. Hi Kirbie, just want to ask if I can cook the belly at a lower temp and longer with the salt crust just so the meat will be more tender? Is that possible?

    • have you tried the recipe as is? because the meat is pretty tender…if you lower the temp i don’t think your crust will crisp up correctly

  35. halo, i want to ask. which mode in oven i have to set? top heat, bottom heat?

    sorry, sometimes i confuse to set the mode for baking and cooking. thanks.

  36. Would like to know if any other vinegar like mirin or a wine vinegar can be used, haven’t been able to find  shaoxing rice vinegar?

    • you can try wine vinegar

      • Actually, I am sorry I mispoke. The recipe actually doesn’t call for rice vinegar, it calls for rice wine, so a substitute would be something like sherry. 

      • I tried rice wine vinegar instead of the rice wine (more by accident than on purpose) and it came out with a really funky taste. Would not recommend at all but the crispy skin part came out amazing, great recipe and my fault for getting it wrong. I’m looking fwd to making it again correctly this time.

      • rice vinegar definitely will have a stronger acidic flavor compared to rice wine. hope you try it again with the rice wine

  37. I want to try this tonight in fact marinating right now.  My only question is for the baking is the roasting pan covered or left open.  Will let you know how it turns out

  38. This looks so awesome!  The only salt I have on hand is pink himilayn (sp)  If I set it to fine grind, like table salt, do you think it would work?

  39. We bought fresh pork belly, already skinned and sliced about 1/2 inch thick. Can I modify your process somehow to cook it? Help!!!

    • I’m really not sure what you are asking for. This recipe is specifically for roasting to make the skin crispy. Your pork belly doesn’t have any skin. Are you just looking for a recipe for sliced pork belly? there’s a lot out there on the internet and you definitely don’t need to do it in the oven if it’s already sliced up.

  40. Should I use bottom heat for cooking the meat, and then top heat (broil setting) for the skin? Thank you!

  41. Hi Kirbie, 

    I have two questions: 1) Have you ever done this on a grill and applied some? 2) Was thinking of using your recipe for David Chang’s Pork Buns. Have you done this? 

    Thanks and it looks amazing. 

  42. Hi!  Question about the recipe. After you increase the oven temp to 465, does the pork belly still go in the top half of the oven or in the middle?
    Thanks!

  43. Thank you!!! It is indeed the best crispy skin pork ever! even better than the one you get at the restaurants, crispy skin, juicy meat. Thanks

  44. Hello. The skin didn’t turn out as crispy and was soft and uneven. Is it because as soon as i put the marinade on it and dried the skin with a paper towel, i put it straight into the oven with the salt crust? After i took off the salt crust,  i thought I would puncture some holes just in case. Some juices of oil came out of the holes, is that why it didnt crisp properly?

    • You only put the marinade on the meat section and not on the actual skin right? you don’t need to puncture holes in the skin after the salt crust. you should just be able to put it back and continue to bake. you might have also needed to bake it longer until the skin crisps up

  45. Looks great…how many servings does this make?

  46. Tried this recipe this evening. It was close but skin wasn’t crunchy all the way through so still had a lot of chewing. Otherwise, pretty close. I’ll definitely try this again though.

  47. If I have a 4-5 pound pork belly, should I keep it in one whole piece or should I halve it so that each piece is closer to the size that you used in your recipe? Will using a larger piece affect the taste or the crisping of the skin?

  48. What level should the oven rack be?

  49. Made this today. It turned out fantastic. Crispy skin and moist delicious tasty meat. The sweet and salty was a hit. Keeping this recipe and will repeat soon…

  50. I have some pork belly strips that I bought from a local Asian market, will that work or do you think I need an actual slab of pork belly?

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