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. 
4.98 from 36 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 is for 1/8 of the pork belly. 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.125of recipe, Calories: 587kcal, Protein: 10g, Fat: 60g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Sodium: 36mg, Potassium: 209mg

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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414 comments on “Crispy Golden Pork Belly”

  1. 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. 

  2. 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!

  3. 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

  4. 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

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. What level should the oven rack be?

  9. 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…

  10. 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?

  11. Hi Kirbie! I Iive in San Diego and want to try this recipe and was wondering where you bought your slab of pork belly. I haven’t seen any at the stores I normally frequent. 

  12. Hi Kerbie,  thank u for the recipe.  I followed your recipe and it turned out nicely. I love the crispy texture of the skin but dislike the saltiness.  If there is any method to reduce the saltiness from the skin? 

  13. Hi Kerbie, yes I removed all the salt crust from the skin.  I even used the brush to brushed it off for any tiny salt grain left and the pork was plain, no herb, nothing.  

    • hmm, i wonder if it was the pork itself. the way it was preserved and packaged, they might have added a lot more sodium to the skin. Have you tried getting your pork belly somewhere else? A different vendor or different brand?

  14. I made this! It was oh-so good. Seriously easy, tasty and crispy! I dried it 2 days uncovered, no salt, because I got lazy. Only marinated the bottom a little while in Dale’s, because I thought it would be good. It was! Other than that, I followed the directions. BTW the foil liner was a most excellent tip.

  15. I was so excited to make this, but when I opened up the package of pork belly, I discovered the rind had been removed. Disappointed, I proceeded with the recipe anyway, layering the salt directly onto the fat cap, hoping it wouldn’t make it inedible. The result… amazing. It was golden, juicy & flavourful, not too salty. I’m not sure I even missed the crackling (although I do look forward to the next attempt with the skin on). Thanks for a great recipe, Kirbie!

  16. Hello and good afternoon. I have marinated my pork belly for a day and let it dry for a day in the fridge. I am going to salt and prepare it tonight, my question is what kind of salt? There are a lot of salt choices out the (sea, kosher, iodized) which one would you recommend?

  17. I have never cooked pork belly but I had it at a party a while ago and could not stop eating it. I wanted to make it this year for a holiday party. I googled and found this recipe. I just made it and it came out delicious!!! Thank you so much Im sure everyone will love it when I bring it to the holiday party!!

  18. I made this at work today. I followed the instructions to the letter. I actually marinated the pork belly overnight as this was an option in the recipe. I placed the pork belly in the refrigerator in an open top dish to allow the rind to dry thoroughly while the marinade did its thing. So funny how people here were freaking out when they see the table salt being applied to the rind prior to baking. They are just unfamiliar with the use of a salt crust. Anyway, the pork belly turned out fabulous. I had many people as taste testers. Most were willing to try it and LOVED it. Don’t fear an overnight marinade. It was delicious. The balance between the brown sugar, the wine and the soy sauce is spot on. The cracklin’ crust appearance wasn’t as nice as in the OP’s pictures-more of a rustic look. But this was a huge hit and I will make again.

  19. I’ve tried this so many times now. I found that it’s much easier to get consistent results with a nice even slab to begin with. Overnight marinade isn’t really necessary. A few hours will do. I prefer to use some 5 spice powder. It’s a bit more authentic. Also I like to score it with a sharp knife horizontally and vertically. In that way, it’s easier to cut into smaller pieces as you can just follow the markings with a sharp knife at the end. Finally, I’ve tried this in my oven many times and it didn’t crisp up and I had to use the broiler at the end. But a more foolproof method was to use my toaster convection oven as the heat is more even. You still have to be careful since it’s a little smoky at upwards of 450. But it doesn’t take as long to crisp up and the crispness is more uniform and consistent

    • thanks for sharing your results! I agree about starting with an even slab. I haven’t had any issues of it not crisping in the oven though. The worst that has happened is that I had it crisp up too much once and the skin was hard to cut, though still edible.

  20. This recipe is pure pork belly/crisp skin heaven! This was my first time cooking pork belly ever and it was AMAZING! The skin is so crunchy and not gummy at all and the meat is so tender and flavorful. This is to die for. The only thing is that I already had my pork marinated when I found this recipe. I used oregano, orange juice, pepper, some salt and some goya seasoning. Mine was in the refrigerator for 2 days before I could cook it (that’s a story for another time) but it was totally worth it.
    LOOOVED IT!

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