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 35 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, Cholesterol: 81mg, 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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412 comments on “Crispy Golden Pork Belly”

  1. And I was wondering, I purchased this cut has skin but it’s not from the belly but from the leg. Can I use the same cooking time for it and same method?

    • I’m a little confused, so did you purchase the belly or did you purchase leg? The leg won’t have the same fat as the belly so it won’t work the same.

  2. No, I just purchased some leg this time and wanted to know if the cooking was different. But the times I’ve done your recipe have been with belly so no problem there. Thanks a lot.

    • ah, got it. I haven’t tried making pork leg, but I am pretty sure it’ll be different. Pork belly has that huge layer of fat which helps crisp the skin and keeps the meat from overcooking. I imagine the cooking time and method for the leg would be much shorter. sorry I cant be of more help!

  3. looks amazing Kirbie,!!! never cooked it before so giving it a go,it’s marinating right now for dinner tonight,can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  4. Do u have a good gravy to go with this

    • Since this is a Chinese-style pork belly prep, it’s not usually served with gravy. It’s usually served with a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, chopped garlic and chili sauce. Try it out!

  5. I tried this recipe and it was good!!! Would you know how to keep the skin crispy until the next day?  Thanks!

  6. Mine was real fatty ,any way to render more fat out.  Tasted great.

  7. The recipe worked great.  I didn’t quite need the additional 30 min at 460F, 15-20 min was fine.  The salt crust works great, I’m going to try that on fish next…any suggestions on which fish cook great with the salt crust.  Thank you and happy new year.

    • I think the salt crust would work great on a lot of fishes, especially ones where you enjoy eating the skin. I haven’t tried it out yet though so I don’t have any suggestions, sorry!

  8. I want to try this, it looks so good!  I am on a low carb/ketogenic diet though.  Wonder how it would taste without sugar?  Any suggestions?

    • You can skip the marinade if you want or use a diff marinade. if you just omit the sugar from the one I provided, your marinade will be too salty

  9. My mom made this for the holidays and it turned out fantastic! The crispy skin was absolutely perfect and we all enjoyed it. She was very happy with the easy recipe. Thank you!

  10. This worked as advertised – but don’t believe that you will end up with tame little appetizers for finger food at your party. 
    The crispy skin was amazing but the fat layer expands with heat while the meat layer retracts so you end up with a mis-shapen greasy beast.
    You should definitely plan on further preparation.

    • Hmm, I had no issues as you can see in the photos. I suggest you start with an even piece of pork belly, so that the end result is pretty uniform. Also you can try choosing one with a thinner layer of fat and thicker layer of meat.

  11. In the recipe you said to use rice wine, but in the comments it said rice wine vinegar… I already have it marinating, but because I didn’t have rice wine I used sherry. If it was supposed to be vinegar, I probably should have used Apple cider vinegar as my substitute. I’ll let you know how it turns out, just wanted some clarification.

    • it is supposed to be rice wine as stated in the recipe. I think I know which comment you are referring to and am correcting that. I’m not sure why i said that–I think I was thrown off because the commenter asked for any other vinegar substitute and I may have tried to reply too quickly without reviewing the recipe again. thanks for pointing that out

  12. Thanks for the recipe, it has turned out wonderfully crunchy and perfectly cooked.

  13.  Am getting ingredients together to cook your lovely pork belly, exciting. Is it okay to use fan bake oven setting?

  14. This is a great recipe Kirbie. Very crispy and the marinade made the meat lovely and juicy.  We also reduced the marinade to make a sticky sauce to go over it – yum!!

  15. Tried this for the 1st time tonight, followed the instructions almost exactly – I decided to score one-half of the slap just to see what the difference would be, the salt crust didin’t come off in one piece, but looked fairly similar to the photo, I scraped off what didn’t come off in a sheet section, the un-scored half was definitely NOT puffed up and crispy, the edges of the scored section were, but still not great overall, meat was great – tender and flavorful, but very disappointed with the crackling – any ideas? – gas oven

    • hmm, so I’m not familiar with gas ovens. I’ve never baked with one before and I’m thinking that might have been a factor. My understanding is that gas ovens generally don’t heat as evenly as electric and also produce more moisture. Both of those factors could have led to the latter half not crisping up. You might need to just adjust things to work with your oven. Perhaps stick with scorching since it seemed to work?

    • I used a gas oven and it worked out perfectly. The only reason why it wouldnt crisp up perfectly is because 1. It wasnt completely (and I mean completely) dried out. 2. oven wasn’t as hot as it should have been. Don’t be scared to increase the temp a bit at the end. 3. Make sure the salt covers every part of the skin. Might have to increase the salt amount but that’s OK. Just make sure the skin is dry dry dry.

  16. This looks wonderful. I just read through all the comments. Gill’s comment made it seem as if the second baking of the pork belly after the salt crust is removed, was never done. Which would have given him the results he got. Perhaps that was the problem, rather than the gas oven. I cook with gas. I’ll let you know how mine turns out!

  17. Really delicious and the crackle was the absolute best EVER EVER!! I also added ginger to the marinade and used pork spare ribs instead of a piece of belly, results were amazing.  I am making this again tomorrow and thought I would leave you a comment and to thank you Kirbie, your a star for giving me this recipe 

  18. Hi, I was really interested in making this, but my butcher delivers my pork belly already scored. Do you think the salt crust would work with the skin scored? Thanks!

  19. Hi Kirbie, have you received any feedback of results using a gas oven or gas convection oven? Thank you for any feedback, Sean.

    • I haven’t tried it with a gas oven though I do remember someone leaving a comment that they had successfully done so. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  20. Hi, my marinate only covers half the pork. Difficult to get it just right to cover up to just below the skin. Is this ok? 
    It’s sitting in the fridge now – can’t wait!

    • I think that should be okay. You can always dip the pork in sauce after if you feel like the meat didn’t get enough marinade.

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