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. Did everything as above. But skin was rubbery, no crackling at all. Don’t know what I did wrong. I’m thinking next time I would try with fan on top and bottom. 

    • I’m sorry to hear that. I’m not sure what went wrong though you mention fans, so I am guessing you are using a convection oven? I believe this can work in convection oven but I don’t know if you need to adjust the cooking for one as I haven’t tried it with a convection oven.

  2. Hi Kirbie, 
    I use an electric oven. I switched to heat from bottom but the salt didn’t crust at all. So in the second part after salt removed, I switched to heat from top and bottom so there was some crackling at the end. I am thinking to try again with heat from top (even though I saw in your comments that should use bottom heat) but saw from the original recipe in your link that they used heat from top. I’ll let you know how it goes. 

    • Hmm that is strange. It sounds like your oven isn’t getting hot enough but I’m not positive. Let me know how it works with the top heat

  3. What is a substitute if I have no shaoxing rice wine?

  4. Hi Kirbie,
    I am so excited. I have bought a lovely piece of Pork Belly and was looking for cooking tips. OMG I cannot wait to do this. I will let you know how it goes. Thanks for this; your looks great.

  5. Hey! I just wanted to say that I made this for the first time a few days ago and MAN that belly came out absolutely perfect! I did a few things that I think helped: 1. Let it marinate for 24 hours, 2. Added about a teaspoon or more of some Chinese 5 spice to the marinade, 3. folded a piece of aluminum foil around the sides snugly with about 1 inch or so high border around the sides for the initial 40 minute bake time and then removed for the 465 bake time.

    I’m absolutely surprised how perfect this came out without having to stab a zillion holes in it, brush it with vinegar, use the broiler and watch the meat like a maniac. *two thumbs up* I’ve already told all my friends about this exact recipe. Thank god I found your recipe!

  6. Hi Kirbie! This recipe is amazing, i have made it 3 times now with much fanfare from my husband. We get the best pork bellies from one of our local Korean markets and this has become one of my favorite cuts to cook. Every time I make it, the meat is cooked to perfection, tender, and, juicy, BUT my skin isn’t crisping up nearly as beautifully as yours. What could I be doing wrong? I have resorted to popping it under the broiler for about 10 minutes to get just a mild crisp to the skin. I want it to crack when you bite into it. Any additional suggestions?

    Thank you!

    • hmm, that is strange. I wonder if maybe your oven isn’t getting hot enough or maybe you have too much water in the pan below causing too moisture in the oven. You can try using less water. Also, did you increase the temperature to 465F to cook for 30 minutes after removing salt crust? That’s when my skin crisps up. Also just to double check- are you doing a salt crust? because that is the key to drying the skin so that it can crisp.

  7. This recipe is one of my favourites! It works everytime and it never fails to impress my guests. Great work!

  8. thanks for the recipe it is great i just made it for mums birthday and we all loved it

  9. My first time making these, marinated them overnight plus added fresh ginger.  On the second oven cook, I sadly burned them!!!!  Was able to rescue some larger pieces and boy, I have to make these again a s a p.  Love the salt technique very much…next time I’ll keep an eye on them so the won’t burn again.  I had them in the upper part of the oven just like you said but I think my oven is hotter than what it says.  Thanks for the great tips.

    • Oh no, sorry to hear that it got burned! Hopefully it will work out the next time. It is a little tricky with timing and temperatures sometimes because everyone’s oven operates just a little bit differently. You may want to shorten the time or move it to a lower part of the oven.

  10. I am from India and pork belly cut is very uncommon…I have to tell my charcuterie guy who incidentally is one of the top retailers days in advance for a pork belly,which when I do get is nothing compared to the beautiful cuts you get ..anyway,I followed your recipe exactly and I got the best crispy skin I have ever eaten..thank you for the wonderful recipe.
    Do you have any other marinade,didn’t really like the soy/wine combo?Any South American  ?

    • glad you like the skin! No I don’t have any South American style marinade, but I’m sure there are recipes out there that you can use!

  11. Quite funny how people use Kosher salt – – on pork.

    Oxymoron?

  12. Hello from Holland Kirbie,

    Before finding this more easy with fabulous result of yours  I made this crispy pork belly brushing the skin with acid , a lot of needling and a salt crust. It was a lot of work but the result is crispy. But the crisp layer sometimes got lost when I cut the belly.
    So is it also OK when I skip (!)  the needling and the acid layering ?  Thanks for your time and many greetings from Holland .

    • Hello from the US! this version does not need the needling or acid layering. if you just follow the steps, it should work! good luck!

  13. Hi. Tried your recipe and it worked very well 🙂 Thanks for sharing
    Next time, I might add some 5 spice powder

  14. HI, Im going to try this tonight, I have done pork belly before but I usually put oil on the skin and salt. do you need to put oil on the skin at all in the recipe?

  15. Can I roast it in a convection oven or microwave oven?

  16. A few folks have asked whether this works with a larger piece of pork, and I can testify that yes, yes it does! I made this with an 11 pound slab of belly and it came out really well. You do need to adjust the cooking time, as it took closer to an hour on the lower temp. The salt did not come off in a single crust, but I may have simply put too much salt on in my attempt to scale up the recipe.

    In any case, the skin was gloriously crispy and the technique definitely does work with a larger piece of meat, but I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who needs to follow a recipe precisely.

  17. This was brilliant – worked first time with lots of lovely crisp crackling! I used apple cider instead of rice wine for the marinade, and if you save and reduce the juice it makes a great sauce. Served with mashed potato and asparagus – a winner! 🙂

  18. IT WORKED! Much to my surprise. I actually just received an airfryer and heard that it’s easier and cleaner to make pork belly in it. So I actually tried 2 different methods of making pork belly – using your salt crust method and a different dry rub/poking the skin method. This recipe blew the other one out of the water and was a lot easier!!! The salt didn’t turn into a crust but halfway through, 8 just scraped it off and it worked the same, i think. I still ended up with a gloriously golden brown crust! Thank you for sharing the recipe! I’ve favorited and shared to my friends since they were all asking. 

  19. Ok, i am trying this out as i have it on the menu for a cocktail party for 40 next week! yikes! I wonder if i can do the salt crust bit at home and do the final 30 mins at 465F at the party later in the day??? Ever done this?

    • Sorry, I’ve never tried breaking up the steps. I always do it at once. But the crust does stay crispy for a long time, so you could possibly do it all early in the day and then briefly heat it up right before the party. Good luck for your cocktail party!

  20. This worked beautifully, I can’t stop eating the skin!

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