Chinese Roast Pork Belly. This easy Chinese roast pork belly recipe has the crispiest skin with tender juicy meat inside with the perfect fat to meat ratio. Seasoned with a simple Chinese five spice dry rub.
It is perfect as a main dish for dinner, lunch or it can be repurposed for other meals.
What is Chinese Roast Pork Belly?
Crispy Chinese style pork belly (aka 'Siew Yoke' or 'Siu Yook') is a slab of pork belly with a crispy crackling skin. The meat beneath it is seasoned with Chinese five-spice powder, salt and sometimes brown sugar (my recipe is sugarless).
The top of the skin is the best crackling you'll ever taste. It is popularly served at many Chinese restaurants and enjoyed on Chinese New Year to bring wealth, good fortune and strength!
In addition, you'll find Chinese roasted pork belly sold along with char siu pork or bbq pork, roasted duck, deep fried chicken and many other Chinese barbecue meat dishes!
Now there are many Chinese roasted pork belly recipes out there. However, this recipe is so easy and simple to make at home. It is the best way to make this Chinese crispy pork belly. Why? Because my version requires no salt crust or coarse salt and it yields an extra puffy skin! Also, you don't need to rest it in the fridge overnight to dry out the skin.
Simple Recipe with Minimal Ingredients
My homemade Chinese roast pork belly requires minimal ingredients! Only 7 to be exact. It will be the best Chinese pork belly recipe you will have ever made.
You will need the following ingredients for this Chinese roasted pork belly recipe:
Note: Most Asian grocers will carry these ingredients. You may find some at your select grocery store or online, like on Amazon.
- Room temperature boneless pork belly strips with a thick top skin: avoid the thin pork belly strips and purchase the pork belly in the image above. It's important to use this cut of meat. You can ask your butcher to cut it into 2 inch wide strips or slice it at home. The pork belly skin side also needs to be thick, not thin. The skin layer should be about 3-4 millimeters thick.
- White vinegar or sub with rice wine vinegar
- Salt: sea salt or table salt draws moisture out from the skin
- Neutral oil: like avocado oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil or canola oil.
Dry Rub Spice mixture
- Chinese five spice
- Garlic powder
Optional Serving Sauce:
- Hoisin sauce
- Rice vinegar or white vinegar
- 2 large pieces of aluminum foil
- Clean paper towels to clean off the top of the pork skin
- Sharp knife with a pointy tip or a clean utility razor blade to create tiny cross hatches into the skin. Alternatively, you may use a Sharp Metal Skewer or a Meat Tenderizing tool with needles
- Baking tray
How to Cook Chinese Roast Pork Belly
Below are steps with visuals on how to make Chinese Roast Pork Belly:
Then pre heat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next in a small bowl, combine Dry rub ingredients as listed.
If needed, cut pork belly into 1.5 to 2 inch wide strips. Remove any bones and trim off any uneven meat to create a levelled strip. Pluck out any hairs on the skin with clean tweezers.
On a clean working surface, turn pork belly strip skin side down, so the meaty side is facing upwards. Season meat side with dry rub patting it into the meaty side.
Then turn pork belly over skin side up. If there is dry rub on the skin, wipe off with a clean paper towel. Pat the skin dry with paper towel if there’s any moisture. More importantly, it should be very dry.
Recommended method for best crackling
With the tip of a sharp paring knife or a clean scoring blade, carefully and lightly score as many tiny cross hatches into the thick skin. Do not pierce past the skin into the meat part. This is my recommendation for the best crackling.
Alternative method for a good crackling
The other method requires you to poke as many holes into the skin as possible with metal skewers or this needling tool. However, this will require a longer time in the oven to bubble and crack (up to 25-30 minutes). This also results in a good crackling as well but I recommend the first.
Then place pork belly strips onto a large rectangular sheet of aluminum foil. Wrap the foil around the pork belly strip to create a rectangular box for it. Furthermore, make sure the skin is exposed and avoid creating tall walls for the box as the walls will block the heat.
Lightly brush the skin with white vinegar. Do not drench in vinegar. This will help remove any moisture.
Next generously sprinkle salt on top of the skin.
Transfer both strips in their aluminum foil boxes onto a small baking sheet.
Bake in the oven on the second lowest oven rack for 60 minutes, until skin is dry and slightly hard to touch.
Remove pork belly from oven. Lightly brush the skin only with vegetable oil.
In a preheated oven at 500 F or broiling point, place pork belly back into the oven on lowest roasting rack.
If you scored cross hatches into the skin, roast for 12-15 minutes until the skin is golden brown, cracked and bubbly. Alternatively, if you used the hole-piercing method, roast up to 25-30 minutes. Monitor closely to prevent any burning. Tip: If needed, place small sheets of aluminum foil over areas that are starting to brown more quickly if certain areas are not bubbling as quickly.
Finally remove from oven. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes inside the aluminum boxes for juices to reabsorb into meat before slicing.
To slice into small pieces
Turn the pork belly skin side down on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, slice into the meaty side in a sawing motion. Then when you reach the skin, slice down with one swift motion.
In a small bowl, combine hoisin and rice vinegar. Serve with pork belly.
Chinese roasted pork belly will last up to 4 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Below are tips on how to make Chinese crispy roast pork belly for the best cooking process:
- Source quality pork belly strips with a thick top layer of skin. I would suggest using the pre-cut strips to make slicing the pork easiest. If you can only find a large slab of it, use that but slice it into strips that 2 inches wide before you prepare it.
- Rub the dry seasoning into the base of the meat only (the meaty side not the skin side!). Make sure to wipe off any dry rub from the skin
- Dry the top layer of the skin as much as possible with a clean towel.
- I recommending using the method of lightly scoring tiny cross hatches into the thick skin. This creates the best crackling over poking holes in my opinion and bubbles up quicker than the poking holes. However, if you prefer to poke holes feel free to but this will take a longer time to create the crackling as it roasts in the oven. Either method is is the key to a successful Chinese roast pork belly crackling.
- Wrap a large piece of aluminum foil only around the base and the sides of the pork belly but do not create a tall edge. In fact, create a short edge enough that you can pick up the sides. If you create tall edge the oven heat will not reach the skin evenly, resulting in a non crispy skin
- Roast the pork on the second lowest wire rack for the first roasting process. Then move it down to the very lowest position away from the heat for the crackling process.
Below are frequently asked questions about this Chinese crispy roast pork belly Siu yuk:
May I use other cuts of pork for this recipe?
I wouldn't recommend it or you won't get the end result of that crispy crackled skin. This Chinese roast pork belly recipe was created for a thick pork belly cut. It's not intended for pork shoulder, pork roast, or pork tenderloin. It's also not made for thin strips of pork belly unfortunately.
How do you cook pork belly in the oven?
Above I share detailed instructions on how to do this. The cooking time in my recipe is about 1 hr and 15-30 minutes. But you need to monitor the time when you bake it for a second time at a higher temperature to ensure you get that golden crispy brown skin that is all crackled. Each oven is different in its heat setting.
How to reheat Chinese roast pork belly?
You can reheat in the oven again at 350 degrees F until the skin is crispy again and the meat is warm, but just be careful not to over bake it or it will dry out. You can reheat it in the microwave, but the skin will be soggy.
What is the Chinese roast pork belly dipping sauce that you use?
There are two ways to enjoy this meat dish. The first one is hoisin sauce mixed with rice vinegar or white vinegar. The second way is with yellow mustard.
What are Chinese roast pork belly accompaniments?
We love eating Chinese style roast pork belly with many things! The most basic is steamed rice with Chinese broccoli (gai-lan) or bok choy and some hoisin sauce. Some places will serve it with sautéed napa cabbage or some leafy green.
Others may enjoy this meat with Chinese yellow mustard. I remember my dad would always make his own mustard from the powder to have it with this pork belly. This meat dish is also served with dry noodles or wet noodles with leafy greens. Some newer ways to serve this Chinese pork belly with crackling is inside a bao or soft fluffy milk bun.
Can I make this in a toaster oven?
Yes! But please monitor the crackling roasting process very closely as the toaster oven heat element is closer to the pork belly skin.
What are other ways to repurpose Crispy Pork Belly?
If you happen to have leftover pork belly, you can re-purpose it in other ways like using it in:
- Fried rice
- Soup or dry fried noodles
- Inside a fluffy milk bao with hoisin sauce and pickled veggies
Other recipes you may like!
If you enjoyed this Cantonese roast pork belly then you may enjoy these other recipes:
- Char Siu
- Air Fryer Char Siu
- Air Fryer Char Siu Chicken
- Hong Kong Style Baked Pork Chop Rice
- Chinese Salt And Pepper Pork
- Tangsuyuk Korean Sweet And Sour Pork
- Peking Pork Chops
- Chinese Beef Tomato Stir-Fry
- Chinese Five Spice Honey Chicken
Best & Easiest Chinese Roast Pork Belly
- 1.4 lb pork belly strips with a thick top skin and a meaty underside
- ¼ teaspoon white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vegetable oil or any neutral oil
Dry Rub Mixture:
- ½ teaspoon Chinese five spice
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
Optional Serving Sauce
- 4 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 2 tsp rice vinegar or white vinegar
- Pre heat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a small bowl, combine Dry rub ingredients as listed.
- If needed, cut pork belly into 1.5 to 2 inch wide strips. Remove any bones and trim off any uneven meat to create a levelled strip. Pluck out any hairs on the skin with clean tweezers.
- On a clean working surface, turn pork belly strip skin side down, so the meaty side is facing upwards. Season meat side with Dry Rub mixture patting it into the meaty side.
- Turn pork belly over skin side up. If there is dry rub on the skin, wipe off with a clean paper towel. Pat the skin dry with paper towel if there’s any moisture. It should be very dry.
- With the tip of a sharp paring knife or a clean scoring blade, carefully and lightly score as many tiny cross hatches into the thick skin. Do not pierce past the skin into the meat part. This is my recommendation for the best crackling. (See blog post for visuals)Alternative method, you may poke as many holes into the skin as possible with metal skewers. However, this will require a longer time in the oven to bubble and crack (up to 25-30 minutes). This also results in a good crackling as well but I recommend the first.
- Place each pork belly strip onto their individual sheets of aluminum foil (see blog post for visuals). Wrap the foil around the pork belly strip to create a rectangular box, leaving the skin exposed. Avoid creating tall walls for the box as the walls will block the heat.
- Lightly brush the skin with vinegar. Do not drench. The vinegar helps remove any moisture.
- Generously sprinkle salt on top of the skin.
- Transfer both strips in their aluminum foil boxes onto a small 7 x 12 inch baking sheet.
- Bake in a conventional oven on the second lowest oven rack for 60 minutes, until skin is dry and slightly hard to touch.
- Remove pork belly from oven. Lightly brush the skin only with vegetable oil.
- In a preheated oven at 500 degrees F or broiling point, place pork belly back into the oven on lowest rack.
- If you scored cross hatches into the skin, roast for 12-15 minutes until the skin is golden brown, cracked and bubbly. Alternatively, if you used the hole-piercing method, roast up to 25-30 minutes. Monitor closely to prevent any burning. If needed, place small sheets of aluminum foil over areas that are starting to brown more quickly if certain areas are not bubbling as quickly.
- Remove from oven. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes for juices to reabsorb into meat before slicing.
- Turn the pork belly skin side down on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, slice into the meaty side in a sawing motion. Then when you reach the skin, slice down with one swift motion.
- In a small bowl, combine hoisin and rice vinegar. Serve with pork belly.
Tasia ~ two sugar bugs
The crispy skin and tender pork look like a winning combination! Thank you for all the detailed instructions!
Heidi | The Frugal Girls
This really would be fabulous served over the wet noodles. The combination of different textures is so tantalizing!
Sarah @ Allcookwarefind.com
Oh crispy pork, I love it!! I've eaten it at a Chinese restaurant. Just found out how to do it today.
Yes I hope you enjoy my recipe! It's really easy!
Woahhh that crispy skin on the pork looks insane!!! And bok choy is in season here soo perfect 🙂
I would love to try your siu yuk recipe. But I am puzzled by the first 60 min roast at oven temperature of 225 F which seems low to me. In the UK this is lower than gas mark 1 which is the lowest temperature in my oven. Is this right? Thanks for your help.
Hi Michael, thanks for your comment and question! Yes, that's correct. The meaty portion of the pork belly has to cook over low and slow for the first 60 minutes before we crank up the heat to roast the skin. I would advise using your lowest setting possible and reduce the cooking time as needed (around 40-50 minutes until your pork belly has reached in internal temperature of 200 F). Then roast the pork at 400 F just until you see bubbly crispy pork skin. I hope this helps!
Thanks for sharing it. Looks delicious.
Thanks so much Elsa!
Put it in the lowest part of the oven for an hour and 40 minutes in the part of the oven is that right or int middle of the oven. Thank you.
Hi Perla, I placed it in the middle for my oven for both time periods. Just a note: I'm also using a toaster oven for this recipe but you can use a conventional oven.
Absolutely amaaazing!! Best crispy skin pork ever!
Thankyou so much for sharing : )
Thank you so much for making my recipe Tanya! I am so happy to hear it worked out well for you 🙂 Have a lovely day!
Hi, my 'Shao Rou' skin didn't turn up creapy as expected, it never have the bubbly effect on it, is it I should pock deeper on the skin layer?
Yes, poking deeply helps and also poking as many holes as possible. It's important to note that the skin must be very dry as well. Any moisture will cause for the skin not to be crispy.
Is it in the centre of the oven for 1 hour or the lowest part of the oven and then 40 minutes in the higher in the oven
Simply delicious! I usually look a various recipes when making a dish I like to make it my own and find the combinations of flavors that I like. I did that and it turned out amazing. I comment because I like the tool you suggested and the foil method which I think perfected my crispy pork belly. Kudos & thank you for sharing, I and everyone loved it. Also most recipes say pork belly doesn’t reheat well but in essence it does with the invention of the Airfryer just as amazing as when it was first cooked so don’t worry about leftovers 😉
Thanks so much for making my recipe Nadeen! I'm so thrilled to hear that this worked out amazing for you! Happy that everyone loved it and glad it reheated well in the air fryer!
I will try to make this, it sounds really easy! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you Brenda! I hope you enjoy it!
Cooking it low and slow does make the meat insanely tender. I also wasn't getting the bubbled skin and after cooking it an additional half hour reverted to the broiler for 5 minutes. Perfect bubbled skin. A $1.25 solution for piercing the skin is at the local dollar store. A crafting pick.
Looks amazing and Im going to give it a try really soon.
Thanks Chrisitie 🙂
Thanks so much Garry! I hope you enjoy it!