Salt and pepper pork belly with perfect crispy crackling

Juicy, tender roasted salt and pepper pork belly with the crispiest, crunchy crackling/skin. This is a showstopper main dish that is sure to impress.

There’s just something about crisp, golden crackling that makes people swoon. Very few people can resist it and although there are a few tips and tricks to getting delicious, crunchy cracking, it’s so simple to make.

Salt and pepper pork belly

What is pork belly?

Pork belly is a fatty cut of meat, literally from the belly of a pig. It is use in many different cuisines around the world. It’s most often used to prepare streaky or American-style bacon and is fantastic roasted whole.


This easy pork belly recipe really only needs 3 ingredients. Good quality pork is sweet, succulent and perfect seasoned generously with salt and pepper. If you however wanted to add more, rubbing the meat (not the skin) of the pork belly with garlic or herbs like rosemary, thyme or sage will add extra flavor.

  • Pork belly. I prefer cooking deboned belly as it is makes carving very easy. However, if you can’t find deboned, bone-in works just as well. Simply slice the rib bones away once roasted.
  • Salt. I love using smoked salt but good, flaky sea salt (like Maldon) is all you need.
  • Pepper. Freshly cracked pepper is essential.

How to cook pork belly

  1. Prepare the pork belly: Score the skin with a sharp knife. Take care not to cut through to the meat. You can also get your local butcher to do this for you. Pat dry with paper towels then season generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Cook: Place pork belly in a roasting or baking dish and place on the middle rack in a hot oven (220°C/430°F) to roast for 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to 160°C/320°F  and continue roasting for 25 minutes per 500g/1lb until it reaches 62°C/145°F on a meat thermometer.
  3. Allow to rest: Remove the cooked pork from the oven, tent loosely with foil and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving and serving. Resting the meat after cooking is the most important step in the whole cooking process. Hours of marinating and perfect cooking means nothing if your meat hasn’t rested. Resting allows all the natural juices to re-distribute back into the meat and makes pork so moist, you won’t even need a sauce. If you don’t rest the meat, you’ll find a 24big puddle of juice once you start carving. Juice that should be in the meat.
Crispy crackling on pork belly.

How to get crispy pork crackling

The trick to crunchy crackling? Dry skin. The skin on the pork belly needs to be very dry for it to be able to bubble and crisp up. Before placing the pork in a hot oven, I rubbed the skin with smoked salt and lots of black pepper. The salt also adds to the crisping of the skin. Starting the roasting at a high heat also allows that initial crisping of the skin to happen. If your pork crackling isn’t as crispy as you want it,  place the pork under a hot broiler for a few minutes until it’s done your preference.

Freezing and making ahead

  1. Freezing: Roasted pork can be wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months. The crackling will lose its texture once thawed but the meat will still be delicious. Remove from the freezer and allow to thaw completely in the fridge before using.
  2. Make ahead: The pork belly can be dried and seasoned and left uncovered in the fridge to chill for up to 24 hours before roasting. Roasted pork belly can rest for up to an hour, covered with foil, before carving and serving.
Salt and pepper pork belly with mash and greens.

What to serve with pork belly

Pork belly is rich and unctuous so serving a green vegetable like roasted broccoli as a side dish is a good idea. We also love it with creamy mashed potatoes, cauliflower cheese or glazed carrots to add some sweetness.

Roasted pork belly.

Pork recipes

  1. Pork belly ramen
  2. Air Fryer Pork Belly
  3. Greek pork souvlaki
  4. BBQ pulled pork
  5. Creamy mushroom pork chops
Salt and pepper pork belly

Salt and pepper pork belly with perfect crispy crackling

Juicy, roasted salt and pepper pork belly with the crispiest, crunchy crackling/skin. This is a showstopper main dish that is sure to impress.
4.76 from 194 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: British
Keyword: crispy pork belly, pork belly, pork belly recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Calories: 518kcal
Author: Alida Ryder
Servings: 8 -10


  • 1.5 kg (3lb) Pork belly Deboned
  • 1 tbsp salt I used smoked salt
  • 2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper


  • Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/430°F and place a wire rack in a roasting tray.
  • Score the skin of the pork belly with a very sharp knife, taking care not to cut through to the meat.
  • Rub the skin and meat of the pork belly with a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.
  • Place the pork belly on the wire rack and place the tray in the oven.
  • Roast the belly for 30 minutes at 220°C/430°F then turn the temperature down to 160°C/320°F and allow to roast for another 25 minutes per 500g (1lb) until it reads 62°C/145°F on a meat thermometer.
  • When the pork belly is cooked, remove from the oven then cover with foil and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes but up to one hour.
  • When the belly has rested, carve the meat then serve.



Calories: 518kcal | Protein: 9g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 730mg | Potassium: 185mg | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

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  1. This was the 3rd time I have attempted a different Pork Belly recipe. The first two were epic failures. I was going to give up after this attempt but to my surprise this came out much better than I anticipated. It was AMAZING!!! The family loved it. The results of the crackling probably excited me a lot more than is should have. Thank you so much for the recipe. It was incredibly simple.

  2. Made it tonight as an experiment…. It came out quite nicely. The only problem is that there was no skin, just the fat which I scored and was delish. I can see some marinara and a slice or two of the pork belly resting on a bed of pasta.

    1. Since pork belly is quite fatty / salty something with some acidity and crunch is good as it cuts through the fattiness. We do a fresh Greek salad with apple cider vinegar dressing, crumbed feta – but you could do a crunchy fresh coleslaw – or an Asian inspired coleslaw with green apple. You can also do some roast veg (root vegetables like carrots and potatoes) and use the pan drippings from the pork to make a nice gravy to pour over, mashed potato also works too. The possibilities are endless!

  3. Why?
    Pepper. Freshly cracked pepper is essential.
    I’m not one of those people who like per much at all- why do you say essential?

    1. Since this is salt and pepper pork belly is only seasoned with salt and pepper, fresh-cracked pepper is quite essential. But if you don’t like it, feel free to leave it out.

    2. The recipe is literally salt and PEPPER pork belly. I don’t go to a macaroni and cheese recipe and question why they’re using cheese.

  4. Will try this tomorrow! Can I place the pork belly in a roasting/baking pan? I’ve read in other recipes that they want the pork belly sitting on a wire rack within the pan (with some water in the base of the pan)…

  5. THIS RECIPE ROCKS! SSOO EASY n DELICIOUS! I converted the c to f, no problem. The family is Very happy. I turned my portion into salad. The cool crisp green lettuce again salty, crispy belly and tart raspberries was Perfect! Thank you Alida.

  6. Hi great recipe, I usually star with low heat and blast for the last 30 mins but will give this a go. Can I ask is your 220 the fan assisted temperature ?

      1. I realize that it must rest but surely it will be cold if it rests on the counter, even covered with foil. Can one just warm it again somehow? I like my meat nice and warm

        1. There’s quite a lot of residual heat in the meat and covered with foil it should stay warm for quite some time. You could re-heat it but that would defeat the purpose of resting it.

  7. Ugh! I failed to read the fine details…I’ll attribute it to too many distractions while cooking ?. I must admit that I didn’t realize my error until a half hour later when I peeked in the oven to see my pork belly skin wasn’t crisping what so ever! I thought my oven broke! Well I guess it’s because your 220C is to my 430F. I’m back on track now hopefully…we shall yet to see!

    1. Contribute that to your failure to read. Directions are great and they’re there for a reason. You’d have said not enough if it were shorter…anything but a you fault.

  8. Thanks Alida. Made it today for our Christmas dinner and it was cooked to perfection. I didn’t cover it as I wanted to make sure the skin maintained it’s crispiness. So simple and so yummy.