Crispy Pork Belly | Filipino Lechon Kawali

CRISPY PORK BELLY
CRISPY PORK BELLY
CRISPY PORK BELLY
CRISPY PORK BELLY
Crispy Pork Belly

I love meat that is crispy on the outside, and juicy and tender on the inside and this Crispy Pork Belly Lechon Kawali is just that and it will literally melt in your mouth. It’s crunchy, delicious, and full of flavor from the garlic and soy sauce.

Pork Belly

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What Makes Crispy Pork Belly Recipes Amazing?

  • Fast. Are you looking for a quick pork belly recipe? I have you covered. I used my Instant Pot and my Air Fryer to make this, but if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can use your stove top, and I include instructions for that too.
  • Oven. Similarly, no air fryer? No problem! You can always just broil the finished meat and get a reasonably crispy finish. Of course, if you’re in the market for an air fryer, you should check out my unbiased reviews of air fryers and pick one you like.
  • Video. You also watch this video to see which air fryer works for you.

This sounds like a recipe that would take a long time or would be really difficult. If you’ve ever cooked my recipes before, you know that’s just not my style. If it’s difficult, or something you have to babysit while it cooks, I look for ways to make it simple and hands-off. This truly is an easy pork belly recipe.

The Instant Pot cooks this quickly while infusing crazy-good flavor. Then the Air Fryer crisps it to perfection in no time. If you’re a kitchen gadget geek like me, you already have both of these devices so it’s simple. If not, use your oven.

What Spices Do You Use For This Crispy Pork Belly?

I use bay leaves, garlic, and soy sauce to be the main spice and flavor components for this Crispy Pork Belly Recipe. It pulls out the flavor of the pork wonderfully without being overwhelming. The spices also keep the meat juicy while allowing the outside to stay crispy and crunchy.

What Exactly Is Pork Belly?

Pork belly is uncured, un-smoked and un-sliced bacon. It is very popular in Chinese, Korean, and Filipino cooking (lechon kawali.)

Ask your local butcher to get you fresh, skin-on, center-cut pork belly. I’ve noticed that my Costco carries the meat as well, but it is still cheaper to buy in Asian grocery stores.

I tend to buy the larger packet, and cut some in cubes, and leave some in slices before freezing.

What Is The Difference Between Bacon And Pork Belly?

Pork belly is the fatty cut of meat from the pig’s belly. It’s a large, unsliced cut of meat. Bacon is from the same area of the pig, but it is cured and sliced.

How Do You Cook Pork Belly?

I included instructions below on how to cook pork belly. There are instructions to do the main cooking portion on a stove top, as opposed to using your Instant Pot if you don’t have one.

The Instant Pot does make it simpler so you can focus on other things in the kitchen (like side dishes, clean-up etc), but it’s not going to ruin the dish if you don’t have one. Then, you can broil it in the oven if you don’t have an Air Fryer. 

How To Cook Pork Belly in the Instant Pot and Air Fryer

  • Cook. Cut the pork belly into 3 thick chunks and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes.
  • Pressure Release. Let the unit sit for 10 minutes, then release all the pressure.
  • Drain. Allow the meat to drain and dry for 10 minutes. 
  • Crisp. Next to get that crispy skin! Place the meat in the Air Fryer. Cook at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the fat has become crispy.

How To Cook On the Stove/Oven

  • Cook. Place the spices and meat in a large sauce pot, cover and cook for 60 minutes (or until a knife can be inserted into the skin side of the pork belly).
  • Drain. Remove the pork from the water and allow to drain and dry for 10 minutes.
  • Crisp. Place the pork belly skin side up on a baking sheet and turn oven to Broil. Allow the meat to broil in the oven until the skin is crispy, 3-5 minutes on the rack closest to the broiler. Make sure to watch the oven so the skin doesn’t burn.

What to Serve With This Sliced Pork Belly Recipe?

  • Appetizer. Fresh pork belly is fatty and flavorful and is often served in small portions as an appetizer. You can make this quick pork belly recipe, and leave it in your fridge for snacking. Or, serve to your guests for a get-together or dinner party.
  • Time Saver. If you do have both an Instant Pot and an Air Fryer, you could be making this dish right on the counter as you are preparing your main dish! 
  • Salads. You can make this and mix it into a salad for a little savory fat and protein in a salad.
  • Main Dish. If you are looking to serve pork belly in a main dish, try my delicious Vietnamese Thit Nuong recipe. If you are keto, skip the noodles, or use shirataki noodles instead. 
  • Side Dish. A delicious side dish to make would by my Air Fryer Green Beans and Bacon, just substitute the pork belly. The fatty pork belly would add such a depth of flavor. I suggest you cook the pork belly cubes first and when they’re almost but not quite done, add in the green beans and cook as directed. Keep it simple and use frozen green beans for a quick side dish.
  • Soup. There is also a pork belly and cabbage soup recipe in my new book, Easy Keto in 30 Minutes you should check out!

Can You Eat Pork Belly On Keto?

Pork belly is naturally low in carbohydrates. Keto pork belly recipes are great to help meet your daily macros on a low carb diet. The higher fat content will also help you stay full and satisfied longer.

Tips and Tricks for Crispy Pork Recipes

  • Rest. Make sure to let the meat rest to get out the excess moisture for that perfect crispy skin.
  • Affordable. Pork belly is readily available at most grocery stores and is inexpensive. A perfect appetizer item for serving a crowd. 
  • Crisping. If you crisp the skin in the oven, make sure to keep on eye on the broiler. It will go from charred to burned very quickly. 

Want More Delicious Pork Recipes?

Pork Belly made in the Instant Pot and Air Fryer in a bowl with greenery in the background

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Pork Belly

Crispy Pork Belly

This Crispy Pork Belly recipe tastes like an absolute delicacy with none of the effort for traditional pork belly recipes. Make Lechon Kawali at home!

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Rest Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Course: Main Courses

Cuisine: Filipino

Keyword: crispy pork belly, lechon kawali, pork belly recipes

Servings: 4

Calories: 594kcal

Author: Urvashi Pitre

Click on highlighted ingredients or Equipment to see exactly what I use to make this recipe

Ingredients

Instructions

FOR THE INSTANT POT/AIR FRYER

  • Cut the pork belly into 3 thick chunks so that it cooks more evenly.

  • Place all ingredients into the inner liner of an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Cook the pork belly at high pressure for 15 minutes. Allow the pot to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes and then release all remaining pressure. Using a set of tongs, very carefully remove the meat from the pressure cooker. Allow the meat to drain and dry for 10 minutes.  

  • Cut each of the three chunks of pork belly into 2 long slices.  

  • Place the pork belly slices in the air fryer basket. Set the air fryer to 400°F for 15 minutes or until the fat on the pork belly has crisped up, and then serve.  

FOR THE STOVE/OVEN

  • If you do not have a pressure cooker, place the ingredients into a sauce pan, cover, and cook for 60 minutes, until a knife can be easily inserted into the skin-side of the pork belly. Remove the meat and allow the meat to drain and dry for 10 minutes.  

  • Place the pork belly skin side up on a baking sheet and turn oven to Broil. Allow the meat to broil in the oven until the skin is crispy, 3-5 minutes on the rack closest to the broiler. Make sure to watch the oven so the skin doesn’t burn.

Note: I suspect the nutrition is off on this one since so much of the fat melts off the pork belly, but I don’t know how to account for that. The good news is that there are truly no carbs in it, so that’s great for keto.
Tips and Tricks:

  • Make sure to let the meat rest to get out the excess moisture for that perfect crispy skin.
  • Pork belly is readily available at most grocery stores, and is inexpensive. A perfect appetizer item for serving a crowd. 
  • If you crisp the skin in the oven, make sure to keep on eye on the broiler. It will go from charred to burnt very quickly. 

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Nutrition

Calories: 594kcal | Protein: 11g | Fat: 60g

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Originally Published August 8, 2018

Don’t forget to check out my other Best-selling Instant Pot Cookbooks!

Indian Instant Pot, Keto Instant Pot, Instant Pot Fast and Easy, Healthy Instant Pot & Vegetarian Instant Pot.

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