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Best Crackling on Pork Belly: Super Crispy, 1 Ingredient Only

The best crackling pork belly recipe

Table of Contents

The Easiest Crackling Pork Belly Method


My ultimate guide to the Crackling on Pork Belly. It is super crispy with only one ingredient. Yeah. It is just salt and nothing else. Pork belly can be even crispier than bacon.


We always follow recipes that promise perfectly crispy crackling on pork belly but end up pretty disappointed. We then start blaming the oven or the pig’s genetics. Yes, that was me many years ago.


Well, the pig’s genetics are totally fine. With a little tweak and a few tricks of the cooking method, we can easily get the perfect crispy pork belly we always dream of.


There are many ways to make this crackling dish. However, in reality, there are just two schools of cooking pork skin: Western and Chinese.


The Western approach is quite straightforward and often fails to produce the desired skin texture. In contrast, traditional Chinese techniques yield excellent results but can be pretty time-consuming.


They both have pros and cons. I think the best method is to combine both.

Beginner-Friendly Guide to Crispy Pork Belly


In today’s information overload world, it can be challenging to determine which method is best for achieving that delicious crackling pork skin. Many people feel overwhelmed and discouraged after trying various techniques, such as using vinegar, refrigerating the meat overnight, boiling the meat, or experimenting with different spices.  


That’s why I’m here to eliminate unnecessary confusion and help you by focusing on a simple, one-ingredient solution. Once you’ve mastered this technique, you can confidently incorporate other ingredients to enhance the dish further.


Best Crackling Pork Belly

What You Need to Know Before Cooking the Crispy Skin

Most of my cooking is done with the air fryer nowadays. Unlike traditional ovens, air fryers distribute heat from above, creating a unique cooking environment. Of course, this is not the only way to make crackling skin. Check out my other methods for achieving crispy skin pork belly, “The Best Way to Cook Pork Belly”.


As an added bonus, I also share some delicious pork belly recipes involving braising and grilling for those who want to explore different cooking styles. But wait, there’s more! I’ve included a comprehensive troubleshooting guide and FAQ section to address any issues you may encounter during the cooking process.


I’ve got you covered whether you’re dealing with partially or fully burnt skin or unevenly cooked areas. There’s no need to worry about wasting a beautiful piece of meat! Feel super duper free to comment below if you have questions about getting that perfect crackling skin. I am going to help you in your crispiness journey. 


Detail Cooking Instructions with photos



  • 1 lb pork belly, skin on
  • 1 tablespoon regular salt
  • 1/2 cup coarse salt 

Step by Step:

  1. Salt the whole pork. Don’t worry if the pork is still frozen. I don’t recommend it, but if you are short of time. Why not? Just throw the pork belly straight into the air fryer.
    Salt on Pork Belly for crispy pork
    Salt on Pork Belly
  2. Put it into the air fryer. The secret here is the temperature. Turn your temperature to 65° C or 150° F. Let it sits in our air fryer for 35 minutes without preheating. Why are we doing this? This does two things: it defrosts our meat and dehydrates the skin. Many Chinese recipes call for dehydrating skin overnight in the fridge, which is super time-consuming. I want to consume the crispy pork in less than 2 hours.
    Dehydrating to pork belly
    Dehydrating pork belly at 65° C/150° F.


  3. After the dehydration, take the pork belly out from the air fryer and use a fork to poke some holes in the skin. If you don’t do this, the skin will puff at a later stage. Most professional Chinese recipes use a unique needle tool, but the fork works perfectly. Only do this step after dehydration, not before. It is tough to poke when the skin is not dry enough.
    Pork hole on skin to cook pork belly
    Pork hole on pork belly skin by a fork.
  4. Okay. Then, start to cover the skin using coarse salt. Why use coarse salt? One, it is easier to cover and two, cheaper. Just buy cheap salt for this purpose. It really doesn’t matter what kind of salt you gonna be using. If you want to follow my style, I use good salt like sea salt for the meat part but a cheaper, coarser one for the skin surface. The purpose is to prevent the top from cooking and also draw out moisture at the same time.
    Cover pork belly skin with salt
    Cover pork belly skin with salt
  5. Roast the pork belly for 30 minutes at 200° C / 400° F. Pro tip: if the pork is uneven and the salt seems sliding off the skin, just slide a spoon at the bottom to even the pork.
    Salt cover pork belly for the crispy skin
    Air fryer for 30 minutes at 200°C/400°F.
  6. Take it out and carefully remove the crusted salt on top. Don’t throw it away; put it aside first, as you might still need it.
    Salt crust on top on the pork skin
    Salt crust formed on top of the pork skin

    Set the salt crust aside for later use.
    Set the salt crust aside for later use.
  7. Turn the temperature to the maximum and give it a couple of minutes to preheat. Now roast the pork skin side up for 10 minutes. You will start to hear the crackling sound of the pork. Pro tricks: If you found the height of the meat is uneven, you may want to slide a spoon at the bottom to prevent uneven cooking.
    Slide a spoon to prevent uneven cooking
    (Optional) Slide a spoon to even out the height to prevent uneven cooking.


    Air fry the pork belly
    Air fry for another 30 minutes.
  8. After 10 minutes, check whether the skin is golden yellow and looks good. If not, continue for another 5 minutes at the maximum temperature. In most cases, it takes 15 minutes to complete. Notes: sometimes, it could take close to 20 minutes, but no more than that.
    Crackling Pork Belly skin
    We examine our almost-ready meal.


  9. Most of the time, you will find some parts of the pork belly skin look perfect while others are still pale. I bet you’ll also find spots that are burnt out. Don’t worry! Stay calm. Remember that I asked you to set the crusted salt aside earlier? Now, use it to patch and cover the areas that are done or even burnt. Uneven cooking is the most challenging part of this dish, but this trick will ensure even cooking.
    Cover the pork belly skin
    Cover the pork belly skin where it’s burnt or nicely cooked.


    Keep roasting the Pork BellyIMG20230410184533
    Keep roasting that Pork Belly
  10. Once it’s done, place our end product on a wire rack. This is the prevent the bottom part from getting too moist. What happens if you have some spots that are burnt out (blackened)? It’s easy; use a spoon to scrape it.
    Scaping the skin
    Scape the blackened skin surface.
    Cooked crispy crackling pork belly.
    Put the crispy crackling pork belly on wire rack.

Well. This is it. My ultimate best crackling on pork belly recipe. Believe me. You are going to cook better than the store-bought one. Remember! Something will always be wrong in the process of cooking, but by implementing the tips above, you will get a nice, super crispy skin pork belly. 


I hope this recipe helps you create the best pork belly crack. If you want to cook pork belly without the skin, I got you covered too. Check out the Skin-off Air Fryer Pork belly recipe.  Also, check out other methods to cook pork belly“The best way to cook pork belly.”

Yield: 10 servings

Best Crackling on Pork Belly: Crispy, One Ingredient Only

The best crackling pork belly recipe

Air fryer crispy pork belly that is super easy to cook and very delicious. You just need salt to cook it. Enjoy.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 2 lbs/ 1 kg Pork Belly
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coarse salt


  1. Rub salt onto the whole pork belly.
  2. Turn the air fryer temperature to 65°C / 150°F to dehydrate the skin for 35 minutes.
  3. Use a fork to poke the skin to prevent it from puffing up when cooking.
  4. Sprinkle coarse salt on top of the skin. The skin should be covered with a layer of salt.
  5. Roast the pork belly for 30 minutes at 200°C / 400°F. 
  6. Carefully remove the crusted salt on top. Don’t throw it away; set it aside first.
  7. Turn the temperature to the maximum setting. Roast the pork skin-side up for 10 minutes. 
  8. Check the skin for any uneven cooking. If you find any, use the crust salt that you set aside to cover the overcooked or burnt surface. Then, continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
  9. Scape any burnt, blackened surface with a spoon.
  10. Put it on wire rack.


Tips 1: If the pork is uneven and the salt seems sliding off the skin, just slide a spoon under the bottom to even it out.

Tips 2: Remember to slide a spoon under any uneven parts of the meat to prevent uneven cooking.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 530Total Fat 39gSaturated Fat 14gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 23gCholesterol 152mgSodium 12757mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 42g

This is just an estimation calculation.


Properly dehydrating the skin is the key to achieving super crispy pork belly skin. You do not need vinegar, baking soda, alcohol, and spices. All of them are useful and effective if the skin is perfectly dehydrated.

It takes approximately 35 minutes to dehydrate. About 30 minutes to cook with salt covering the top of the skin. Finally, 15 minutes to get the crackling pork belly skin right. In total, 1 hour and 20 minutes.

First, we will dehydrate the pork belly skin for 35 minutes with temp setting of 65°C or 150°F. For cooking, use 200°C or 400°F with salt on top of the skin for 30 minutes. Finally, turn up the temp to max heat without salt on top for another 15 minutes.

Fifteen minutes to achieve crackling pork belly skin. Do not air frying for over 20 minutes during the last stage. Notes: It is best practise to observe the cooking carefully after 10 minutes mark.

Yes, the air fryer’s high heat, which comes from the top, makes it ideal for achieving crispy pork belly skin.

Three reasons:

  1. You need to dehydrate the skin long enough.
  2. The temperature is not set to the max.
  3. In the last stage, which is the crackling stage, you need to cook long enough. Usually 15. It could take as much as 20. Do not go over that; the skin will be tough on your teeth.


Feel free to defrost frozen raw pork in the air fryer while dehydrating the skin if you are short on time. However, you should monitor the time carefully and add an incremental 10 minutes if the skin isn’t dry enough.

If your pork belly skin is burnt, don’t worry. Use a spoon to scrape off the blackened burnt surface.

The simple trick is to slide a spoon underneath the pork belly. This will ensure even cooking at the skin surface.

Use the salt we set aside to cover only the crisp surface (we do not want this part to be burnt out), then cook for a few more minutes.



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