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This maple glazed pork belly is flavorful and tender with the most irresistible crispy crackling. We serve it with sweet and smoky chipotle aioli for a delicious main that's perfect for entertaining. It's surprisingly easy to make, and most of the cooking time is hands off!
Pork belly has got to be one of the best-tasting foods out there. It's considered a delicacy in many parts of the world, but it's surprisingly inexpensive and easy to prepare.
This maple glazed pork belly recipe is simple, but incredibly delicious. It's melt-in-your-mouth pork with irresistible crispy crackling and served with chipotle aioli. There's something about the combination of fatty meat, sweet marinade, and smoky, spicy aioli that really does it for us.
While the meat is the main attraction, the crispy crackling is what puts it over the top. There are a lot of myths about what to do and what not to do, but we find keeping it simple works best.
Try our straightforward method for making this delicious maple glazed pork belly and we guarantee you won't be disappointed (and neither will your guests)!
Maple glazed pork belly ingredients
Here's everything you need for the pork belly:
- Pork belly – since pork belly has become popular, it's now more widely available. Check for it at your local grocery store or butcher shop!
- Brown miso paste – miso paste is a fermented soybean paste that comes in light and dark varieties. Look for darker brown miso for this recipe.
- Maple syrup – adds a sweet caramel taste.
- Chinese five spice – Chinese five spice is a seasoning blend based on the five elements – fire, water, wood, earth, and metal. You can find it at most grocery stores or Asian markets.
- Sesame oil – we use sesame oil to coat the skin to make it crispy.
- Flaky sea salt – a liberal sprinkle of flaky sea salt gives the crackling lots of flavor.
How to make maple glazed pork belly
This maple glazed pork belly is a delicious and indulgent dish that's perfect for entertaining. It looks stunning on the table, but you'll be surprised at how easy it is to make. Here's how we make it in a few simple steps:
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set a wire rack over top.
- Dry the pork belly with paper towels and then make cuts in the skin 1 inch apart. You want the top to look like little squares. Flip it over, and poke the meat all over with the tip of your knife.
- Mix together the miso, maple syrup, and Chinese five spice. Spread this seasoning over the meat side of the pork belly and then place it skin-side up on the wire rack.
- Massage the top with sesame oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
- Bake the pork belly for a couple of hours, then broil it at the end to crisp up the crackling.
Three tips to make perfect crackling
Pork crackling is the term given to the layer of crispy, super tasty skin on roast pork. It's delicious and there's nothing quite like it!
Here are our top 3 tips for making perfect crackling:
- Oil the skin. We use 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, but any vegetable oil will work to help render the fat and make it crispy.
- Salt the skin generously, because salt equals flavor. Would you ever eat unsalted potato chips? We didn't think so. Flaky sea salt works best.
- Broil the skin. The skin needs some heat at the end in order for it to get crispy. Broiling it crisps it quickly without drying out the meat.
Pork belly myths debunked
There are a lot of pork belly recipes out there, and we've experimented with many ways of preparing it. Here are a few myths we'd like to debunk that will save you time and result in the best-tasting pork belly you'll ever eat!
Letting it dry out in the fridge
The point of this is to reduce moisture and result in a crispier skin. While the skin should be dry when it goes in the oven, you don't need to dry it out for hours in the fridge. The crackling turns out great when you dry the skin with paper towels.
Marinating the pork belly for hours
This is said to allow the marinade time to work into the meat. There's certainly no harm in letting your pork belly marinate for hours, but it doesn't seem to make a noticeable difference in taste or texture in the end.
Quickly cooking the pork belly
We've seen this method of cooking online but highly discourage you from cooking it this way. Pork belly is a fatty cut of meat which means it needs to roast slowly in the oven to render the fat so it becomes soft and melts in your mouth.
Pork belly is a fancy cut of meat and should be left to the pros
Pork belly is actually a really versatile and easy cut of meat to work with. We won't tell your dinner guests if you don't!
What to serve with maple glazed pork belly
This maple glazed pork belly is a versatile meal that you can serve in many ways. In the pictures, we serve it with cooked rice and a side of steamed broccoli. It also tastes great with roasted potatoes or veggies, noodle dishes like our soy ginger noodles, or a crunchy Asian salad or cucumber salad.
How do I store leftover pork belly?
Store any leftover pork belly in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 3 days.
How do I reheat cold pork belly?
Reheat pork belly in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes. Turn the oven on broil in the last 2 minutes to crisp up the skin.
Where can I buy pork belly?
With its rise in popularity, pork belly has become more widely available. Look for it in the meat department of your grocery store or your local butcher shop.
What is miso paste?
Miso paste is a fermented soybean paste and is a mainstay in Japanese cuisine. It can be found in the refrigerated aisle of most grocery stores or any Asian market.
- 1 ½ lb boneless pork belly
- 2 tablespoons brown miso
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt (Maldon salt works great)
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon lime juice (fresh squeezed)
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 4 drops liquid smoke
- 1 small garlic clove (very finely minced)
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place an ovenproof wire rack on top of it.
- Dry the pork belly with paper towels. Make cuts in the pork belly skin 1 inch apart. When you finish one direction, make cuts in the other direction so that the top of the pork belly has been cut into little squares. This helps the fat render and makes it much easier to cut and eat once it's cooked. Make sure you cut all the way through the skin (into a little of the fat is ok) but do not cut through to the meat. Turn the pork belly over and stab the meat all over with the tip of your knife.1 ½ lb boneless pork belly
- In a small bowl mix together the miso, maple syrup, and Chinese five spice. Liberally coat the meat (not the skin!) side of the pork belly. Place the pork belly skin side up on top of the wire rack.2 tablespoons brown miso, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
- Pour the sesame oil over the top of the skin and massage it in. Sprinkle the top liberally with the flaky sea salt.1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- Bake the pork belly for 2 hours in the center of your oven. Increase the oven temperature to a low broil – see notes! Move the pork belly to a rack in the top third of your oven. Broil it for 10-15 minutes, or until the pork skin is very crispy.
- While the pork is in the oven, make the chipotle aioli. Whisk the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and place it in the fridge until you are ready to serve it.¼ cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, ½ teaspoon pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 4 drops liquid smoke, 1 small garlic clove, ⅛ teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- Remove the pork belly from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes, uncovered. Slice the pork belly and serve with the chipotle aioli on the side.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.
For more inspiration, check out all of our dinner ideas!