Crispy Roast Pork Belly in Air Fryer

This crispy roast pork belly dish is one of the easiest and simplest recipes ever. The method includes par boiling the meat, drying it out then cooking it in the air fryer. This way the cooking time is greatly reduced and the skin is crispy and delicious!

In the past I have tried making crispy roast pork belly many times with very little success. There was always something wrong with it. The most common issue I had was patches of skin where it is was just soft, wet and chewy. This really angered me since there is nothing worse than spending a small fortune on a nice piece of pork belly, only to stuff it up at the end.

So I have made it my mission to find the easiest way to make delicious crispy pork belly that works every time. I have looked at many recipes and have picked pieces here and there to make my very own.

In the end, my method is to boil the meat first then let it dry out in the fridge. I then use an air fryer to cook the meat since it is so much easier to use and clean than an oven. Now, every time I want crispy pork belly… I make it myself and it turns out great every time!


Today we are talking KNIVES, specifically big Chinese choppers. A decent knife has been on our wish list for sometime, and we are very excited to have been provided with this beautiful Shun Classic Chinese Chopper 18 cm from online kitchenware retailer Everten.

This knife is an absolute dream to work with. The first time we used it was to cut through a large chunk of partially frozen pork shoulder, and it cut through like butter. The beautiful Damascus pattern on the blade adds a bit of luxury to your cooking, and the whole experience will leave you feeling like a very powerful head chef in a top Chinese restaurant.

This knife is particularly good for cutting up crispy roast pork belly. There is enough weight in that you can easily build up the momentum needed to cut cleanly through the crispy skin without shattering it, leaving nice clean edges. This is the main advantage over using a standard chefs knife. The blade is also extremely sharp so it just glides through the meat without squeezing out all the juices.

Why I Boil the Meat First

There are a few reasons I boil the meat first before putting it in the air fryer:

  1. It takes a lot less time to cook – This has many benefits, including being able to have crispy pork roast on a weeknight.
  2. The meat won’t dry out – Since you are cooking the meat for a lot less time in the air fryer, the meat will not burn or dry out.
  3. Punching holes into the skin is considerably easier – If you don’t have the correct hole punching tool, this task can be very hard and cumbersome. This is because raw skin is tough and doesn’t break easily. You have to apply a lot of force and use something sharp and sturdy like an ice pick. If you boil the meat first however, you can poke holes in the skin with a bamboo skewer or even a dinner fork! So much easier!

Lessons Learnt about Crackling

I have had many attempts with trying to get the crackling right, and here is what I have learnt:

  • You have to dry the pork skin. There isn’t any way around this. I highly recommend putting the roast pork in the fridge overnight or for at least 12 hours.
  • Do not punch holes that are too deep with the skewer. If you pierce through to the meat then the juices will come flowing up and soften the crispy skin.
  • Rub salt into the skin before you let it dry out in the fridge. It just helps to pull the moisture out. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel once the moisture starts to collect.
  • Make sure the air fryer is preheated before putting the pork roast in. I know that not all air fryers can do this but if yours can, then it does make a difference.
  • Use the “roast” setting on your air fryer (if you have one), where the heat comes directly from the top without the fan.
  • If your air fryer has multiple racks, then put the roast pork towards the upper racks.

What to Look for When Buying Pork Belly

Here are some tips I have found very useful in choosing a good piece of pork belly.

  • A nice flat pork belly will help to evenly distribute the heat onto the skin. This will increase your chances of getting a nice uniformly crispy skin.
  • Choose a pork belly with more meat. There is always enough fat on this cut of meat, so ones with more juicy meat would be better.

My Other Tips for Perfectly Crispy Roast Pork Belly

  • Boil the pork belly skin down first in a fry pan to prevent the pork belly from curling too much.
  • Do not salt the sides and the bottom of the meat while drying. You want the meat to stay juicy and not dry.
  • Cutting slits into the meat will allow the salt and spice powder to penetrate the meat better.
  • Do not cut it straight out of the oven. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes so the skin won’t shatter as you chop it with your knife.

What to Serve Crispy Roast Pork Belly with?

  • Jasmine rice, sliced cucumber and soy sauce to dip – this is easily my favourite. It easy, quick and comforting.
  • In sandwiches like a Vietnamese banh mi. Add some pickled carrots, cucumber, coriander and soy sauce to a bun and you have yourself a fantastic sandwich.
  • If you are to have it on its own, then try with normal mustard, hot English mustard or simply soy sauce.

Other Air Fryer Recipes You Might Like

Hope you guys enjoyed this recipe post! If you guys do make this recipe, please tag us at #scruffandsteph on Instagram and Facebook.

Happy cooking!

Scruff and Steph

Crispy Roast Pork Belly in Air Fryer

Crispy Roast Pork Belly

This crispy roast pork belly dish is one of the easiest and simplest recipes ever. The method includes par boiling the meat, drying it out then cooking it in the air fryer. This way the cooking time is greatly reduced and the skin is crispy and delicious!
5 from 57 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Drying Time 12 hours
Course Rice Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4 people
Calories 1300 kcal


  • Air Fryer


  • 1 kg pork belly
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Skin Rub

  • 1/2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Meat Rub

  • 1/4 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


  • If there is any hair on the pork skin, scrape it off with a knife. Then wash the pork belly under a tap.
  • In a fry pan on medium high, add the water, salt and sugar.
  • Once boiling add the pork belly skin side down and cook for 8 minutes on each side.
  • Once done, remove the pork belly and let it cool on a rack. Pat dry with some paper towel when it is cool enough to do so.
  • Get a meat skewer or a metal fork and punch lots of holes into the skin of the pork belly – this usually takes me about 5 – 10 minutes. Do not punch holes so deep that it reaches the meat.
  • Brush the pork skin with vinegar and then sprinkle half the salt. Let it rest for 10 minutes and repeat the process.
  • Put the pork belly into the fridge uncovered and allow the skin to dry for a minimum of 12 to 48 hours. If you can, check on it every now and then to wipe off any moisture that comes to the surface.
  • Take your pork belly out of the fridge and apply the meat rub on the sides and the bottom of the pork belly.
  • Preheat your air fryer for 5 minutes then cook the pork belly for 40 minutes at 200 C (392 F).
  • Once done, let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting.


Calories: 1300kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 23gFat: 133gSaturated Fat: 48gCholesterol: 180mgSodium: 1397mgPotassium: 463mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 25IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 18mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Crispy Roast Pork Belly
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

109 thoughts on “Crispy Roast Pork Belly in Air Fryer

      1. Can I just leave it in the fridge over night and not dry it every few hours? Or will that ruin the process?

      2. Hi Sam! Yes, of course. Just pat dry the skin whenever you can. Thanks for the comment!

    1. Made this last night and it ended up totally as shown
      Very good taste and crackle on the skin

      1. Hi Paulj! We are really chuffed to hear that it went well for you! Thank you for leaving a comment and letting us know!

    2. Tried this recipe earlier today, it was amazing! Tasted great and loved the crackling…very good recipe indeed, thanks guys 🙂

      1. Hi Jason! We are so happy that your pork belly turned out great! Thank you for letting us know and you are welcome!

      1. Thank you very much for the sharing and it is really awesome. Indeed the skin is very crunchy…!

  1. Thanks for your recipe. I marinated the meat first then dried it in the chiller though. It was so crackling until I cant believe it! 🙂 Better than most restaurants, really worth the effort in the poking process.

    1. Hi Mary! I honestly don’t know for sure since I don’t have one. But from the ones I have looked up, it can’t see why it wouldn’t work. Hope it all goes well.

  2. I made this yesterday and it was outstanding. Thank you so much for doing all the hard work and streamlining this recipe. There are way too many recipes out there with different ways of doing it with so many other ingredients. Your recipe was so much more easier to make than I expected and it tasted delicious just like at the local Chinese restaurant. My husband was super impressed. You guys rock!

    1. Thank you so much Mai!!! We are really glad you liked the recipe and for letting us know. Have a good day!

  3. Hi there, I currently have a Breville smart top airfryer oven after the Phillips one gave up its ghost.. Am wondering if that is what you are using? From the photo, it doesn’t look like a Phillips one. If yours is similar, do you just set it to Air fryer mode? I would like to find out if the process leaves the oven at a huge oily mess. The roast pork looks amazing!

    1. Hi Donna! I use a Smith and Noble air fryer which I can’t seem to find on the net for some reason. It is very similar to a Devanti 9L Air Fryer. And yes, there will be a bit of mess after cooking. But as you probably already know, cleaning an air fryer is no where near as troublesome as cleaning an oven. Thanks for the comment!

  4. I’m definitely going to try boiling the meat first from now on! Thanks for some great tips – especially about why we shouldn’t pierce the skin too deep. I didn’t know about the juices spilling out and softening the skin.
    I’m intrigued by the pictures of your air fryer. would you mind sharing what brand you use? I have a Philips but it’s a little too small and I’m thinking of upsizing.
    Thank you again!

    1. Hi Janice! My parents bought me one as a gift about a year ago. The brand is Smith and Noble which I can’t seem to find a picture of on the internet. But it looks very similar to a Devanti 9L Air Fryer which is much more popular. Thanks for dropping a comment!

  5. Hello there, I’ll be using an oven, can you let me know what temperature to use and how long? Tq. “Cooking for dummies” 😅

    1. Hi Jillian! Honestly, I have tried making this in the oven many times and it never works quite well. That is why I have turned to the air fryer. I would love to give you instructions to do it in the oven but I am simply not confident. Sorry!

  6. Hi! This recipe sounds great! How much total time would you say the pork has to be boiled for?
    Thanks! 🙂

    1. Hi Jo! I boil the pork in a deep fry pan for 8 minutes on each side. Thanks for leaving a comment!

      1. Each side as in top and bottom or each side as in top, bottom, and both sides (so 16 total mins vs 32 total mins boiling)?

      2. Hi! I meant only the top and bottom of the pork belly. So 16 minutes in total. Good luck!

  7. Hi Scruff – do you leave the salt on the skin or wipe it off before you put in the fridge overnight?

    1. Hi Sharon! I leave the salt on the skin to help it dry out. I only wipe off moisture that has pooled on top of the skin. Thanks for comment!

  8. I have Cuisinart Fryer and this turns out perfectly if you follow the instructions. My only change, and I think this varies from fryer to fryer, is that the crackling was starting to burn into the 30 minute mark however after adjusting shorter time and less heat to 35 minutes and 180c it turned out as good as any of the best Chinese Roast meat restaurants I’ve tried. Encourages me to try other recipes. Thanks for your dedication to excellence and very clear instructions.

    1. Hi Chris! Thank you for your kind words! And yes I agree that each air fryer needs a slight tweak here and there in terms of cooking times. Thank you for letting us know of your experience and I will incorporate your feedback into the post.

    1. Hi Robyn! We are glad that the recipe worked out well for you! Thanks for letting us know!

  9. We subbed maple syrup for sugar but used the same cooking technique and it was truly one of the most beautiful, tender and flavorful pieces of pork ever.

  10. I’ve definitely enjoyed my air fryer so much more since discovering all your air fryer recipes. This one especially is my favorite!

  11. I am using the Instant Pot Vortex fryer. Mine didn’t come out like yours. The skin was just slightly crunchy and chewy. Maybe it was my cut of pork. Will have to try it again.

    1. Hi Ray! That’s unfortunate. If the pork is chewy then it is usually because it hasn’t been dried out for long enough. This recipe is for pork belly only. I have not tried other cuts of pork with this method so I can not give you advice with any confidence. Sorry!

      1. Thanks for your reply. What I meant was it was pork belly but maybe not a good part of the belly.

      2. Hi Ray! Thanks for clearing that up. The main reason the skin goes chewy is because there is too much moisture. I recommend drying out the skin for about 24 hours and wiping away any moisture build up when you can.

        Also, when you are pricking the skin, do not pass the fatty layer. If you go into the meat (too deep), the juices will spew out like a volcano in the cooking process and can make your skin very chewy.

        When buying a piece of pork belly, try to get a nice flat piece. If your pork belly has a crater like formation it will pool up the fat and the oil. This will have a negative effect on your crackling of your skin.

        I hope your next attempt will be a lot better Ray! Good luck!

      3. hi S/S,
        I redid it this time and it came out purrrfect!! Great crunch all around the skin and good texture in the meat. Next day reheating the skin was still crunchy! This is my go-to recipe. Thanks for sharing!


      4. Hi Ray! That’s really good to hear since the first attempt didn’t go as planned. Thank you for leaving us a really nice comment!

  12. If I want to cook it for dinner tomorrow, how long can i leave it in the fridge as I will prepare it the day before and then leave in the fridge until i cook it for dinner? Does it matter if it’s left for longer than 12 hours?

    1. Hi! You can leave the pork belly in the fridge for up 2 days before cooking it in the air fryer. Hope that helps!

      1. Hi. My air dryer has pans, wire racks and the main fryer basket if different than most in that it has a rotation device for fries and or rotating a chicken. Could I use the wire rack for the pork and use the pan for drippings?

  13. This is the first time that a recipe for pork belly from the internet works.
    Very easy so even I can make it. Thx for that. Even the crackling was nice.

    Now I will look for more recipes from this couple.

    Thx again.

  14. I made this roast pork belly today. I followed everything except I only left it in the fridge to dry for 1 hour, because I wanted to cook it today when I saw your recipe. I made sure I patted the skin dry before roasting.
    The roast was delicious and the crackling amazing!
    Thanks, the recipe is so easy to follow. I don’t think I will be buying from the shop again

    1. Hi Pat! Wow! Only 1 hour and your crackling turned out great. We are really happy to hear that you liked the recipe. Thank you for leaving such a nice comment!

  15. Hello, my air fryer is too small and doesn’t allow temperature selection. What is the temperature I should use and the time to cook for if I use a convection oven please?

    1. Hi Melissa! I have tried this in normal ovens without much success. So I can’t honestly tell what temp and how long in an oven. My biggest worry is that if I give you instructions and they don’t work, you will be very disappointed. Sorry Melissa!

  16. Hey… I want to make this….but I was wondering if there is another spice that could use instead of the 5spice powder?

    1. Hi Charley! Honestly, you could skip the five spice powder all together and just go with salt. It will still taste amazing! Thanks for the comment Charley!

    1. Hi Erica! To be honest, I am not sure since I have never tried it. But my best guess is that if you cut them into smaller pieces, then you will need to boil them for less time. I suggest maybe go 10 minutes in total and cook the it in the air fryer normally (40 mins at 200 C / 392 F). Hope it works!

    1. Hey Mate! Honestly go normal cheap white vinegar. Keep it simple and it will turn out great! Hope it goes well!

      1. Thanks, I did just so. Came out great (once I figured out how to use my air fryer without burning down the house)! Awesome recipe and thanks for clearing that up for me. 🙂

    1. Honestly, I have only ever used cheap white vinegar! I think it is best to keep it as simple as possible. Good Luck!!!

      1. I ended up trying once with cheap white vinegar and once with mirin; the results came out virtually the same lol. Thanks for replying and sharing! 🙂

  17. I am never cooking crispy pork belly anywhere but the air fryer. The crackling was perfect and the meat was so moist!

    1. Hi Joseph! It sounds like the recipe worked well for you! Thank you for leaving us such a nice comment!

  18. Just made this dish tonight and omg it’s so good! Skin so crispy and meat so tender! Will definitely be making it this way from now on. Another great recipe guys 🙂

  19. Hi guys, I made this pork last Friday and I was pleasantly surprised. The crackling was amazing! The only thing is that the meat wasn’t as meltingly tender as I had hoped. I wonder if I lowered the temp in the air fryer and cooked for longer would this make a difference?.

    1. Hi Astrid! To be honest, I don’t know. My guess is that if you are going to cook it low and slow then you may not need to boil the meat beforehand. I am not sure how this will effect the crackling but there is only one way to find out. Hope it goes well Astrid!

  20. Hi I am making mine tonight. Have had it in the fridge for nearly 24 hours. I havent had to wipe any moisture away? Is that a good thing? Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

  21. Couldn’t believe how well it turned out. The recipe was so easy to follow and crackling was crispy and the pork tender and juicy! We had ours with potato bake and steamed vegies. Made gravy but didnt really need it. Still excited about how it turned out. Thank you for a great recipe. It’s fool proof recipe for amateur cooks like me!

    1. Hi Heather! Every time I read a comment like this, it really brings a smile to my face! We are so happy that it worked well for you. Thank you for leaving such a nice comment!

  22. Followed this recipe and it was spot on.
    Using a Philips airfryer, 200C, 30mins… perfect skin!

    I think they key point was boiling each side for 8mins. This allowed the meat to cook thoroughly without burning the skin. Thanks for the recipe, love it!

    1. We are really glad that the pork belly went well for you! Thank you for leaving us a comment!

  23. A delicious recipe that didn’t disappoint. It was crispy, tender and juicy. I didn’t think the strong flavours of oyster sauce with fresh garlic was overpowering the pork. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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