Three-hour pork belly on a chopping board

Three-hour pork belly

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(75 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 3 hrs Plus marinating


Serves 6

Still a relatively cheap cut, pork belly yields beautiful soft flesh and crisp crackling when slow-roasted

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal585
  • fat44g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs2g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre0g
  • protein45g
  • salt0.83g
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  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
    Fennel seeds

    Fennel seeds

    feh-nell seeds

    A dried seed that comes from the fennel herb, fennel seeds look like cumin seeds, only greener,…

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 small bunch thyme, leaves only


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1½ -2kg/3lb 5oz-4lb 8oz piece boneless pork belly, skin scored
  • 2 lemons



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…


  1. Toast 2 tbsp fennel seeds and 1 tsp black peppercorns in a dry frying pan for a couple of mins. Pound them together in a pestle and mortar with some flaked sea salt, the leaves from 1 small bunch of thyme and 3 garlic cloves to make a paste.

  2. Mix with 2 tbsp olive oil and rub all over the flesh of a 1½ - 2kg piece of boneless pork belly. Cover and chill, leaving to marinate for a few hours or overnight.

  3. When ready to cook, rub the skin of the joint with plenty of salt and 1 tbsp more olive oil. Sit on a wire rack in a roasting tin and roast at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 30 mins.

  4. After this time, squeeze 2 lemons over the skin and turn the heat down to 180C/ 160C fan/gas 4. Roast for a further 2 hrs.

  5. Finally, turn the heat back up to 220C/ 200C fan/gas 7 and give it a final blast for another 30 mins or so, to finish the crackling.

  6. Allow to rest somewhere warm for 20 mins. Carve up into chunks or slices and serve with the braised cabbage (below) and bay-infused potatoes (see 'goes well with').

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Comments, questions and tips

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9th Nov, 2014
cooked this last night for a dinner party and came out very well. I think broadly its a very good recipe and the marination rub is excellent. The temp times will vary though according to each oven so would recommend people to use common sense. I roasted it at high temp as per recipe for first 30 min, reduced it to 150 for 2 hours after that (I have a fan oven). It looked pretty cooked and roasted already so did not do the 30 min of final blasting, instead finished it off under the grill to get the crispy crackling which I so wanted. Had to watch the grill the whole time with oven door open ofcourse as it burns pretty quickly. The pork came out looking very professional and was incredibly juicy and tender.
20th Aug, 2014
We have also followed the suggested tip 'braised red cabbage with apple' and absolutely love that too!
20th Aug, 2014
Cooked this now several times and we all absolutely love it and it's so easy too. Would really recommend it!
20th May, 2014
I served this for a dinner party I threw and it went down brilliantly. I marinaded the pork overnight and the flavour was lovely. It was also the most tender and juicy pork ever. This is certainly a favourite recipe now. Although, my crackling didn't crackle at all, so I cut it off and nuked it while the pork was resting. Any tips as to why it didn't crackle so beautifully with the pork like everyone else's?
13th Jan, 2014
I made this recipe yesterday. It was my first time ever making pork belly. I had searched the internet for recipes, and this one stood out as easy and doable. The results were AMAZING!!! The crackling was fabulous, and the pork itself was juicy and delicious, probably the best pork I've ever tasted. My guests were equally impressed with the results. I also made the red cabbage dish and everyone loved it. I highly recommend this recipe to anyone who's apprehensive because it's "their" first time!
cookie-queen's picture
4th Dec, 2013
Really yummy! Definitely going to make this again. Next time I'm going to try it with the red cabbage.
Bigspottedcat's picture
18th Jul, 2013
Hooray! EXCELLENT! What a crowd pleaser!!!!
5th May, 2013
Absolutely delicious. Easy to cook.
30th Apr, 2013
This is amazing! I'm not a big fan of pork but this is so soft and juicy. I've made this twice in 2 weeks, the first time we had it with the suggested red cabbage and Bay potatoes then the second time I shredded it up and he had it with homemade coleslaw in tortilla wraps. I have to admit that both times I have been guilty of eating the leftovers later in the day. I would really recommend this recipe even for people who are not usually keen on pork. Oh and the crackling has been perfect both times!
18th Feb, 2013
This recipe makes the most delicious belly pork you will ever taste, absolutely outstanding. I marinated the pork overnight. The meat was so flavoursome and juicy despite having been cooked for three hours and the crackling perfect. I also made the braised red cabbage with apple and served it with leek and potato mash, green beans and gravy. My mouth is watering just thinking about it and I can't wait to cook it again mm mm mm.


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