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How To Reheat Pork Belly [I Try 4 Methods]

There’s nothing more delicious than freshly roasted crispy pork belly. But a close runner-up is reheated pork belly (if revived in the right way).

I conducted an experiment to find out the best way of reheating pork belly, so that:

  • The skin retains its crispy, crackly texture (no sogginess in sight!)
  • The meat doesn’t dry out in the process

In this article, I explain exactly how to reheat your leftover pork to get it (nearly) as good as day one.

I also cover some best practices for storing and freezing your pork belly for later.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

What’s the best way to reheat pork belly? The best way to reheat pork belly is in a frying pan. Slice the pork belly into thin slices while heating some oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add the pork belly and sear it on both sides. Next, use a pair of tongs to hold the pork belly skin face-down against the pan for 20-30 seconds.

A note on my experiment

I roasted a nice chunk of pork belly until the meat was melt-in-your-mouth-tender and the skin was crispy, fought off the temptation to devour it, and left it in the fridge overnight.

The next day, I tested four different ways of reheating the pork belly.

I tested:

  • Oven (good for large pieces of pork belly)
  • Air fryer (a bit too drying)
  • Frying in a skillet (my favorite way and good for small bits of pork belly)
  • Microwave (good for meat, but bad for skin)

The best way was in the frying pan. The skin was crispy and the meat succulent. The oven also worked well. 

I found the air fryer very drying on the meat but good for crisping the skin. The microwave was the opposite. It kept the meat moist, but the skin was soggy,

If you’re willing to separate the meat and the skin, you could use a combination of methods. For example, reheating the meat in the microwave and then the skin in the oven.

Reheating pork belly in the oven

To reheat pork belly in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Then separate the skin of the pork belly from the meat. Wrap the meat in foil with some sauce or stock and lay the skin uncovered next to it. Heat the pork belly for 10-15 minutes, and then crisp the skin up under the broiler if needed.

The oven is my go-to method for reheating pork belly because you can keep the meat moist while also crisping up soggy skin.

How to reheat pork belly in the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
  2. Separate the skin from the meat of the pork belly (optional – see notes below if you don’t want to do this).
  3. Wrap the meat in aluminum foil, adding some sauce/stock/water to the foil parcel before sealing it. Don’t skimp on the liquid because this is what will stop your meat from drying out.
  4. Place the meat on the lower shelf of your oven.
  5. Put the skin uncovered in the oven on a higher shelf.
  6. Heat the meat and the skin in the oven for 10-15 minutes. The meat is ready when the internal temperature shows 165°F/73°C (you can measure this with a meat thermometer).
  7. If the skin isn’t crispy enough for your liking by the time the meat is done, then put it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes.

If you don’t want to separate the skin and the meat, just cover the pork belly’s meat with foil, leaving the skin exposed. If the skin needs some more crisping up, you can put the whole thing under the broiler for a few minutes at the end.

Pork belly is hard to reheat because you want to do two different things. You want the meat to stay succulent and moist, but you want the skin to dry out and crisp up. 

The foil packet with the liquid helps produce a succulent meat piece by re-moisturizing it and preventing any liquid from escaping. 

But you don’t want to cover the skin because the last thing you want to do is add moisture to the skin! Leaving the skin uncovered means it will dry out and become crunchy again. And you have the option to blast it with heat for a few minutes under the broiler if you need to.

Note: 10-15 minutes is a guesstimate based on a thicker-than-average slice of pork belly. If you have thin slices, your meat won’t need as long. If you have a big joint, it’ll need longer.

My verdict

The oven was a solid performer in my test. 

The meat was decent (very slightly on the dry side), and the skin was crispy. 

However, it was the method that took the longest, which lost it a point in my eyes. 

If you have a big joint of pork belly, using the oven will be your only real option unless you want to cut the belly up into smaller pieces.

Reheating pork belly in a skillet

To reheat pork belly in a skillet, slice it into thin slices while heating some oil in the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the pork belly and sear it on both sides before using tongs to hold the skin-side face-down on the pan. If you have pork-belly bits, then simply stir them in the pan until they’re heated.

The skillet is a quick and easy way to reheat pork belly that’s already been diced or sliced.

It was actually my favorite method because of how good the meat tasted. It was the only method that kept the skin and the meat intact and produced really juicy flesh with crispy skin.

How to reheat pork belly in a skillet:

  1. Heat some oil in a pan until it’s shimmering. The pork belly should sizzle when it hits the pan.
  2. Slice your pork belly up or chop it into small bits.
  3. Add the pork belly to the pan and fry it until it’s heated through.
  4. Flip the pork belly over so it heats from all sides, focusing on the skin side at the end to get it extra crispy.

Feel free to add anything else to the skillet you want. Sauces, vegetables, rice, or eggs are all great additions to a pork belly stir fry.

The pork belly might fall apart slightly if you’re too vigorous with the stirring, but this doesn’t take away from the taste.

Another option you have is to use more oil and shallow fry the pork belly pieces. This will dry the meat out but crisp the skin up beautifully.

(It’s not the healthiest option mind).

My verdict

I am a big fan of pan-frying pork belly. You get succulent meat and a crunch on the skin. 

It will only work with slices or smaller bits of pork, and you need to stand by the stove attending to the meat.

But, for me, it’s well worth it.

Reheating pork belly in the air fryer

To reheat pork belly in the air fryer, preheat it to 350°F/180°C. Then sprinkle the meat part of the belly with water and cover it with foil, leaving the skin exposed. Position the pork belly with the skin facing upwards and heat it for 3-4 minutes. 

The air fryer is a convenient way of reheating pork belly (if you have an air fryer!), and you get super crispy skin.

But the meat tends to come out quite dry because the heat is so harsh.

How to reheat pork belly in the air fryer:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F/180°C.
  2. Sprinkle the meat with some water or stock, avoid getting any on the skin.
  3. Cover the meat section of the pork belly with foil, leaving the skin exposed.
  4. Arrange the pork belly in the air fryer basket to stand upright with the skin facing the sky. If the pork belly doesn’t stand up on its own, you can rest it against the side of the basket.
  5. Heat the pork belly for 3-4 minutes, then check its internal temperature with a meat thermometer. If it’s 165°F/73°C, the meat is ready.

You need to be very careful not to overdo it in the air fryer. 

Air fryers are small, super-heated convection ovens. A minute or two too long, and the meat will be dry as a bone!

The foil aims to trap moisture and protect the meat from drying out too much. But it can’t save it completely.

Another warning is don’t overcrowd the air fryer with pork belly.

There needs to be enough room around the meat for air to circulate. If you’ve got a lot of pork to reheat, do it in batches.

My verdict

The air fryer was quicker than the oven, but the meat came out way too dry. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend it for reheating pork belly.

My skin also wasn’t as crispy as I expected because I accidentally got some water on it, so avoid repeating my mistake!

Reheating pork belly in the microwave

To reheat pork belly in the microwave, place it on a microwave-safe plate and sprinkle the meat with some water. Avoid wetting the skin. Heat the pork belly on high in 30-second intervals until it’s heated through. If you want crispy skin, remove the skin and reheat it under the broiler instead.

Pork belly meat reheats well in the microwave and stays moist, but the skin won’t fare as well.

The skin won’t crisp up in the microwave. Instead, it will become chewy and rubbery.

For this reason, the microwave isn’t the best choice for pork belly unless you remove the skin first and reheat it using a different method.

How to reheat pork belly in the microwave:

  1. Place the pork belly on a microwave-safe plate. If you have a big chunk of belly, it’s best to slice it up so it reheats quicker and more evenly.
  2. Sprinkle the meat section of the belly with some water. Avoid getting any water on the skin.
  3. Heat the pork belly on high in 30-second intervals until it’s heated through. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. When it reaches 165°F/73°C the meat is ready.

The water will help keep the meat moist, but I don’t suggest covering in-tact pork belly because this will completely ruin the skin. 

If you decide to take the skin off the pork belly and just put the meat in the microwave, then put the meat in a bowl, sprinkle on some water, and cover it with a pierced piece of plastic wrap.

This will trap any steam and re-moisturize the meat.

To reheat the skin separately, simply pop it under the broiler for a few minutes.

My verdict

The meat was nice out of the microwave. It was juicy and moist. But, as expected, the skin wasn’t discernable from the meat in terms of texture. The skin was soft and soggy. 

In a hurry, the microwave is okay, but if you have a way of crisping up the skin that would be a far better choice.

How to store pork belly

To store pork belly, wait until it’s cooled to room temperature and then place it in an airtight container in the fridge. The pork belly will last 3-4 days. To keep the skin as crispy as possible, cover it with a paper towel. The paper towel will absorb any excess moisture.

It’s important to wait until the pork belly is cool because otherwise, condensation in your container will turn the skin soggy.

But never leave pork belly out on the side for over two hours. After this, bacteria can start to multiply, and you risk getting sick.

Can you freeze pork belly?

Pork belly freezes really well. Wait until it’s completely cool, then wrap the pork belly in aluminum foil and put it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Squeeze as much air out of the freezer bag as you can before putting it in the freezer. The pork belly will be good for up to 6 months.

Always portion up the pork belly before you freeze it to save you having to defrost more than you need.

If you have smaller bits of pork belly, like slices or bites, I recommend flash-freezing them. 

Lay them out on a baking tray and put them in the freezer for an hour.

You can then transfer the pork belly pieces to a bigger container without worrying about them sticking together.

The double layer of protection from the foil and the freezer bag helps prevent any freezer burn.

If you have a vacuum sealer, this is even better and will keep the pork belly at best quality for the longest. 

If you want to thaw the pork belly, simply take it out of the freezer the day before you want to use it and place it in the fridge overnight.

Can I cook pork belly from frozen?

You can cook pork belly straight from frozen. The general rule is to add on 50% cooking time for frozen meat. So if you would cook it for 2 hours from fresh, you need to cook it for 3 hours from frozen. The oven is best for reheating frozen pork belly.

How to reheat braised pork belly

To reheat braised pork belly, put it in a pan with some leftover braising liquid, cover it, and heat with a low/medium heat. Bring the liquid to a simmer but don’t allow it to boil. Boiling water will cook the meat instead of reheating it. The heat from the liquid will slowly warm the meat.

You can also use the microwave. Put the braised pork belly in a bowl and cover it with some pierced plastic wrap. Heat the dish on high for 30-60 seconds.

What to do with leftover pork belly

If you don’t fancy eating your leftover pork belly by itself, here are a few ideas for what to do with it.

  • Have it for breakfast mixed into scrambled eggs or an omelet.
  • Add it to fried rice along with any vegetables you have that need using up. A fried egg on top finishes off the dish nicely.
  • Make a sandwich for lunch! Pork belly and slaw. Or you can get a little fancier and use the pork belly in tacos or steamed buns.
  • Make a pork belly ramen. Great for warming you up on a cold day.
  • Make the famous Italian pasta bucatini all amatriciana. Pork belly, onions, and tomato sauce – delicious!

The BEST Way To Reheat Pork Belly

There’s nothing more delicious than freshly roasted crispy pork belly. But a close runner-up is reheated pork belly (if revived in the right way).
I conducted an experiment to find out the best way of reheating pork belly, so that:
– The skin retains it’s crispy, crackly texture (no sogginess in sight!)
– The meat doesn’t doesn’t dry out in the process
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine All
Servings 1 person
Calories 518 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion pork belly
  • 1 tsp oil

Instructions
 

  • Heat some oil in a pan until it’s shimmering. The pork belly should sizzle when it hits the pan.
  • Slice your pork belly up or chop it into small bits.
  • Add the pork belly to the pan and fry it until it’s heated through.
  • Flip the pork belly over so it heats from all sides, focusing on the skin side at the end to get it extra crispy.
  • Another option you have is to use more oil and shallow fry the pork belly pieces. This will dry the meat out but crisp the skin up beautifully.

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 518kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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