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Keto Flipped Pork Belly

4.4 stars, average of 62 ratings

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I’ve got a love hate relationship with pork crackling. My husband loves it, it’s one of his favourite things.

When I was young and carefree, I used to just throw a pork roast in the oven at temperature, until it seemed cooked, with no thought whatsoever as to correct technique or cooking temperatures. And it turned out wonderful. Every. Single. Time.

And then I got smart, I learned all about oiling and salting the skin. I read about the importance of drying the skin. I watched cooking shows where they taught me to cook it fast and hot and then turn it down…and I could not for the life of me get that wonderful crispy, bubbly crackling back again.

Ignorance was pork crackling bliss.

I got increasingly desperate and started trying all kinds of weird things. I saw a chef steam his pork belly before crisping it and I thought, hmmm. I tried it and it aaalmost worked perfectly.

A famous local cookbook author cooks hers upside down and swears by it, so I tried it too. Again, it was almost there.

So, I hit on the idea of steaming it and then cooking it flipped and voila! Perfect, bubbly, crunchy pork crackling with soft and tender belly.

I know that it seems like a bit of messing around, but it’s not really. And compared to the gut wrenching disappointment of pulling yet another pork roast with chewy tough skin out of the oven? It’s worth every second.

Note: Nutrition facts are estimated (about half of the fat in the pork will be lost during cooking which is considered in the table below). Due to its high-calorie value, this meal is suitable for intermittent fasting. You can find more keto recipes suitable for IF here. This meal can be stretched to 6 servings (about 4 oz/ 113 g of cooked meat per serving).

Hands-on Overall

Serving size about 140 g/ 5 oz cooked

Allergy information for Keto Flipped Pork Belly

✔  Gluten free
✔  Dairy free
✔  Egg free
✔  Nut free
✔  Nightshade free
✔  Avocado free
✔  Coconut free
✔  Fish free
✔  Shellfish free
✔  Beef free

Nutritional values (per serving, about 140 g/ 5 oz cooked)

Net carbs2.6 grams
Protein23.7 grams
Fat81.6 grams
Calories806 kcal
Calories from carbs 1%, protein 11%, fat 88%
Total carbs3.5 gramsFiber1 gramsSugars2.4 gramsSaturated fat29.7 gramsSodium1,803 mg(78% RDA)Magnesium24 mg(6% RDA)Potassium686 mg(34% EMR)

Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

  • 1 kg raw pork belly (2.2 lb)
  • 1 large brown onion (150 g/ 5.3 oz)
  • 1 handful fresh sage (approx. 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, ghee, lard, goose or duck fat (30 ml)
  • 1 tbsp pink Himalayan salt or sea salt flakes


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a gentle simmer. Make regular slices in the skin of the pork belly, being sure not to cut down into the flesh.
  2. Place belly, skin side down in a steamer pot and steam gently for 15 minutes. This opens the skin up and allows the fats to start to soften (I have been told that you can also pour boiling water over it to achieve the same result, but I’ve not tried that. Let me know if you do). Keto Flipped Pork Belly
  3. Preheat oven to 190 °C/ 375 °F (fan assisted), or 210 °C/ 410 °F (conventional). Remove the belly from the steamer and place, skin side up, on a tray.
  4. Pat dry with paper towels. If you want to get the skin dry, use your hairdryer on low, cool air setting and open out the skin as much as possible. Keto Flipped Pork Belly
  5. Rub the oil of choice (I used duck fat) into the skin, getting right into the slits. Keto Flipped Pork Belly
  6. Sprinkle with Himalayan salt flakes and massage them in well also. Keto Flipped Pork Belly
  7. Place pork belly skin side down onto your roasting tray. Roast for 1 hour. Keto Flipped Pork Belly
  8. Increase oven temperature to 220 °C/ 430 °F (fan assisted), or 240 °C/ 465 °F (conventional). Take belly out of roasting dish and sit to one side.
  9. Slice onion into four thick rounds and sit in the bottom of the roasting tray, along with the fresh sage leaves. Turn pork belly over, skin side up, and place on top of the onions. Roast for 30 minutes or until the skin is bubbly and crisp. Keto Flipped Pork Belly Note: if you want to give it a little boost at the end, very carefully put it under the grill for a few minutes. Keto Flipped Pork Belly
  10. Serve with a big bowl of green salad, keto cauli-mash or Keto Jalapeño Popper Potato Salad. Leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator for 4 days. Keto Flipped Pork Belly

Ingredient nutritional breakdown (per serving, about 140 g/ 5 oz cooked)

Net carbsProteinFatCalories
Pork belly, raw (half fat lost during cooking)
0 g23.3 g75 g733 kcal
Onion, brown (yellow), raw
2.4 g0.3 g0 g14 kcal
Sage, fresh
0.2 g0.1 g0.1 g2 kcal
Duck fat
0 g0 g6.5 g57 kcal
Salt, pink Himalayan rock salt
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Total per serving, about 140 g/ 5 oz cooked
2.6 g23.7 g81.6 g806 kcal

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Naomi Sherman
Creator of

Naomi Sherman

Naomi is the force behind Naomi Sherman, Food Creative. She is passionate about recipe development, food photography and styling.

An accomplished home cook who was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease eight years ago, Naomi started to explore the connection between healthy, whole food and her symptoms, and a new love was born.

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Comments (2)

I pour boiling water over the skin then pat dry and leave it unwrapped in the fridge/ice box with a nice salt spice rub on the flesh part. I cook the pork belly the next day but a couple of hours would work too.
PS To get the most bubbly light crispy crackling try poking lots and lots of small holes into the skin rather than cuts.
PPS favourite spice pairing is star anise

Thank you so much Brenda! I did use a special tool I got for poking small holes to make pork belly once before and it produced the perfect bubbly crisp skin 😊