Instant Pot Pork Belly

pork belly braised in caramel sauce with scallion on top

Who doesn’t love pork belly?! This Instant Pot Braised Pork Belly recipe is one of my favorite dishes for New Year’s Eve, dinner parties, and any other special occasion.

pork belly braised in caramel sauce with scallion on top

It's a classic comfort Chinese entree recipe and it's really easy to make using your Instant Pot.

Why This Recipe Works

This recipe is unique in its preparation, but it results in a perfectly tender, well balanced final dish. We start out by marinating the pork in a mixture of shallots, garlic, fish sauce and soy sauce, which gives a delicious touch to the pork belly.

What really makes this recipe stand out is the use of sugar to make a caramel-like sauce. The pork belly is then cooked in this caramel mixture which gives it a delicious sweet outer shell that adds a nice textural element.


Shallots – you can also use onion, but I prefer the milder taste of shallots here.

Fish sauce – don’t skip on the fish sauce! It adds big umami flavor. A little bit goes a long way.

Thick soy sauce – thicker and darker than regular soy sauce, thick soy sauce is also significantly sweeter. They are not interchangeable.

Pork belly – pork belly can be hard to find but should be sold at your local butcher shop. Look for a lean cut and try to buy it whole rather than pre-sliced to cut big chunks.

Sugar – you can also use light brown sugar, but it’s easier to monitor the cooking using white granulated sugar.

Coconut water – plain water works as well, but coconut water gives a special taste to the pork.

How to make

Gather your ingredients:

In a large bowl, add the shallots, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, salt, and black pepper, and mix until well combined.

Place the sugar in the Instant Pot and select “Sauté”.

Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until sugar starts to become dark in color, stirring frequently.

Add the pork belly pieces and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously.

Select “Cancel” and stir in the coconut water.

Secure the lid and turn to the “Seal” position. Cook on “Manual” with “High Pressure” for about 35 minutes. Then release the steam naturally for 15 min.

Carefully, remove the lid and serve with sliced scallions for garnish.

How to Serve

I like to serve this Instant Pot Pork Belly at dinner parties as an appetizer or shared plate. You can serve it inside bao buns or with toothpicks to make it an easy appetizer.

If you want to make a complete meal, simply serve it over rice and alongside a fresh salad. Here are some other unique ideas for rice sides that pair well with this recipe:

Instant Pot Coconut Rice

Instant Pot Fried Rice

Instant Pot Brown Rice

Need more ideas? Check out What To Serve With Pork Belly for 15 delicious side dishes.

More Pork Recipes

If you like pork recipes, here are a few more options for you to choose from:

Instant Pot Pork Shoulder

Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin

Instant Pot Pork Roast

Instant Pot Pork Adobo

Instant Pot Pork Hock


Can I use something else other than Pork Belly?

Sure! Feel free to use pork shoulder or even tofu. For more ideas check these pork belly alternatives.

Is there another name for pork belly?

Pork belly is also called side pork belly pork side. It is from the underbelly of the pig, and it’s the cut of pork that pancetta and bacon come from.

Is pork belly the same as bacon?

Although bacon is made from pork belly, they are not the same, and you cannot use bacon in this recipe. Bacon is cured and smoked, and typically sliced somewhat thin, while pork belly is the raw product before curing, smoking, and slicing.

pork belly braised in caramel sauce with scallion on top

Instant Pot Pork Belly

A tender and juicy pork belly dish infused with rich Chinese flavors.
4.70 from 26 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Braised Pork Belly, scallions, shallots
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: Corrie


  • 2 shallots chopped finely
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon thick soy sauce
  • 2 ½ lb lean pork belly cut into 1-inch squares
  • 7 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups coconut water or water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 scallion chopped


  • Take the shallots, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, salt and black pepper and mix well in a bowl.
  • Add the pork pieces and coat with the mixture.
  • Place the sugar in the Instant Pot and select saute.
  • Cook the sugar for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Add the pork belly pieces and saute for 5 minutes.
  • Cancel the saute and add the water.
  • Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes.
  • When cooking time ends, wait for a natural release for 15 minutes.
  • Once done, do a quick pressure release and open the lid.
  • Add scallions on top, serve and enjoy 🙂


Calories: 60kcal Carbohydrates: 14g Protein: 1g Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 1g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Sodium: 418mg Potassium: 193mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 13g Vitamin A: 16IU Vitamin C: 3mg Calcium: 22mg Iron: 1mg


  • You can marinate the pork belly pieces in the shallow-soy sauce mixture ahead of time, up to a few hours in the refrigerator, to infuse extra flavor.
  • When you are cooking the sugar, be sure to stir constantly to avoid scorching. Once the color starts to turn, it will quickly turn from golden brown to black, so you’ll want to keep a close eye on it, so it doesn’t burn.
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5 thoughts on “Instant Pot Pork Belly

    1. Good question - it's a different product than your standard soy sauce-- it's thicker, darker, and sweeter. Sometimes it's called dark soy sauce or soy paste.

    2. I was also wondering about this. I’ve never heard of ‘thick’ soy sauce in the U.K. but, from what I’ve read, this is the same as dark soy sauce.

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