Pork Belly Bao

Tucked into soft and steamy buns, this meltingly tender restaurant favorite is easy to make at home and even better the next day.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 4 hr 40 min (includes marinating time)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 15 buns
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1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds pork belly, skin off

15 frozen bao buns

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 red jalapeño, thinly sliced

1/2 cup firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Mix together the sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, hoisin, garlic, ginger and a generous amount of pepper in a medium bowl. Cut the pork belly in half and place in an 8-inch square baking dish with the fatty side up. Pour the marinade over top of the pork belly, cover tightly with foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. 
  3. Bake, covered, until the pork is tender and easy to shred with a fork, about 2 hours. Remove to a cutting board and set aside. Pour the cooking liquid into a medium skillet, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, steam the bao buns according to the package directions. 
  5. Heat the vegetable oil in a small skillet over high heat until very hot. Add the scallions and jalapeño and cook until just starting to turn tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a small plate. 
  6. Slice the pork belly into 15 pieces. Once the cooking liquid has been reduced, turn the heat off, place the pork belly into the skillet and flip once just to coat with the sauce. 
  7. Place a piece of pork belly in each bun, sprinkle with the scallion-jalapeño mixture and garnish with a few cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.
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