Juicy Teriyaki Pork Belly Recipe: Easy Make-Ahead Tips & Serving Ideas

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Written By Hot Thai Restaurant

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We’re diving into a culinary adventure that marries the rich, indulgent flavors of pork belly with the sweet and savory zing of teriyaki sauce. This teriyaki pork belly recipe is more than just a dish; it’s a journey through taste and tradition, bringing a slice of Japanese cuisine right into your kitchen. With its roots steeped in the art of balance and simplicity, this recipe promises a delightful experience for both the cook and the diner.

Crafting this dish is like painting with flavors, where each ingredient plays a crucial role in creating the masterpiece. We’ve experimented, tasted, and tweaked to bring you a version that’s both authentic and accessible, ensuring you get to savor the best of both worlds. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a curious foodie, this teriyaki pork belly recipe is set to impress, making any meal a memorable occasion. So, let’s get the pans ready and embark on this deliciously rewarding journey together.

Ingredients for Teriyaki Pork Belly

Building on our journey into the heart of Japanese cuisine, we’re about to dive into the specifics of what makes this teriyaki pork belly recipe not just good, but great. Here’s everything you’ll need to bring this savory delight to life in your kitchen.

Pork Belly and Marinade Components

For the star of our dish, the pork belly, and its flavorful companion, the marinade, you’ll need:

  • 1.5 lbs of pork belly, skin-on and sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce; this is the base of our marinade, giving it that unmistakably deep and savory flavor
  • 1/4 cup of mirin, adding a touch of sweetness and a hint of sake-like flavor without the alcohol
  • 2 tablespoons of sake, which will enhance the depth of flavors
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar, to balance out the savory with a gentle sweet kick
  • 1 tablespoon of finely grated ginger, for that zesty punch that melds so well with the rest of our marinade
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced, to introduce a warm and aromatic profile to our dish

Ensure each piece of pork belly is well-coated in this marinade mix for at least one hour, or for best results, overnight in the refrigerator. This not only infuses the pork with the rich, complex flavors of the marinade but also tenderizes it, guaranteeing each bite is as succulent as it is tasty.

Additional Ingredients and Garnishes

To round off our dish and add those final touches that elevate it from good to unforgettable, gather:

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, for searing the pork belly to perfection
  • 1/2 cup of water, which will be mixed with the remaining marinade to create a sumptuous sauce
  • Green onions, finely sliced, for a fresh, sharp garnish that contrasts beautifully with the rich pork
  • Sesame seeds, lightly toasted, adding a nutty crunch and visual appeal

The addition of these ingredients towards the end of cooking ensures a dish that’s as aesthetically pleasing as it is delicious. The fresh sharpness of the green onions and the nutty crunch of sesame seeds not only provide a contrast in textures and flavors but also add a pop of color that makes this dish a feast for the eyes.

With these ingredients prepped and ready to go, we’re all set to turn this collection of quality components into a dish that promises to be a flavorful excursion into the essence of Japanese cooking.

Tools and Equipment Needed

To embark on your culinary journey to create the perfect teriyaki pork belly, having the right tools and equipment is as crucial as the ingredients themselves. We’ve put together a list of essential items that will ensure your cooking process is smooth and the outcome, delicious.

Cutting Board and Knife

Before anything else, you’ll need a sturdy cutting board and a sharp knife. These are essential for slicing the pork belly into perfect, bite-size pieces, ensuring that each slice cooks evenly and absorbs the teriyaki marinade thoroughly.

Mixing Bowls

For preparing the teriyaki marinade, a set of mixing bowls is necessary. You’ll use these to combine soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, ginger, and garlic into a harmonious blend. Having a few different sizes on hand can be helpful for other steps in the recipe as well.

Whisk or Fork

A whisk or a sturdy fork is ideal for stirring the marinade, ensuring all the sugar dissolves, and the ingredients are well combined. This action is key to getting a smooth, flavorful sauce that will coat your pork belly slices perfectly.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Accuracy matters in cooking, especially when balancing the flavors of your teriyaki sauce. Measuring cups and spoons will help you add the exact amounts of soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar, creating the perfect marinade mixture.

Skillet or Frying Pan

A high-quality skillet or frying pan is crucial for cooking the pork belly to perfection. It should be large enough to accommodate the meat without overcrowding it, allowing each piece to caramelize and brown evenly.

Silicone Spatula or Tongs

When it comes time to cook the pork belly, silicone spatulas or tongs will make your job easier and safer. They’ll help you to flip the slices effortlessly, ensuring they’re cooked evenly on both sides.


Lastly, you’ll need a small saucepan for simmering the extra teriyaki sauce. This is where your sauce will thicken and flavor will concentrate, making it the perfect glaze to drizzle over your finished dish.

Preparing the Pork Belly

Now that we have all our tools and equipment ready, let’s dive into preparing the pork belly. This is a crucial step to ensure our teriyaki pork belly turns out flavorful and tender.

Trimming and Slicing

First, we’ll start by trimming any excess fat from the pork belly. While fat does add flavor, we want a balance to ensure every bite is enjoyable. Place the pork belly on a cutting board and, using a sharp knife, carefully trim off any thick layers of fat. Remember, maintaining a bit of fat is essential for juiciness and flavor, so aim to trim it down to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.

Next, we’re going to slice the pork belly into strips or pieces, depending on your preference. For this recipe, we recommend slicing the pork belly into 1/2-inch thick strips. This size is ideal as it allows the pork belly to cook evenly and absorb the teriyaki sauce beautifully, giving you that perfect blend of savory and sweet with each bite.

Tenderizing the Meat

Tenderizing the pork belly is a step you don’t want to skip. Although pork belly is naturally tender due to its fat content, tenderizing it further will ensure it melts in your mouth after cooking.

To tenderize, lay the sliced pork belly strips flat on your cutting board. Then, using the flat side of a meat tenderizer, gently pound each strip a few times. This process helps break down the fibers, making the meat even more tender. Plus, it creates tiny indentations in the meat, which allows the teriyaki marinade to penetrate deeper, infusing the pork belly with all those delicious flavors.

Once you’ve trimmed, sliced, and tenderized your pork belly, it’s ready for marinating, bringing us one step closer to achieving that mouthwatering teriyaki pork belly we’re aiming for. Let’s move on to marinating and cooking, where the magic really happens.

Making the Teriyaki Sauce

After carefully preparing the pork belly and ensuring it’s primed to soak in all the flavors, it’s time to craft the heart of this dish – the teriyaki sauce. This homemade teriyaki sauce marries the savory with the sweet, embodying the essence of this beloved Japanese cuisine.

Mixing the Ingredients

For the teriyaki sauce, we’ll start with:

  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of sake (Japanese rice wine)
  • 1/4 cup of mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil

First, take a medium-sized bowl and whisk together the soy sauce, water, sake, and mirin until completely blended. Add the brown sugar to the mixture and continue whisking until the sugar dissolves fully. This will form the base of our sauce, ensuring a harmonious balance between the ingredients. The addition of fresh garlic and ginger introduces an aromatic kick, while the sesame oil lends a subtle nuttiness that complements the overall flavor profile. It’s essential to integrate these elements well to achieve the depth and complexity characteristic of traditional teriyaki sauce.

Simmering to Perfection

Now that our ingredients are well-mixed, pour them into a small saucepan and set it over medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. As it simmers, you’ll notice the sauce beginning to reduce slightly and thicken. This is the crucial stage where all the flavors deepen and meld together, transforming into that rich, glossy teriyaki sauce we all love.

Keep a keen eye on the sauce and adjust the heat as necessary to prevent it from boiling too vigorously. After about 10 minutes, the sauce should have thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon — a perfect indicator that it’s ready. If you prefer your teriyaki sauce on the thicker side, you can simmer it a bit longer, but remember, it will continue to thicken as it cools.

Once off the heat, let the sauce cool slightly before doing a taste test. Adjust with a little more sugar if you prefer it sweeter or a splash of soy sauce for a saltier edge. This homemade teriyaki sauce is now ready to marinate the pork belly strips or to be brushed on during the final stages of cooking for that irresistible glaze.

Marinating the Pork Belly

After preparing our homemade teriyaki sauce, it’s time to let the pork belly soak up all those delectable flavors. This step is crucial for infusing the meat with the savory-sweet essence of the teriyaki sauce, ensuring every bite is a delicious experience.

Coating the Pork in Teriyaki Sauce

To begin, we’ll lay the prepped pork belly slices in a shallow dish or a resealable plastic bag for ease. It’s important to spread them out so each piece can be evenly coated. Pour the teriyaki sauce we’ve crafted over the pork, making sure every slice is well covered. This even coverage is key to ensuring the flavors penetrate the meat thoroughly. Using gloves or a spoon, we gently toss the pork belly slices with the sauce, ensuring each piece is fully coated. This method allows the sauce to envelop the meat entirely, setting the stage for a flavorful marination process.

Marination Time

Once our pork belly slices are generously coated in the teriyaki sauce, it’s time for them to marinate. For the best results, we recommend marinating in the refrigerator for at least two hours. However, if you’re planning ahead, leaving them overnight will deepen the flavors even more, creating an even more impactful taste experience. Remember to turn the slices halfway through the marination time to ensure every part of the meat has the opportunity to absorb the teriyaki sauce evenly. This patience in marination promises a tender and richly flavored final dish that’s well worth the wait.

Cooking Teriyaki Pork Belly

After marinating the pork belly to perfection, we’re ready to cook it and bring out its incredible flavors and textures.

Pan-Searing for Crispiness

First, let’s get that irresistible crispiness going. Heat a non-stick skillet or pan over medium-high heat. There’s no need for additional oil since the pork belly has its own fat that will render out. Once the pan is hot, add the pork belly slices, laying them flat to ensure even contact with the pan. Sear each side for about 3-4 minutes or until you achieve a beautiful golden-brown crust. This step not only enhances the texture but also locks in those lovely teriyaki flavors we’ve infused during marination. Remember to work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan, which can lead to steaming rather than searing. You’re aiming for that perfect balance between crispy edges and tender meat, a hallmark of a great teriyaki pork belly.

Finishing in the Oven

After achieving that perfect sear, it’s time to finish cooking the pork belly in the oven. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the seared pork belly slices onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. This not only prevents sticking but also makes cleanup a breeze. Arrange the slices in a single layer to ensure they cook evenly. Here, the oven takes over, gently finishing the cooking process, allowing the pork belly to soak up more of the teriyaki sauce’s flavors, and ensuring the meat is tender and succulent.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the pork belly reaches your desired level of doneness. Halfway through, consider brushing on a bit more of your homemade teriyaki sauce for an extra flavor boost. This will also help to achieve a more glaze-like finish on the exterior of the pork belly, adding to the depth of flavors.

This dual cooking method—searing followed by oven finishing—ensures your teriyaki pork belly is perfectly cooked, boasting a crispy exterior, tender and juicy interior, all enveloped in a rich, savory teriyaki glaze. It’s a surefire way to elevate your meal and impress anyone with a love for deep, complex flavors.

Assembling the Dish

After mastering the art of cooking the teriyaki pork belly to perfection, we’re now ready to bring together all the elements to plate our dish that guarantees to awe and satisfy.

Arranging the Cooked Pork Belly

First, we’ll start by slicing the pork belly into bite-sized pieces if you haven’t done so already. It’s essential to slice them evenly to ensure each piece cooks uniformly and offers the same delightful texture and flavor. Next, take a serving platter or individual plates, depending on how you plan to serve the dish. Lay the pieces out neatly, slightly overlapping if necessary, to showcase the beautifully seared edges and the glistening teriyaki glaze that coats each slice. The arrangement should be both appetizing and functional, making it easy for diners to take a piece and enjoy the succulent pork with ease.

Garnishing and Adding Final Touches

To elevate the dish further, let’s add some garnishes that complement both the flavors and colors of our teriyaki pork belly. Thinly sliced green onions or scallions can be sprinkled over the top, offering a slight crunch and a fresh contrast to the rich, savory flavor of the pork. Additionally, a sprinkle of sesame seeds not only adds a subtle nuttiness but also enhances the visual appeal with their white and black hues against the glossy, dark sauce. For a final touch, consider adding a few delicately placed slices of red chili or a drizzle of sesame oil for those who appreciate an extra kick or a deeper sesame flavor. These final embellishments not only introduce a variety of textures and flavors but also create a more rounded, enticing dish that promises a delightful culinary experience with every bite.

Serving Suggestions

After perfecting the art of making succulent teriyaki pork belly, how you serve it can elevate this dish from delicious to truly unforgettable. Let’s explore some serving suggestions that will complement the flavors and make your meal a feast for the eyes as well.


Finding the right side dishes to accompany your teriyaki pork belly can balance the meal and enhance the overall dining experience. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Steamed Rice: A classic choice, fluffy steamed rice works wonders in soaking up the rich teriyaki sauce, making every bite a perfect blend of savory and sweet.
  • Vegetable Stir-Fry: Opt for a colorful vegetable stir-fry with bell peppers, snap peas, and carrots for a crisp and healthy addition to your meal.
  • Japanese Cucumber Salad: A refreshing side, this salad adds a crisp, cooling contrast to the rich pork belly, dressed lightly with rice vinegar and sesame seeds.
  • Miso Soup: A warm bowl of miso soup, with its umami richness, is an excellent starter that prepares the palate for the main teriyaki delight.
  • Soba Noodles: For a more filling option, cold or warm soba noodles tossed in a light soy-based sauce can be a wonderful accompaniment, adding texture and depth.

Plating Tips

Presentation plays a pivotal role in elevating the dining experience. Here’s how to plate your teriyaki pork belly for maximum impact:

  • Slice Evenly: Ensure the pork belly is sliced uniformly to not only cook evenly but also present beautifully on the plate.
  • Layer Artistically: Arrange the slices in a cascading manner on a platter to showcase the seared edges and the glossy teriyaki glaze.
  • Garnishes: Sprinkle finely chopped green onions and sesame seeds over the top for a pop of color and texture. A few thin slices of red chili can add a spark of heat and a dash of vibrancy.
  • Sauce Drizzle: If you have extra teriyaki sauce, gently drizzle it around the pork belly slices, creating a visually appealing and flavorful base.
  • Serve Hot: To maximize the sensory experience, make sure to serve the dish hot. This ensures the pork belly’s exterior remains crispy, contrasting beautifully with its tender interior.

Make-Ahead Tips

To ensure a hassle-free cooking process and enhance the flavors of our teriyaki pork belly, we’ve gathered some make-ahead tips that can save time and elevate the taste.

Marinating Overnight

Marinating the pork belly overnight is one of the most effective ways to infuse it with the rich, savory-sweet flavors of the teriyaki sauce. Simply prepare your marinade by combining soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, minced garlic, and grated ginger in a bowl. Place your pork belly slices in a zip-lock bag and pour the marinade over them, ensuring they are completely coated. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible, and gently massage the pork with the marinade to evenly distribute the flavors. Store it in the refrigerator overnight. This not only allows the pork to soak up all the beautiful teriyaki flavors but also tenderizes the meat, ensuring a melt-in-your-mouth texture once cooked.

Preparing Sauce in Advance

The teriyaki sauce can also be prepared ahead of time, making the cooking process smoother and quicker. In a saucepan, combine equal parts soy sauce, mirin, and sake, with a dash of brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, allowing the sugar to dissolve completely. Once the sauce begins to thicken slightly, remove it from the heat and let it cool. If you prefer a thicker glaze, you can add a cornstarch slurry (a mixture of cornstarch and water) to the sauce while it simmers. Store the cooled sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. When you’re ready to cook your pork belly, simply reheat the sauce over low heat until it’s warm and pourable. Preparing the sauce in advance not only saves time but also allows the flavors to meld together beautifully, resulting in a deeper, more cohesive taste.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Storing and reheating your teriyaki pork belly properly ensures that you can enjoy this delightful dish with its flavors and textures nearly as good as when it was freshly made. Let’s dive into the best practices.

Best Practices for Storing

To preserve the quality of your teriyaki pork belly, let’s start with cooling. Ensure the pork belly has come to room temperature before you think about storing it. This prevents condensation inside the container which could make the pork soggy. Once cooled, transfer the pork belly into an airtight container. If you have any teriyaki sauce left over, pour it over the pork to keep it moist and flavorful. This dish will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

For those who love to plan ahead, freezing is also an option. Wrap the pork belly pieces individually in cling film, then place them in a freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Stored this way, your teriyaki pork belly can last for up to two months. Remember to thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Tips for Reheating

Reheating teriyaki pork belly properly is crucial to revive its splendid textures and flavors. For the best result, we recommend using the oven. Preheat it to 350°F (175°C). Place the pork belly slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If they seem a bit dry, drizzle a little bit of water or extra teriyaki sauce over them to add moisture. Cover with foil and heat for about 10-15 minutes or until thoroughly warm.

Alternatively, for those in a rush, the microwave can be your friend. Place the pork belly slices in a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lid or damp paper towel to keep them moist, and heat on high for 1-2 minutes. Check if it’s heated through and give it more time if necessary, but be careful not to overdo it to avoid drying out the meat.

Following these storage and reheating tips will ensure that your teriyaki pork belly remains a tantalizing treat even days after you’ve made it. Enjoy the convenience of delicious leftovers without sacrificing quality or taste.


We’ve walked through the delightful journey of making teriyaki pork belly from the initial preparation to the final serving. Our guide aimed to ensure you’d enjoy both the process and the meal. Remember, the secret lies in the details—marinating overnight, choosing the right accompaniments, and presenting your dish with a touch of flair. Don’t forget our tips on storing and reheating to keep enjoying your delicious creation. We hope you’ll find as much joy in cooking and sharing this dish as we do. Here’s to many flavorful meals ahead!

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