A lechon pork belly recipe for all you home cooks out there! This homemade lechon is slow-cooked until succulently tender. The skin is roasted until crispy, crackling, and bubbly.

This is a beginner-friendly recipe with lots of tips step-by-step photos and a video on how to make the best homemade lechon.

how to make Lechon Pork Belly

Moist and Juicy Lechon Pork Belly

Happy celebration everyone! If you’re here, then you’re probably planning a wonderful event that needs something special on the menu.

Well, you’re in for a treat! Making lechon belly at home has never been easy until now. Easier than making a suckling pig or a whole pig.

lechon with crispy crackling

What exactly is Lechon Belly?

Lechon belly is a simplified and miniaturized variation of lechon. And I think, it’s the best idea ever. There’s no way I’m making a whole roasted pig in my kitchen.

I don’t exactly know where this whole idea started but I think that the method and process of making were most likely inspired by Porchetta, an Italian dish made of roasted rolled pork.

You will love this recipe because

  • It’s a Cebu-style lechon infused with garlic, onion, and lemongrass flavor.
  • It makes the juiciest and most tender oven-roasted pork belly that you’ll ever have.
  • The skin is crispy, crackling, and bubbly. Everything we all love about lechon!
  • Cooked in the oven. No pit roasting in open fire nor, constant basting.

    You’re welcome 🙂

Lechon Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make the best lechon belly at home. Lots of tips included!

Lechon Pork Belly Cebu Ingredients

Pork belly

Here are some tips to find the perfect lechon belly roll at home:

  • Size and Shape – use a rectangular piece of boneless pork belly with skin on; roughly the size that can be rolled up. I recommend getting a minimum of 1.5kg (3 pounds) up to the maximum size that can fit in your oven. I used 2.3kg (5 pounds) in this recipe.
  • Thickness – look for a piece with an even thickness for easy rolling. Cut out the uneven parts as needed.
  • Quality Pork – use the freshest pork you can find, preferably from the butcher. Avoid frozen cuts that have been stored for who knows how long–such cuts will not crisp up. This is speaking from a personal experience.


All you need are garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper. These simple seasonings are the secret to making a flavorful Lechon.

To make it spicy: Add red pepper flakes, chopped Thai red chilies, or siling labuyo.


The key ingredients to making a true Filipino lechon are lemon grass, garlic, shallots (Tagalog sibuyas), and green onions. Tip: pound the garlic and lemongrass to release the aroma before dicing.


This helps the seasonings stick to the meat and skin and boost up the crackling. Any vegetable oil will work; I used canola oil.


The most important ingredient to get that perfect pork crackling! I recommend using a coarse-grained type such as sea salt and kosher.

Lechon Crispy Skin

How to make Lechon Belly

Here’s how to make the best lechon belly at home in 4 simple steps:

  1. Prepare the pork by drying the skin and scoring the meat. No need to score the skin!
  2. Season the meat, roll then tie it into a log – I will show you the easiest way to do this. Even beginners can do it!
  3. Rub the skin with oil and sprinkle salt all over – the second most important step to getting that crispy and puffy pork crackling.
  4. Slow roast for 2 1/2 hours and finally blast at 240c until the skin is crispy all over!

Tender and Crispy Skin Lechon

Here’s my step-by-step process for making the best homemade lechon you’ll ever have:

1. Preparation

Rolled Lechon Pork Belly
  • Dry the skin by placing it in a tray with a paper towel skin side down. This will absorb all the water and moisture. Replace the towel until the skin is completely dry. Air-drying can also work but my process is so much faster.
  • Score the meat – make shallow cuts about 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep. This will allow the meat to properly absorb the seasonings and flavor of the aromatics.
  • Brush the meat with vinegar to reduce the pork odor i.e. make the pork smell better. This step is optional but highly recommended.
  • Rub the meat with oil all over including the sides.

2. Season and Roll into a log

Lechon Cebu Ingredient
  • Sprinkle the seasonings all over the meat, including the sides. Rub with your hands to distribute evenly.
  • Place the garlic, shallots, and lemongrass in the center. While others prefer using thick or whole long cuts of aromatics I prefer them chopped as they’re less bulky making the pork easier to roll.
  • Place 6 to 8 strings of cooking twine under the pork, at 2-3 inches intervals. Make sure it’s long enough to tie into a ribbon.
  • Roll into a log then tie each kitchen twine into a ribbon (see video!). Start at the center to hold the shape. Next, do the outermost strings, then just finish the rest. Easy! Nothing complicated.
  • Why do a ribbon? Well, with a ribbon, you can easily adjust the tightness by untying it. Tip: Don’t tie the pork too tightly. As it cooks it will expand and become bulky. It’s easier to crisp the skin if it’s smooth and even.

3. Season the skin

how to make Cebu Lechon Homemade

And here’s the secret to crispy, crunchy, crackling rolled pork belly:

  • Rub skin with oil all over including the sides and bottom. This will help the salt stick to the skin and encourage the crackling. Tip: If there are any patches of moisture left on the skin, pat it dry with a paper towel before doing this step.
  • Sprinkle salt evenly (DON’T RUB) all over the skin (see video), including the bottom sides and edges. This will make the skin crispy, puffy, and crackling. No soy sauce is needed. Tip: Sprinkle in small amounts to avoid oversalting.
  • Cover the meat part with foil so it doesn’t dry out during the roasting process. Make sure that the skin is completely exposed.

4. Oven roast the Lechon Belly

baked Filipino Lechon
  • Slow roast for 2 1/2 hours – to tenderize the meat and dry up the skin. Do not be tempted to increase the temperature or the skin will not bubble and become hard and dry towards the end of the cooking. Tip: Add another 25 minutes per 500g/ 1 pound until it reaches 62°C/145°F on a meat thermometer.
  • Roast the skin at 240c until crispy all over – start roasting the top side at 15 minutes then rotate the pork then roast for another 15 minutes. Flip to one side and roast for 10 minutes or until crispy and repeat the process on the other side. Of course, if your oven has a rotisserie function, use it with gusto! This step roughly takes about 50 minutes to an hour. Tip: Do not leave the pork unattended as it can easily burn at this point because of the considerably high temperature.

What to Serve with Lechon Belly

Serve with lechon liver sauce, vinegar dipping sauce, or soy vinegar sawsawan. It’s good on its own but best eaten with rice or even pancit.

And oh don’t forget the drippings!  Skim out the excess oil and use it as sawsawan too! I drizzled mine over warm rice and it was so good!

Homemade Lechon Cebu

What to do with Leftovers

You can store leftovers in an airtight container. It should last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or up to 1 month in the freezer (use a freezer-safe bag or container).

Alternatively, you can make it into Lechon Paksiw! It’s the perfect dish to use up leftover lechon.

Pork Belly Lechon with Dipping Sauce Sawsawan

How to Re-heat Lechon

Thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen. Place the baking tray on the upper-level rack. Roast in the oven at 200c until skin is crispy. No preheating is needed. You can do this in a regular oven or air-fryer/ convection oven.

Watch how to make Lechon Belly

More recipes for the holidays

Homemade Lechon Cebu

Lechon Pork Belly with Crispy Crackling

5 from 13 votes
This homemade lechon belly is slow-cooked for hours until succulently tender. Infused with garlic, onion, and lemongrass inspired by Cebu-style lechon. The skin is super crispy, crackling and bubbly–everything you love about lechon!
Tip: Watch the recipe video. It's extremely helpful!
Servings8 – 9 servings
preparation time30 minutes
Total cooking time3 hours 30 minutes



  • 2 kilogram /4.4 lbs boneless pork belly (note 1)
  • 2 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)


  • 1 whole garlic (finely chopped)
  • 8 bulbs shallots or 1 whole red onion (chopped)
  • 4 stalks lemongrass/ tanglad (bruised then sliced)
  • 3 stalks spring onion/scallion (chopped)

Rub for the Skin


Prepare the pork

  • Place layers of paper towel in a large tray. Lay the pork skin side down. Press down to apply some weight to remove the moisture from the skin. Replace the kitchen towel until the skin is completely dry. I recommend doing this one hour before you're planning to cook the pork.
  • Using a sharp knife make shallow cuts about ⅛ to ¼ inch deep across the top of the flesh (not the skin). The cuts should be about 1 inch apart, no need to be exact.
  • Brush the meat with vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes. Next, rub oil all over the flesh including the sides. You can remove the paper towel at this point before seasoning the pork.
  • Season the meat part with salt including the sides.

Pre-heat the oven

  • Preheat the oven to 140°C fan/285°F (170°C/325°F without fan).

Season and Roll (watch the video)

  • Combine garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper in a bowl. Rub all over the meat (not the skin) including the sides, and cracks.
  • Place the garlic, shallots, and lemongrass in the center. You can also insert some of the pieces in areas with large cuts.
  • Place cut strings of cooking twine under the pork with 2-3 inches intervals. Make sure it's long enough to tie into a ribbon.
  • Roll into a log then tie each into a ribbon–start at the center to hold the shape. Next, do the outermost strings, then just finish the rest. Don't tie the pork too tightly. As it cooks it will expand and become bulky. It's easier to crisp the skin if the roll is smooth and even.

Season the skin

  • Line a roasting pan with a grill rack with a foil. The size should be longer than the pork. Place the pork on top.
  • Pat dry skin with a paper towel just to make sure there is no moisture left. Rub skin with oil all over including the sides and bottom.
  • Sprinkle salt evenly all over the skin. Do this by section using small amounts until all parts are salted.
  • Cover both ends (flesh part) with foil. Make sure the skin is completely exposed.

Slow Roast(see note 3)

  • Place pork in a vertical position in the oven. Bake for 1 1/2 hours then rotate. Continue roasting for another 1 hour until thoroughly cooked (see note 3). Tighten the foil as needed.

Crisp the Skin

  • Remove the foil from the pork. Increase oven temperature to 240°C /465°F.
  • Roast until crispy and puffy. Start with the top side at 15 to 20 minutes then rotate then roast for another 10-15 minutes. Turn the fan off if the oven is too hot (e.g. if you see burnt marks in the skin).
    Using a tong, flip to one side and roast for 5-10 minutes or until crispy.
    Flip to the last side and roast until crispy. DO NOT LEAVE THE PORK UNATTENDED as it can easily burn because of the high temperature. Protect the meat part with foil if it's browning faster.
  • Remove from the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before slicing. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes & Tips:

  1. Pork belly – use a rectangular piece of boneless, skin-on pork belly, roughly the right size to be rolled up inside, skin left on. Have the butcher prepare this for you for convenience.
  2. Oven Temperature – reduce the temperature if using a small compact oven as the heat source will be too close to the pork and can burn the skin without thoroughly cooking the meat inside.
  3. Slow Roasting Time – add another 25 minutes per additional 500g/ 1 pound.
  4. Salt for the skin – 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt is enough to salt the skin of 2 to 3kg pork. DO NOT OVERSALT.
  5. To Make-Ahead – Season the meat and roll the pork. Let it air-dry in the refrigerator uncovered. Do not salt the skin.
    – On the day of roasting, season the skin with oil and salt then roast in the oven.
  6. Storage and leftovers – you can store leftovers in an airtight container. It should last in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or 1 month in the freezer. Reheat in the oven at 200c until skin is crispy. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating. Alternatively, make it into Lechon Paksiw.
Jump to Video
Author : Mella
Course : Main Course
Cuisine : Filipino
Keyword : boneless lechon, cebu lechon, filipino lechon recipe, pork belly roll
Nutrition Facts
Lechon Pork Belly with Crispy Crackling
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Tag @rivertenkitchen or leave a comment below!

Updated Sept 2021 with new photos, video, and a simplified recipe that yields the best result!

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  1. 5 stars
    Made this a number of times and its always a hit!!! The crispyliciousness of the skin is irresistible 🤤🤤🤤 thanks for sharing this great recipe…. Lami kaayo 😘

  2. 5 stars
    Made this yesterday for our family Christmas party. It came out perfect and very delicious! Thank you for sharing 😊💕

  3. Hi, I’m about to try this recipe, just wondering if there’s a reason for placing the lechon vertically instead of horizontally?

      1. 5 stars
        Just tried it now and it’s a success! I used 1.2kg raw pork belly and adjusted your recipe. So happy that it turned out so good. Thank you for the recipe and detailed steps so we can replicate it successfully!

        1. I always love to hear success stories, Merivale! Glad that the step-by-step photos helped you.
          – Mella

  4. 5 stars
    I just tested this recipe in preparation for Thanksgiving and oh my it was so good! The pork was tender and the skin was super crispy!

    I really appreciate the clear instructions and photos. I can’t wait to make it again this coming Thanksgiving.

    Thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    Hi Mella, I’ve made this recipe today : waou!!!!! You’ve made this so clearly that it’s very easy to do. The result is top with the sauce. Thank you for that.

  6. 5 stars
    Used this recipe but I did not roll and tie it. I just cut the pork belly in 2 parts (for lunch & dinner) and encased with aluminum foil. The fillings were underneath the pork and the skin salt crusted and baked for an hour at 175°C. Took the foil out then broiled for 25 mins at 225°C. It’s super juicy and skin is so crispy. My kids can’t have enough of it. No gravy or sawsawan needed it is indeed like Cebu lechon!

    1. This is awesome, Ethel! Thank you for sharing your method, including the temperature. I’m sure many of my readers will find this helpful. And I am so glad your kids enjoyed this 🙂
      – Mella

  7. 5 stars
    Made this recipe the other day. Turned out really delicious and super crispy! Paired it with white rice of course! So yum!

  8. 5 stars
    I made this recipe last weekend and it was such a hit! I find it was easier and tasted better than other lechon belly recipe I’ve tried. Will definitely do this again. Thank you Mella for sharing your recipe with us.

    1. You’re welcome, Pam! I’m so happy you enjoyed this lechon recipe. Your feedback just made my day 🙂
      – Mella

  9. Hi Mella. Thanks for this easy recipe!
    What’s your oven temp while you’re slow roasting for 2.5 hours?
    I’ll try to do this when i find a square block of good pork.

  10. 5 stars
    Made this recipe 2x already. Super yum! Kahit matrabaho, worth your time. Looking forward for more recipes from you.

    1. Thanks for the wonderful feedback, Cassandra. I agree this does take a lot of work to make. But super worth it 🙂
      – Mella

  11. Hi .. before i start to do this recipe, how u will maintain the juiciness of the meat? and no need to pre-cooked ? usually when i make lechon belly i pre-cooked first before i cook in the turbo broiler. Please advise.. thank u!

    1. Hi Trish, the key is the fat in the pork belly which will keep the meat moist throughout the cooking process. I have not tested this recipe using a turbo broiler, unfortunately.
      – Mella