Crispy Milk-Braised Pork Belly

Susan, AKA Kiwicook
Susan, AKA Kiwicook

Susan, AKA Kiwicook

In her days as a recipe developer, Susan has created over 450 recipes. Her Dutch and New Zealander roots serve as a basis for her culinary inspiration.

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Who doesn’t love pork belly? Okay, there might be a few of you out there, but for the rest of us pork belly is a luxurious treat. After all, what’s not to love about the combination of moist, succulent meat and crispy crackling! It makes my mouth water just thinking about it!

Unfortunately, I rarely get to savour pork belly and while it’s readily available at the supermarket, it’s pretty darned expensive. Just occasionally though I find a piece for under NZD$10 and treat myself. And, that’s what happened this last week.

I have to admit to not doing overly well with cooking pork belly. I have never been able to get both tender, flavoursome meat AND crispy cracking at the same time. I’d almost given up actually. Then I spotted this well received recipe from What intrigued me was that the meat was both roasted and braised in milk, a method apparently traditionally used in Italy.

Not only was the meat beautifully tender and juicy, but thanks to being steeped in a milk bath studded with garlic, fennel seeds and sage leaves, it was also incredibly tasty. In addition, the crackling was just as you’d expect it to be – deliciously salty and crisp with a sinfully unctuous layer of fat beneath.

It’s worth mentioning, however, that a few reviewers found the crackling fell a little short of perfect and the consensus was that it was most likely to do with oven temperatures and time. You do need a really hot oven and you may need longer than the stated time. But never fear. Should you find, once the meat is cooked, that the crackling isn’t quite there yet, try this out: cut the crackling (along with most of the fat) off the meat and return it to the oven for a further 10 or so minutes at a very high baking heat, or alternatively the grill (broil) setting. Easy peasy. Enjoy!


Crispy Milk-braised Pork Belly

Gourmet results made easy! This recipe transforms classic pork belly into a luxuriously tender, flavor-packed dish. A creamy milk braise followed by a burst of high heat creates the most addictive, crispy crackling.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 1400 kcal


  • 3.3 lbs pork belly
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp salt flakes
  • 33 oz milk
  • 1 whole head garlic, halved (I used several unpeeled cloves)
  • 4-6 sage leaves
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds


  • Preheat oven to 240°C (460°F) or 220°C (430°F) fan-forced.
  • If not already scored, score skin with a sharp knife making sure you don't cut down to the meat. Place pork in a roughly 30cm x 25cm (12 x 10 inch) metal baking tray (it must NOT be glass or it will shatter). Alternatively, use a throw away foil dish.
  • Rub pork all over with oil. Rub salts into scored skin, making sure you rub it into the scored cuts. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until skin starts to blister.
  • Reduce oven to 180°C (360°F) or 160°C (320°F) fan-forced. Pour milk around pork (be careful of steam and to not pour any milk over the skin). Add garlic, sage and seeds to milk. Roast for 1 hour.
  • Increase oven to 260°C (500°F) or 240°C (460*F) fan-forced. Roast for 10 minutes or until skin is blistered and puffed all over. Remove from oven. Carefully lift pork out of braising liquid and transfer to a plate. Stand loosely covered with foil for 10 minutes before carving (you'll want to wipe away milk curds from around the meat before serving).


I used a piece of pork belly half the weight in the recipe, though I still found the cooking times and temperatures to work perfectly well.


Calories: 1400kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 29gFat: 139gSaturated Fat: 51gPolyunsaturated Fat: 15gMonounsaturated Fat: 64gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 198mgSodium: 527mgPotassium: 707mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 278IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 213mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Meat, Pork Belly
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Susan, AKA Kiwicook
About The Author
Susan, also known as the Kiwi Cook, hails from Levin, New Zealand, and has a unique Kiwi-Dutch-British heritage that influenced her culinary upbringing. As an artist, tutor, writer, and editor, Susan dedicates her weekends to creating delectable dishes. Her food philosophy embraces moderation and listening to her body's needs.


  1. Because my piece of pork was only 700g I doubted i could do this successfully but followed timings exactly and it was perfect- now written in my recipe book, the ultimate compliment!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this quite a few times. I make a sauce with the leftover liquid. Put into a blender then through a sieve add a little corn flour to thicken. Best sauce ever


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