6 Best Pork Belly Substitutes

Pork Belly

If you like to cook and enjoy dishes with pork belly as their main ingredient, you might wonder what is a good substitute for that.

There are situations in which you might have to replace pork belly with another ingredient. Considering how delicious pork belly is, finding a substitute might seem difficult.

But keep reading and you will discover plenty of solutions if you need to replace your pork belly with another type of meat. We also included a vegetarian version for special dishes!

You should go for substitutes such as Bacon, Pork Fatback, Pork shoulder cut Along with duck meat or beef. If you are a vegetarian, soy is one of the best substitutes for pork meat. 

The pork belly meat has a fat texture and is sweeter than other types of meat. You should look for the same characteristics when you are trying to find a substitute for it.

We will help you find the best replacement for this type of meat for all the dishes you might want to cook!

Pork Belly Substitutes

The following substitutes for pork meat are the most delicious ones. They resemble the taste and texture of pork belly and there are not any notable differences when it comes to the cooking process!

1. Pork bacon

Pork bacon

The best replacement for pork belly is by far pork bacon. This is essentially the best substitute in all dishes that require pork belly.

The taste will remain the same regardless of how you cook it. All you have to do is replace the pork belly with pork bacon and follow all the steps of your recipe.

In terms of quantity, this should be maintained as well. Use the same amount of pork bacon as you would use pork belly. Keep in mind that if you fry the bacon, part of the fat will melt and you might not need to use any additional oil.

Season the pork bacon as you would normally season the pork belly with the exception that you might want to use less salt. Bacon tends to be saltier, to begin with so adding more salt will alter the final taste of your dish in a negative way.

2. Pork Fatback

Pork Fatback

Pork fatback is very similar to pork belly as well. This is the meat on the back of the hog. It is usually meat mixed with fat and extremely tasty if you cook it right.

Fatback meat is used to prepare salt pork as well. You can cook this part of the hog just like you would cook the pork belly even by using the same seasonings.

It is important to remember that fatback tends to be that much more delicious if you add a lot of salt to it. It will also have less meat than pork belly so it is ideal for people who prefer the fat layer.

You can grill pork fatback or bake it along with some veggies. In order to better the flavor of fatback, you can add a spicy sauce or a pinch of chilly. Most recipes turn out better with spices like that as they blend well with the fat layer.

3. Pork Shoulder Cut

This substitute of pork belly might not be as popular as the rest but it is delicious nevertheless. Pork shoulder is more difficult to found as well but if you can purchase it, you should definitely give it a try.

Pork shoulder tends to be fattier than other types of pork cut as well. But they have just the right amount of meat to replace pork belly successfully.

Pork shoulder chops will turn out much tastier if you marinate them in your favorite sauce for one hour prior to cooking them. You can prepare them on the grill, in the oven or fry them in the pan.

When used as a substitute to pork belly, follow the original recipe and add the same type of seasonings. Chances are that your dish will not change much in taste if you use pork shoulder instead of pork belly.

4. Duck meat

Duck meat

Unlike the chicken, duck meat could be fatter and sweater, just like pork belly. In order to be able to use duck meat as a replacement for pork belly, you should convert it into bacon. Luckily, there is the bacon of duck meat already available on the market.

Once you get your duck meat bacon, you can cook it as you would cook the pork belly. You might need to use more seasonings to make the taste resemble pork belly even more.

There are also seasonings that will offer your meat the taste of pork belly so you don’t have to limit yourself at just salt and pepper.

5. Goose meat

Another great alternative for pork belly is goose meat. You should take the goose part that is fatter in order to obtain a more similar taste. Just like when you use duck meat, the goose one will taste a lot more like pork belly if you get it in the bacon form.

This will offer it the perfect balance between the sweet taste of meat and the fatty texture that you are looking for.

Keep in mind that goose meat tends to be harder than another type of meat. To smoother it, you should let it soak in a mix of oil and seasonings at least one hour before cooking.

Choose any type of oil you want and seasonings that you would normally use for pork belly and allow the goose meat to soak in it. This meat offers you a lot of options as you can cook it any way you want. It will be tasty and have a pleasant texture!

6. Beef bacon

One of the best substitutes for pork belly remains beef bacon. Beef bacon is very popular in a variety of dishes and it resembles pork belly so well that you might not even be able to tell the difference.

If you want to accentuate the pork taste instead of the beef taste, you will find it easy to do that by using pork seasonings.

The beef bacon can be fried just like you would fry pork belly. You can also incorporate it into baked dishes and even traditional ones. The options you have with this type of meat are endless.

For a richer taste, choose beef bacon that comes from a cow that is grass-fed. The more organic such meat is, the better the taste will be!

Vegetarian substitutes for pork belly

If you are a vegetarian, but you miss all those meat dishes, you still have the option to enjoy them. All you have to do is replace the pork belly with soy. Soy is a great substitute for any type of meat, actually.

You can find dried soy in different shapes in most supermarkets. It is relatively cheap and easy to cook. A great advantage of soy is that it has a texture that resembles meat a lot more than other vegetarian mean substitutes.

When you cook soy, pay attention to how long you let it boil. Unlike meat, this ingredient will need to absorb enough water before it becomes the ideal ingredient for your dishes.

It will act like a sponge as soon as you put it in boiled water. It is also important to add the salt, pepper, and other seasonings in the water you use to boil the soy.

Once your soy is boiled and tender you can cook it just the way you would cook your pork belly. Besides the seasonings you add to the water when you boil the soy, you might have to add some when you cook it as well.

Remember that soy doesn’t have any taste of its own. So, you will have to give it the taste you want by using the right seasonings. You will find it easier to cook soy just like you would cook pork belly the more you experience it.

How can you cook pork belly?

When it comes to pork belly, you have plenty of cooking options. You can fry it with a delicious side dish.

You can also bake it as part of a more complex recipe. But you also have the option to barbecue it when you hang out with your friends and family members.

If you are using pork belly substitutes like the ones in this guide, you will cook them in the same way as you would cook your pork belly. Follow the recipe you have entirely and only adjust the timing.

For instance, beef bacon as a substitute for pork belly might require a little less time to cook. This depends on how tender you prefer your beef as well. On the other hand, the soy substitute will require boiling before you actually incorporate it in the recipe.


Can I use bacon instead of pork belly?

Yes, bacon of all kinds is the best substitute for pork belly. The reason for this resemblance is that the balance between meat and fat remains constant.

The only difference is that the bacon will be slightly saltier than pork belly. But this is an easy fix if you skip adding extra salt to your recipe.

Is there a difference between pork belly and bacon?

Yes, the pork belly and bacon are different in terms of how they are obtained. Pork belly is simply a cut of meat that comes from the hog’s belly.

Bacon, on the other hand, can be made of different types of meat. It is salted for about a week. After the brining process is over, the bacon is dried and at times smoked. Therefore, bacon is processed meat while pork belly is raw meat.

Is salt pork the same as pork belly?

Salt pork can be made of pork belly or fatback meat. Unlike bacon, this is never smoked and it always uses the fattest part of the belly or fatback. This meat is salted for several days once it is cut and then it can be cooked accordingly. Salt pork doesn’t need to be dried like bacon either.

What cut of meat is the pork belly?

Pork belly comes from the belly of the hog. It can come from any part of the belly but the fat proportion will differ.

You will find pork belly with more fat than meat as well as pork belly with more meat than fat. Because it is so different according to the part of the belly that was cut, there are no two pieces of pork belly that look the same in terms of this proportion.


Those delicious dishes made of pork belly can turn out just as good with one of these substitutes. Simply follow the same steps in your cooking process and even use the same seasonings in order to maintain the taste of the dish.

However, you need to pay attention to the way you prepare the substitute. Some might need more or less cooking time as well as more or fewer seasonings. Choose the best pork belly substitute and spoil your loved ones with an impressive meal!

1 comment
  1. Hi! I can’t tell you how much I love your meat substitute page! Its quick to read & tells me exactly what I needed to know. In my nearest grocery store, not all cuts of meat are available or are just too expensive for just myself. So, availability, cost & purpose and the perfect meat alternative makes my meal planning & enjoyment all that much more simple & doable. Thank You!

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