pork belly substitute

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Did you run to the store only to find they’re out of pork belly? Don’t worry! Today, you will find 7 great pork belly substitute ideas worth knowing.

pork belly substitute

Pork belly is a common component of many Korean dishes and brings a rich, meaty flavor to the recipes.

Pork belly comes from the belly of a pig, meaning it is a very fatty cut of pork. The fat gives the meat more flavor and makes it tender and moist.

Many people recommend slow-roasting pork belly, but there are plenty of ways to prepare it.

It is usually fairly easy to get, but if you’re making a dish that calls for pork belly and you have none, or can’t find it, you should know that there are some great options for pork belly substitutes; we’ve listed a few for you here.

Standard Pork Belly Substitutes

This section will cover the most common meat substitutes for pork belly, including pork bacon, fatback meat, duck bacon, and goose meat.

Pork Bacon

Pork Bacon

Bacon is an excellent substitute for pork belly because it’s such a similar cut of meat. You’ll have to readjust the salt measurements in your recipe because bacon is cured with salt, whereas pork belly is not.

The bacon will also take less time to cook per weight. So even if you slice the bacon the same as you would the pork belly, the bacon will still cook faster. Thanks to the two cuts being so similar, it’s a 1:1 ratio to replace the pork belly. 

Fatback Meat

Fatback Meat (1)

This cut is the slab of hard fat on the pig’s backbone. If you usually cook with leaner cuts of meat, you may have used it before to enhance the flavor of the overall dish.

While this cut is a great option to replace pork belly in a pinch, we don’t recommend it for the “meaty flavor” loving people. You’ll need to add more salt for this substitute, and it can be used in a pork belly:fatback ratio of 1:3/4. Because it’s so fatty, you’ll need a little less.

Duck Bacon

Duck Bacon

Unlike the pork bacon above, duck bacon is usually smoked and uncured, meaning there are fewer preservatives and less salt. This cut has the same rich, meaty flavor as pork belly but has a softer flavor profile. 

When cooking, you can use a 1:1 ratio. Because the flavor isn’t an exact match, it’s common practice to use more seasoning than the recipe typically calls for. Duck bacon is also best eaten medium rare and won’t take as long to cook.

Goose Meat

This meat is prevalent in many parts of the world thanks to its versatility in cooking and ability to hold seasoning. This recipe is another 1:1 ratio because it relies more on the spices you use than the texture or quantity of the meat. 

We recommend preparing the meat around an hour before you plan to start cooking your dish. Marinating the goose meat in a mixture of oil and pork seasonings will help soften the meat and add the correct flavor profile.

Vegetarian Pork Belly Substitutes

If you’ve worked with vegetarian substitutes before, you’ll know you have to switch the recipes up a little bit more.


Soy is the most common meat substitute because the texture is so similar to meat products. When boiling your soy, add the flavors, seasonings and some spices directly to the water. Once done, you can cook it the same way as the pork belly with a 1:1 ratio.



Much like soy, tofu will take on the flavor of anything you cook it in. To mimic pork belly, we recommend frying it or grilling it the same way you would the belly. You’ll need extra seasonings, too. This recipe is a 1:1 ratio

Homemade vegan pork belly

vegan pork belly

Believe it or not, there are vegan recipes out there that mimic pork belly! So if you’re feeling creative, you can go and give it a try. It’s not a great choice to cook with as a substitute, but it is excellent to put into a bun or eat as a side dish. A great vegan substitute for pork belly can be found here.

FAQs about pork belly substitute ideas

Final thoughts

Whether you’re cooking pork belly as a side dish or as the main course, we hope these seven great ways to substitute for pork belly give you more options in recipes to come!

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