Buta No Kakuni (Japanese Braised Pork Belly)

Japanese braised pork belly recipe

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 30 mins
Total: 2 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
471 Calories
23g Fat
15g Carbs
48g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 471
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 148mg 49%
Sodium 1352mg 59%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 48g
Calcium 60mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Buta no kakuni is a classic Japanese dish of braised pork belly that is slowly cooked until the meat is tender, juicy, and packed full of umami. It is simmered with traditional Japanese flavors that include soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar, with a hint of ginger and scallions.

Pork belly is the cut where bacon originates and is quite heavy in fat. But the extended time that this Japanese-style braised pork belly is simmered with ginger and scallions reduces the fat in the finished dish. The pork is then simmered again in a fresh pot of water and sauce ingredients to season it.

Give Japanese buta no kakuni a try, and you might be pleasantly surprised at how a small, tender piece of braised pork belly brightens up the dinner table as an appetizer or side dish. A small piece is also a wonderful addition the next day in a Japanese bento lunch.

Special Equipment: You will need a Japanese-style drop lid or aluminum foil cut out in the shape of the large pot used to braise the pork.


  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds pork rib (boneless)
  • 2 inches ginger root (fresh; skin peeled, and thinly sliced)
  • 1 green onion (negi, cut into pieces 2 to 3 inches long)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cooking sake
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup mirin

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Japanese braised pork belly
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  2. In a large skillet, heat a small amount of canola oil over medium heat. Sear the pork for a few minutes on both sides to help eliminate some of the fat.

    Sear pork
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  3. Remove the pork from the skillet and place it on paper towels to drain.

    Remove the pork
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  4. In a large pan, boil enough water so that the pork is just submerged underwater. Add the pork, thinly sliced ginger, and chopped green onions (negi).

    Boil water
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  5. Cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer the pork for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender.

    Cover the pot
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  6. Drain the pork and cut into 1 1/2-inch thick blocks.

    Drain pork
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  7. In a large pot, add 2 cups of water, sake, sugar, soy sauce, and mirin and bring to a boil over medium heat.

    Add water, sake
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  8. Add the cooked pork to the sauce, and turn the heat down to low.

    Add pork
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  9. Put a drop lid over the pork.

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  10. Simmer until the sauce is reduced and practically gone.

    Pork in pan
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  11. Serve immediately. garnishing with additional green onions, if desired. Enjoy.

    Japanese braised pork belly
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack