What Goes with Belly Pork? A Comprehensive Guide to Perfect Pairings

Pork belly, with its tender and succulent texture, is a versatile culinary delight. Its richness and flavor profile demand side dishes that complement its hearty nature without overpowering its unique taste. This guide delves into the realm of side dishes, exploring a symphony of flavors and textures to accompany pork belly, enhancing your dining experience to new heights.

Classic Sides: Embracing Tradition

Roasted Vegetables:

  • A symphony of colors and flavors, roasted vegetables bring a vibrant touch to your plate.
  • Toss a medley of root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, turnips, and potatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast until caramelized.
  • The natural sweetness of the vegetables balances the savory pork belly, creating a harmonious union.

Mashed Potatoes:

  • Creamy, velvety mashed potatoes are a classic companion to pork belly, offering a comforting and indulgent base.
  • Boil potatoes until tender, then mash with butter, milk, salt, and pepper for a simple yet delectable side.
  • For a gourmet twist, incorporate roasted garlic, sour cream, or grated cheese, elevating the dish to new culinary heights.

International Flavors: A Culinary Journey

Fried Rice:

  • Embark on a culinary adventure with fried rice, a flavorful side dish inspired by Asian cuisine.
  • Cook rice according to package instructions, then stir-fry with an array of vegetables like peas, carrots, onions, and garlic.
  • Add protein of your choice, such as scrambled eggs, cooked shrimp, or diced ham, for a satisfying meal.

Grilled or Roasted Corn on the Cob:

  • Capture the essence of summer with grilled or roasted corn on the cob, a simple yet irresistible treat.
  • Brush corn with olive oil and grill over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, or roast in the oven for a smoky flavor.
  • Serve with a sprinkle of butter, salt, and herbs, allowing the natural sweetness of the corn to shine.

Greens and Salads: A Touch of Freshness

Braised Greens:

  • Introduce a touch of greenery to your plate with braised greens, a healthy and flavorful side dish.
  • Sauté chopped greens like kale, collard greens, or Swiss chard with garlic and onion, then simmer in broth until tender.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, adding a vibrant and nutritious element to your meal.

Crispy Fried Onions:

  • Add a crispy and flavorful touch to your pork belly with crispy fried onions, a delightful contrast in texture.
  • Slice onions thinly, coat in flour or cornstarch, then fry in hot oil until golden brown.
  • Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt and black pepper, creating an addictive and irresistible side.

Indulgent Sides: A Culinary Extravaganza

Creamy Polenta:

  • Experience the creamy delight of polenta, a rich and satisfying side dish that complements the richness of pork belly.
  • Bring water or broth to a boil, then whisk in polenta or cornmeal, cooking until thick and creamy.
  • Stir in butter, cream, or cheese, adding a luxurious touch to your meal.

Roasted Beets:

  • Embrace the earthy sweetness of roasted beets, a vibrant and nutritious side dish.
  • Wrap whole beets in foil and roast until tender, then peel and slice.
  • Toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper, creating a colorful and flavorful accompaniment.

Asian-Inspired Sides: A Taste of the Orient

Asian-inspired slaw:

  • Introduce an Asian flair to your meal with an Asian-inspired slaw, a refreshing and tangy side dish.
  • Shred cabbage, carrots, and other crunchy vegetables, then toss with a dressing made of rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and ginger.
  • Top with sliced scallions, cilantro, or sesame seeds, adding a burst of Asian flavors to your plate.

Sweet Potato Fries:

  • Indulge in the sweet and savory delight of sweet potato fries, a healthier alternative to traditional fries.
  • Cut sweet potatoes into fries or wedges, toss with olive oil, salt, and spices like smoked paprika or cumin, then bake until crispy and golden.
  • Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, creating a delectable side dish that satisfies your cravings.

Braised and Roasted Delights: Culinary Masterpieces

Braised Red Cabbage:

  • Experience the tangy and flavorful delight of braised red cabbage, a classic German side dish that pairs perfectly with pork belly.
  • Slice red cabbage thinly, sauté with diced apples, onions, and bacon, then simmer in apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and spices.
  • Cover and simmer until tender and flavorful, creating a rich and satisfying accompaniment.

Grilled or Roasted Asparagus:

  • Embrace the delicate flavors of grilled or roasted asparagus, a simple yet sophisticated side dish.
  • Snap off the woody ends of asparagus spears, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then grill or roast until tender.
  • Serve with a squeeze of lemon or a drizzle of balsamic glaze, enhancing its natural sweetness.


  • Indulge in the comforting warmth of cornbread, a classic Southern side dish that complements the richness of pork belly.
  • Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl, then whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter.
  • Pour the batter into a greased pan and bake until golden brown, creating a fluffy and flavorful accompaniment.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes:

  • Elevate your mashed potatoes to new heights with roasted garlic, adding an aromatic and savory twist to this classic side dish.
  • Roast whole garlic bulbs until soft and fragrant, then squeeze out the cloves and mix them into mashed potatoes.
  • Season with butter, milk, salt, and pepper, creating a creamy and flavorful accompaniment that complements pork belly perfectly.

Sautéed Mushrooms: An Earthy Delight

Sautéed Mushrooms:

  • Embrace the earthy flavors of sautéed mushrooms, a simple yet versatile side dish that pairs well with pork belly.
  • Slice mushrooms and sauté in butter or olive oil with garlic and thyme until golden brown.
  • Season with salt and pepper, adding a savory and aromatic touch to your meal.
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley or grated Parmesan, creating an elegant and flavorful accompaniment.



How should you eat pork belly?

Pork belly’s versatility makes it a popular ingredient in dishes from many cultures. You can find it in sandwiches, stuffed buns, stews, hot pot, ramen, tacos, tamales, and many more dishes. It’s also served by itself either roasted, barbecued, or deep-fried. Moreover, many dishes use crispy pork belly as a garnish.

What to serve with pork belly ends?

The best side dishes to serve with burnt ends are french fries, cornbread, crispy green beans, southern mash, dirty rice, baked beans, mac and cheese, cauliflower rice, coleslaw, potato salad, grilled corn on the cob, biscuits, pickle spears, hush puppies, collard greens, and corn pudding.

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