Homemade Pork Rinds

by KetoFocus.com

Best homemade chicharrones recipe

This fresh, homemade pork rind recipe makes crunchy and airy pork rinds (aka chicharrones) for a tasty, better-than-store-bought snack!

If you’re less than impressed with the rancid and stale store-bought pork rinds, then this recipe will become a new favorite! There are a few special steps to this recipe, like boiling the skins, that keep them light and airy, not rock hard like some homemade recipes turn out.

A mini fry basket filled with pork rinds and some scattered around next to a pinch bowl of salt.

By taking an extra step to remove the excess fat on the skin, you’ll watch them puff up like popcorn in the oil for a seriously light and airy crunch.

Pork rinds are the perfect chip replacement whether you are on a low carb diet or just eat normally. They easily sub in for tortilla chips to snack on alone or scoop up a hefty portion of million-dollar dip or 7-layer dip. Plus, if you have leftovers that you want to use up, these crunchy pork chicharrones can be pulverized to make “breadcrumbs”. Use them to coat chicken for crispy chicken tenders or to get crunchy, gooey fried mozzarella sticks.  A pork panko breading adds unique flavor to pickle chips cooked in the air fryer.

Perfectly fried chicharrones in a bowl on a wooden board with coarse salt nearby.

What are chicharrones

Chicharrones or pork rinds are boiled, seasoned, dried, and deep-fried pork skins. The result is a crispy and savory snack that can easily be eaten alone, dipped into your favorite dips, or crunched up and used as keto breadcrumbs. They’re the perfect high protein snack food!

How to make pork rinds

It’s not difficult to make your own pork rinds. Each step is relatively simple to do. The overall process just requires time. 

  1. Remove the pork skin. If starting with skin-on pork belly, detach the pork skin from the fat using kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Try to remove as much of the fat possible, cutting close to the skin. 
  2. Cut into pieces using kitchen scissors or a knife. Don’t have to get to precise with the sizing: 1 x 1- inch squares or 1 x 2-inch strips are fine.
  3. Boil the pork skins in salty water for 30 minutes to soften the collagen in the skin. Then strain off water.
  4. Trim away excess fat from the pig skin. Fat should easily cut or slide off now that it has melted in the boiling water.
  5. Season and dry pork skin pieces in a 200 degree oven for 4 hours.
  6. Fry in lard or an oil with a high smoke point for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Season again.

Pork Rinds Recipe Video

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Pork Rinds Ingredients

  • 1-2 lbs pork skin (or ~ 6 lbs skin-on pork belly)
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt + more for seasoning
  • avocado oil or lard for frying

Homemade Pork Rinds Directions

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Close up of a fried pork rind puffed up.

What’s the difference between pork rinds and chicharrones

Chicharrones can be made from any animal skin and often have a very small amount of fat left on them, while pork rinds are only made from pork skin. In the US, most Chicharrones are made from pork skin, making the two seem almost interchangeable.

Cracklins are also part of the pork rind and chicharrones group of snack foods and are very similar with just one subtle difference. While pork rinds include just the skin, with no fat attached, cracklins have a layer of fat left on the skin, so the texture is slightly chewier and meatier than pork rinds.

Tips for making perfect homemade pork rinds

  • During the first step, cut as close to the skin as possible without cutting through the skin. It’s okay if a little bit of fat is still attached since it will come off when boiled. If there’s still fat attached after boiling, it will be easier to remove by scraping it off with a paring knife.
  • Boiling the pig skins will help to soften the collagen in the skin making the pork rinds easier on the teeth to bite. Some recipes don’t require boiling; however, they tend to be hard to bite through and may chip your tooth. 
  • Slowly baking at low heat will help to dry the skins and release more fat or oils locked into the skins. Fats and oils will cause your pork rinds to not puffy up as much and not get crunchy and crispy.
  • Err on the side of frying longer rather than shorter. Pulling the pork skins out of the oil right after they puff will cause them to deflate a bit, and they won’t be as crunchy. Two to three minutes is usually enough time for them to be puffed up and cooked through, but keep your eye on them.
Crunchy pork skins on a table next to two small baskets with filled with more pork rinds.

Where to buy pork skin

Pork skin can easily be found at your local Asian and Mexican markets. If you don’t have access to those, you can also buy them online from Rancho Llano Seco, J&J Packing Co, and Chehallis Valley Farms.

Another option is to find pork belly with skin on. Sometimes you can find this at your local grocery store but you can purchase online with retailers like Wild Fork Foods. The benefit is using skin-on pork belly is that you can make pork rinds and use the pork belly to make another appetizer or dish, like spicy pork belly bites.

Best oils to fry pig skins

To fry pork skins you can use any oil with a high smoke point. This means that the oil can withstand high heat without breaking down and causing a burnt, rancid flavor to infuse your food.

When deep frying, oil typically reaches a high temperature, anywhere from 325 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Oils that can be used to fry pork skins include:

  • Avocado oil
  • Light olive oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Lard or rendered pork fat (if you’re using the skin-on pork belly for your pork rinds, render the fat to fry your pork rinds!)
Homemade pork rinds on a table next to a bowl of them on a wood board.

Seasoning

While this recipe uses basic salt for seasoning, you can flavor your pork rinds in so many ways!

Try some of these other seasonings:

Quality store bought pork rinds

While this recipe is a fantastic option, you might not always have the time to make pork rinds to satisfy your craving! Luckily, there are a few high-quality keto-friendly choices available to purchase. These don’t include added sugars or questionable oils.

Storage information

Once the pork rinds are cooked and cooled, you can store them in a paper bag or an airtight container wrapped in paper towels at room temperature for 3 days. The paper towel will help absorb any moisture, keeping them as crunchy as possible.

Homemade Pork Rinds: FAQS

What are pork rinds made of?

Pork rinds are pork skin that’s been boiled to remove the fat, dehydrated, then deep fried.

What do pork rinds taste like?

Pork rinds are salty and crispy with a light pork flavor. They can take on any flavor added to them and seasoned with many flavors from BBQ, chili lime, white cheddar, even spicy!

How many carbs are in pork rinds?

Unless sugar is added in the flavoring, pork rinds have zero carbohydrates and are primarily fat and protein.

Nutritional information & Macros

Nutrition Information

Homemade Pork Rinds

Servings: 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 80
Fat 5g
Protein 8g
Total Carbs 0g
Net Carbs 0g

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