Costa Rican Chicharron Recipe- Chicharrones de cerdo

chicharron fried pork with chimichurri sauce, salsa rosada- costa rica

This chicharrón recipe uses marinated pork belly fried until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Popular throughout Costa Rica and the rest of the world, this recipe is big on flavor and low on prep.

chicharron fried pork with chimichurri sauce, salsa rosada- costa rica

About This Recipe

This is a traditional Costa Rican chicharron recipe that uses pork belly or boneless pork ribs- known in Spanish as chicharrón de cerdo. There is another type of chicharron in Costa Rica that is made from fried pig skin- but that’s not this recipe. 

In Costa Rica, chicharrones are generally either pan-fried or done in the deep fry using what we call carne de cerdo. The recipe is hardly just Costa Rican, however, it goes by many names around the world, including pork cracklings, pork belly rinds, pork rinds, or simple fried pork. 

Chicharrones are generally on most menus in Costa Rica, and you can find some restaurants that dedicate themselves solely to all things pork- they are generally in the Central Valley of Costa Rican and called chicharroneras. Chicharrones are a popular party food and appetizer in Costa Rica.

A chicharron is high in protein and fat, making it a go-to snack for hikers, and a popular diet food recipe for those choosing Keto or another low carb/high-fat diet plan.

It’s easy to make chicharrones at home- and I think they are so much delicious when served hot. Here’s my Costa Rican recipe.

Our Most Popular Costa Rican Recipes:

chicharron de cerdo costa rica with yuca fries and lime

Costa Rican Chicharrón Recipe

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs pork belly or boneless pork ribs
  • 2-3 cups cooking oil (for frying, I use vegetable oil)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon salt or chicken bullion (“Maggi”)

Instructions:

Cut the pork into 1/2 – 2-inch cubes and place in a marinating bowl. Mix in the lime, garlic, and salt. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In a frying pan (I use a cast-iron skillet), heat the oil to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, carefully place the pork pieces into the hot oil. 

Fry for 15-20 minutes, until the internal temperature, reaches at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and the inside is no longer pink. Be careful to check the temperature- it’s really easy for the chicharron to look crispy on the outside and be totally raw on the inside. This is why I generally fry them for longer and at a lower temperature. 

Substitutions

You can really use any type of bouillon cube (tomato, beef, chicken, seafood, etc) in place of the salt. I have used lemon instead of lime with no problem.

You can fry in any oil you prefer too- peanut oil or canola oils both give a good flavor. Many Costa Rican will fry chicharrones in pork fat as well.

Variations

You could cut down on the fat content in this recipe by slow cooking or baking the pork and then flash-frying it just before serving. A chicharron is always crispy.

Some people make chicharrones de pollo using chicken bites, or chicharrones de res using boneless beef ribs. The marinating and frying process is the same on both of those.

costa rican fried pork belly appetizer

Serving Suggestions

The chicharrones are usually served with fried yucca sticks, Costa Rican chimichurri, salsa rosada and lots of lime. 

Traditional restaurants will serve the chicharrón on a wooden board covered with a banana leaf. Sometimes a homemade Costa Rican tortilla will accompany the dish as well.

The chicharrón is an essential part of both the Costa Rican Chifrijo recipe and the Costa Rican Vigorón

FAQ

Where can I buy chicharrones? – In Costa Rica, you can expect to find them on most menus. You can also buy them in the grocery store in prepackaged form, but they are the pork skins only, not the meat.

If you are looking to buy the meat in the US, I look for pork belly or boneless pork ribs- I find them most often at Costco and Walmart for a really great price. I often buy a large amount of pork, save a pound or so for the chicharrón and use the rest to make my Pork Carnitas tacos.

Can I make this recipe ahead? – You can- but it’s just not the same. Some recipes, like the vigorón, will have room temperature or cold chicharrones, but mostly they are served piping hot.

Printable Recipe

Yield: 8 servings

Costa Rican Chicharron Recipe

Costa Rican Chicharron Recipe

This chicharrón recipe uses marinate pork belly fried until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Popular throughout Costa Rica and the rest of the world, this recipe is big on flavor and low on prep.

Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 12 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs pork belly or boneless pork ribs
  • 2-3 cups cooking oil (for fying, I use vegetable oil)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon salt or chicken bullion ("Maggi")

Instructions

  1. Cut the pork into 1/2 - 2-inch cubes and place in a marinating bowl. Mix in the lime, garlic, and salt. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. In a frying pan (I use a cast-iron skillet), heat the oil to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, carefully place the pork pieces into the hot oil. 
  4. Fry for 15-20 minutes, until the internal temperature, reaches at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and the inside is no longer pink.
  5. Be careful to check the temperature- it's really easy for the chicharron to look crispy on the outside and be totally raw on the inside.
  6. This is why I generally fry them for longer and at a lower temperature. 
  7. Remove from oil, pat dry and serve.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1858Total Fat: 195gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 166gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 911mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 30g
Please double-check this information with your favorite nutrition calculator.

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