Kick-Ass Chicharrón Recipe – Costa Rica

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Everyone remembers the best, mouthwatering chicharrón recipe they’ve ever tried. I mean, who doesn’t want to recreate their favorite dish? This chicharrón recipe uses all pork meat (no pork rind here!) and is the traditional Costa Rican version of the popular Latin American dish. You’ll love it!

chicharrones recipe

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About This Chicharrón Recipe

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

In Costa Rica, chicharrones are generally either pan-fried or made in a deep fry using pork meat. This chicharrón recipe is hardly just Costa Rican, however. This dish goes by many names around the world, including pork cracklings, pork belly rinds, pork rinds, or simply 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 Costa Rican appetizer.

We use chicharrones in the popular Chifrijo recipe, and the popular Costa Rican street food known as the vigorón. They are a popular Keto snack.

SEE ALSO: Costa Rican Gallo Pinto Recipe

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Our Most Popular Costa Rican Recipes:

Chicharron de cerdo Costa Rica with yuca fries and lime.

Costa Rican Chicharrón Recipe

(Printable Recipe Card Below)

Ingredients:

  • pork belly or boneless pork ribs
  • cooking oil (for frying- I use vegetable oil)
  • lime
  • garlic cloves
  • salt or Maggi chicken bullion

Instructions:

Cut the pork into 1/2 – 2-inch cubes (or just cut into bite size pieces) and place in a marinating bowl. Juice the lime and press the garlic. 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. If you are using pork belly, fry the pork with the skin side down.

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. If you put them at too high of heat, they can burn on the outside also.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicharrones carefully and pat off excess oil using paper towels. Serve this chicharrón recipe with yucca fries, salsa rosada, and a Costa Rican cabbage salad.

ALSO TRY: Authentic Costa Rican Chifrijo Recipe

Substitutions

FAST METHOD- If you don’t want ot marinate overnight you can just marinate everything for 10-15 minutes. The flavors won’t be quite as strong, but it works well when you are having a craving and are short on time!

For this chicharrones recipe, you can really use any type of bouillon cube (tomato, beef, chicken, seafood, etc).

I have used lemon instead of lime with no problem.

You can use garlic powder in place of crushed garlic as well.

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

SEE ALSO: 100% Authentic Arroz con Pollo Recipe

Variations

You could cut down on the fat content in this chicharrones recipe by slow cooking or baking the pork and then flash-frying it just before serving. A chicharrón 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 for both of those.

Some people sprinkle the meat with onion powder before frying for a distinct flavor.

ALSO DELICIOUS: Traditional Ceviche Recipe From Costa Rica

Join me over at my favorite place- Instagram.

Costa Rican fried pork belly appetizer.

Serving Suggestions

This chicharrones recipe is 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.

We also serve them with Costa Rican boiled plantains.

SEE ALSO: 30+ Foods To Try In Costa Rica

Chicharrón FAQ

Where can I buy the meat for this chicharrón recipe?

If you are looking to buy 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.

Where can I buy chicharrones in Costa Rica?

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.

Can I make this chicharrón recipe ahead of time?

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 Chicharrón Recipe

Yield: 8 servings

Costa Rican Chicharron Recipe

chicharrones 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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Christa Jimenez

Welcome! I’m Christa, a Spanish teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. We’ve spent over 25 years living in and traveling to Costa Rica with our daughters, and this website is my love letter to all things Costa Rica- and to bilingual parenting too. You can read my full story here. Thanks for stopping by!

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