Chinese Braised Pork Belly – Hong Shao Rou (Instant Pot Style)

By Lee Jackson ↣ Published on: June 8, 2020

For a delicious slow-braised Chinese pork belly stew in a fraction of the time, thanks to the trusty Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Meltingly tender pork in a fragrant umami sauce that oozes authentic umami Chinese flavours.

Chinese Braised Pork Belly (Instant Pot Style) Hong Shao Rou |

This Instant Pot treasure contains meltingly tender morsels of pork belly - so juicy and perfect - a taste of China with every treasured bite. Braising meat, is one of my favourite ways to cook, and this Chinese braised pork recipe is one of my tastiest. A little goes a long way and the flavour is so intoxicating you'll want to drink it from the bowl.

To make things a whole lot quicker and easier, the trusted Instant Pot or pressure cooker takes all the pressure out of waiting for this dish to cook. It's ready in a fraction of the time, without sacrificing, flavour or texture in the slightest. Pork belly is the perfect meat for this dish, so juiy, fatty and rich - a little goes a long way!

Those not familiar with pressure cooking, or those with no interest will be pleased to know I offer you the recipe for both cooking options. Both are simple, only one of you will still be waiting, long before the other has devoured their helping. Just to note, you'll have your slow cooked/fast-tracked treasure in a mere 25 minutes!

I'm a sucker for any type of Asian Braised Pork Belly! Most of my favourite Asian recipes include pork belly! Try my Vietnamese Braised Pork Belly with Eggs – Thit Kho, or my super-charged Korean Kimchi Pork Stew. Failing that, there's more... try the wondeful glossy Japanese Buta Kakuni and finally the umami-laden Japanese Chashu Don (Pork Belly Rice Bowl). So much belly (explains my big belly I guess!)

Chinese Braised Pork Belly (Instant Pot Style) Hong Shao Rou |

Why it works?

It's umami juiciness in a fraction of the time - I'm not normally one to be impatient for food, I'll wait hours if it's worth it, but from time to time I just want the tasty food sooner! Cooking this dish under pressure doesn't sacrifice a drip of flavour and I'm glad to say it cooks in a fraction of the time! Well worth the (no) wait.

Chinese Braised Pork Belly (Instant Pot Style)

Stuff you'll need

To get things moving, fast you'll need a few simple ingredients to create that authentic Hong Shao Rou flavour.

  • Pork Belly - the fattiest of pork cuts, has that amazing juicy texture that's synonymous with Chinese Hong Shao Rou. You can use other cuts, just ensure they do have some fat, so that the meat stays tender. Tenderloin is not a suitable contender for this recipe.
  • Aromatics - five spice brings an anise and fragrance to the sauce that is quintessentially Chinese. Ginger, garlic and spring onion (scallions) enhance the aromatics even more.
  • Umami - the rounded saltiness of soy sauce and acidic notes of rice vinegar and Shaoxing cooking wine complete the fragrance and give the dish its final complex balance.

Step by Step

Thanks to the Instant Pot, this is fast food that is even more convenient than eating out or ordering take out. And it's every bit as authentic and delicious. And even with conventional cooking, it's so easy, it just takes a little longer. Here's just how easy things are either way. There's also a video demo below too, so make sure to watch that!

With an Instant pot

  1. Put all the ingredients into the Instant pot
  2. Set for 25 minutes and you're done

With conventional pan on the stove

  1. Put all ingredients into a pan
  2. Simmer gently for 90 minutes and you're done.
A bowl of Chinese braised pork belly

Pro Tips - thickening the sauce

  • Traditionally, Hong Shao Rou has a thick, sticky sauce. My recipe is more of a broth because I like it that way, but to achieve this sticky sauce is super easy. All you need is a tablespoon of cornstarch and a little water combined. Then stir into the bubbling sauce (keep the sauce on a simmer in the Instant Pot), stir briefly and the sauce will thicken. Bubble for 1-2 minutes to cook the flour out and then remove from the heat.

Serving & Storage Suggestions

I like to serve at least one other dish alongside the braised pork belly. Something fresh and green to cut through the richness of the meat is essential. My Chinese cucumber salad is another super-simple dish to prepare - no cooking involved! If you're up for a little light stir frying then maybe try my Snow Pea Sprouts with Garlic. There's more of my favourite Chinese recipes below too.

A bowl of Chinese braised pork belly

Ready to get cooking?

All in all, Hong Shao Rou is one of my favourite braised pork belly recipes and made even more appealing by the speedy Instant Pot. I'll let you decide if you want conventional or pressure cooking or a soupy broth or sticky sauce, but in any eventuality, I'm sure you'll agree that this is one delicious pop of flavour!

A bowl of Chinese braised pork belly
Chinese Braised Pork Belly (Instant Pot Style) Hong Shao Rou |

Any Questions? (FAQ)

Have a question about Hong Shao Rou? Let me know in the comments.

Where is Hong Shao Rou from?

China, from the Hunan region, although it is eaten all across the country.

What does Hong Shao Rou Mean?

The literal translation means braised red pork, the red hues (more russet) from the soy sauce.

Can I freeze Hong Shao Rou?

Absolutely. Cook from frozen in the Microwave, or thaw and cook in a pan until piping hot.

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A bowl of Chinese braised pork belly

Chinese Braised Pork Belly - Hong Shao Rou (Instant Pot Style)

Rate this recipe

5 from 2 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Save Recipe
Recipe by Lee
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 4
Calories (per serving) | 1377

Video Recipe



  • Add to the Instant pot all the ingredients. Top with 2½ cups water and stir a little.
  • Set the Instant pot to high pressure for 25 minutes.
  • Release the pressure and then remove the lid. Check the pork is tender. If not, return for 5 minute intervals until done.

To cook on the stove top

  • Add all ingredients to a pan with the same amount of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer gently for 90 minutes, until the pork is tender.
  • That's it! Serve sprinkled with more spring onion and lots of fluffy rice.


Calories: 1377kcal (69%) | Carbohydrates: 9g (3%) | Protein: 27g (54%) | Fat: 133g (205%) | Saturated Fat: 48g (300%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Monounsaturated Fat: 62g | Cholesterol: 180mg (60%) | Sodium: 1648mg (72%) | Potassium: 599mg (17%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 4g (4%) | Vitamin A: 284IU (6%) | Vitamin C: 4mg (5%) | Calcium: 38mg (4%) | Iron: 3mg (17%)
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