Pork belly is a versatile dish with a unique sweet and savory flavor that can be served in many different ways, from slow cooked to sliced on a bun.
Each of these side dishes pairs with pork belly for different reasons, from taste to texture, all of which will be explained below in this article.
17 Side Dishes to Serve With Pork Belly
Pork belly’s unique flavor and versatility means it pairs well with a lot of different side dishes, from sweet fruits to crisp salads. As a general rule, if your pork belly is crispy and dry you should pair it with softer side dishes, while juicier pork belly recipes call for crunchy or dry side dishes.
1. Baked Beans
Baked beans naturally go with pork because the naturally sweetness of the beans compliment the meaty flavor, so they make an excellent side dish for pork belly.
One great way to serve pork belly with baked beans is to cut the pork belly into small pieces and mix it in with the beans.
2. Sweet Corn
Sweet corn is also a classic side dish for pork meals because the sweetness of the corn is perfect for the savory taste of pork meals.
Sweet corn can also be tender or somewhat crunchy depending how you cook it, which helps it better pair with different types of pork belly.
3. Mashed Potatoes
Mash potatoes are a common side dish for most meaty meals since the creamy flavor of the potatoes goes well with juicy, savory meats like pork.
If you are interested in changing the flavor of your mashed potatoes you can add herbs to the mix or try different types of potato to create different side dishes.
4. Apple Sauce
Another classic side dish that goes great with pork is apple sauce, since the sweet and fruity flavor of the sauce naturally compliments savory meats.
For extra sweetness you can mix cinnamon into the apple sauce or you can add a crunchy topping like chopped nuts for a different texture.
Coleslaw is an excellent side dish for pork belly because the cool, creamy flavor of the vegetable dish is a strong contrast to the flavor of pork.
This is great because when you have two flavors or textures that contrast, both stand out more and create a more delicious meal, so coleslaw and pork belly is a great combination.
6. Mac and Cheese
The creaminess and softness of mac and cheese makes a great contrast for drier pork belly recipes, but it can also pair with juicier cuts of meat.
For an added bonus you can add a crunchy topping to the mac and cheese to help it pair with softer pork belly recipes like slow cooking.
Cornbread goes with pork belly for many of the same reasons that regular corn does, it is a sweet side dish to compliment the meat.
The best cornbread to use with pork belly is the kind with kernels inside, since this adds some extra sweetness and texture to the side dish.
8. Hash Browns
Hash browns are generally seen as a breakfast dish but a plate of crispy hash browns can also work as a side dish for pork belly.
One way to serve hash browns with pork belly is to serve both on large plates and let people take servings of both, since pork belly and hash browns work with the same sauces.
9. Baked Sweet Potatoes
While most potato dishes go great with pork, one especially good side dish is baked sweet potatoes due to their soft texture and sweet flavor.
These qualities naturally highlight the savory flavor of meats like pork, especially if you add brown sugar or a crunchy topping to the sweet potato.
Hushpuppies are a delicious side dish made from fried cornmeal shaped into bite sized balls and commonly served with fried foods such as pork belly.
The sweet and savory taste of hushpuppies works great with crispier pork belly recipes but you can serve hushpuppies with any type of pork belly.
11. Butternut Squash
When roasted and spiced, butternut squash is an excellent side dish for pork belly because it has a naturally sweet and savory flavor similar to the pork.
While having different flavors is an important part of picking side dishes, sometimes the similarities between two foods can make their differences, like texture, stand out more.
12. Collard Greens
Collard greens are a classic side dish for a lot of fried, grilled, or slow cooked meats like pork belly because of its unique flavor and texture.
If you intend to barbeque your pork belly then collard greens are a great choice as a side dish due to their soft texture and strong contrasting flavors.
13. Pasta Salad
What makes pasta a great side dish for pork belly is that the cold, soft texture of the pasta is a strong contrast to the hot and savory qualities of pork belly.
As a side benefit, pasta noodles tend to soak up different flavors like oils and sauces, which combined with pork belly will only make both dishes taste better.
14. Green Salad
Like with pasta salads and other leafy meals, salads work well with pork belly because of the contrast between cool, crisp vegetables and hot, juicy pork.
Since salad comes in a variety of forms you need to plan out your meal to decide what type of salad will contrast best with the pork belly you are serving.
15. Brussel Sprouts
Well-cooked Brussel sprouts have an almost sweet and nutty flavor and can either be cooked for a soft texture of roasted for a crispier texture.
This combination of versatility and contrasting flavors makes Brussel sprouts an excellent choice for a pork belly side dish no matter how you serve your pork.
16. Corn Casserole
If you make corn casserole in small batches or in baking cups you can create a recipe that combines the sweetness of cornbread and hushpuppies in one dish.
This combination of softness and sweetness makes corn casserole a great side dish for any type of pork belly meal from fried pork to slow cooked.
17. Rice Pilaf
While it might seem like an odd choice, rice pilaf can be a great side dish for pork belly because of how soft and moist pilaf can be.
This works great with drier pork belly recipes, especially since rice pilaf generally comes with some sort of flavoring or sauce to give it distinct taste.
Pork belly can be served in a variety of different ways, from fried in oil to slow cooked to shredded and piled on a bun.
There are a lot of great options for pork belly side dishes, but the best choices are either sweet and savory or cool and crisp.