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Pork rinds (a.k.a. chicharrones) taste amazing no matter what — and are a common staple for a keto diet — but making them yourself takes them to a whole new dimension. We recently got back from a trip to Mexico, where a restaurant served homemade chicharrones… and they tasted so much better than store-bought, that it got me thinking about making my own pork rinds recipe. After some experimentation, it turned out much easier than I imagined, and I’m ready to show you how to make pork rinds yourself!
What Are Pork Rinds?
Pork rinds are a keto snack made from the skin of a pig. They are commonly found in grocery or convenience stores (sometimes with artificial flavors or preservatives added), in the snack foods section. You can make your own by baking and then deep frying to remove all moisture in the skin and puff them up, creating a crispy texture. They have a crunch similar to potato chips, but with more protein and low carbs!
Why You’ll Love This Fried Pork Rinds Recipe
- Airy, crispy texture
- 3 simple ingredients (and nothing artificial)
- Neutral, salty flavor — with lots of easy flavor variations below!
- Satisfy that crunchy craving with zero carbs
- A naturally paleo, keto, and whole food snack
Ingredients You’ll Need
This section explains how to choose the ingredients for the best pork rind chips, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
You only need a few ingredients to make this delicious zero-carb snack, but further below I’ll explain how to make different flavors, too.
- Pork Skin – This is the exterior skin only, trimmed of any excess meat and fat. (Not to be confused with pork belly, which has both meat and skin included.) Admittedly, I had some trouble finding pig skin in my area, but eventually found it at a local butcher. You may also be able to find it at international markets, a local farm, or online. If you can’t find pork skin on its own, you can buy pork belly and trim off the skin to use in this homemade pork rinds recipe.
- Sea Salt – The best basic seasoning for chicharrones. Kosher salt is also fine to use.
- Avocado Oil – Used for deep frying, which makes the end result airy and crispy.
SWAP: Don’t want to use avocado oil?
You can also use any lard rendered from the cooking process, or any other oil safe for high heat.
How To Make Pork Rinds
This section shows how to make chicharrones, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique. For full instructions, see the recipe card below.
- Prepare pan. Preheat the oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Cut pork skin. With a sharp knife or kitchen shears, trim any excess lard off the pork skin, if present. Cut skin into bite-sized pieces (these are the shears I used, pictured below — they cut effortlessly through anything!).
- Bake. Arrange skins in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until dried, crispy, and golden. Remove and drain remaining fat from the rinds on paper towels.
SHORTCUT: You can complete the cooking process here. However, the following frying step in this pork rinds recipe will create a lighter, crispier texture. You can also bake them, store in the fridge, and then fry them later.
- Fry. Heat about 2 inches of oil in a large pot, saucepan, or dutch oven (I used this one) to 350 degrees F. Fry pork skins in small batches, until puffy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain again. Repeat with remaining rinds.
Tips For The Best Chicharrones
For the lightest, crispiest pork rinds, keep these tips in mind:
- Use kitchen shears. A knife can work, but these kitchen shears made it much easier to cut the pork into squares. Cut into strips first, then down to shorter rectangles (or, stack several and cut).
- Remove as much lard as possible from the skin in the beginning. The more you remove in the beginning, the the more light and puffy your pork rinds will get at the end.
- Test your oil temp. Use a kitchen thermometer to test your oil temperature. Add a single skin to the oil and check if it puffs up in 1-3 minutes before adding the others.
- Take the time to fry. Baking is the easiest way, but this step alone will make them more hard and dense. Always fry for light, airy results.
If you’re not a fan of their plain flavor and want to know how to make pork rinds taste better, try one of these seasoning variations to make flavored pork rinds. Simply add the seasonings right after frying, while the rinds are still hot — the residual oil will make the seasonings stick.
- Cajun – Toss in your favorite cajun seasoning, or make your own homemade cajun seasoning.
- Ranch – Sprinkle homemade ranch seasoning on the chicharrones.
- Cinnamon Sugar – Add equal amounts of cinnamon and sugar-free sweetener (or sugar, if you choose) to coat the rinds.
- BBQ – Stir together 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (this combo is based on my sugar-free BBQ sauce recipe). Add Besti sweetener to taste. Toss pork rinds in the seasoning mixture.
- Cheesy – Toss in cheddar cheese powder. These remind me of cheese puffs!
- Simple Spices – If you don’t have a specific seasoning mix, you can add anything you like from your pantry, such as paprika, garlic powder, or onion powder.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 3 days, or zip-top bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Allow them to come to room temperature before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you never tried chicharrones before, you probably have a lot of questions! Here are answers to the most common ones:
What Do Pork Rinds Taste Like?
Chicharrones have a very light pork flavor and crispy texture. They taste delicious seasoned with only salt, but their flavor profile makes them the perfect canvas for other seasonings.
What Is The Difference Between Pork Rinds, Chicharrones, and Cracklins?
Regular pork rinds have no fat attached to the skin, so they cook up puffy. Chicharrones is a term for pork rinds in Spanish — no difference in the cooking process. Pork cracklings are typically less puffy and have a meatier texture, because they are cooked with some fat left on the skin.
Chicharrones Nutrition Overview
Here is a breakdown of nutritional values for a 1/2-cup serving of store-bought fried pork skins [*]:
- 80 calories
- 5 grams fat
- 9 grams protein
- 0 grams carbohydrates, fiber, and sugar
Homemade pork rinds nutrition may vary slightly, depending on how much fat they retain.
Are Pork Rinds Healthy?
Given their high fat content, pork rinds may not be the healthiest choice to eat all the time depending on your wellness goals. However, the fat in pig skins is mostly unsaturated, and we’re frying them in avocado oil — both good things if you’re concerned about cholesterol. They are also a whole food snack that has no carbs and doesn’t contain a long list of ingredients or preservatives.
Are Pork Rinds Keto?
Yes, pork rinds are keto, since they naturally contain 0 grams of carbohydrates.
Are Pork Rinds Gluten-Free?
If prepared with only fat and salt, chicharrones are naturally gluten-free. However, some store-bought flavored varieties may contain trace amounts of gluten — so always check labels to know for sure.
How Many Carbs In Pork Rinds?
Fried pork skins contain 0 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
Do Pork Rinds Have Protein?
Yes, pork skins have 9 grams of protein per 1/2-cup serving. However, don’t rely on them as your primary protein source, because the protein they contain is incomplete protein — which means it doesn’t contain all nine essential amino acids. The good news is, the protein they do have is collagen, which has its own benefits.
Ways To Use Pork Rinds
Chicharrones aren’t just for snacking… find a variety of ways to use them here!
- Use as a breading – After grinding in a food processor or blender, chicharrones can create a delicious crispy coating for chicken tenders, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, and even keto orange chicken.
- Pair with dips – The crunch in these rinds tastes amazing with guacamole, Crock Pot rotel dip, fresh tomato salsa, taco dip, or a cheese ball. Wherever you would serve crackers or chips, you can serve chicharrones!
- Make nachos – Spread the homemade pork rinds on a baking sheet and top with cooked meats (shredded chicken, barbacoa, or ground beef are delicious) and shredded cheese. Bake until hot, then add other nacho toppings, such as jalapenos, diced tomatoes, red or green onions, cilantro, etc.
- Bulk up meatballs and meat patties – Ground chicharrones add rich flavor and texture to salmon patties and turkey meatballs. You can also use them as a binder for keto meatloaf.
More Crispy Snack Recipes
Tools To Make Chicharrones
- The Sharpest Kitchen Shears – They look untraditional, but I love them! They cut effortlessly through anything, including pig skin.
- Sheet Pan – The perfect size for baking rinds, plus all kinds of all-purpose cooking!
- Dutch Oven – This is the one I use for deep frying because it retains heat well.
- Slotted Spoon – This stainless steel one can handle the heat from the frying oil.
Homemade Pork Rinds Recipe
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How To Make Pork Rinds (Chicharrones)
Learn how to make the best pork rinds recipe (a.k.a. chicharrones) at home, with just 3 simple ingredients! Plus, get 7 seasoning flavors for this crispy low carb snack.
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
If the pork skin has lard attached to it, carefully cut off the lard, being careful not to cut through the skin. (It’s okay if a little bit of lard is still attached, but try to remove as much as you can, which will ensure that the homemade pork rinds will turn out fluffy and crispy.)
Cut the pork skin into small rectangles, about 1 inch by 2 inches. (I recommend using sharp kitchen shears like these — makes it so much easier.)
Arrange the pork skins in a single layer on the baking sheet, without touching each other, with the fat side down. Season with sea salt.
Bake for 1 to 2 hours, until dried, crispy, and golden. (Time will vary depending on the thickness of the skin; mine took a little over an hour.)
Remove the pork rinds from the pan and drain on paper towels. You can let the pork rinds cool and enjoy them right away, but they are better (and fluffier) if you deep fry them, as described in the next steps.
Add the dried pork skins to the oil in small batches, to avoid crowding the pan. Cook for 1-3 minutes, until they puff up. The pork rinds may float, so you can push them down or flip them occasionally if needed. Remove immediately with a slotted spoon or tongs, and drain on paper towels again. Repeat the deep frying process with the remaining pork skins.
If adding seasonings (see ideas in the blog post above), toss the pork rinds in seasoning immediately after frying.
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Serving size: 1/2 ounce (~1/2 cup), or 1/8 entire recipe
- Makes about 4 cups or 4 ounces.
- Nutrition info was pulled from common store-bought pork rinds, as it’s very difficult to calculate from the ingredients precisely how much of the oil content should be included.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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