Use your instant pot to make this melt-in-your-mouth Pressure Cooker Pork Belly (Kakuni)! Enjoy the dish with a steaming bowl of rice, and it could well be your family’s favorite recipe.
I received many requests for more Instant Pot recipes after I shared my Slow Cooker Chicken Wings recipe. I love my Instant Pot. This electric cooker has both a pressure cooker and s slow cooker function.
Today I’m sharing one of my favorite and super delicious Instant Pot recipes, Pressure Cooker Pork Belly (Kakuni)! I really hope you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.
Watch How To Make Pressure Cooker Pork Belly
Make delicious melt-in-your-mouth pressure cooker pork belly. The Japanese name for this dish is Kakuni (角煮) and it simply tastes amazing with rice.
If you’ve never had a Japanese pork belly dish called Kakuni (角煮)… oh my gosh, where should I begin? It’s my favorite Japanese pork dish. The tender pork cooking for hours simply melts in your mouth and the sweet and savory sauce…ah, it’s hard not to drool thinking about it. Seriously.
Making Kakuni with a Pressure Cooker
Whether you’re already familiar with how to make Kakuni on the stovetop or had never made it before, I highly recommend making Kakuni with a pressure cooker. Why? Because you can cook it FAST. Much, much, faster than on a stovetop. This special dish that you used to prepare once in a while will soon become a weeknight repertoire. When you cook pork belly over the stovetop, it takes a while (hours) to get the pork super tender and you need to constantly monitor the temperature and amount of liquid remaining in the pot. With a pressure cooker, these worries go away and the process is very simple.
Still hesitant about buying a pressure cooker because of the memories from your mom’s old-fashioned pressure cooker? I definitely was. My mom has this stovetop pressure cooker that makes everyone nervous when it makes a hissing, whistling, and rattling sound. I was used to hearing the sound, yet for the longest time (and still), I don’t feel safe using it by myself in my own kitchen.
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
However, having the Instant Pot changed me. This electric pressure cooker is very easy and user-friendly. Even though it is both a slow cooker and a pressure cooker, I actually use the pressure cooker function more often than the slow cooker function. Why? It cuts down cooking time significantly, and it’s a perfect cooking gadget for busy cooks!
In case you’re interested, I put the recipe below for my regular Kakuni recipe you can make using the stovetop.
I hope you enjoy my Kakuni recipe using a pressure cooker. I had never used other types/brands of pressure cookers so for instructions on how to use your device, please refer to the manual.
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Pressure Cooker Pork Belly (Kakuni)
- 3 green onions/scallions (use only the green parts)
- 1 knob ginger (1", 2.5 cm)
- 1 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc.)
- 2 lb pork belly block (You can increase the meat up to 4 lb/2kg. For 3-4 lb meat, please increase the seasonings by 50%; Japanese grocery stores sell pork belly without the rind, but if there is any, ask the butcher to remove it.)
- water (for cooking pork belly)
- 4 soft or hard-boiled eggs (soft-boiled egg recipe and hard-boiled egg recipe)
- shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice) (for a spicy kick)
- Gather all the ingredients. My pork belly was from a Korean market and it was pre-sliced into ¼ inches (6 mm). If you buy a block of pork belly, you can freeze the meat for 30-60 minutes and slice with a sharp knife (see this post) or cut into 2 inches x 2 inches or 5 cm x 5 cm cubes, which are typical Japanese pork belly (Kakuni) shapes.
- We will only use the green parts of the green onions (How about using the white parts in miso soup to go with this dish?). Cut the green parts in half. Peel the ginger and slice it thinly.
- Press the “Sauté” button on your Instant Pot (I use a 6 QT Instant Pot) and heat the oil. Add the pork belly in a single layer, searing both sides. You may need to work in batches. If so, transfer ones that had been seared to a plate. When you finish, put all the seared pork belly back in the pot. Tip: You can skip the searing process to cut down your entire cooking time, but it will render more fat and make the dish tastier.
- Pour water just to cover the meat, then add the green parts of the green onions and sliced ginger. Cover and lock the lid. Make sure the steam release handle points at “sealing.” Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button on the Instant Pot to stop cooking. Press the “Manual” button to switch to the pressure cooking mode. Change the cooking time to 35 minutes.
- If you’re using a stove-top pressure cooker, cook on high heat until high pressure is reached. Then reduce the heat to low to maintain high pressure for about 30 minutes.
- When it is finished cooking, the Instant Pot will switch automatically to a “Keep Warm” mode. Slide the steam release handle to the "Venting" position to let out steam until the float valve drops down, OR let the pressure release naturally (takes about 15 mins). Unlock the lid and drain the cooking water and discard the green onion and ginger. Rinse the pork belly under warm water.
- Put the pork belly back in the Instant Pot and add water, sake, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar. Mix the seasonings a little bit and add the boiled eggs. Press the “Sauté” button on the Instant Pot and press “Adjust” once to increase the heat. Bring it to simmer to let the alcohol evaporate (no more than a minute). Then press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button to turn off the Sauté mode. Cover and lock the lid. Make sure the steam release handle points at “sealing.” Press "Manual" and set the cooking time to 10 minutes for sliced pork belly and 20 minutes for pork belly cubes.
- When it is finished cooking, the Instant Pot will switch automatically to a “Keep Warm” mode. Slide the steam release handle to the "Venting" position to let out steam until the float valve drops down and unlock the lid. If you have time (this is optional), press the “Sauté” button and simmer on low heat until the liquid in the cooker has reduced by half.
- Serve the rice in a (donburi) bowl and pour the sauce on top. Place the pork belly and egg (add blanched green vegetable if you have any). Pour additional sauce over the meat and serve immediately. If you like it a bit spicy, sprinkle shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice). Enjoy!
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and in the freezer for a month.