Sous vide pork belly

Sous Vide Pork Belly Bao Buns (Gua Bao)

Sous vide pork belly is one of my favourite things to make. Affordable, ultra tender and full of flavour it works so well glazed and put in a tender bao bun. I use frozen, store bought bao buns that are cheap and ready in under 6 minutes. Ready for an easy, make ahead recipe that packs a whole load of flavour? Read on to discover how to make our easy Sous Vide pork belly bao buns.

Ultra Simple Glazed Pork Belly Bao Buns

Pork belly is a thing of beauty,especially when it’s prepared properly. Using the sous vide method means you can get perfect results every time and personally, I find it even better when cooked, cooled and reheated.

I salt my pork belly, cut into portions that fit into a sous vide bag and cook it for 8 hours at 80c/176f. This cook results in incredibly tender, fall-apart pork that’s awesome.

sous vide pork belly bao buns

If you’re not a fan of the fat content or the skin then this method is perfect. By cooking the pork, letting it cool and then finally refrigerating it, it makes it really simple to remove the excess fat and skin without tearing the flesh. Slicing the pork once it’s cooled makes it really easy to get perfect, uniform slices. After that, you can just fry on both sides for a few minutes to get a perfect crust and warm, juicy meat.

Finally I make a really simple glaze with some of the gellified juices, soy and hoisin sauce. This can be used as a sauce or simply brushes over the pork belly slices.

What You’ll Need

To make Sous Vide Pork Belly Bao Buns, you’ll need:

  • Pork Belly: Boneless, skin-on pork belly is easy to find in most supermarkets. If your pork belly contains bones then you can remove them by using a sharp knife and cutting around them until you can pull them out. I’d advise leaving the skin on and then you can optionally cut it off after the sous vide cook.

  • Bao Buns: I use frozen bao buns that are available in Asian grocery stores. You can make them yourselves and if so, I’d recommend this recipe.

  • Hoisin & Oyster Sauce: Hoisin sauce is the key part of the glaze and is a beautiful sauce that’s extremely versatile. Hoisin helps thicken the final glaze and adds a fantastic sweetness. If you haven’t got hoisin you can replace with equal parts oyster sauce, ketchup and a pinch of Chinese Five Spice.

  • Dark Soy Sauce: Dark soy sauce is perfect for adding a dark, rich color. It’s not as salty as light soy sauce and is slightly sweeter.

  • Sugar: I use brown sugar but you can use whatever sugar you have! This adds a final sweetness to the glaze but you can omit if you feel that it’s sweet enough.

  • Cilantro & Scallions: I garnish my pork belly bao buns with coriander leaves and sliced scallion greens. You can use sliced chilli, carrot or cucumber.

Sous Vide Setup: I use an Anova Immersion Circulator placed into a tub of water. I also use a Vacuum Chamber sealer but you can use double sandwich bags instead.


Makes enough for 2 people (as a main).

  • 1kg piece of boneless pork belly
  • 8 frozen bao buns
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Cilantro/coriander, as required
  • Scallions/Spring onions, as required

Note: I find 3-4 buns per person is enough for a main course. This recipe also makes pork belly for at least 4 people.

How to Make Sous Vide Pork Belly Bao Buns

  1. Preheat a water bath with an Immersion Circulator to 80c/176f.

  2. While the water heats up, generously salt the pork belly with kosher/fine salt and portion so it’ll fit into sous vide bags (or zip-lock bags).

  3. Once the water is at temperature, place the pork into the water bath and cook for 8 hours.

  4. When the pork is cooked, plunge the bag into an ice bath and place into the fridge. If possible, press the pork belly with a weight (such as a few jars on a baking tray on top of the pork belly). Let it cool down and press for at least 1 hour (ideally overnight).

  5. When ready to eat, take the pork out of the the bag and scrape off excess fat. Keep the gellified liquid for glaze.

  6. Slice the pork belly into 2cm thick slices. Remove the top layer of skin and as much as fat as you want. Reserve in the fridge until you the glaze is ready.

  7. Take 2 tbsp of the jellified liquid along with the hoisin sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce until thick – it should coat a back of a spoon. Adjust seasoning with salt and sugar.

  8. Heat a large frying pan on a medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Fry the slices for 3-4 minutes on each side or until a nice golden crust develops. Remove the slices and brush with the glaze. Reserve in a low oven.

  9. Steam your frozen Bao Buns for 6-7 minutes or until completely cooked and tender. Remove and place one slice of glazed pork belly, cilantro and sliced scallions into the bun and eat immediately!

Love Asian style pork? Try out our Sous Vide Char Siu Pork recipe!

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