Pork Belly Mac and Cheese

Pork Belly Mac and Cheese

Looking for a delicious and unique pasta recipe? Try incorporating tender, sticky, sweet pieces of pork belly into your dish! This recipe features a creamy mac and cheese base with a touch of cauliflower and BBQ sauce for added flavor. But the hero is the thick chunks of pork belly on top! Bacon mac and cheese is popular, but my unpopular opinion is pork belly is better than bacon! Yes, it’s the same cut of meat, but using pork belly you can make it thick and juicy and so tasty! Plus you can infuse it with flavors instead of just the store bought smoke that bacon comes with.

Inspiration for this recipe

I’ve been blogging here since 2008 and pork belly mac and cheese was one of the first original recipes I ever made. It was so long ago that the pictures were pretty bad and the recipe was kind of a mess. I decided to celebrate 13 years that I would re-do this recipe and update it to my new style. Instead of making a crazy homemade BBQ sauce I doctored up a store bought version, and instead of shredding up the meat into the pasta, I served it with whole chunks on top. I streamed this recipe and you can watch it here!

Make the pork belly

The pork is ready for the oven in a pool of bbq sauce. There are a lot of intimidating recipes out there for pork belly, but it’s actually pretty easy in my opinion. Just like any fatty cut of meat, it needs to cook slow and low to render the fat and make it tender. What makes it amazing is the sauce you decide to cook it in! I like to make it so the sauce only goes halfway up the meat like you can see in the picture below. That way the meat can braise under the sauce and get browned and crispy on top. I also like to flip it halfway through cooking.

pork belly in the pan

When I originally made this recipe I used an elaborate homemade BBQ sauce. You can do that if you want, but I wanted to make it a little easier this time around. It’s just bbq sauce thinned out with some vinegar, mustard, hot sauce, and honey.

Let the pork cool fully before cutting

This step will help it have a fantastic texture in the pork belly mac and cheese. It also helps the sauce cling to the pork.

after it cools

Making the mac and cheese

I made a straightforward mac and cheese that is pretty decadent and loaded with cheddar, mozzarella, and gruyere cheeses. It’s easy to whip up on the stovetop in about 15 minutes.

The number one question I get about this recipe is “why cauliflower?” The answer is I like cauliflower. I like it in mac and cheese, and I like it with BBQ flavors. If you want to skip the cauliflower, no one will notice. If you add the cauliflower, no one will also really notice.

assembling the mac and cheese

Serving the Creamy Pork Belly Mac and Cheese

I add the sauce to the pasta, and then top it with the pork. The gouda and other cheeses in the sauce make it so creamy! I love adding the ingredients to the pan and cooking them from cold because it gives the pork enough time to brown up without overcooking or drying out the pasta. If you want to put the warm pasta right in the the pan though, it still works that way.

I also like making these in individual sized pans. If you want to make this family style instead, that works just fine!

pork belly mac and cheese

After it came out of the oven it was bubbly, brown, and absolutely amazing looking.

pork belly mac and cheese

The pork was so tender in spots but also chewy in others and was the perfect pairing for the creamy pasta. The gruyere and BBQ in the sauce adds an amazing flavor and the diced onions finishes it with a sharpness. So good!

taking a bite of the pasta!

I can’t believe it took me 13 years to make this again! It won’t be 13 more that’s for sure.

Twists on pork belly mac and cheese

If you want to go in a different direction with the pork, there are a lot of flavor options that would work really well. I think doing some soy sauce and gochujang would be awesome, or maybe a cumin and chili powder mixture with some chipotle sauce and vinegar.

For the mac and cheese itself, you could leave out the veggies for sure. Or swap them with your faves! Broccoli would be good in here. Feel free to switch up the cheeses too.

If you love mac and cheese, check out my bulgogi mac and cheese, spanakopita mac and cheese, or these over the top mac and cheese fries!

Pork Belly Mac and Cheese

Tender sticky sweet pieces of pork belly on top of a creamy mac and cheese with a little cauliflower and bbq sauce mixed in.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time3 hours
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 1607kcal



  • 1 pound pork belly about 1 inch thick strips
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 cup milk
  • 6 oz cheddar grated
  • 6 oz mozzarella grated
  • 5 oz gruyere grated
  • 1/2 pound pasta I used elbows
  • 1 cup cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • chives or more red onion for garnish


  • lay the pork belly on a pan and preheat the oven to 300. Mix the bbq sauce with the rest of the pork ingredients in a measuring cup. Pour over the belly so it goes about half way up. Flip the pork so it is coated on all sides. bake at 300 for 1 hour.
  • Flip the pork and turn the heat to 375. Cook 20 minutes.
  • flip again and cook another 20 to 30 minutes until the pork is tender but not falling apart and nicely browned. If the sauce is burning on any areas of the pan, you can add a little water or stir it around a bit. The idea is for the sauce to thicken and darken in color but not burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool fully.
  • Bring a salted pot of water to a boil and drop in the pasta.
  • When the pasta has one minute left to cook, add the cauliflower to the water.
  • Melt the butter in a sauce pan and add in the flour. Whisk to combine and cook on medium heat for 3 minutes until it is a shade or two darker. Add in the milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer until it thickens slightly. Remove from heat.
  • Add in all the cheese to the pan with the sauce and stir to combine. It will melt a bit but not fully. Add in the pasta and cauliflower (you can do this in a bowl if easier) and 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. The cheese will continue to melt and a sauce will form. Stir in the onions.
  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Remove the pork belly from the sauce and cut the pork into squares. Remove any excess fat that has solidified, but not too much!
  • Put the pasta into a baking dish, or individual sized baking dishes. Spoon some of the sauce from the pork belly pan over the pasta, then top evenly with the pork. Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes until the pasta is bubbling and the belly is slightly browning. Serve and top with more onion or some chives.


Calories: 1607kcal | Carbohydrates: 93g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 113g | Saturated Fat: 52g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 42g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 241mg | Sodium: 2782mg | Potassium: 954mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 2051IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 1091mg | Iron: 3mg


    1. Just the cheese sauce with the pasta. Then you top the pasta with the pork and some of the thickened pork cooking sauce

  1. It seems like there is a step repeated. Step 7 said to add the pasta and 1/4 cup of the cooking water to the cheese sauce and stir in the onions, but step 10 also says to ad the sauce to the pasta along with the onions. I think the pasta and the sauce and the onions were combined in step 7.

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