Instant Pot Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (Kakuni)

May 11, 2018Van
Blog post

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6

Eating this braised pork belly dish is poetic. The history of this thousand year old dish involves one of Chinas most celebrated poets, Su Dongpo. A poor, not so starving artist who desired the most flavorful pork dish to cure his ails. Dongpo used a low and slow method with wine to achieve the now legendary flavors so famous throughout numerous Asian Cuisines even today. In fact, several renditions of this Braised Pork Belly are celebrated throughout Asia and this Japanese Version is one of my favorites. The Japanese impart the flavors of Sake and Mirin which make it sing.

Normally this dish takes at least three hours of simmering on the stovetop to get the pork belly tender and rendered, but with the modern conveniences the Instant Pot we can cut much of that time away. One of my favorite aspects of the Japanese Version is the karashi (Japanese Mustard) dip served on the side as a condiment—such a perfect addition. The warm spice cuts through the fat and gives us a tongue tingling sensation that is honestly quite addictive. Give it a try.

Instant Pot Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (Kakuni) Instant Pot Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (Kakuni)

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Instant Pot Japanese Braised Pork Belly Recipe (Kakuni)

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Serves: 6


  • 2½ Pounds Pork Belly, cut into 1-1½ inch squares, remove skin if you prefer
  • 3 Green Onions, separate the white and green parts
  • 3 Inch piece of Fresh Ginger, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch slices
  • 1 Large Onion, coarsely sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 6 Eggs
  • ¼ Cup Sake
  • ½ Cup Mirin
  • ½ Cup Soy Sauce
  • ⅓ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ Cup Water
  • Karashi (Japanese Mustard), optional


  • 1)

    Bring a large pot of water to boil, add the Pork Belly, Sliced Onions, Sliced Ginger and green section of the Green Onions. Once the water starts to boil again, let it boil for 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and discard the onions and ginger.

  • 2)

    Make Soft Boiled Eggs by placing 1 cup of water into your Instant Pot and place 6 eggs on top of a trivet or in a steamer basket. Seal the Instant Pot lid and switch the knob to Sealing, set the Instant Pot for High Pressure / Manual for 3 Minutes, once the timer is up, switch the knob to Venting to do a quick release of the steam, when the pin drops – open the lid. Immediately place the eggs into a large bowl of ice water for 5 minutes. Peel the eggs and refrigerate them. Drain the water from the Instant Pot and dry the pot.

  • 3)

    Place 1 Tablespoon of Oil into the Instant Pot and choose Sauté on the “More” option. Once the display shows “hot” add the Pork Belly and white sections of the Green Onions. Sauté until the pork belly is slightly brown on all sides. Remove and discard the green onions.

  • 4)

    Add ¼ Cup Sake, ½ Cup Mirin, ½ Cup Soy Sauce, ⅓ Cup Granulated Sugar and ¾ Cup Water. Scrape the bottom of your pot to make sure there’s nothing stuck. Press Cancel on the Instant Pot to turn off Sauté mode. Seal the Instant Pot lid and switch the knob to Sealing. Choose High Pressure / Manual and set for 30 Minutes, once the timer is up, wait 15 minutes before switching the knob to Venting to release the rest of the steam, once the pin drops – open the lid.

  • 5)

    Press Cancel on the Instant Pot and choose Sauté on the “Less” option. Add the soft boiled eggs and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes. Turn the eggs several times to ensure even browning and absorption of the sauce. The eggs should be perfectly hard boiled once they have simmered. Serve with short grain rice, steamed vegetables and karashi. Enjoy!

↓ Supplies to make this recipe ↓



  • Janie

    February 16, 2019 at 11:08 am

    Hi! I came across your recipe and it looks so yummy and easier than the others I’ve searched online.
    My question is this: After the 30mins, do I let it continue to warm while I’m waiting the 15mins to quick release or do I turn off the instant pot completely while it’ releasing?

    I hope this makes sense.

    Looking forward to hearing from you as I am dying to try out this recipe but a little scared.

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Van

      February 16, 2019 at 11:57 am

      Hi Janie, while you’re waiting for the natural pressure release, you leave it on Keep Warm. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Roger

    March 31, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    This dish was amazing! Everything came out perfectly cooked, including the super tender pork and just as described eggs. I saw pork belly on sale in Costco and had no idea what to do with it. My Japanese friend said it rivals her mom’s home-cooked version, which takes substantially longer to prepare.

    1. Van

      April 1, 2019 at 5:29 am

      That’s awesome Roger, thanks for letting me know!

  • Evans

    August 11, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    I’ve made this three times and every time I’ve done it it’s come out PERFECTLY, but the last time I doubled the recipe and when unopened the instant pot it wasn’t done yet, how should I adjust the time for a larger batch?

    1. Van

      August 11, 2021 at 5:08 pm

      Hi Evans, it should have the same cooking time even if you double the recipe. Were the pork belly pieces cut to the usual size of 1-1.5 inch squares? You could try adding 10 minutes to the cooking time (keep NPR time the same).

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