Pork Cracklins

This pork cracklins recipe makes rich chunks of crisp fatty pork or duck. From the great Southern chef Frank Stitt, we can think of dozens of uses for these rich, salty nuggets. Not least of which is just sneaking them from the pan one at a time.

Cracklins in a cast itron pan with a wooden spoon.

Cracklins are essentially ungodly rich, salty chunks of bacon that are essentially sorta like bacon squared. Or maybe even to the third power. Chef Frank Stitt, a born and bred Southerner who just happens to be an alum of Alice Water’s Chez Panisse and the recipient of countless awards, plops these very cracklins in his corn bread batter. We figure he ought to know. They also make a terrific salty crunch when added to beans, soups, omelets, and more. And, of course, standing at the stove cramming them in your piehole. Mind you, these are different than fried pork rinds, which you’ll find packaged across the country. (And in as many as 14 different flavors in Alabama. We know. We counted.) These are a touch more refined. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to be restrained.Renee Schettler

Pork Cracklins

Cracklins in a cast itron pan with a wooden spoon.
This pork cracklins recipe makes rich chunks of crisp fatty pork or duck perfect for snacking on or stirring into cornbread.
Frank Stitt

Prep 5 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 45 mins
16 servings
118 kcal
5 from 1 vote
Print RecipeBuy the Frank Stitt's Southern Table cookbook

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  • 1 pound Slab bacon* (or substitute duck skin) cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) pieces
  • Cold water


  • Place the bacon or duck skin and just enough cold water to cover in a heavy skillet or saucepan and cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the fat is rendered, the water has evaporated, and the cracklins are crisp and golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cracklins to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Reserve the remaining fat to make corn bread. [Editor’s Note: Or to make home-fried potatoes. Or fried eggs. Or, well, lots of things.]
Print RecipeBuy the Frank Stitt's Southern Table cookbook

Want it? Click it.


*What You Need To Know About Selecting Bacon For Cracklins

You absolutely need to use slab bacon to make cracklins. No thin-sliced bacon here. It simply won’t work.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 118kcal (6%)Carbohydrates: 1gProtein: 4g (8%)Fat: 11g (17%)Saturated Fat: 4g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 19mg (6%)Sodium: 188mg (8%)Potassium: 56mg (2%)Vitamin A: 10IUCalcium: 1mgIron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Oh, these pork cracklins are so simple! I did it with bacon and it was delicious, but I can’t wait to do it with duck skin!!! I was going to just fry the skin, then I saw this recipe and did as directed and it was a much better idea. Use the fat in the skillet to make cornbread, and if you want to rock some worlds, use the cracklins in it. One of those almost “non-recipes” to keep in mind for salad toppings or breakfast toppings (I’m thinking over pancakes?). Have fun!

Originally published October 01, 2013


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  1. 5 stars
    Oh-oh. There goes my South Beach Diet discipline.

    What a great time to publish this – as autumn is unfurling, and we all are hankering for that little boost to our cold-weather diets.

  2. I normally just throw bits of skin or bacon into a pan with a little oil. What benefit does the cold water bring?

    1. Hi Briony, the water helps to render the fat and has an added benefit. By the time the water has boiled away and the cracklins are getting golden brown and crispy on the outside, you’ll find that fat hasn’t splattered all over your stove. This method works with bacon and sausage as well.

  3. Growing up in the very rural south of the 1950’s, 60’s, etc. and with a grandfather who was a butcher, we always butchered pigs in the fall and along with that event came cracklings. The cracklings I grew up with were the slow roasted skin primarily from the pork belly. They wouldn’t have had a cure or smoke applied so they had a more delicate flavor than bacon. We did indeed add them to cornbread batter which created “cracklin’ bread.” And that’s some mighty fine eatin’, if I do say so myself 🙂

    1. Ain’t going to argue with you, Lana. Sounds fabulous. We’ve actually seen a lot of different things labeled cracklins, and quite honestly, we wouldn’t kick any of them out of bed…

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