How to Make Your Own Bacon (without Curing Salt or Smoking)


Follow this guide and learn how to make your own bacon (without curing salt or smoking) at home with no special equipment!

I’ve listed quite a few suggestions for optional flavours. You can stick to plain bacon, or use one or a combination of the suggested flavours I listed. 

The bacon I made in the photos was a delicious experiment, made with mushroom soy sauce, powdered porcini mushrooms, and powdered puffball mushrooms. 

  • Prep Time10 min
  • Cook Time2 hr
  • Total Time2 hr 10 min
  • Ready in5-10 days
  • Yield1 side of pork


For the Bacon

  • 1 3-5lb pork belly, with or without skin
  • 1/4 cup kosher or sea salt (no iodized salt)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup
  • Liquid smoke

Optional Flavours

  • 1-6 tablespoons crushed black pepper (great with brown sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons coffee grinds
  • 2 tablespoons fancy molasses
  • 1/4 cup whisky or bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon crushed juniper berries
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili flakes, or chili paste
  • 3 tablespoons curry paste
  • 3 tablespoons gochujang
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds + 1 teaspoon sesame oil (great with honey)
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorn powder
  • 3 tablespoons chili bean paste (great with Sichuan peppercorns)
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha (great with maple)
  • 2 chopped chipotles with adobo (great with honey and/or lime juice)
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (great with maple or brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup apple jelly
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin spice 
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (great with apple jelly)
  • 3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese 5-spice
  • 1/4 cup jerk marinade
  • 1/4 cup spicy mustard
  • 2 tablespoons citrus zest
  • 2 tablespoons crushed coriander
  • 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons mushroom powder



Square off the pork belly so that it is even. 

pork belly


Add the dry ingredients (if using more than salt) to a bowl and mix. Rub the pork belly down (with very clean hands!) with the dry mix, really getting it into any nooks and crannies.

Mix the wet ingredients in the bowl and do the same. 

ready to cure


Use either a large ziplock bag, a vacuum-sealed bag, or a clean glass dish. Pour any extra wet marinade into the bag or dish, then put the pork belly in it.

Cover the glass dish with plastic wrap or a lid if using. 


Place in fridge. Flip the belly every day for 5 days. Feel for stiffness. The belly should feel firm everywhere. Thicker cuts (over 2” thick) may need longer to cure, up to 10 days.

Be aware that the longer it cures, the saltier it will be. 


Take the bacon out of the container, rinse it off thoroughly, and pat dry.

curing pork belly

Put it on a rack over a sheet pan in the fridge and let sit open and uncovered overnight to develop a pellicle (a sticky surface). 

If using oven:


Brush the pork belly with liquid smoke on all sides.

Roast in a 200°F oven for about 2 hours, or until the internal temp reaches 150°F

If using smoker:


Smoke at 200°F for 2-3 hours. Hickory, mesquite, apple, and cherry wood chips all work great. 


Let the bacon cool, then slice into strips or cut into lardons.

Can be kept in the fridge for about a week, or frozen in whole pieces for 6+ months. 

To cook, start slices of bacon in a cold pan, then turn the heat to medium. Cook until crispy on one side, then flip and cook for another couple of minutes until the bacon is at the crispness you enjoy. 

bacon, eggs, and toast

Notice how I didn’t have you scroll through pages of mundane nonsense to get to the recipe? Notice that there were no annoying pop-ups or ads? That was on purpose!

I want finding and using my recipes to be easy for you, not frustrating. That does translate into a lot of lost income for me though. If you made this recipe and loved it, would you consider “buying me a coffee” and donating a buck or two through the Buy Me a Coffee app? It will help me keep pumping out recipes like this one!

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