Chicharrones vs pork rinds: Are they the same thing?

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  November 8, 2021

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Trying to find out what the differences are between chicharrones vs pork rinds can be complicated.

They’re incredibly similar to each other, but are they the same exact thing? The short answer is this: no, they’re not!

Pork rinds just consist of pork skin, while chicharrones are made out of a thin cut of pork belly, commonly with fat, skin, and meat.

Pork Rinds vs Chicharones

Pork rinds

 Pork rind is the literal culinary term for the skin of a pig.  They’re a simple, crispy snack that you can find in the snack aisle of any grocery store or gas station.

How are they made? First, the pork skin gets simmered in some boiling water.

They’re then cut up into bite-size pieces that are chilled for a minimum of 4 hours, letting the fat harden and solidify. The fat is then removed from the skin and thrown away. The remaining skin is put in an oven on low heat for roughly 8 hours to remove moisture.

After all of the moisture is removed from the skin, it’s fried. Pork rinds can be fried in vegetable oil, peanut oil, or lard. If there’s any bit of moisture left in the skin, the frying process will get rid of it when it hits the hot oil. This is what causes the skin to puff up and get crunchy.

Pork rinds can come in several flavors with different seasonings. Some of the most common flavors are barbecue and chili pepper, with several more options available.

Also read: this is how you make a delicious pork embutino recipe

Chicharrones

Chicharrones are a Filipino treat. They’re typically made from different cuts of pork that consist of fat, meat, and skin from a pig. Most commonly, chicharrones are made from pork ribs that still have the meat attached, as well as other cuts that are meatier than pork rinds.

The process of making chicharrones is similar to that of making pork rinds, but just different enough to make it a different recipe. The first step is usually cutting the pigskin and fat into smaller pieces to make it easier to fry all of your pieces at the same time.

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Favorite Asian Recipes

You can cut off as much fat as you want, but be sure to leave enough to give you more flavor. Depending on how much fat you leave, your chicharrones might be chewier than they’re crispy, but that’s okay if you don’t mind it. If you want the crispy texture of a pork rind with the flavor from the fat, you can leave the slightest sliver of fat.

Once you have your slices ready, you’ll then simmer them in some boiling water. If you want to skip this step, you can add them straight to the oven at a low temperature for several hours to dry them out completely. After the slices are dry, you’ll fry them in some very hot oil.

While the chicharrones are still hot, add the seasoning of your choice. Salt and pepper are the most common seasonings, but you can add literally any kind you want. This will allow the seasonings to seep into the fat and the skin without falling off during the frying process.

What are Mexican chicharrones?

While they might share the same name, Filipino chicharrones are different from Mexican chicharrones.

Mexican chicharrones are made of wheat wheels that are deep fried, which means it’s not fried pork skin. This Mexican street food snack is commonly flavored with a little salt, chili, and lime juice, and is dipped in hot sauce.

Are chicharrones bad for you?

Because it’s a deep fried food, chicharrones are definitely bad for you. Not only are they made of fatty pork parts, but they’re also high in calories and saturated fat, as well as sodium.

You should only have chicharrones as an occasional treat to look after your health.

Chicharrones are different from pork rinds

While pork rinds and chicharrones are extremely similar to each other, they aren’t exactly the same. They’re made following a similar process and with the same ingredient. The only main difference between pork rinds and chicharrones is the fact that pork rinds are made only from skin, with no meat or fat at all. Chicharrones often consist of fat and some meat as well.

However, whichever deep fried treat you decide to eat, I’m sure your taste buds will find it tasty!

Also read: this is a great chicharon bulaklak recipe to try out

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.