Filipino Pork Tocino Recipe (Easy & Natural Colors)

This Filipino pork tocino recipe is tender, sweet, and full of flavor. It comes with savory garlic rice and a fried eggs.

After trying many pork tocino recipes at Filipino restaurants, fast food outlets, home and even while trekking in the Philippines, I finally found a simple and adaptable pork tocino recipe that gives you tender pork pieces and a natural look without any nitrites.

Authentic Filipino Pork Tocino Recipe

What is Filipino tocino?

Tocino is Spanish for bacon, which I’m sure all of you are familiar with. It’s pork belly cured and was first introduced to the Philippines by Spanish colonization. Don’t be misled, Filipino pork tocino tastes very different to Western bacon that is made from thin strips of salty pork and salty cubed Spanish pork.

The red color of Filipino pork tocino is what makes it different from other bacon. It also has a sweet marinade and the additions of wine, anise and/or annatto. Tocino was also known as tocilog (or tosilog) and it consisted of pork tocino, Sinangag (garlic-fried rice) and a fried eggs. Now, it is still my favorite breakfast.

I order rice and tocino every time I eat at local Filipino restaurants such as Salo Grill, or shop at Seafood City. My mom used to always have a bag of frozen Pamana’s tocino at her house.

Recently, I tried making my own tocino and discovered that it was very easy! I can adjust the sweetness and other flavor of the tocino using this recipe.

Use the following cuts of pork: shoulder & belly

This recipe calls for half pork belly and half pork shoulders (same as pork fatt). I like to mix and match leaner and fattier pieces. This allows for a variety of tocinos, and doesn’t leave me with a tocino that’s too oily or too lean due to the pork fat. You can adjust the amount of each type to suit your taste.

To ensure that the meat marinades evenly, I prefer to cut the pieces into 1/4 inch slices. I tried different thicknesses, but this was the best for me. It wasn’t too thick so it was difficult to eat, nor too thin that it dried out too fast during cooking.

You can use chicken instead of pork if you don’t like pork or prefer a different type of tocino. For marinating, I recommend using the juicy parts of the thigh.

Tocino marinade ingredients

This marinade allows me to recreate the tocino I grew up with but also lets me focus on natural ingredients. This recipe used white granulated sugar and garlic powder. It also included pineapple juice, salt, black pepper, and annatto.

You can find most of the ingredients for this recipe at your Asian grocery store. Most store-bought marinades contain nitrates, food coloring, and preservatives. I avoid these.

Citric acid is sometimes included in some packages. I substituted pineapple juice because of its acidity. It really helps to tenderize the meat.

Natural coloring ingredient

Many Filipino dishes use Annatto powder as an ingredient. It gives food a touch of peppery spice and a reddish hue. The tocino recipe is the same because it gives the tocino a slight reddish-brown color with no artificial foods coloring and none nitrates. Yay!

Annatto powder was available at my Seafood City, in the spice aisle. It is also available in many international aisles.

Tips for cooking

  • Tocino can be cooked in a large pan so that it is flat against the plate. Add enough water to cover meat. This allowed for even cooking and reduced the time required to braise.
  • Once the water has boiled, continue to stir the meat and make sure you don’t leave it unattended. To prevent the sugars from caramelizing, you need to keep an eye on the tocino.

What is the taste of tocino?

A Perfect Filipino Pork Tocino Recipe

Tocino is a sweet, garlicky, slightly peppery flavor. This tocino recipe uses pork, which gives it a juicy and fatty flavor.

Which part of the pig is tocino

Tocino, a Spanish word for “bacon”, is most commonly associated with the pork belly part of the pig. However, it can also be made from pork shoulder or any other cut.

Is tocino a Filipino food?

Tocino originated in Spain, but was brought to the Philippines by Spanish colonization. However, Filipinos have made it their own by adding sweet, garlicky and peppery flavors to the pork belly.

See more:

Sườn Nướng – Vietnamese Pork Chop

Beef Fried Rice & Pickled Mustard Greens (Cơm Rang Dưa Bò)

Thịt Kho Trứng – (Vietnamese Braised Pork and Eggs)

Filipino Pork Tocino Recipe (Easy & Natural Colors)

This pork tocino recipe features a sweet and spicy pork belly and shoulder piece marinated overnight, then sauteed over a hot stove. This recipe will show you how to make your own tocino.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 4
Calories 167 kcal



  • ¼ c granulated white sugar
  • ¾ tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp annatto powder
  • ¼ c pineapple juice only use 100% juice
  • 1 lb (453.6 g) pork shoulder and/or pork belly cut into ¼ inch slices


  • 2-3 tbsp water more or less depending on the size of your pan
  • vegetable oil optional



  • Mix the dry ingredients in 1 container with a lid. Stir to combine. Stir in the pineapple juice until well combined.
  • Mix the marinade with the pork, and add the pork to the bowl. Cover the container with the lid, and allow to marinate for at least 8 hours in the refrigerator. Because the meat can become tougher if marinated for more than two days, I wouldn't recommend it.


  • Let the tocino marinade cool in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before you start cooking.
  • Place all ingredients of the marinade and tocino in a saucepan on medium heat. Place the pork in one single layer on the pan.
  • Make sure you add enough water to cover the pork slices. To ensure that all pieces are cooked evenly, stir the meat every now and again. Continue to broil the pork for approximately 10 minutes, or until the water has completely reduced.
  • Cook the pork for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the sugars in your marinade and the meat start to caramelize in your pan. DO NOT leave it unattended. This is the halfway point of cooking.
  • To prevent the pork burning, stir constantly. If the pork is browning too quickly for your control, lower the heat. This is how the tocino will look when it's fully cooked.
  • When the tocino has caramelized and is slightly sticky, take the meat out of the pan. Serve immediately


I used Diamond Crystal salt brand. It is less salty that most brands. Please adjust the measurements according to the salt you use.
Keyword Filipino Pork Tocino Recipe, how to make pork tocino, recipe pork tocino

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