Homemade Pork Tocino

(Updated 1/3/2010)
homemade tocino

We love this homemade tocino recipe and so have many of our blogging friends who have tried it. There are many different versions of making Filipino tocino out there, but very few of them use cider vinegar like this one. Most of the ones I have seen online and even in most cook books only have salt and sugar as the main ingredient. I kind of like having the vinegar on mine. It’s not a lot so it’s not overpowering, but just enough to balance out all the other flavors and cut the sweetness a bit.

The proportions of the marinade below makes a heck of a lot! So if you’re just making a small portion, make sure you cut it down or you’ll end up with your meat swimming in marinade. When I make a batch of tocino, I usually use two Boston butt roasts that are about 3-4 pounds each. Slice up the roasts to the desired thinness (usually about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick slices) and let them soak in the marinade in the refrigerator. Ideal time is to let them soak at least overnight and up to 5 days in the refrigerator as mentioned in the recipe below.

However, since sometimes you won’t always have room in the ref or just too hungry to wait before cooking some, I have found out that (1) you can cook them immediately, just cook in some of the marinade with it (2) you can also immediately portion them into freezer bags and let them marinade in the freezer.

When frozen, they can probably stay safely in your freezer for 6 months as recommended for most meats. Let me tell you though, even if you make as much as I do, they probably won’t last more than a couple of months. We eat them for breakfast, but when we’re short on time for dinner, they also come in very handy for dinner. Just steam some veggies and rice to go with them, and they’re good to go!

Like with most of the recipes on this blog, don’t be afraid to play with the proportions to suit your taste. Experiment! That’s what cooking is all about. When you change it up, make sure and come back and share your experiment with me. I just may copy you the next time I make a batch ๐Ÿ™‚


5.0 from 2 reviews
Homemade Pork Tocino
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5 or more
Following is the marinade recipe and method of cooking for Filipino style pork tocino.
  • MARINADE for 2-3 lbs. pork:
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  1. Mix all the ingredients and pour over thinly sliced (an eighth to a fourth of an inch thick) pork with a little marbling of fat. I used a 2-3 pounds boneless boston butt roast and did not trim any of the fat away.
  2. Mix the meat so it is well covered with the marinade. Let it sit, covered, in the refrigerator for five days before cooking or freezing.
  3. I usually bag small (quart sized ziplock bags ) portions, enough for breakfast for two or four people, and freeze it.
HOW TO COOK: To cook tocino, place desired amount of marinated pork meat in a small skillet with a cover. Do not put additional water. The marinade that is still on the meat plus it's own moisture will be enough to cook the meat. And since you presumably used a cut with a marbling of fat, you don't need to add oil either. Put over medium heat and cover. Let it cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the tocino starts to sizzle. Keep stirring to keep it from burning. Cook until it has caramelized and brownish red in color. If you're using a frozen packet, put it in the skillet and start out with low heat. When the meat has defrosted and separated, turn the heat up to medium and cook as above.

Simply Anne’s Tocino & Langonisa
The Feisty Cook, Dexie’s Homemade Pork Tocino with Onions

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53 thoughts on “Homemade Pork Tocino

  1. shyvana

    i love this recipe…
    i add star anise. i discovered this ingredient gives a beautiful flavor to this already yummy recipe…

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  4. Armie

    Magandang gabi po! magtatanong lang po sana.. medyo nahihirapan kasi akong mag hanap dito sa Japan ng red beet powder pwede po bang food coloring or annatto ang ipalit ko? alin kaya ang mas maganda gamitin bukod sa red beet powder kasi hirap talaga ako mag hanap dito.

    maraming salamat po!

    1. Jeanette Moore (JMom) Post author

      Hi Armie, oo pwedeng gumamit ng food coloring or annato. If you like the really red color, I suggest using only salt instead of soy so the color would stand out more, just like the ones we get at home. Let me know how it turns out for you ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. claire

    Hi! I just tried this recipe tonight. I was debating whether to use this recipe or another one i found. I ended up choosing this coz i was curious about the apple cider vinegar. Glad i did coz it tasted reallly great. The hint of the vinegar made a difference. I followed the recipe almost to the tee. I added 1/4 cup more coz i used sucanat, a raw sugar. It tends to be less sweet. Again it’s a preference. Something different was I used pasture raised pork, sucanat, raw apple cider and added red beet powder to add color. Unfortunately, it’s not as red maybe coz i didnt put enough color or the soy sauce was just really dark. We’ll see how it is in a few days. Oh yea i prefer to use those certain ingredients for more nutrients. After an hour of marinating, i cooked some for my hubby’s lunch and it was tender and yummmy! Thankss!!

    1. JMom

      Hi Claire, I’m glad you liked it. I like your idea of using beet powder to give it the more traditional red color! I’ll have to try that whenever I find some beet powder. To make the color more pronounced, perhaps you can lessen the soy and add salt instead? The traditional marinade usually only uses salt instead of soy anyway.

  6. ana jessica duenas

    what is the secret ingrdients to soften the tocino meat? I tried it at home, the taste is quiet good but the problem is that the meat is very hard. thank u and more power

  7. nadiene

    Thank you so much for this recipe. This is one of my very favorite and haven’t had any for a LONG time. My husband eats not a lot of Filipino food, but this he will eat (a lot :-)). Been craving for tocino and glad I found this one…can’t wait to try it! Thanks again…

  8. Don

    I am not Filipino, however I am married to a very beautiful and wonderful one. I have eaten lots of tocino made by my wife, her mother and all of her friends. The tocino that I loved the most was made by Nanay, an 84 year old Filipino woman a long tine ago in Pasadena, California.. I have never forgotten that taste and have never been able to duplicate it. That is, until now. I prepared this recipe, exactly per instructions. This recipe was by far the best that I have ever tasted, bar none. Even better than Nanay’s (and my wife totally agrees). She says that I am now officially, Pinoy. Thank you so much for the recipe. Tocino, doesn’t get any better that this. I really loved It.

    1. Jeanette Moore (JMom) Post author

      Hi Don, I’m thrilled that you tried the recipe and very flattered at your glowing review! I’m glad it worked out well for you. And yes, if you can make this complete with the garlic fried rice and sunny side eggs for breakfast, you are officially Pinoy ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Ashley

    this was amazing! thank you so much! I had been craving filipino food for weeks now but the closest market is 60 miles away! I remember having tocino with my mother in the morning and it was always so yummy though the color always got me….cooked food just does not come out that red. This was much better than the store bought version. I fed my boyfriend the stuff from the store and he did not like it he loved this! Also I made it with venison but added a tablespoon of butter to fatten up the lean venison and it was DELICIOUS! Thank you so much!

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  11. JMom

    Chef T.J., yes, you certainly can use chicken with this marinade. I recommend using chicken thighs for optimum flavor. I usually use the boneless, skinless variety, and don’t overcook it so it stays moist and juicy.

    Hope you like it!

  12. Chef T.J.

    Nello, I was wondering can I use this marinade for Chicken Tocino or would I have to manke any changes? I look forward to trying this out!

  13. JMom

    hi Mrs.G, you’re welcome. I’m really glad to hear it turned out well for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You just reminded me, I should make some more too.

  14. lady cess

    hi jmom. i’m looking for homemade tocino recipes and i found this page on google. i’ve never made tocino before and i find your recipe interesting.
    hope you don’t mind me using your recipe. will post my finished work on my blog and of course, i’ll give credit and link to this site.
    thanks in advance!

  15. Vicki

    nagugutom na lang noon ko dah….lol

    my favo gyd ni, if mama makes this ay di lut-an di mahurot…..

    tahnsk for sharing, i do this, i try this….hmhmhmhm

  16. stef

    Yummy!!! How are you, Jmom? Still cooking delicious food, I see. Has school started yet in your area? Just wanted to say HI:D haven’t visited in a while:) take care – stef

  17. chateau

    Yes, I used breast. Must use chicken thighs nga next time. I read they are a healthier alternative to red pork/beef meat anyway.

  18. JMom

    hi newbie cook, sure, you can use white vinegar. There is only a slight difference in taste between the two vinegars. It shouldn’t matter much when you use it for this recipe. The apple cider has a slightly milder, sweeter taste, I think. The white is more acidic and straight forward.

    I hope you try making your own tocino. Just remember to cook it slow so it doesn’t burn on you. Good luck!

  19. JMom

    hi chateau, oh, that’s too bad ๐Ÿ™ Did you use breast meat? Maybe try using thighs next time? We’re just all into chicken thighs right now. hehe!

  20. JMom

    hi tita thessie! no, haven’t had a chance to make the eggplant/hummus. Husby wanted the eggplant in curry instead, so I have to wait to try the one with hummus.

    Hey, I’ve tried making spring rolls though, it was a success! Will post soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. newbie cook

    hi! can i use white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar? what’s the difference between the 2 of them anyway, in terms of taste? thanks for sharing this recipe =)

  22. chateau

    Ayayay, it was a bit on the dry side. Will have to tweak on my recipe first hehe. Good thing my critics are very honest – hub and the 2 kids haha

  23. thess

    Ala eh! Tocino din entry ko…tocinado to be exact.

    though never tried tocino using your ingredients…cge next time, I will try ๐Ÿ™‚

    tita J, nasubukan mo yung talong w/ hummus?

  24. JMom

    hi chateau! yep, great minds in synch ๐Ÿ™‚ I have yet to try chicken tocino. You should post your recipe!

    Hi iska! Truthfully, there have been times when my family just can’t wait that long and we’ve cooked it almost immediately after the marinade is poured over the meat ๐Ÿ™‚ It just tastes better the longer it sits in the flavoring.

  25. iska

    Wow! This is very similar to how I do my home-made tocino, except I don’t marinate it for 5 days. Hmmmm… will do it that way next time. Thanks for this recipe!

  26. chateau

    Hi Jeanette! What a coincidence – i just made chicken tocino the other day and was thinking of blogging about it. Great mommy minds think alike eh? hehe


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