Easily make Chinese Salted Pork Bones by refrigerating meaty bones with salt for 24-48 hours, adding exceptional flavor to soups and congee.

Chinese Culinary Tradition: Salted Pork Bones

Recipe by Annie Tibber


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You can make Chinese Salted Pork Bones by simply salting meaty bones in the fridge for 24-48 hours, and they’ll wonderfully enhance the flavor of your soups and congee.


  • 2 pounds of pork neck bones (the meatier, the better; sliced into 2-inch/5cm thick pieces)

  • 1 tablespoon of salt

  • 1 teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns


  • Begin by soaking the pork bones in water for 1 to 2 hours. This step is essential for removing any blood and impurities before adding salt. Once soaked, rinse the bones thoroughly in fresh water several times until the water runs clear. Drain and ensure excess water is shaken off.
  • If you choose to use Sichuan peppercorns, heat the salt and Sichuan peppercorns over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the salt takes on a light golden hue. Remove it from the heat source and let it cool down until it reaches room temperature. If you opt not to use Sichuan peppercorns, you can skip this cooking step and simply add the salt directly to the pork bones.
  • In a spacious bowl, evenly coat the pork bones with the salt (and Sichuan peppercorns, if used). Cover the bowl and allow the mixture to marinate in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours.


  • If you intend to use these salted pork bones in a sizable soup or congee pot, there’s no necessity to wash off the salt prior to cooking. However, if you’re preparing smaller portions of soup, it may be advisable to rinse them before cooking. Additionally, if Sichuan peppercorns were used, remove them from the pork bones before proceeding with the cooking process.

This salted pork bone recipe is a traditional one that I was recently reminded of when my mother gifted me several pounds of her homemade salted pork bones. I later used them to prepare a flavorful soup that turned out so delicious that we decided to share the recipe on our blog.

Even at 81 years old, my mother may not have as much energy for cooking these days, but she still prepares her salted pork bones. It’s a simple process! You just take meaty pork neck bones and salt them in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours.
We’ve created numerous soups, stocks, and congee dishes using regular pork bones, so you might wonder why bother salting them, right? Well, salting them actually imparts a considerably richer flavor. The meat acquires a subtle curing taste, distinct from a strong ham-like flavor. It’s rather surprising how much the flavor can change with just one day of salting.

The pork bones my mother provided were exceptionally meaty, and that’s precisely what you should look for in this recipe. The ones we procured on the day we shared this on our blog were not as meaty, so it’s worth keeping that in mind when you’re shopping for ingredients!

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