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How to Cook Tocino

How to Cook Tocino?

By David Burke

Tocino is a beloved staple of Filipino cuisine, known for its tantalizing sweetness and succulent texture. This well-marinated pork dish traces its origins back to Spain, where ‘tocino’ refers to bacon or cured meat. It was during the Spanish colonial period that the recipe made its way to the Philippines, where it evolved into the delectable breakfast classic it is today. The rich, sweet flavor of Tocino, combined with its easy preparation, has cemented its status as a favorite amongst locals and tourists alike. Let’s explore how you can bring the exquisite taste of Tocino into your own kitchen.

How to Cook Tocino

In this blog post, we’ll explore everything about Tocino – from what ingredients you need and where to purchase them, as well as step-by-step instructions for how to cook tocino!

Mastering the art of cooking Tocino is essential for several reasons. Firstly, Tocino is a versatile dish that can be served at any meal, making it a valuable addition to your culinary repertoire. Secondly, it can transport you to the cultural heart of the Philippines, offering a taste of its rich culinary tradition right from your kitchen. Moreover, learning how to cook Tocino allows you to control the level of sweetness and saltiness according to your preference, ensuring a healthier and more personalized dining experience. Lastly, home-cooked Tocino can serve as a unique culinary surprise for your guests, setting you apart as an innovative and culturally aware host.

Note: in this post there will be two main parts: “How to cook Tocino”, this section will guide you how to cook available Tocino, and “How to Make Tocino”, this section will help you know how to make tocino at home.

How to Cook Tocino?

Tocino is a popular Filipino dish that is made from thinly sliced pork or beef marinated in a sweet and salty sauce. If you have some tocino on hand and you’re wondering how to cook it to perfection, here are some detailed instructions to get you started.

1. Prepare the Tocino: If you have not already cooked the tocino, begin by preparing it according to the package instructions. Most tocino comes pre-marinated, so all you have to do is slice it into bite-sized pieces.

2. Heat the Pan: Place a non-stick or cast-iron pan over medium heat. Allow it to warm up for a few minutes before adding the tocino.

3. Add Water and Simmer: Once the pan is hot, add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Then, place the sliced tocino into the pan. Cover the pan and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the water is reduced.

4. Add Oil and Adjust Heat: Once the water has been reduced, add a tablespoon of oil to the pan. You can use any vegetable oil or cooking oil that you prefer. Adjust the heat to medium-low and continue cooking.

5. Cook until Charred: As the tocino cooks, it will start to caramelize and char at the edges. Make sure to turn the pieces over occasionally to evenly cook and char all sides. You can cook the tocino for as long as you want, depending on how well done you like it, taking care not to let it burn too much.

6. Plate the Tocino: Once the tocino is cooked to your liking, remove it from the pan using a slotted spoon and place it on a serving dish. You can garnish it with chopped scallions or sesame seeds for extra flavor.

7. Serve and Enjoy: Tocino is typically served with garlic rice and fried eggs for breakfast, but you can enjoy it with any of your favorite dishes. This sweet and savory treat is sure to be a hit with your family and friends.

In summary, cooking tocino is easy and simple. By following the above instructions, you can make delicious tocino that’s charred to perfection. So, grab some tocino, fire up your pan, and get cooking!

How to Make Tocino at Home?

If you are a fan of this delicious dish and want to enjoy it in the comfort of your own home, here is a comprehensive guide on how to make tocino from scratch.


  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/2 pork (best is Boston butt)
  • Red artificial food color (optional)


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, minced garlic, salt, black pepper, and food coloring(optional). Mix well until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.

2. Add the pork strips into the marinade and mix until all the meat is evenly coated with the marinade.

3. Cover the mixing bowl with a cling wrap or lid and let the meat marinate in the refrigerator for at least 12-24 hours for maximum flavor.

4. To cook the tocino, take out the marinated meat from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

5. Cook according to the steps in “How to Cook Tocino?”

Pro Tips:

  • If you want your tocino to have a reddish hue, add a teaspoon of red food coloring to the marinade mixture.
  • To achieve more tender tocino strips, you can simmer the meat strips in the marinade for 15-20 minutes before pan-frying it.
  • Tocino can also be stored in the freezer for up to a month. Just make sure to store it in an airtight container and thaw it out before cooking.
  • Now that you know how to make tocino at home, impress your family and friends with your culinary skills and enjoy this mouth-watering dish any time of the day.

For this section, I refer to the recipe in the video below, I tried it and it worked (very delicious), you can also customize it to suit your taste.

In addition, currently on the market there are many types of tocino marinades available, you just need to buy and follow the instructions, it is very quick and convenient and still ensures flavor.

Serving Suggestions

Tocino is traditionally served with a side of garlic rice and a fried egg, making it a complete and well-rounded meal often enjoyed for breakfast. However, the rich flavors of Tocino can also be complemented by a variety of other side dishes and beverages.

Serving Suggestions for Tocino

For side dishes, consider pairing your Tocino with a refreshing, crunchy pickled papaya salad (Atchara) to cut through its sweet and savory richness. A side of stir-fried vegetables such as Bok Choy or Kangkong (Water Spinach) sauteed with garlic can also provide a balanced counterpart to the meaty Tocino.

As for beverages, a traditional Filipino choice is a local coffee known as ‘Kapeng Barako’, providing a bitter note to counterbalance the sweetness of the Tocino. Alternatively, for a more refreshing option, pair your Tocino with a chilled glass of calamansi juice or a fresh coconut juice known as ‘Buko Juice’. These beverages not only quench your thirst but also provide a delightful contrast to the rich, savory flavors of the Tocino.

In sum, the possibilities are endless when it comes to pairing your Tocino with complementary side dishes and beverages. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find your personal favorite combination!


Cooking tocino is a relatively simple and straightforward process that only requires the right combination of ingredients. The key to creating an amazing dish of tocino lies in the selection of quality ingredients and careful attention to the cooking process. From properly marinating the pork to choosing a flavorful blend of spices for the final outcome, with each step you’ll get closer and closer to achieving that perfect flavor.

Even if it’s your first time attempting this Filipino classic recipe, don’t be intimidated—with a bit of practice and patience, you can master making tasty, mouth-watering tocino in no time. But why wait – why not give it a try right now? Follow our helpful step-by-step instructions and try whipping up some delicious tocino in your own kitchen today!

On behalf of everyone here at our blog, thank you for reading this post–we hope you had as much fun learning about how to cook tonight as we did crafting it for you! For more useful information about cookware and kitchens, come here now!


What is Tocino?

Tocino is a popular Filipino breakfast dish. It is made from pork belly or pork fat, cured in a sweet mixture of sugar, salt, and various spices.

How long does it take to cook Tocino?

It typically takes about 15-20 minutes to cook Tocino over medium heat. Remember to constantly turn the meat to prevent it from burning.

Do I need to marinate the pork for Tocino?

Yes, the pork needs to be marinated for at least one night, or up to three days for the best flavor.

Can Tocino be cooked without oil?

Yes, Tocino can be cooked without adding oil because the pork fat will render its own oil.

Can I make Tocino using other types of meat?

Traditionally, Tocino is made with pork, but you can also use chicken or beef as alternatives.

Can I store Tocino and how?

Yes, you can freeze marinated Tocino in sealed bags. It can last for a month or two in the freezer.

What is the best way to serve Tocino?

Tocino is best served with steamed rice and a sunny-side-up egg, making it a complete Filipino breakfast called ‘Tosilog’.

Is Tocino healthy?

Tocino is high in protein, but it’s also high in fat and sugar. It’s fine to enjoy occasionally, but it might not be the best choice for a daily breakfast.

Where can I buy Tocino?

You can buy Tocino from Asian supermarkets, or in the international section of large grocery stores. You can also make it yourself at home.

How do I cook Tocino in a pan?

Start by placing the Tocino in a pan, ideally in a single layer. Add enough water to cover the meat and simmer it on medium heat. Let the water evaporate completely before allowing the pork to fry in its own rendered fat until it’s cooked to your liking.

Can I cook Tocino in an oven?

Yes, Tocino can be cooked in an oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), place the marinated Tocino on a baking dish, and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the meat is fully cooked and caramelized.

What other dishes can I pair with Tocino?

Aside from rice and egg, Tocino also pairs well with a side of pickled green papaya (atchara) or tomato salsa. Some even enjoy it with garlic fried rice for a truly hearty breakfast.

How do I know if the Tocino is cooked properly?

The Tocino is fully cooked when it’s browned and caramelized, and the edges are slightly crisp. It should also reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C).

Can I cook Tocino in a grill?

Absolutely! Tocino can be char-grilled for a unique smoky flavor. Just remember to monitor it closely as the sugar content can cause it to burn easily.

What is the history of Tocino?

Tocino has a Spanish origin, with the term ‘tocino’ meaning bacon in Spanish. The Filipinos adapted it into their culinary practice, transforming it into a sweet, cured meat that’s uniquely their own.

Can I use honey instead of sugar for the Tocino marinade?

Yes, you can substitute sugar with honey in the marinade. Just note that this might change the texture and flavor slightly, making it less traditional but equally delicious.

How do I make the Tocino marinade?

The Tocino marinade typically includes sugar, salt, and spices like garlic and paprika. Some versions include soy sauce for a deeper color and flavor. Combine these ingredients in a bowl, add the pork, and ensure it’s well coated before allowing it to marinate.

What’s the difference between Tocino and Hamonado?

While both Tocino and Hamonado are cured pork dishes, the main difference lies in their preparation. Tocino is cured with a sweet mixture, while Hamonado is marinated in pineapple juice and cooked with pineapple chunks, giving it a sweet and tangy flavor profile.

Is Tocino served in Filipino celebrations?

Tocino is more commonly served as a breakfast staple in Filipino households. However, it can also be seen during special occasions and gatherings due to its delicious and crowd-pleasing taste.

Can Tocino be used in other dishes?

Certainly, Tocino can be used as a tasty addition to fried rice, stir-fry dishes, or even sandwich fillings. It’s a versatile ingredient that can be incorporated into various meals.

What brands of Tocino are recommended?

There are many brands available, but some popular ones include Pampanga’s Best and Mama Sita’s. It’s best to experiment with a few different brands to find the one you like best.

Can I cook Tocino in an air fryer?

Yes, Tocino can be air-fried. It’s a healthier option as it uses less oil. Cook the Tocino at 370°F (188°C) for about 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through, until it’s fully cooked and caramelized.

Can I make Tocino less sweet?

Absolutely, the sweetness of Tocino can be modified to your preference. Simply adjust the amount of sugar in the marinade.

What else can I serve with Tocino?

While Tocino is traditionally served with rice and eggs, you can also pair it with a variety of vegetables, or use it as a topping on a salad for a unique twist.

Can I use Tocino as a pizza topping?

Definitely, Tocino’s sweet and savory flavor makes it a great addition to a pizza. You can use it as a topping along with cheese, bell peppers, and onions for a Filipino-inspired pizza.

How spicy can Tocino be?

The spiciness of Tocino depends on the amount of chili added to the marinade. Some like it mild while others prefer a spicier kick. It’s all about personal preference.

Can I use Tocino in a pasta dish?

Yes, you can use Tocino in pasta dishes. It can be added to carbonara or as a substitute for bacon in an aglio olio recipe.

How do I store leftover cooked Tocino?

Leftover Tocino can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Make sure to reheat thoroughly before serving.

Is there a vegetarian alternative for Tocino?

Yes, there are plant-based alternatives to Tocino available in the market, made with ingredients like tofu or seitan. You can also make your own at home using similar marinade recipes.

Can I make Tocino without curing salts?

Yes, you can make Tocino without curing salts. However, the color might not be as vibrant and the shelf life might be shorter. It is recommended to consume it within a week.

Can I make Tocino using pork shoulder?

Yes, pork shoulder can be used to make Tocino, although it may not be as tender and juicy as when using pork belly. But it’s a good option if you want a leaner version of Tocino.

How long should I marinate the Tocino?

Tocino should ideally be marinated for at least an overnight to ensure the flavors are fully absorbed. However, if you’re in a rush, a minimum of 3 hours should suffice.

Can I freeze Tocino?

Yes, Tocino can be frozen. Make sure to separate the pork slices with wax or parchment paper before freezing to prevent them from sticking together. The frozen Tocino can last up to 2 months.

What do I do if my Tocino burns easily?

If your Tocino is burning too quickly, it’s likely due to the high sugar content in the marinade. To prevent this, you can lower the cooking temperature and ensure to turn the meat frequently.

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