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Norwegian Ribbe

    One of the most iconic Christmas recipes in Norway is the Norwegian ribbe. Ribbe or roast pork belly is a traditional Christmas dish that can be found in more than 60% of households in Norway on Christmas eve. The recipe is simply spectacular but also easy to make. You have to start with a good piece of meat.

    Where to buy pork belly

    Try to buy your pork belly from a local butcher. You can for sure find it also in big supermarkets, but I encourage you to try and buy it locally. By doing this you are also helping the community around you, and most of the time the quality of the meat will be much better if you buy it from a butcher shop.

    Ask your butcher for pork belly with ribs. You should buy a piece of roughly 2 kg (4,4 lb) with the rind on it. The pork rind is essential for the Norwegian ribbe recipe as this will expand and become crispy. It should also have a good amount of fat under the skin and be as even as possible. An advantage of buying from a butcher is that you can ask him to saw through the ribs, so it will be easy to pull apart when it’s cooked.

    Norwegian ribbe

    Preparing pork belly

    The first thing to do when preparing the pork belly will be to saw through the ribs (if not done by your butcher). This will make life easier when the Norwegian ribbe is cooked as you can break it apart and serve it with ease. The next step will be to cut through the pork rind in a cross pattern. The cut should not be very deep, cut only the rind and the fat, not the meat.

    Use a good amount of salt and pepper and rub the pork belly on all sides. Place it in foil and into the fridge for at least 24h.

    pork belly cuts

    How to cook pork belly – Norwegian ribbe

    For making the perfect Norwegian ribbe the cooking process of the pork belly should be carefully followed. You must preheat the oven to 130 degrees C (266 F). Until the oven heats up, take out the pork belly from the fridge and salt it again only on the rind side.

    pork fat

    In a baking tray pour some water. Place the pork belly in, but on a grate such that the meat will not touch the water. If you do not have a grate, you can also use some ovenproof ceramic upside down in the baking tray and place the pork belly on it. The pork belly should be with the rind side, up.

    Add some garlic cloves (unpeeled) to the water, and place the baking tray in the oven for 3 hours. Every hour, baste the pork belly with the mixture of water and fat from the tray.

    After 3 hours, baste the pork belly again and increase the oven temperature to 230 degrees C (446 F). Keep it in the oven for another 2-3 hours, until all the rind has expanded. Keep basting the pork belly every hour until it is done.

    Once all the rind has expanded, take the Norwegian ribbe out of the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving it.

    Norwegian ribbe recipe

    What to serve with Norwegian ribbe – crispy pork belly

    Traditionally the Norwegian crispy pork belly is served together with boiled potatoes, sausages, and pickled cabbage. You can serve it with different side dishes that you like or you can also try our recipe of roasted mushrooms.

    crispy pork belly
    pork belly
    Norwegian ribbe

    Norwegian Ribbe

    Yield: 6
    Prep Time: 1 day
    Cook Time: 5 hours
    Total Time: 1 day 5 hours

    Norwegian ribbe or Norwegian pork belly is a special dish for Christmas in Norway. It's traditionally served with boiled potatoes, sausages, and pickled cabbage. This dish will bring a bit of Norwegian Christmas into your house.


    • Pork belly with ribs - 2000 g
    • garlic - 5 cloves
    • salt
    • pepper
    • water - 200 ml



    1. Depending on the cut, saw through the ribs if you want to make it easier to pull apart when is cooked.
    2. Cut the rind (try not to go into the meat) in a cross-cut pattern.
    3. Rub it with plenty of salt and pepper. Make sure the salt goes also in the cuts.
    4. Place it in foil and leave it to rest in the fridge for one day.


    1. Preheat the oven to 130 degrees Celsius.
    2. Add the water to a baking tray. The pork belly has to be placed in the baking tray, but it should not be in contact with the water. If you don't have a grate for your baking tray you can use an ovenproof ceramic that you place upside down in the tray.
    3. Place the pork belly on the grate or on top of the ovenproof ceramic.
    4. Add the garlic cloves into the water, unpeeled.
    5. Season again the pork belly with salt on the rind side, and place it in the oven for 3 hours.
    6. Every hour take it out and baste the rind with the mixture of water and fat from the tray.
    7. After 3 hours and another baste, raise the temperature of the oven to 230 degrees Celsius. This is the point where the rind will start to expand and will become crispy.
    8. Depending on the thickness of your cut you have to keep the pork belly for another 2-3 hours. A good indication is when all the skin expanded. You can also take a look at the fat layer which should be cooked well and reduced in size almost by 1/3 due to melting.
    9. When done take it out from the oven and let it rest for another 15 minutes. The skin should be expanded and crunchy and the interior moist and tender.



    You can do this recipe also with pork belly without ribs. However, the taste is better if you can find the rib version.

    Cutting through the ribs is optional. It all depends on how you want to cut the pork belly for serving.

    The traditional Norwegian recipe is only with salt and pepper for rubbing. Depending on taste you can add also chili powder to make it hot.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving:Calories: 248Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 678mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 4gSugar: 0gProtein: 15g

    Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

    Companion recipe list for Norwegian ribbe

    Try the following side dishes for the Norwegian ribbe:

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