Is there anything better than a simple plate of rice and char siu? 

Chinese BBQ is a weird and wonderful thing. Like with European community bread ovens, its origins come from ancient times when Chinese villages could only support one central oven capable of making slow roasted meats. There would be one BBQ master, and in their window would hang whole pork carcasses, ducks, and always, sweet, smoky char siu.

Making char siu at home isn’t hard, and there are lots of recipes online, but most of these recipes are oven-based. In my opinion though, an air fryer is a million times better. It heats up faster; the air circulation gets you a better char; and the inside is perfectly cooked in a tenth of the time.

Air Fryer Char Siu Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make air fryer char siu

  1. Cube the pork. Because we’re doing this in an air fryer, surface area is your friend. Plus, more char equals more flavor.
  2. Make the marinade. Just 5 ingredients, plus a couple of optional.
  3. Marinate overnight. You can go as short as 30 mins but longer is better.
  4. Air fry to perfection: 8 mins at 375º is what I did.
  5. Enjoy on fluffy white rice with some fresh greens, or use in a recipe of your choice (more below).

Is this better than baked?

This recipe builds on our standard char siu recipe, but replaces the oven with an air fryer, and honestly, I’ll probably never go back to a conventional oven again, unless I somehow have a need for a giant batch. Hey, it could happen.

I also replaced the standard pork shoulder with a 1.5″ thick cut, well-marbled pork chop. It was way easier to find at the store than a pork shoulder. Moreover, it comes out juicy, sweet, and delicious, the way Chinese BBQ should be. Like Steph with her baking, sometimes small batch is the way to go, although for how delicious this is, you might want to save the marinade and do an easy second or third batch. It’ll go quick.

Air Fryer Char Siu Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

What to do with char siu

Air Fryer Char Siu Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Air Fryer Char Siu Recipe

Serves 1
4.82 from 16 votes
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb thick cut pork chop
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 inch ginger sliced
  • 2 tsp shaoxing wine optional
  • 1/2 tsp chinese five spice powder optional
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper optional

Special Equipment

  • air fryer

Instructions

  • Cut the pork chop into 1" pieces. Combine the remaining ingredients into a marinade, then marinate the pork in the fridge. Longer is better, ideally go at least 30 minutes, but overnight is best.
    Air Fryer Char Siu Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Place the pork into the air fryer basket with at least 1/4" gap between pieces, in a single layer. Set the air fryer to 375ºF for 8 minutes (see note).
    Air Fryer Char Siu Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Enjoy with white rice or on its own as a snack.
    Air Fryer Char Siu Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Notes

Note: If you prefer your pork on the more well done side, set it to 10 minutes instead.
Feel free to save the marinade in the fridge to use again within 24 hours, or bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes to use as a sauce or glaze for an extra rich char siu.

10 Comments

  1. Dinesh Mohanan says:

    awesome :)

  2. Jessica Pascual says:

    5 stars
    It was really good! The meat was dry when I cooked it for 10 minutes, but it was perfect when I cooked it for 8.

  3. Soon says:

    May be better to use pork neck/collar, it’s softer
    The butchers called it “wu hua ruo”

  4. Mark says:

    There’s no way pork or any meat can be this browned/charred at just 375ºF for 8 minutes.

    1. Rick A Erickson says:

      Yes, there is, in an air fryer.

  5. Topmack88 says:

    5 stars
    Five star plus!
    Use this recipe for the 1st time last night; it was great! (I tripled the sauce because I like extra sauce AND I also fixed your fried rice, (also great!) and want extra sauce for that!). I lined my air fryer with aluminum foil to catch all of the juices AND to make clean up easier! Thanks & keep the recipes coming!

  6. Sabrina says:

    5 stars
    yum, nice new pork chop recipe for me, thank you, this will do nicely since I love Chinese BBQ flavors!

  7. Caitlin says:

    Do you think this would be doable with chicken thighs? I don’t eat much red meat. Thank you!

    1. Stephanie says:

      absolutely!!

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