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Crispy Pata

Learn a foolproof way to make the skin of your Crispy Pata crackle to the perfect crunchiness. This was made within the day without waiting overnight!Super Crispy Pata

What is Crispy Pata?

It is a Filipino dish made from pork leg, usually from the hock to the trotters. Traditionally, t is cooked deep-fried but it can also be cooked in the oven. The main target is to have a crispy skin, as the name implies.

As this dish normally requires some time to prepare, it is usually reserved for special occasions or for the holidays. Many Filipino restaurants would also have  Crispy Pata in their menus, including pubs as it is a well-loved pulutan or “booze appetizer”. Some even offer boneless versions of it.

Crispy Pata is not complete without the accompanying dip— a mix of vinegar, soy sauce, chopped onions, ground pepper and, sometimes, chili labuyo.

Crispy Pata Recipe

Hind Leg or Front Leg?

You can use either hind or front leg to make Crispy Pata. The main difference is that the hind leg is usually bigger than the front leg. The front leg that comes from the shoulder normally also has more fats.

In this recipe, I used the front leg, which is big enough for 4 to share, more if it is only one of the other main dishes.Ingrdients for Crispy Pata

How to cook Crispy Pata?

You will find various recipes for Crispy Pata. Although cooking it usually involves deep frying, however, each presents different ways on how to prepare it.

To ensure that the meat inside of a rather big chunk is cooked and seasoned before frying, it has to be boiled first until tender with some salt and spices.

Most recipes would suggest letting it sit in the fridge overnight after boiling. The reason for that is to dry out the skin to have it crispy.

Foolproof way to a super Crispy Pata skin

But I learned that if you want a really good crackling, the skin proteins need to be denatured. It means to destroy the physical properties and loosen them up. Doing this will result in blistering and crackling. This can be done in many different ways like scorching, pricking, heating or applying some chemicals like acid, alkaline or alcohol.

In one forum I read, one experimented with vinegar, lemon, vodka, lye water, and other things. He got the est crackling with a light crunch using vodka (alcohol) and lye water.  Baking soda comes next.

So I put it to the test. I used lye water as I have it for making Kutsinta and Pichi-pichi. Others are concerned that the lye water (or baking soda) will leave an after taste. To neutralize this a little vinegar and salt will do the trick. Although the small amount of lye will probably not leave any taste at all.

It really works! Just look at the photo below and check out that crispy-looking skin. It is indeed light and very crunchy without the chewiness or elastic resistance you get from pork skin. It also lessens the frying time to make the skin crackle so the pork is not over-fried and the meat remains juicy and tender.

Juicy and Crunchy Crispy Pata

Additional Tips :

  • Remove any remaining strays of hair by plucking them with tweezers or scorch them with a kitchen torch.
  • Boil the pork just until tender but not too long or the meat will separate from the bones.
  • When deep-frying, use a deep pot to fry the pork so it could provide additional protection against the oil splatters.
  • Immediately cover the pot with the lid after adding the pork, and let the spatters subside a bit then remove the cover. The lid will protect you from the initial splatters but it will build moisture later on that will drip to the oil and create more.
  • Use a splatter screen if you have it.
  • Do not fry too long or the meat will dry out.

How to cook crispy pata

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Crispy Pata Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Crispy Pata

Here is a foolproof way to achieve that perfect cracking skin that every Crispy Pata should have.
Print Rate
Course: Appetizer,Main Course
Cuisine: Filipino
Keyword: crispy pata
Servings: 4
Calories: 953kcal
Author: Bebs
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 15 minutes


  • 1 whole pork leg - - about 1.7 to 2 kgs with nails trimmed
  • 1 tablespoons peppercorn
  • 1/3 cup rock salt
  • 1 head garlic - - cut across into half
  • 1 medium onion - - cut into quarters
  • 3 pieces bay leaves
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lye water - - See NOTE 1 for alternative to lye water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • salt
  • 4 cups oil


  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorn - -crushed
  • 1 small red onion - - chopped finely
  • 1 piece chili labuyo - - chopped or use chili flakes


  • Place the pork leg in a snuggly fitting pot. Add salt, peppercorn, garlic, onions and bay leaves. Pour in the water ad bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Once it starts to boil, cover the pot and bring the heat down to low. Let it simmer for 1 hour or until meat and skin is tender but not too tender. You may add some water in between if it starts to dry up and the leg is not cooked yet.
  • Remove the pork leg from the pot and drain excess liquids. Place it on a rack over a pan so the liquids can drip easily. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Brush the skin part completely with lye water. Place the leg in the fridge uncovered for at least 5 hours or overnight.
  • Brush the skin this time with vinegar then rub some salt all over. Rest again for 30 minutes then use a kitchen or paper towel to remove the salt from the skin.
  • Heat oil in a large, deep pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, gently add the pork leg and cover the pot. Wait until the splattering sounds subside a little and remove the cover. Replace the lid with a splatter screen if you have it.
  • Fry the pork leg until the skin becomes crispy Turn as needed to get all the skin to cook until they crackle. Takes about 30 minutes to cook all sides and maybe lesser if completely submerged in oil.
  • Transfer to a plate with paper towels to drain excess oil. Serve with vinegar-soy sauce dip while still warm and enjoy.


  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Adjust as the ingredients based on personal preference.



NOTE 1 - just mix 2 teaspoons of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of water to substitute for lye water.
Nutrition Facts
Crispy Pata
Amount Per Serving
Calories 953 Calories from Fat 594
% Daily Value*
Fat 66g102%
Saturated Fat 25g125%
Cholesterol 315mg105%
Sodium 722mg30%
Potassium 1093mg31%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 81g162%
Vitamin A 15IU0%
Calcium 69mg7%
Iron 4.9mg27%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe? Tell us how it went. Tag us at @foxyfolksy or leave a comment and rating below.


Bebs here! I love to cook and try new things and DIY projects! And although I think of myself as a homebody, I like seeing other places from time to time.
If you are looking for a recipe and it ain't here, make a request and I will try my best to make it for you!

This Post Has 22 Comments

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  1. Hi! I brushed water + baking soda already, now currently in the freezer. When I take it out tomorrow (for Father’s Day lunch), should it be thawed first before applying vinegar + salt then fry? Or all can be done while frozen? Thanks

  2. Hi Bebs, I have done some of your recipes and it’s really good. This one is my favorite but when I checked my ingredients I don’t have lye water or baking soda🥺do you have any other options?
    Btw, I already subscribe but still waiting to confirm my subscription 😊

    1. Hi Regina, You should automatically get an email for the confirmation. Did you check your spam folder? Substitute for lye water, I read somewhere that vodka also works..

  3. Hi! Thank you for sharing this recipe.
    Was trying to follow the steps just one question… is it cover until boiling then simmer uncovered or boil uncovered then simmer covered?

    Thank you! God bless!

  4. Hi Bebs.
    Is the rock salt used when boiling the pork leg and then regular (assuming table) salt to rub on the skin?

  5. Hello po 😊 I wanna try this recipe for my dad, is it juicy and tender in the inside??? 😊 same po ba sila ng texture sa livestock na crispy pata? 😊thank u po God bless 😊

    1. Hi Kyla, I am not familiar with the livestock crispy pata, so I cannot say. Boil the meat to the tenderness you like and proceed as mentioned here.

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