Are Pork Rinds Actually Healthy? Let's Explore Ways to Make This Snack Better for You

Pork rinds are fried pig skins — and that should give you a hint about how healthy they are.

Jamie Bichelman - Author

Feb. 26 2024, Published 2:30 p.m. ET

Fried pork rinds are served in a wooden bowl beside hot sauce.
Source: iStock

An unholy combination of lacking in key essential nutrients and the product of horrific animal cruelty, pork rinds cannot objectively be considered healthy.

As vegan alternatives to traditional pork dishes and snacks enter the marketplace, it's natural to desire a more healthful and more ethical pork rinds alternative.

Article continues below advertisement

Below, we explore the impact of eating pig skin fried in fat, if healthier options exist, and how you can make your own plant-based version of pork rinds.

Chicharrones, a traditional Mexican snack, is served with lemon juice and red hot chili sauce.
Source: iStock
Article continues below advertisement

Are pork rinds healthy?

No, pork rinds are not healthy for you.

According to some sources, such as 99.9 KTDY, pork rinds are "healthy snack" that should be consumed in moderation. However, this is another example of deceptive and misleading framing by pro-meat misinformers, as explained by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Per WebMD, the deep-fried pig skin snack commonly found in gas stations does not provide adequate vitamins and minerals; it is high in fat and sodium; and it is a highly-processed food. But because pork rinds contain a high fat and no carbohydrate profile, they are popular among those who adhere to a keto diet.

Article continues below advertisement

In addition to the high saturated fats and cholesterol present in pork rinds, there is evidence that consuming highly-processed meats and/or red meat is linked to various types of cancers and diseases.

Per Cancer Research UK, there is a high degree of confidence that consumption of processed meats causes cancer, especially colorectal cancer.

It's important to note that people from Central and South American backgrounds and other cultures who consume pork rinds or chicharrón should not be lambasted for enjoying this traditional dish. Instead, we can spread the word on alternatives to pork rinds that are better for our health, the planet, and animals, so that fans of chicharrón can continue to enjoy the dish.

Article continues below advertisement
Fried cassava is served on a plate with lime wedges and lettuce.
Source: iStock

Homemade and vegan pork rinds are a great healthy alternative.

There are many ways to modify a pork rind recipe to fit a certain diet, leave out the animal cruelty, and enhance the nutritional profile all the while.

Trader Joe's seemingly discontinued its fan-favorite Spicy Porkless Plant-Based Snack Rinds in 2024. But luckily, Outstanding Foods makes another vegan pork rind snack, known as PigOut Pigless Pork Rinds, that is available on Amazon and other online retailers.

Article continues below advertisement

A great alternative to the popular Salvadoran and Honduran dish yuca con chicharrón is to omit the pork rinds and just focus on the yuca, and serve it with lime and garnish it with greens.

The blog The Edgy Veg developed a quick recipe using rice paper sheets and an amalgamation of seasonings to replicate the smoky flavor of commercial pork rind snacks that is entirely vegan.

The Hidden Veggies also uses fried rice paper to mimic the texture of traditional pork rinds, likewise offering a balance of seasonings that can be adjusted to one's preferences.

YouTuber AstigVegan offers a terrific vegan chicharrón recipe utilizing yuba (tofu skin) to mimic the fried pig skin texture.

Healthful, more nutrient-dense, animal-free, and better for the planet? Sign us up!

More from Green Matters

Latest Plant-Based Diets News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Green Matters. Green Matters is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.