Lechona Tolimense (Colombian-Style Stuffed Pork)

by Erica Dinho on June 12, 2010

Lechona Tolimense

Lechona Tolimense is a traditional dish, originally from the Tolima department of Colombia, is often served on special occasions. This popular dish consists of a whole pork stuffed with rice, peas, potatoes and spices , cooked in a brick oven for about ten to twelve hours.

Lechona was Mamita’s favorite Colombian dish and it was the main course at our New Year’s Eve celebrations and at her birthday parties. The most important thing for Mamita was that the skin was reallly crispy.

Lechona Tolimense is a delicious meal. My mom has a recipe to make a small Lechona at home using pork skin and I want to share it with you. Sorry, but I could not afford a whole pig and besides, my vegetarian husband would have had a fit if I brought home a pig ;-)

Enjoy it!

Pork skin Package

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(6 -8 servings)

  • 2 pounds pork fatback skins
  • Filling

  • 1/4 cup pork fat
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sazon goya with azafran
  • 3/4 cup peas
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked white rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound pork meat, cut into small pieces
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced


  1. In a medium sauce pan melt the pork fat. Add the scallions and garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl mix the pork meat, cooked rice, ground cumin, sazon goya, peas, potatoes, salt and pepper.
  3. Lechona Filling

  4. Add the pork fat and onion mixture to the bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  5. Skin and filling Lechona

  6. o assemble: Rinse the pork fat skin under cold water and pat dry. Lay the pork fat skin on a work surface, top with rice mixture. Start rolling the pork skin to enclose the rice and pork mixture completely. Tie with kitchen string to hold the roll together.
  7. Lechona Cruda

  8. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  9. Cover the lechona with aluminium foil and place on a baking dish. Bake for about 40 minutes uncovered and turn the lechona, cover again and cook for 30 minutes more.
  10. Uncover and cook for 25 minutes more, to allow the skin to brown.
  11. cooked Lechona

  12. Remove from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board. Carve the lechona after it has rested for at least 15 minutes. Serve with arepa and lime wedges on the side.
  13. Lechona Colombiana

  14. Note: If you want to see pictures of a traditional lechona made with a whole pig you can visit Nika’s blog here. If you are a vegetarian, I don’t recommend the pictures.
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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 CARMEN June 12, 2010 at 12:44 PM



2 Claudia June 12, 2010 at 1:39 PM

OMG! that looks amazing. can’t wait to make it. i’ve made many of your recipes and they have all been great and perfect. where can i purchase the Rumba product? thanks so much for sharing your recipes with us. =o)


3 Erica June 12, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Claudia- You can find pork skin at a Latin market.


4 Francijoe June 12, 2010 at 3:16 PM

This is great to eat for breakfast……:)


5 Lyndsey June 12, 2010 at 5:36 PM

It looks amazing! I agree with Claudia. I love your recipes and have made many! Thanks!


6 Joan Nova June 12, 2010 at 5:40 PM

Sabroso — but only in small portions and definitely with a squeeze of lime juice.


7 Christine @ Fresh Local and Best June 13, 2010 at 12:11 AM

WOW! I’m imagining a whole pig roasted with all these goodies. I’ve never known that you can buy pork skin alone. This dish is quite a treat, and like your mom I love pork skin to be very crisp.


8 Jeannie June 13, 2010 at 3:11 AM

Won’t the skin be tough? Looks good from the photos!


9 Erica June 13, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Jeannie- It is really crispy and delicious!!!


10 pierre June 13, 2010 at 5:41 AM

i love the way you cook the pork !! thanks for the sharing !!pierre de Paris


11 Joanne June 13, 2010 at 7:29 AM

This sounds like one delicious stuffed pork! Thanks for scaling it down…I can’t see myself bringing home a whole pig either :P


12 Barbara June 13, 2010 at 7:33 AM

Love the photos, Erica. The one of the dish coming out of the oven made my mouth water.
Funny comment about your vegetarian hubby!


13 Belinda @zomppa June 13, 2010 at 8:10 AM

Mmmmmmmmmm looks wonderful (and pork skin sounds pretty darn good too).


14 Carla June 13, 2010 at 8:20 AM

Oh my. Not too pretty to start out, but the end result is beautiful. I can just imagine all of the flavor from being tied in pork fat skins.


15 grace June 13, 2010 at 1:19 PM

welcome home, honey–here’s a pig! yeah, that might not go over so well. :) this dish, on the other hand, would be an absolute pleasure to behold upon arriving home–well done!


16 Faith June 13, 2010 at 4:12 PM

I love how crispy the skin got! It must have given so much flavor to this dish!


17 Pilar June 13, 2010 at 5:52 PM

Se ve delicioso!!


18 Erica June 13, 2010 at 6:04 PM

Thank you guys!


19 Oysterculture June 13, 2010 at 11:41 PM

Oh my, another incredible looking dish. My husband just looked over my shoulder and asked when he was getting this. Soon I hope!


20 Jessica June 14, 2010 at 1:16 AM

This sounds delicious! I just emailed it to my Aunt who was looking for a recipe like this!


21 norma June 14, 2010 at 9:36 AM

Give me all that skin…..que rico s e ve…


22 Chris June 14, 2010 at 7:26 PM

My grandmother used to make me fatback as a kid on summer vacation but she never got fancy like this! Spectacular cooking and presentation, Erica.


23 tasteofbeirut June 15, 2010 at 10:12 AM

How interesting Erica; I doubt I will find this here in Lebanon but I am fascinated with the process! Sounds so good too!


24 Sandra December 6, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Se ve muy rica pero yo soy del Tolima y en ese departamento se hace con puras carnes, papa, arveja, no se le agrega arroz. En Cundinamarca y otros departamentos es donde le agregan arroz.


25 Christina Mordenti December 6, 2010 at 12:33 PM

I wonder how it would be if I did this recipe with bacon instead of pork skin because I could not find the skin anywhere where I live? Has anyone tried that?


26 Karen May 12, 2011 at 10:26 PM

Erica… Quick question. Where do you find pork fat, or how do you make it?
Thanks this looks delishhhh!!!


27 Erica May 13, 2011 at 7:34 AM

Karen- I find pork fat at the meat department at my local market or you can ask the butcher.


28 Christine October 19, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Hi Erica –

Thank you for your great recipes! My husband is Colombian and I have really wanted to learn how to cook some of his favorites for him when we are in the states, but since my spanish is not fluent enough it was difficult to learn from his mother. I have been using your recipes while I am living in Bogota and so far they all have turned out delicious!

Lechona is one of his favorites so I am excited to try this one when we return to the states, especially since we just ate some in Tolima this past weekend!


29 Kelly Ospina December 15, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Thank you! I’ve been looking for a version of this recipe that I could make at home for just two people. This is perfect!


30 Gretel December 20, 2011 at 9:26 PM

Thank you so much for this! My family has always wanted to make Lechona but it’s difficult to find a whole pig and also quite expensive. We’re making this for Christmas, you saved us!! :D


31 Andrea December 24, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Dear Erica, you have saved Christmas this year for our family. See we ordered lechona from a local Colombian Restaurant and it was ok tastewise, but it had no pork skin. You know lechona is not lechona without the skin, I just came back from my very american store and they had the pork skin to my surprise. I am about to sfuff it with the “semi-lechona” we ordered. Thanks! I would’ve never thought of buying pork skin! Merry Christmas.


32 Nana January 9, 2012 at 4:42 PM


nunca pense en poder hacer lechona en mi casa. Tambien soy vegetariana por salud :(
Pero, el solo cuarito le va a dar ese sabor delicioso q’ es lo q’ mas me gusta…. uy q rico!

Where can I find the skin? I’ve never seen it!


33 Ana Maria Garcia January 10, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Me encantan tus recetas, he tratado algunas y me han salido bien. Me encanta este blog porque mi hijo (un futuro chef) tiene la oportunidad de conocer mas de nuestra comida tradicional. Gracias.


34 Cristina September 10, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Thanks for this recipe. I’m going to try it. I’ve been planning to cook a lechona, but this is fantastic for a first time try-out before attempting the real deal.


35 Melissa B. { hungryfoodlove } December 10, 2012 at 9:19 PM

This is too much! pork, crispy and stuffed with more yummines… I loved this so much I had to link it in my site along with my roasted pork post. I need to try this some day.


36 Aida March 17, 2013 at 5:10 PM

This Lechona Tolimense recipe is the greatest. If I can make it my husband will love me forever…:0)
My local supermarket does not carry the pork skin…where can I get it???


37 Martha gomez May 4, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Receta para tamales,porfa.gracias


38 Enver December 22, 2013 at 6:43 PM

MMmmmm!!..Al visitar Colombia comi Lechona y quede sorprendido de tan sabroso . A aquellos que nunca la han comido les digo que traten de probarlo y acuerdensen que solo en Colombia y aquellos Colombianos son los expertos en preparras.


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