How to Cook Pork Chops

Bake, broil, fry and grill juicy pork chops.

January 10, 2023

Related To:

Pork chops on the bone roast in berry marinate.Meat in cherry wine sauce


Pork chops on the bone roast in berry marinate.Meat in cherry wine sauce

Photo by: Nikolay_Donetsk/Getty Images

Nikolay_Donetsk/Getty Images

By Fraya Berg for Food Network Kitchen

Fraya is a chef and a contributing writer at Food Network.

Cooking pork chops isn’t hard; the main trick is keeping them juicy. Most pork chops are naturally very lean, which makes them prone to drying out when overcooked. The single most useful tool you can have is an instant-read thermometer to ensure you cook them to just the right temperature: 145 degrees F. Continue reading for info on how to prep pork chops and different ways to cook them.

How to Season Pork Chops

The easiest way to season pork chops is with salt and pepper; we prefer kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. When seasoning with salt and pepper, cooking right after seasoning is important—if you wait, the salt will extract water from the meat and your pork chops will be dry.

Reach for 1 teaspoon kosher salt per 1 pound of meat. For the most even seasoning, spread the pork chops in a single layer and sprinkle the salt and pepper back and forth over the chops from about a foot above the meat. Why? The height allows the salt to fall evenly, like snow, ensuring an even layer. Make sure you season both sides of the pork chops.

If you’re using a saltshaker, it still helps to sprinkle from high-up and not close to the meat.

How to Brine Pork Chops

If you have time, brining your pork chops ensures they’re extra tender and juicy and seasoned throughout. Brine is a solution of salt and sugar, with or without other flavors added. It works by osmosis. Salt, sugar and moisture are drawn into the meat. Sugar, interestingly, improves the flavor of meat and also aids in browning.

To brine your pork chops, add them to a freezer-weight gallon-size zip top bag.

Make your brine: try starting with our turkey brine recipe, which you can scale back for 2 to 3 pounds of pork chops by using 2 tablespoons each salt and sugar plus a quart of water. Add the brine to the freezer bag and seal it.

Then transfer the bag to the refrigerator and let the pork chops brine for 6 to 24 hours. Err on the shorter side of this range if you have thin pork chops and the longer side if you have thick pork chops. If you’re curious about brining, head over to our story, What Is Brining?.

Grilled pork chop with spices and bred on wooden background


Grilled pork chop with spices and bred on wooden background

Photo by: RistoArnaudov/Getty Images

RistoArnaudov/Getty Images

How Long to Cook Pork Chops

There are a few types of pork chops. Chops from the ribs and loin cook quickly over high heat. Chops from the shoulder are cooked low and slow, the way you’d cook a brisket or chuck roast. For a more in-depth look at the individual chops, look at our How to Bake Pork chops article.

Although the variety and thickness of the pork chop will affect exact cook times (thin chops, for example, might take just 4 minutes a side, while thicker ones might need to be finished in the oven), you can use your meat thermometer as a guide. Pork chops are done when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. Per the USDA, make sure to rest pork chops for 3 minutes after cooking them to this internal temperature.

How to Cook Boneless Pork Chops

Boneless pork chops might come from the loin or the rib, and as the name suggests, they don’t have any bone. They are easy to cook and do so extremely evenly. You can sear them in a skillet, grill them, broil them or bake them. Moreover, any recipe that calls for bone-in pork chops can be converted to boneless pork chops by reducing the cook-time indicated. Simply start checking the internal temperature 10 minutes before when the bone-in recipe instructs.

How to Cook Thin Pork Chops

Thin pork chops are usually less than 1/2-inch thick. They are the easiest, fastest chops to cook and keep juicy. The best way to cook them is searing them in a skillet over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes a side. Make sure you use a high-smoke point oil like canola or sunflower.

Another good way to cook them? Grill them over high, direct heat for 2 to 3 minutes a side. If you want to use BBQ sauce, we recommend brushing it on as you take the chops off the grill: the high heat will burn the sauce.

We don’t recommend broiling or baking thin chops, as it’s easy to overcook them this way.

How to Cook Thick Pork Chops

Thick pork chops are between 1/2 and 2 inches thick. Cooking thick pork chops often requires a two-step process: high-heat searing to develop flavor and medium-heat to finish the cooking and bring the internal temperature of the chops to 145 degrees F.

One common way to cook thick chops is to sear them on both sides to achieve a golden brown crust, and then transfer the skillet to a 350-degree F oven until they’re cooked through.

Alternatively, you can grill them. Grill them on both sides over direct heat to achieve grill marks, then finish cooking them on the low side over indirect heat.

How to Cook Stuffed Pork Chops

Stuffed pork chops can be filled with anything: bread stuffing, veggies and cheese or dried and fresh fruit. Pan-frying is the best option to keep them juicy, because the pork on either side of the pocket is thin and will cook quickly. The fact that the chops cook quickly means the filling should always be either filling that doesn’t need to be cooked or is already cooked before you stuff the pork chop.

Start with a thick, bone-in rib chop. Cut a pocket in the chop, going nearly all the way to the bone and fill the pocket with your filling. Heat a skillet over medium-high, add oil and cook the chops on both sides until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Depending on the thickness of your pork chops, you may or may not need to cook them longer to reach 145 degrees F. Just make sure to take the temperature near the bone.

Cranberry-Stuffed Pork Chops

This recipe for Cranberry-Stuffed Pork Chops is perfect anytime you want stuffed pork chops. Make it once and you’ll have the technique mastered so you can switch it up with any dried fruit you like. Think about switching up the bread, too—carraway rye with apples is delicious.

How to Pan Fry Pork Chops

Pan frying is the easiest way to cook pork chops: you can monitor them easily as they cook. For a complete guide, mosey over to our story How to Cook Pork Chops On the Stove.

Here’s a quick overview. Season the pork chops, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add neutral oil. When the oil shimmers, add the pork chops, being careful not to crowd the pan. Sear the pork chops on both sides until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Thin pork chops will be done at this point; thick pork chops will need to be transferred to a 350 degrees F oven until cooked through to 145 degrees F.

How to Cook Pork Chops In an Air Fryer

Thin, 1-inch-thick pork chops are the best for air frying: they’ll brown and cook through in the same amount of time. Thin chops will be overcooked and dried out before they brown.

Preheat an air fryer to 360 degrees F. Season the pork chops and bread them if you’d like, spraying breaded pork chops with nonstick spray. Working in batches, add the chops to the fryer basket and cook until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

How to Broil Pork Chops

Broiling is a convenient way to cook pork chops and achieve crispy, deeply browned exteriors. Here’s what to do. Heat the broiler, season the pork chops and brush them with a bit of oil or butter. Transfer the pork chops to a baking sheet and broil them 4 inches from the flame until browned on top, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and broil until a meat thermometer registers 145 degrees F, 3 to 4 more minutes.

schnitzel and fried potatoes on dark plate, top view


schnitzel and fried potatoes on dark plate, top view

Photo by: Magone/Getty Images

Magone/Getty Images

What to Serve with Pork Chops

There are so many side dishes you can serve with pork chops. When we make breaded pork chops it feels like there’s already enough starch on the plate, so we like to serve two vegetables such as coleslaw and corn salad. However, with pan fried chops, the sky’s the limit for sides. Consider a beautiful vessel of mashed potatoes or roasted potatoes and a large hearty salad, such as a kale salad. When we’re making grilled pork chops, you can easily whip up some grilled vegetables too. Start the vegetables well in advance of the pork chops because it will take longer to cook them than the pork. Classic barbecue sides pair well, such as potato salad and bean salad.

The Best Pork Chops Recipes

Here, boneless pork chops, sometimes called cutlets, are quickly pan cooked to golden perfection while potatoes roast in the oven.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

Make these pork chops on a grill pan or grill outside – both methods make for wonderfully charred chops.

Photo by: Armando Rafael

Armando Rafael

This pork chop recipe uses a fun breading technique: you add the pork chops to a bag with breadcrumbs and shake to coat them. Then you simply bake them.

Pan-seared Sazon-seasoned pork chops are served with aromatic, tomato-y rice.


Photo by: Charles Masters

Charles Masters

Skip the flour and egg: mustard holds the breadcrumbs on these pork chops. Then they’re fried to perfection and served with potatoes and asparagus.

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