How To Cook Pork Chops Perfectly

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Find out how to cook pork chops perfectly so that they’re juicy and delicious every time.

Find out how to cook pork chops perfectly so that they're juicy and delicious every time.

Pork chops are so tasty, and they’re quick and easy to cook. This makes them a great choice for weeknights, or for anytime, really.

As good as pork chops are though, sometimes they can end up a bit dry. Here I’m going to give you a foolproof method for making juicy pork chops every time. This method is for the stove top. If you want to know how to grill pork chops (Yes! Grilling season has arrived!) head over here.

Step#1

Buy the right pork chops. I always go for ones with a bone. This keeps the meat a bit juicier. Other than that, you want something that is at least 3/4 of an inch thick, mine are usually about 1 inch thick. When pork chops are thin, they get dry before they get browned.

I usually get Center Cut Pork Loin Rib Chops. The reason that I like these is that they have the bone, and some fat and marbling (that keeps things juicy too), and they are mostly the leaner loin meat while also having some of the darker, more flavorful meat at some edges.

Step#2 (optional)

I rarely brine or marinade anything because I’m more of a last-minute kind of girl. So if you follow the method described here and skip the brine, you’ll be just fine. However, if you find yourself with an extra 30-60 minutes before you need to start cooking, a brine will make a difference and is worth doing. It breaks down the structure of the meat and makes it juicier for sure. Here’s detailed info about brining. And here’s a quick how to:

How to Brine Pork Chops 

  1. For 4 pork chops that are about 1/2 lb. each, put a kettle on to boil. Measure 4 tablespoons of table salt into a shallow dish big enough to fit the chops in a single non-overlapping layer (a 13×9 like this works great, and this one has a good-fitting lid which is perfect).
  2. Add two cups of boiling water from the kettle into the dish. Stir to dissolve salt.
  3. Add an additional 2 cups of cold water, bringing the water to room temperature. You can also add flavorings like minced garlic, black pepper, ginger root, etc.. Stir.
  4. Add the pork chops. They should be completely submerged in the liquid. If not, try a different dimension container or add more salt solution (1 tablespoon salt dissolved into 1 cup water).
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours, but no longer than that.

Step#3

Take the pork chops out of the fridge. If you were brining them, take them out of the liquid and rinse them off. Discard the liquid. Pat the chops dry using a paper towel (dry them whether they were in a brine or not). Let them rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before preheating your oven to 400°F. While the oven preheats, rub the chops with olive oil on both sides. It’s about 1 teaspoon of olive oil per side (so 2 teaspoons per chop).

 

And sprinkle with salt (1/8 teaspoon per side)…

and pepper (a pinch or a grind per side).

Step#4

Heat a large oven-safe skillet over high heat. I use a 12-inch cast iron skillet. I know 12 inches doesn’t sound like much but it’s ridiculously large and heavy. 12 inches is the interior diameter, that is, the entire flat cooking surface of the inside of the pan is 12 inches across. It easily fits the 4 pork chops without crowding them so they can brown up nicely.

If your pan is smaller, you might have to use two pans. Or, you can brown the chops two at a time on the first side, and then crowd all 4 of them in on the other side to finish in the oven.

When the oven is finished preheating (you want the oven ready when you need it), put the pork chops into the hot pan on the stove.

 

Note that I did not put any oil into the pan because I instead put oil on the chops themselves. A good thing about this is that you can get the pan super super hot and it won’t smoke and burn the oil. But once you add the oiled chops to the hot pan, it probably will smoke, but it won’t burn the oil. Instead it will use the oil to help the chops turn a nice deep brown.

Step#5

Cook the chops without moving them AT ALL for 3 minutes. Then use a pair of tongs to try gently lifting one up. If it is a bit stuck to the skillet, let it go and let it cook for another minute or two, then try lifting again. When a good crust is formed on the meat, it will then release more easily from the pan. When they’re nice and brown like below, you can flip them over.

Step#6

Once you flip them all over, transfer the skillet (uncovered) to the preheated oven.

Step#7

Let them bake until the interior temperature, as read on an instant read thermometer stuck through the side edge into the middle, reads 140°F.* That’ll be 4-8 minutes depending on the thickness of your chops.

Step#8

Transfer the chops to a plate and let them rest for 3 minutes. Discard any juices that accumulate on the plate and then serve.

How To Cook Pork Chops

Here is a shorter, printable version of the above instructions. Have a great day!

Christine :)

Print

How To Cook Pork Chops


  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Description

Find out how to cook pork chops perfectly so that they’re juicy and delicious every time.


Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp. salt (for the brine, optional)
  • 2 cups boiling water (for the brine, optional)
  • 2 cups cold water (for the brine, optional)
  • 4 bone in, center cut pork loin rib chops, 3/4-1 inch thick, about 1/23/4 lb. each
  • 8 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. coarse black pepper

Instructions

  1. If brining the pork chops: Measure the 4 tablespoons of table salt into a shallow dish big enough to fit the chops in a single layer. Add boiling water. Stir to dissolve salt. Add cold water. Stir. Add pork chops. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 4 hours.
  2. Take the pork chops out of the fridge. If you were brining them, take them out of the liquid and rinse them off. Discard the liquid. Pat the chops dry using a paper towel (dry them whether they were in a brine or not).
  3. Let chops rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before preheating your oven to 400°F.
  4. While the oven preheats, rub the chops with the olive oil on both sides.  Sprinkle on both sides with the two teaspoons of salt and the black pepper.
  5. Over high heat, warm a large oven-safe skillet that can fit the 4 chops without crowding them.When the oven is finished preheating, put the pork chops into the hot pan on the stove.
  6. Cook the chops without moving them AT ALL for 3 minutes. Then use a pair of tongs to try gently lifting one up. If it is a bit stuck to the skillet, let it go and let it cook for another minute or two, then try lifting again. When a good crust is formed on the meat, it will then release more easily from the pan. When they’re nice and brown underneath, flip them over.
  7. Transfer the skillet (uncovered) to the preheated oven.
  8. Bake until the interior temperature, as read on an instant read thermometer stuck through the side edge into the middle, reads 140°F.* That’ll be 4-8 minutes depending on the thickness of your chops.
  9. Transfer the chops to a plate and let them rest for 3 minutes. Discard any juices that accumulate on the plate and then serve.

Notes

*The National Pork Board recommends that you continue to cook pork chops until they reach 145°F. It is therefore potentially unsafe to take them out of the oven and stop cooking them at 140°F. As with consuming medium-cooked steak, there is a risk involved here. Be aware that consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.

 

Find out how to cook pork chops perfectly so that they're juicy and delicious every time.

Find out how to cook pork chops perfectly so that they\'re juicy and delicious every time.

31 Responses to “How To Cook Pork Chops Perfectly”

  1. Chris Galbraith — September 8, 2019 @ 6:21 am (#)

    Excellent did mine without brine when in oven cooked fast keep close eye on them they came out perfect thank you. 

    • Christine Pittman — September 9, 2019 @ 3:04 pm (#)

      So happy you enjoyed it, Chris! Thanks!

  2. Jacqueline — August 26, 2019 @ 8:54 pm (#)

    I made this. Even tho I’m a boomer I didn’t know pork chops could be anything but dry and gave up years ago. These are very good and moist. My husband says they are perfect. But a little salty. I brined for one hour, but I’m not a briner. Maybe I didn’t rinse well enough or maybe 1″ chops absorb more salt? Open for your feedback. Ready for next time. Thanks.

    • Christine Pittman — August 28, 2019 @ 5:08 pm (#)

      I’m so glad you and your husband liked the pork chops, Jacqueline! For the saltiness, I would try brining them for less time, maybe just 30 minutes. You might instead think about trying a different kind of salt. I find that using a coarse salt is better. And you can reduce the amount of salt by a bit and it will still work. I usually don’t rinse meat after brining it, I just pat it dry, but that might help as well.

  3. Ruth — August 18, 2019 @ 7:50 pm (#)

    I am so excited to have read this recipe and all the favorable comments. I am a single and have tried (often unsuccessfully) to quarter a recipe like yours and it just doesn’t work.Could you provide a recipe for a single serving? I’ll be thrilled to try it! Thanks so much.

    • Christine Pittman — August 20, 2019 @ 2:08 pm (#)

      Ruth, for this recipe you can do it exactly as stated but halve the amount of the brine salt and water. And then quarter the amount of olive oil, salt and pepper that you apply to the chop. Otherwise, it should be the same.

  4. Violet fitzpatrick — August 5, 2019 @ 8:53 pm (#)

    I have resisted making pork chops for years at home because they always turned out so dry. Now I’m on a low cholesterol diet and needs some variety other than chicken,  so wanted to try the pork chops again. I used this recipe with a 1/2 inch thick pork loin chop, no bone and no fat to speak of. I preheated my toaster oven, I did the olive oil on one side of the chop, salt and pepper, put it in the skillet 1 and 1/2 mins, oiled and seasoned the topside, turned it, another minute and a half, transferred to toaster oven two minutes and hey presto! Never had such a juicy pork chop IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. So grateful for this recipe.

    • Christine Pittman — August 21, 2019 @ 10:59 am (#)

      That’s wonderful, Violet! I’m so glad you’re confident making pork chops again.

  5. CC — July 24, 2019 @ 5:17 pm (#)

    Sorry I did not get to try this recipe.  The excessive and continuous pop-up ads and videos was very distracting and I gave up.

  6. Becki — July 17, 2019 @ 7:00 pm (#)

     This is the first time that I have ever made such delicious pork chops! I used bone in and they were cooked perfectly following these directions. Thank you!

    • Christine Pittman — August 21, 2019 @ 11:51 am (#)

      Yay! I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe, Becki.

  7. Marty — June 30, 2019 @ 11:33 am (#)

    I have a question:  you say that once the pork chops are browned on one side that you immediately put them into the 400 degree oven.  Are you not browning the other side?

    • Christine Pittman — August 22, 2019 @ 3:56 pm (#)

      The pork chops are flipped before putting them in the oven so the underside browns on the pan in the oven. The reason for finishing in the oven is because it’s gentler than the stove and the heat circulates on all sides. This cooks the pork chops more evenly and makes it less dry. Hope this helps, Marty!

  8. Christi — June 4, 2019 @ 10:17 pm (#)

    Thank you! I’ve been a vegetarian for many years but my girlfriend loves meat and I wanted to maintain my reputation of being a good cook. However, I hadn’t cooked pork in like 10 years! Followed your recipe and it turned out great. Reputation maintained, dinner saved. I especially appreciate the detailed yet simple steps. :)

    • Christine Pittman — August 22, 2019 @ 4:41 pm (#)

      That’s great that the steps were easy for you to follow. Glad you’ve still got your cooking reputation, Christi!

  9. Alana — May 27, 2019 @ 2:50 am (#)

    Best pork chops I’ve ever cooked using the brine method

  10. Randy E. — April 29, 2019 @ 10:26 pm (#)

    Thanks for the recipe, everyone in the family loved them. The chops turned out fantastic, juicy and tender. No more dried out chops for us.

    • Christine Pittman — May 8, 2019 @ 8:57 am (#)

      Yay! So glad you guys liked it!

  11. Gr — April 24, 2019 @ 11:48 am (#)

    Ew.. those do not look good at all. Where’s the seasoning and fresh herbs??? Those look bland as hell.

    • Christine Pittman — May 8, 2019 @ 9:01 am (#)

      This is a very basic way to make pork chops. But you’ll find that the brine and then the pepper do yield quite a bit of flavor. Feel free to sprinkle on a tad of chopped fresh rosemary or chives after cooking.

  12. Paul — April 1, 2019 @ 10:49 pm (#)

    Perfect. The mystery of juicy chops has been solved.

  13. Dori — March 30, 2019 @ 9:03 pm (#)

    I made these chops. They were good, however, high heat was way too much & 3 minutes was too long.

  14. Travis — March 9, 2019 @ 5:47 pm (#)

    High heat almost immediately set off my smoke detectors, and and much less than 3 minutes was required. Any ideas how to adjust the temperature next time?

  15. april — March 5, 2019 @ 3:45 pm (#)

    made this for lunch just now, perfect timing + temp for the chop, it came out so juicy. I had it with brussels sprouts and potatoes, cause it’s what I had. Also, I added some gochugaru, a Korean spice, to give the meat a little kick. Thanks for the post and recipe!

  16. Jesse — January 23, 2019 @ 5:26 pm (#)

    I’ve never made pork chops as tender and perfect. Thank you for the recipe! 

    • Christine Pittman — January 31, 2019 @ 12:06 pm (#)

      Jesse, thank you so much for your comment. It has made my day. I’m happy you liked them so much!

  17. Helen — October 7, 2018 @ 10:42 pm (#)

    This was simple and the pork chops were great. Cheers.

    • Christine Pittman — October 29, 2018 @ 12:17 pm (#)

      Helen, You’re welcome. So glad you liked it, and thanks for letting me know!

  18. Janet — July 8, 2018 @ 7:55 am (#)

    I have tried this recipe and it was fantastic! Pork chops are tender and just right.

    • Christine Pittman — July 16, 2018 @ 2:06 pm (#)

      Janet, That’s fantastic. So happy this pork chop recipe worked for you!

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