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 and tender pork chops every time. This method is for the stove top, but I have links to my other methods for cooking pork chops below.
Scroll down to read more about how it all comes together or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
Video: How To Cook Pork Chops On The Stove
What Type Of Pork Chops To Buy
First, buy the right pork chops. I always go for bone-in pork chops. This keeps the meat a bit juicier than boneless pork chops. 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 too thin, they can get dry before they get browned. If you have the thin cut chops, follow the advice in my How to cThin Pork Chops recipe.
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.
Have pork steaks instead? Try my best Pork Steak recipe.
Brining And Seasoning
A brine is not required for delicious pork chops, but it really does help that lean meat get juicier, and it adds flavor. If you have an extra 30-60 minutes before you need to start cooking, I recommend that you do it. Get more detailed info about brining pork chops. And here’s a quick how to:
How to Brine Pork Chops (Optional Step)
- For 4 pork chops that are about 1-inch thick, arrange the chops in a dish where they are not overlapping and will have space to be covered fully by liquid (a 13×9 like this works great, and this one has a good-fitting lid which is perfect).
- Measure 4 cups of cool water into a bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of Morton’s kosher salt or 6 tablespoons of Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Stir to dissolve salt. Optionally stir in a tablespoon of garlic powder (or consider doing this amazingly flavorful brine that I use for turkey).
- Pour the liquid over 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).
- Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. If you only have 30 minutes, that’s fine, but 60 minutes is best. You can leave them in the brine for as long as 2 hours, but after that, they start to get too salty.
You could instead use my pork chop marinade which I suggest leaving the pork chops in for 15-30 minutes.
Take the pork chops out of the fridge. If you were brining them, take them out of the liquid and discard the liquid. Whether they were in a brine or not, pat the chops dry using a paper towel.
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).
Cooking The Pork Chops
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.
How To Sear Pork Chops
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.
Once you flip them all over, transfer the skillet (uncovered) to the preheated oven.
How To Know When Your Pork Chops Are Done
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.
Safety guidelines say to continue cooking until pork reaches an internal temperature of 145°F, but I find with carryover cooking, it’s fine to pull them at this point.
Note that 160F used to be the recommended safe temperature for pork. Many people grew up eating pork cooked to that temperature and find pork that is a bit rarer off-putting. If this is you, you’ll want to cook the pork chops until they reach 155F before removing them from the oven.
Transfer the chops to a plate and let them rest for 3 minutes. Discard any juices that accumulate on the plate and then serve.
Finally, enjoy your perfect pork chops along with your favorite side dishes like mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables for an amazing dinner.
More Pork Chops Recipes
You can browse my full collection of pork recipes, including pork tenderloins and roasts, but first here are some other ways to cook pork chops.
- How to Bake Pork Chops
- Grilled Pork Chops Recipe
- Pork Chops in the Instant Pot
- Air Fryer Pork Chops
- Smoked Pork Chops Recipe
Podcast Episode: Making Pork Chops
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make pork chops, along with some other great tips, by clicking the play button below:
Find out how to cook pork chops perfectly so that they’re juicy and delicious every time.
- 4 bone-in, center cut pork loin rib chops, 3/4- 1 inch thick, about 1/2– 3/4 lb. each
- 4 cups cool water (for the brine, optional)
- 4 Tbsp. Morton’s kosher salt (for the brine, optional)
- 8 tsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. salt (only if not brining the chops)
- 1 tsp. coarse black pepper
- If brining the pork chops: arrange the chops in a 13×9 baking dish such that they are not overlapping. In a large bowl, combine the water and the kosher salt, stirring until dissolved. Pour liquid over chops. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours but no longer.
- Take the pork chops out of the fridge. If you were brining them, take them out of the liquid and discard the liquid. Pat the chops dry using a paper towel (dry them whether they were in a brine or not).
- Let chops rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before preheating your oven to 400°F.
- While the oven preheats, rub the chops with the olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle them all over with the pepper, and if you didn’t brine them then also sprinkle them with the 2 teaspoons of salt.
- 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.
- 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.
- Transfer the skillet (uncovered) to the preheated oven.
- 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.
- Transfer the chops to a plate and let them rest for 3 minutes. Discard any juices that accumulate on the plate and then serve.
Love this recipe? I’d appreciate it if you could scroll down and add a *5 star rating* to help others know they’ll love it as well!
*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.
This post originally appeared in January 2018 and was revised and republished in October 2023.