How To Cook Pork Chops Perfectly

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.

What Type of Pork Chops to Buy

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.

Brining and Seasoning

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).

Cooking the Pork Chops

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

Finally, enjoy your perfect 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.

This post originally appeared in January 2018 and was revised and republished in August 2020.
How To Cook Pork Chops Perfectly

64 responses to “How To Cook Pork Chops Perfectly”

  1. Anne says:

    So I found pork chops that were a pound each(!). Followed all instructions to the letter. I have avcast iron skillet. Figured they’d need longer in the oven. Baked for 20 min. Inner temp said I way overcooked them. But they were STILL, tender, juicy, full of flavor! My pork chops have always been dry and tough. No more! Can’t thank you enough for this. How long would YOU cook 1 lb. chops?

  2. What if u don’t have a cast iron frying pan or one that can be used both stove top and oven? Thanks for any information on this….
    Michelle G.

    • Christine Pittman says:

      If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, Michelle, you can try wrapping the handle in a quadruple layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. Or, put a baking sheet in the heated oven when you start and then flip the chops onto that.

  3. Roger says:

    i always use a local oven /tandoori to prepare them but i will try that as well

  4. jim lee says:

    Decided I was tired of guessing and wasting pork chops. Went online to see if I could discover how I was supposed to cook the silly things. This was actually the first site that popped up. It caught my interest so I gave it a go. And IT WORKED! Its actually amazing how well this works! As long as you stick to the thickness, times & temps. I no longer even bother brining them. Plop the chop in a bowl with a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of olive oil, fire up the oven. Once the oven gets to about 300 deg., fire up the skillet. Cell phone on timer, preset to 3 minutes..

    Once the oven hits 400 drop the chop in the skillet and the process starts. In exactly 10 minutes.. I have breakfast. And it’ll be done perfectly!

    Thanks a million for this recipe!

    -jim lee

  5. Kate says:

    I used pork chops marinated in a Mccormick’s marinade and they turned out perfectly! My kids even ate them and this method saved an hours worth of baking. Thank you! 

  6. Teres Counts says:

    my mom made pork chops most of my life growing up and I always thought hers were good, but you have taken them to a whole new level by brining them. I brine other meats such as turkey and chicken, just never thought to do it to chops! Thanks so much for the juicy tip!!

  7. A friend showed me a way to make porkchops in the oven. Take flour and mix spices into it then coat the chops and bake on a foil covered baking sheet coated with pam bake at 425 for 15 min then turn them over and bake for another 20

  8. Charlene Jackson says:

    does this method work equally well on boneless pork chops?

    • Christine Pittman says:

      If they are nice and thick, yes. The thinner boneless chops should just be pan fried for a couple minutes on each side, just until cooked through.

  9. Cheryl says:

    It’s always hard for me to cook good pork chops. This helps!

  10. Jennifer Phillips says:

    I have never cooked them this way before, it is wonderful!!

  11. Calvin says:

    Been a minute since I have made these, cool recipe.

  12. Sandy says:

    Sounds simple and delicious. Will try these but cook them on our Traeger.

  13. Ursula Wendt says:

    Wonderful recipe. I tried it and the pork chops were fantastic. They were so tender and juicy. Thank you

  14. Debbie Yoder says:

    We love pork chops,thanks for the info here on how to cook them!

  15. Sharon says:

    My pork chops generally tend to come out tough so I’ve just about given up on cooking them, even though they’re one of my favorites! I am definitely going to try your method — and I have the 12″ skillet so I am good to go!

  16. Hans says:

    I have tried this recipe several times with good to great results (I am not a consistent cook, arrgh). Tonight was another win. However, will you change/adjust this recipe in light of your reverse-searing discussion on https://cookthestory.com/how-to-roast-pork-perfectly/?

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Thanks for your feedback, Hans! I’m really glad you like the recipe. No, it’s unlikely that I’ll revise this recipe since this is a fairly standard way to cook pork chops and people like having that as a go-to. However, you’ve made me realize that there’s an opportunity for a new recipe on my site! I hadn’t connected the dots before but it turns out that I use something like the reverse sear method when cooking chicken pieces on the grill – https://cookthestory.com/how-to-grill-chicken/ What I do is to get a big pan of chicken drumsticks or thighs. I season them and then I cook them low and slow. I do them for an hour at 300F. Then I add a BBQ sauce. If I’m serving them immediately, then I put them on the grill (or under the broiler) to get some nice char and some of that sear flavor. If the chicken has skin on it, it crisps up a bit here too. I use the same method for making ribs too – https://cookthestory.com/how-to-cook-ribs-perfectly/ So, I think it would work well for pork chops too. You could bake them at 300F just until they’re at 145F inside. Then put them under the broiler or on the grill just to brown up. It’s a great idea and I’m excited to try it! Thank you!

  17. Kayleigh Duggan says:

    I admittedly overcook pork chops ALL the time (especially the thin ones) and I was skeptical but wow! I just cooked one bone-in 1/4 inch thick chop by your recipe and it came out amazingly juicy! Didn’t brine but did marinate it for a couple hours first. I took the pan cooking time down to a minute and a half on each side then did about 2 min in the oven and it was perfect. Thanks so much!!

  18. Chris Galbraith says:

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

  19. Jacqueline says:

    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 says:

      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.

  20. Ruth says:

    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 says:

      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.

  21. Violet fitzpatrick says:

    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.

  22. CC says:

    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.

  23. Becki says:

     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!

  24. Marty says:

    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 says:

      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!

  25. Christi says:

    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 says:

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

  26. Alana says:

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

  27. Randy E. says:

    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.

  28. Gr says:

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

    • Christine Pittman says:

      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.

  29. Paul says:

    Perfect. The mystery of juicy chops has been solved.

  30. Dori says:

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

  31. Travis says:

    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?

  32. april says:

    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!

  33. Jesse says:

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

  34. Helen says:

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

  35. Janet says:

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

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