Learning how to cook pork chops properly is an essential skill that every home cook should learn. If endless dry and leathery pork chops have made you swear off cooking these economical cuts of meat, this how-to guide on making perfectly juicy pork chops might change your mind. In this guide, we’ll be teaching you several tips and tricks including how to marinate pork chops and the proper way of cooking them. We won’t guarantee you’ll be a pro after all of these (that take’s practice!) but we do guarantee delicious and juicy pork chops from now on. Take some notes and let's get started.
Choose Thick Bone-In Pork Chops
Learning how to cook pork chops starts before the oil starts sizzling in the pan. It first starts with choosing the right kind of pork chops. Many people make the mistake of buying thin boneless pork chops thinking that it saves them more time, and it does. But, whatever time you save using these thin pork chops is overshadowed by how easy these are to overcook, resulting in a dry pork chop. Skip these and buy bone-in pork chops that are at least one inch thick but no thicker than two inches. These cuts will give you that nice brown sear and more flavorful pork chops.
Marinate the Pork Chops to Tenderize and Add Flavor
People are divided on this. Some say marinate, and some say don’t marinate. We’re on team marinate on this one and we say it’s important to learn how to marinate pork chops properly. Marinating enhances its flavors and makes sure you get perfectly juicy pork chops every single time. Use soda like in this recipe to tenderize your meat and add sweet flavors to your pork chop. The best way to learn how to marinate pork chops is through practice so why don’t you give this classic fried pork chop recipe a try using Knorr Liquid Seasoning for that rich umami flavor. Just make sure to limit your marinating time to 4 hours to avoid mushy meat!
Bring Your Pork Chop to Room Temperature
It’s important to let your pork chops rest for 30 minutes after taking them out of the refrigerator. Bringing your pork chops to room temperature helps the meat cook evenly. Use this technique when you’re cooking other types of meat like poultry and beef.
Use a Hot Smoking Skillet for Frying or Pan-Searing Your Pork Chop
There are two schools of thought when it comes to ensuring a juicy pork chop. Some say to pan-fry completely while others swear by the pan-sear and finish-in-the-oven method. We’ll teach you both.
How to Fry a Porkchop
After ensuring that your porkchop is at room temperature, dry your pork chops using a paper towel. This ensures we get a nice crust on the pork chop. Then place a heavy-bottomed large skillet over medium-high heat and add any neutral high-smoke point oil. Once the oil shimmers, add your pork chop to the pan, making sure that you don’t overcrowd the pan. Depending on the thickness of your meat, fry your pork chop for 3-6 minutes per side without moving the meat. This allows for a good caramelization to develop on the sides of your pork chop. Test for doneness by sticking a meat thermometer inside the thickest part of the meat. It should read at 145°F or 63°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, try poking the meat with your finger and if it’s done, it should spring back firmly against your finger.
How to Pan-Sear then Bake a Porkchop
Preheat your oven to 400°F and at the same time, preheat a cast-iron skillet or an oven-safe stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add oil to the pan. It will immediately smoke but don’t worry this is normal. Add your pork chops to the pan and sear for 3 minutes. Flip the pork chops and place the pan inside the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes depending on the thickness of your pork chop. Test for doneness the same way as in the fried pork chop.
Rest Your Pork Chop to Retain Their Juices
You’ve done all this work and you’re extra excited to try your pork chops fresh out of the pan or oven but stop right there. Let your pork chops rest for 5 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to relax and distribute throughout the chop. You can even tent the pork chops with foil but don’t touch the pork chops until the 5 minutes are done. If you slice too early, all the juices that you worked so hard to retain will escape the pork leaving it less juicy than desired. You’ve gone all this way and what’s an extra five minutes for the juiciest pork chop you’ll ever have?
Pork Chop Recipes
As we said earlier, the best way to learn how to cook pork chops is to practice. Here are five recipes you can try to make juicy pork chops in a variety of ways.