Many things make pork chops special, but some of their most notable qualities include their versatility, flavor, and juiciness. Pork chops can be grilled, baked, pan-fried, or even roasted, making them a versatile option for any meal and they tend to be fairly inexpensive, making them a great choice for budget-minded cooks. Most importantly, though, pork chops are often very juicy but only if cooked correctly.
To avoid overcooking your pork chops, it is important to bake them at the right temperature for the right amount of time. For 1-inch pork chops, bake them at 400° Fahrenheit for 25 minutes. If your pork chops are thicker than 1-inch, you will need to cook them even longer, for around 30 minutes. For thinner pork chops, check them around the 20-minute mark.
Nobody likes a dry or rubbery pork chop. To get guaranteed juicy and succulent pork, continue reading to learn how long to bake the meat, how to ensure that it’s properly cooked, and what to serve with it. We’ll also include a handful of top tips to help you get the most out of your meat and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about pork chops.
Always Bake Pork Chops at 400° Fahrenheit
There are three types of cuts that are classified as pork chops- blade, rib, and loin. Each of these cuts comes from a different area of the pig and as a result, they can vary significantly in thickness. For example, a blade pork chop is going to be much thinner than a rib pork chop. This is important to know because it directly impacts the cooking time.
A thinner pork chop will cook faster than a thicker one and as a result, it is more likely to dry out. Thicker pork chops need more time to cook all the way through but are less likely to dry out. For the juiciest and most flavorful pork chops, bake them at 400° Fahrenheit.
This high cooking temperature will help to seal in the juices and prevent the pork chops from drying out. It will also help to cook the fat on the outer edge of the meat, creating a crisp bite rather than a greasy, chewy one.
Bake 1-Inch Pork Chops for 25 Minutes
Once you’ve decided on the perfect cooking temperature, it’s time to focus on the cooking time. As a general rule of thumb, pork chops should be cooked for 25 minutes per 1-inch of thickness. This means that if you are cooking 1-inch pork chops, they will need to bake for 25 minutes. If your pork chops are 1.5-inches thick, cook them for 37.5 minutes, and so on.
Thicker pork chops will need to be cooked for a longer period of time but be careful not to overcook them. Pork chops are safe to eat when they reach an internal temperature of 145° Fahrenheit but they will be much more tender and juicier if you remove them at 140° Fahrenheit and then let the temperature continue to rise to 145°.
To check the internal temperature of your pork chops, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chop. If the thermometer reads 140° Fahrenheit or above, your pork chops are ready to come out of the oven. If the thermometer reads above 150° Fahrenheit, the chops will likely be overcooked and dry.
Pork Chops are Not Steak and Shouldn’t Be Cooked Rare
For many decades, the USDA recommended cooking all pork products until they are well done. This recommendation has since changed but there is still a lot of confusion about how to properly cook pork chops. After all, pork is more likely than beef or lamb to carry bacteria and parasites. Nevertheless, you do not have to cook your pork until it’s bone-dry.
That being said, though, it’s important to remember that pork chops are not steak. They should not be cooked rare or even medium-rare. For the juiciest and most flavorful pork chops, cook them until they reach an internal temperature of 145° Fahrenheit. This will ensure that the pork is cooked all the way through without drying it out.
Bone-In vs. Boneless Pork Chops
Another important factor to consider when cooking pork chops is whether they are bone-in or boneless. This may not seem like a big deal but it actually makes a pretty big difference. Boneless pork chops will cook faster than bone-in pork chops because there is less mass for the heat to travel through. As a result, boneless pork chops are more likely to dry out.
If you are cooking boneless pork chops, check their internal temperature around the 20-minute mark. On the other hand, bone-in pork chops will take longer to cook but they are also less likely to dry out. This is because the bone helps to protect the meat and keep it moist. If you are cooking bone-in pork chops, cook them for the full 25 to 30 minutes.
Bake Pork Chops in an Air Fryer if You’re in a Hurry
If you’re short on time, you can cook your pork chops in an air fryer. Air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food, cooking it evenly on all sides. This is the perfect cooking method for pork chops because it helps to prevent them from drying out.
To cook pork chops in an air fryer, preheat the air fryer to 400° Fahrenheit. Season the pork chops with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices. Place the pork chops in the air fryer basket and cook them for 10 minutes. Flip the pork chops over and cook them for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 145° Fahrenheit.
Serve Pork Chops with Roasted Potatoes and a Salad
Pork chops are a versatile protein that can be served with a variety of sides. For a simple and classic meal, serve pork chops with roasted potatoes and a green salad. This meal is easy to prepare and can be on the table in less than an hour.
To roast potatoes, preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces and toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the potatoes on a baking sheet and roast them with your pork chops for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they are tender and golden brown. While the potatoes are roasting, prepare the salad.
For a green salad, use whatever greens you have on hand and top them with diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and croutons. For a more substantial salad, add roasted vegetables, grilled chicken, or hard-boiled eggs. To make the dressing, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve.
My Top Tips to Make Wonderful Yet Simple Pork Chops
Before we walk you through our personal favorite pork chop recipe, we wanted to share a few insider tips that will improve the overall flavor and tenderness of the meat. Use them as you see fit and don’t be afraid to experiment with your own ideas.
Marinade the Pork Chops for Added Tenderness
Any good marinade should include a healthy balance of acids, sugars, spices, and salt. When combined together, these ingredients help to break down the tough muscle fibers in the pork, tenderizing it in the process. This is especially true for leaner cuts of pork like loin chops.
To marinade pork chops, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large resealable bag. Add the pork chops to the bag and massage it until the chops are evenly coated in the marinade. Place the bag in the fridge and let the pork chops marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
Season the Pork Chops Generously
Seasoning pork chops is important because it helps to enhance their flavor. When it comes to seasoning, we recommend using high-quality salt like Himalayan pink salt or coarse sea salt. Avoid using table salt as it is highly refined and can make the pork chops taste too salty.
In addition to salt, we also like to season our pork chops with a variety of dried and fresh herbs. Dried herbs like oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary are all great options. For fresh herbs, we like to use garlic, shallots, or green onions.
Sear the Pork Chops Before Baking
Searing the pork chops before baking them helps to create a flavorful and crispy exterior. To sear pork chops, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the pork chops to the pan and cook them for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until they are evenly browned.
Let the Pork Chops Rest Before Cutting Into Them
Once the pork chops are cooked, it is important to let them rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting into them. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful pork chop.
Use the Pan Drippings to Make Gravy
After you’ve finished cooking the pork chops, there will be a lot of delicious pan drippings left in the bottom of the pan. These drippings can be used to make a quick and easy gravy. To make gravy, whisk together the pan drippings, flour, and chicken stock. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste and serve it over the pork chops.
Frequently Asked Questions
The internal temperature of pork chops will continue to rise for a short time after they are removed from the oven. This is due to the residual heat that is still present in the meat.
There are several dry rubs that can be used to increase the tenderness of pork chops. Some of these include paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.
The Only Pork Chop Recipe You’ll Ever Need
- 4 pork chops (1-inch thick)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large resealable bag. Add the pork chops to the bag and massage it until the chops are evenly coated in the marinade. Place the bag in the fridge and let the pork chops marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the pork chops to the pan and cook them for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until they are evenly browned.
- Transfer the pork chops to a baking sheet and bake them for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 145° Fahrenheit.
- Let the pork chops rest for 5 minutes before cutting into them.
- To make the gravy, whisk together the pan drippings, flour, and chicken stock. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste and serve it over the pork chops.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 507Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 134mgSodium: 1021mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 43g