Here’s an unusual barometer for pork’s popularity: tattoos. In the book Knives and Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind their Tattoos, editor Isaac Fitzgerald notes the pig “seems to be the official or unofficial logo of professional chefs.” Pork is revered around the world for is flavor and versatility, and many cuisines feature this ingredient front and center—think Italian meatballs, Thai stir-fry (Gaprao Moo Kai Daao), and Mexican carnitas. Of all the ways to cook pork though, one cut reigns supreme: the mighty pork chop. It’s fatty (aka flavorful), marbled, and ideal for grilling and pan-frying. Keep reading to learn about the different ways to cook pork chops, flavorful pork chop recipes, the best pork chop sides, and a quick primer on pork chop nutrition.
Let’s start with an anatomy lesson. Pork chops come from the loin, which runs from hip to shoulder. Occasionally you’ll find pork chops labeled with slightly different names to indicate the region more specifically, such as center-cut loin, rib chop, blade chop, and sirloin chop. This cut is known for being a lean and tender option with mild flavor that pairs well with almost any flavor combinations you can come up with.
My Food Diary reports that a 4-ounce serving of pork chop contains the following:
When it comes to the best ways to cook pork chops, let your own palate guide the way. If you like juicy pork chops, leave the bone in while you cook. If you need a quick weeknight pork chop recipe, pound them thinly before pan-frying. Here are some other ideas.
Preheat your oven to 350°F—the pork chop cook time will be about 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 140°F.
When you cook pork chops in the oven, you have a couple of options when it comes to your vessel.
DIY your oven-roasted pork chops with these marinade ideas!
Yields: 2 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
2 (1 ¼-inch thick) Thrive Market Pastured, Bone-In Pork Rib Chops
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt, divided
½ teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Garlic Powder
½ teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Thyme
¼ teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Ground Pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup dry white wine
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup Thrive Market Organic Chicken Bone Broth
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F and season pork with 1 teaspoon salt, garlic powder, thyme, and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon butter to a cast-iron skillet set over medium high heat. Sear pork for 4 minutes per side, until a golden crust forms. Transfer pork to a plate.
To the same pan, add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and mushrooms, arranging them in a single layer. Let mushrooms caramelize (resist the urge to stir at this stage), about 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining ½ teaspoon salt, then stir and cook for 2 minutes more. Add wine and let it reduce, then pour in the heavy cream and chicken broth. Add cream cheese and whisk until incorporated. Simmer sauce until slightly thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Return chops to the pan and reduce heat to low. Baste the chops with sauce and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, then place pan in the oven and cook about 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F to 150°F. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Sprinkle with parsley.
A pork chop—either boneless or bone-in—can be cooked in a skillet for a quick-cooking option when your meat is 1-inch thick or less. For this method, you sear pork chops on one side in a hot pan (cast-iron works best for consistent heat), then flip them and cook on the second side. For pork chops on the stove, add a dry rub first, or make a simple pan sauce once they’re done cooking.
One of the benefits of cooking pork chops on the stove is the ability to baste the meat while you cook, which adds flavor and ensures every bite is tender. We can’t resist the sage-infused pan sauce in this easy recipe.
Yield: 2 to 3 servings
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 (1 ½-inch thick) Thrive Market Bone-In Pastured Pork Chops, 8 to 10 ounces each
½ teaspoon Thrive Market Himalayan Pink Salt
½ teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Black Pepper
8 sage leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork chops all over with salt and pepper. Cook chops until bottom side is golden brown, about 1 minute. Turn and cook on other side about 1 minute, before turning again. Repeat this process, turning every minute, until chops are deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 135°F, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Off heat, add sage, garlic, and butter. Tilt skillet toward you and spoon any foaming butter and drippings over the pork. Transfer pork chops to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes, or until they reach 145°F. Cut away bone, and slice pork about ¼” thick. Serve with extra pan juices spooned over the top.
Another way to cook pork chops on the stove is keeping things simple in the pan, but plating the dish with a vibrant romesco sauce made with tomato paste, walnuts, and red bell pepper.
Yield: 2 servings
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
For the romesco sauce:
1 jar roasted red bell pepper, liquid drained
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 clove garlic
½ cup toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons parsley
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
For the pork:
2 (1-inch thick) Thrive Market Pork Chops
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place cast-iron skillet in oven to preheat. Remove pork chops from fridge and let sit at room temperature 20 minutes.
Combine all ingredients for the romesco sauce in food processor. Process until fairly smooth. Season with salt and set aside.
For the pork chops, carefully remove skillet from oven and put over medium high heat on stove with a few tablespoons olive oil. Liberally salt and pepper pork chops and carefully slide into skillet. Let cook to sear 2 to 3 minutes, then flip pork to sear on other side 1 minute or so. A golden crust should form. Place skillet in oven to cook for 10 minutes until done.
Serve hot with romesco sauce on side or dolloped atop. Remaining romesco sauce can be saved in fridge for three days.
When you’re not working with a bone-in pork chop, be mindful about overcooking. To avoid the meat becoming tough, stir-frying is a great option. When cut into thin strips, the pork chops cook quickly and can be paired with vegetables like snap peas or broccoli for a filling meal—just add steamed rice.
A slow cooker or Instant Pot can help get dinner on the table while you’re out and about, or free up the stove for side dishes. This boneless pork chop recipe from The Kitchn uses thick cuts of meat, smothers them with onions and broth, and creates a creamy gravy with the cooking liquid once the chops are finished.
While pork chops can absolutely be cooked in the pressure cooker, we love braising a big pork shoulder in about half the time it would typically take in the oven. Two hours later, the meat will be falling apart and bathed in a tangy mustard sauce—perfect for sliders, tacos, or rice.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes
1 (4 to 5 pound) boneless pork shoulder
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 medium onions, chopped
1 ½ cups The New Primal Noble Made Mustard BBQ Sauce
Cut pork into 2-inch cubes and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne (if using); massage spices into the meat until well coated. Turn on the sauté feature on your Instant Pot. When hot, add onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add pork and sear until golden brown. Pour mustard sauce over the pork, then secure lid and turn the steam valve to seal. Hit the cancel button, then choose the “Meat/Stew” setting. Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 20 minutes, then quick-release the remaining pressure. Remove lid and stir pork until it begins to shred. Press cancel, then hit the sauté button again. Reduce liquid for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
Once you’ve settled on one of our go-to pork chop recipes, round out dinner with pork chop sides that elevate the main course.
This silky mashed cauliflower recipe is the perfect pork chop companion. Garlic and herbs add flavor, while coconut milk keeps things keto.
If you only make stuffing once a year, you’re definitely missing out. Our gluten-free recipe is baked with meaty mushrooms, fennel, celery, and a generous assortment of herbs.
Nori salt adds an umami flavor to roasted broccolini. Marinate your pork chops with Asian ingredients like soy sauce and sesame oil to bring the meal together.
Pork chops and sweet potato fries? Yes, please! While you cook your pork chops on the stove, bake these fries in the oven. The chipotle mayo can be made in minutes, or you can make it ahead to get a jump on dinner.
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