Bake juicy and tender pork chops in the oven every time with this step-by-step guide.

By Kimberly Holland
January 16, 2019
Photo: Alison Miksch

Baked pork chops have a bit of a reputation. Don’t tell them we told you this, but they’re known to have the texture of shoe leather, and their flavor is best described as “absent.”

However, that ill repute is often no fault of the pork itself. The errors come from the person cooking. That’s you.

With this simple guide, you will deliver the most delicious, juicy, tender, and flavorful pork chops you’ve ever made to the dinner table. Pick the option that works best for you: a little bit hands-on or entirely hands-off. Both work well, so the choice is a matter of time and attention.

WATCH: How to Make Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Roasted Fennel and Tomatoes

 

Should I buy boneless or bone-in pork chops?

This answer is easy: bone-in. Boneless pork chops are leaner and more apt to overcook in a matter of seconds.

Bone-in chops, however, provide greater flavor and help keep the meat juicy through the cooking process. Look for thick-cut pork chops, too, with a minimum one-inch cut. Not every grocery store will sell these, so just ask the butcher to make you some to order.

If you do decide to go boneless, that’s OK. Just keep a closer eye on the temperature, and pull the pork from the oven and hot pan as soon as it taps 145°F (62°C). Any higher and you’ll be back to chewing rubber with each bite.

How to Cook Juicy Pork Chops in the Oven

A marinade or brine isn’t necessary for pork chops. You can simply sprinkle seasoning on the pork before cooking. However, for incredible flavor and moisture, a brine or marinade is a great option.

To brine pork chops: Place pork chops in a large baking dish. Combine 3 cups water and 3 tablespoons salt. Pour water solution over pork chops. (Add more water if the pork chops are not fully submerged.) Add peppercorns, bay leaves, crushed garlic, and any other whole spices for flavor. Brine in the refrigerator 1 to 4 hours.

To marinate pork chops: Place pork chops in a large baking dish or zip-top plastic bag. Combine your preferred marinade ingredients in a bowl. Pour marinade over pork chops in the baking dish or into the plastic bag. Marinate pork chops in the refrigerator 1 to 8 hours.

Pan-Seared Baked Pork Chops

A quick sear in a hot skillet seals in moisture and provides a big boost in flavor. Bonus: you can use the fond (the caramelized bits of meat on the bottom of the ban) to make a delicious pan sauce.

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a large oven-safe skillet in the oven while it heats.

2. Remove pork chops from packaging, brine, or marinade. Pat dry. Brush with olive oil. Season with any remaining herbs, spices, salt, or pepper.

3. While wearing oven mitts, carefully remove the hot skillet from the pre-heated oven. Using tongs, place each of the pork chops into the skillet. The meat will sear and sizzle as soon as it touches the pan. Return the pan to the oven. Cook 3 minutes, then flip the pork chops. Bake the pork chops until cooked through (140° to 145°F), about 9 to 12 minutes. Check the temperature of the pork at 5 minutes, being careful to not overcook the pork.

4. When the thermometer reads 140° to 145°F, remove the skillet from the oven. Using tongs, transfer the pork chops to a plate or clean baking dish. Cover with foil, and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Easy Baked Pork Chops

If you prefer an easier, hands-off approach to baking pork chops, this method will work well for you.

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Remove pork chops from packaging, brine, or marinade. Pat dry. Brush with olive oil, and season with your preferred herbs or spices.

3. Place pork chops on a rimmed baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake until internal temperatures reach 140° to 145°F degrees, or about 30 minutes. Flip at the halfway point. Check the temperature of the pork at 20 minutes, being careful to not overcook it.

4. When the thermometer reads 140° to 145°F at the thickest part of the pork chop, remove the pan from the oven. Use tongs to transfer the pork chops to an clean baking dish or plate. Cover with foil. Let rest 5 minutes before eating.

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