The Best Way to Bake Pork Chops According to Our Test Kitchen
Bone-in and boneless pork chops are delicious cooked any which way: broiled, grilled, pan-fried, and baked. Baked pork chops can be stuffed, breaded, served with toppers or sauces, the options are seemingly endless. One of our Test Kitchen's favorite ways to cook pork chops just so happens to be in the oven and involves an unexpected technique. (Hint: It involves a skillet.) Follow our step-by-step guide on how to bake pork chops, and then gather some amazing pork chop recipes for your next home-cooked meal.
Step 1: Trim Fat from Chops
Keep dinner lean and free of unpleasant fatty bites by trimming visible fat from pork chops before cooking. Simply use a sharp knife to cut off excess white fat around the edges of the chops.
Step 2: Dry and Season Pork Chops
For the best sear and to help seasonings adhere to pork chops, pat the pork chops with paper towels. It seems like most recipes are improved by the addition of a little salt and pepper. Baked pork chops are no exception. Add a sprinkling of salt and pepper (and, if desired, fresh herbs or other spices) to the pork chops.
Step 3: Sear Pork Chops Before Baking
The real key for irresistible oven-baked pork chops is searing them in a skillet first. In an extra-large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add 2 bone-in chops or up to 4 boneless pork chops. Cook for 6 minutes or until the surfaces are gorgeously browned. Flip the chops as needed for an even sear. Doing this step before baking makes a big difference because of the Maillard reaction it causes, which creates extra flavor and deliciousness.
Step 4: Bake Pork Chops
If you're using an oven-safe skillet, place it directly in the oven. If your skillet is not oven-friendly, transfer the seared pork chops to a 15x10x1-inch baking sheet. Bake pork chops uncovered first (more on the timings below) at 350°F. Once they're done (the safe internal temperature is 145°F), remove and cover them with foil. Let the chops stand 3 minutes before serving.
How Long to Bake Pork Chops
Bake pork chops that are about 1¼-inch thick at 350°F for 14 to 17 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 145°F. If you're concerned about the bake time varying because the chops are boneless or bone-in, stop worrying. Our Test Kitchen tried both and as long as the thickness is the same, the baking time is the same for boneless pork chops and bone-in pork chops. If you're using pork chops thinner than 1¼-inch thick, decrease the baking time. No matter the thickness, pork chops are done baking when they reach 145°F.
Your Go-To Oven-Baked Pork Chops Recipe
Here's the detailed recipe for our easy oven-baked pork chops:
- 4 bone-in pork loin chops, cut 1¼ inches thick (about 3 pounds total), or 4 boneless pork loin chops, cut 1¼ inches thick (about 2½ pounds total)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Trim fat from chops. Pat chops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper.
2. In an extra-large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add 2 bone-in chops or all of the boneless chops. Cook about 6 minutes or until browned, turning to brown evenly. Transfer chops to a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Repeat with remaining chops if necessary.
3. Bake chops for 14 to 17 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in chops registers 145°F. Cover and let stand for 3 minutes.
Breaded pork chops: For a different take on baked pork chops, try this classic breaded baked pork chops recipe. We call them oven-fried because they still get that delicious golden outer coating you get from fried thanks to the breading, but baking keeps them healthier.
Stuffed pork chops: Now that you're a pro at baking pork chops, try stuffing them with our baked pesto-stuffed pork chops and stuffed pork chops with apples and walnuts recipes. To make stuffed pork chops, cut a small pocket into the side of a pork loin chop to create a space for stuffing. Spoon in your filling and bake.
How to Pick a Pork Chop
Pork chops come from the loin section (upper back) of the hog. Here are some of the most common cuts you will find in the supermarket butcher department:
- Loin chop (bone-in): also called porterhouse pork chop, this chop looks like a T-bone beef steak
- Top loin chop (boneless): also called New York pork chop or center-cut chop
- Sirloin chop (usually bone-in)
- Rib chop (bone-in): also known as ribeye pork chop
How to Test Pork Chops for Doneness
To check the temperature, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the chop (making sure to avoid bone if using bone-in pork chops). The thickness of a pork chop will determine its final cooking time, regardless of whether it's boneless or bone-in. Chops typically range in thickness from ¾ inch to 1½ inches. The USDA updated its doneness guidelines in 2011, noting that pork cooked to 145°F (followed by a 3-minute rest time) is just as safe as pork cooked to 160°F. At this doneness, the pork is pinker than many people are used to, but the meat is juicier and more flavorful. If you'd rather, you can always cook your pork chop to the previous standard of 160°F.