How to Cut a Pocket in a Pork Chop

Grab your sharpest knife and follow these step-by-step instructions for a fancy, affordable dinner idea that is delicious and ridiculously easy to make.

What's hearty and meaty–yet worthy of a festive get-together with friends? That would be stuffed pork chops. But when was the last time you (or someone you know) made them? Never-ish? Perhaps that's because a lot of cooks simply don't know how to make stuffed pork chops. It's really a lot easier than it looks. Here's everything you need to know, including how to cut a pocket in a pork chop, how to make stuffing for pork chops, and how to cook stuffed pork chops once you've got them all ready to go.

Another bonus for learning how to make stuffed pork chops: Pork is much less costly than beef steaks. Yet, if you make a pork chop with a stuffing recipe, your entrée can be just as impressive as any beef dish. Plus, they can be grilled outdoors or baked inside.

Keep in mind that pork chops aren't the only pork cuts worth stuffing! You can also stuff pork loin for a beautiful and satisfying entrée.

Pork Chops with Spinach-Apricot Stuffing
Jacob Fox

Best Pork Chop Cuts for Stuffing

To make the best pork chop pocket, be sure to choose the best pork chop for the job. Take care to use the exact cut called for in your recipe, as some pork chops are better than others for stuffing. You'll find that many stuffed pork chop recipes call for pork loin rib chops or bone-in pork loin chops. These bone-in cuts are also the most foolproof chop to cut: The bone will stop your knife before you inadvertently cut all the way through to the other side.

How to Cut a Pocket in a Pork Chop

The first step to making a pork chop pocket is to make sure you have a sharp, pointed knife—bone up on your knife sharpening skills, if necessary. Then, follow these steps:

  • Use the sharp, pointed knife to make a horizontal slit in the fatty side of each chop, cutting almost to the other side (or to the bone) without cutting through the opposite side.
  • Work the knife inside the chop to widen an interior pocket while keeping the original slit small.

How to Make Stuffing for Pork Chops

A pork chop pocket can be stuffed with all kinds of combinations; most combine bread cubes or bread crumbs with herbs, spices, and other flavorful ingredients. Some of our favorite pork chop with stuffing recipes include those that combine dried fruits with bread stuffing, such as our Pork Chops with Spinach-Apricot Stuffing. You can also use fresh fruit—try this Stuffed Pork Chops with Apples and Walnuts recipe when apple season comes around; or, double up on the meat by stuffing with sausage and apples.

Looking to go bread-less? Try our Pesto-Stuffed Pork Chops.

How to Fill Chops for Stuffed Pork Chop Recipes

Once you've cut your pork chop pockets, fill them with the stuffing. Simply use one hand to lift the top of the chop and spoon the filling into the pocket, spreading evenly throughout the pocket.

How to Secure Stuffed Pork Chops for Cooking

To prevent the stuffing from oozing out during cooking, secure the opening of the chops with wooden toothpicks.

Cook pork chops as directed in your recipe, making sure you cook the chops to a safe internal temperature—this story tells you how to test pork for doneness. Once the stuffed pork chops are cooked, be sure to remove the picks before serving.

Now that you know how to cook stuffed pork chops, you've truly upped your culinary game. Why not try your hand at stuffing other kinds of meats? You'll find it can be just as easy (and impressive) to stuff chicken breasts, fish, and beef tenderloin. And don't forget that vegetables are great for stuffing, too—from main dishes, like these Salmon-Stuffed Zucchini Boats, to side dishes, such as these genius Stuffed Baked Tomatoes with Herbs.

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