How To Cook Pork Chops in the Oven
Serves2 to 4
Prep5 minutes to 10 minutes
Cook10 minutes to 15 minutes
What if I told you that I could guarantee perfectly cooked, perfectly tender pork chops, every time? Would you believe me? Or have too many dinners of overcooked shoe-leather pork chops turned you off from this easy addition to the weeknight meal rotation? While pork chops are unbelievable on the grill, let me actually convince you to try cooking your pork chops in the oven.
Cooking pork chops in the oven can yield to a tender and juicy meat. Brine bone-in pork chops then sear them first before finishing them off in the oven. To learn more, here’s our recipe for perfectly cooked, perfectly juicy pork chops.
Tips For Cooking Perfectly Tender Pork Chops in the Oven
- Use bone-in cuts as they are fattier, juicier and more tender.
- Brine the pork chops to guarantee a juicy and well-seasoned piece of meat.
- Start pan-searing the pork chops and finish them off in the oven.
Use Bone-In Pork Chops for Tender Results
I encourage you to look for bone-on pork chops. They take a little longer to cook than boneless chops, but in my experience, they are another way of ensuring tender cooked pork chops. And by “a littler longer to cook,” I’m really only talking about a few minutes. It won’t make a huge difference to your meal prep.
How to Keep Pork Chops from Drying Out? Brine Them!
After you bring your pork chops home, time to brine! Brining pork chops is one of the best ways way to guarantee a juicy cooked pork chop. Even a quick 30-minute brine (or up to four hours) makes a big difference.
It’s not strictly necessary — you can still use this method to make great pork chops even without brining — but if you have some extra time, I recommend it. Brining actually changes the cell structure within the meat, resulting in a noticeably juicier chop.
Tips to Cook Tender and Juicy Pork Chops in the Oven
- Buy bone-in pork chops. Though these will take a little longer to cook, the bone-in cuts are fattier and make the meat juicier and more tender.
- Use a brine. This is an optional step in the cooking process, but this will guarantee a juicy and well-seasoned piece of meat.
- A stovetop-to-oven method helps overcooking. If you’ve never been a fan of pork chops, it’s likely because you’ve eaten overcooked meat. Start with pan-searing them to get a crisp exterior and finish them off in the oven to guarantee a non-rubbery chop.
Avoid Overcooking with the Stovetop-to-Oven Method
Pork chops are a tender, quick-cooking cut of meat — so quick-cooking, in fact, that they’re very easy to overcook. This is why I like to start the pork chops on the stovetop, where they get a good sear, and then transfer them to the oven to finish cooking. Here are some benefits of using this method:
- The gentle heat of the oven helps us control the rate of cooking a little better.
- It also prevents the outside from getting tough and dry before the middle has finished cooking.
- You can use just one pan. Heat up the skillet in the oven while you get the rest of the meal prepped, then transfer it — carefully! — to a stovetop burner to sear the pork chops.
Once the chops are golden on the underside, you flip them and transfer the skillet back to the oven. The residual heat from the skillet will sear the other side of the pork chops while the heat of the oven cooks them through.
Prep time 5 minutes to 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes to 15 minutes
Serves2 to 4
For the brine (optional)
- 3 cups
cold water, divided
- 3 tablespoons
kosher salt (or 2 1/2 tablespoons table salt)
Optional flavorings: 2 smashed garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 bay leaf
Brine the pork chops (optional). If you have time, brining the pork for even a brief period adds flavor and ensures juiciness in the finished chop. Bring 1 cup of the water to a boil, add the salt and optional flavorings, and stir to dissolve the salt. Add 2 more cups of cold water to bring the temperature of the brine down to room temperature. Place the pork chops in a shallow dish and pour the brine over top. The brine should cover the chops — if not, add additional water and salt (1 cup water to 1 tablespoon salt) until the chops are submerged. Cover the dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Heat the oven and skillet. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Place a large ovensafe skillet in the oven to heat as well. While the oven heats, prepare the pork chops.
Season the pork chops. Remove the chops from the brine; if you didn't brine, remove the chops from their packaging. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub both sides with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Set the chops aside while the oven finishes heating.
Remove the skillet from the oven. Using oven mitts, carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and set it over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Turn on a vent fan or open a window.
Sear the pork chops. Place the pork chops in the hot skillet. You should hear them immediately begin to sizzle. Sear until the bottom of the chops are golden-brown, about 3 minutes. The chops may start to smoke a little — that's ok. Turn down the heat if it becomes excessive.
Flip the chops and transfer to the oven. Use tongs to flip the pork chops. Using oven mitts, immediately place the skillet in the oven.
Roast the chops until cooked through. Roast until the pork chops are cooked through and register 140°F to 145°F in the thickest part of the meat with an instant-read thermometer. Cooking time will be 6 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the chops, how cool they were at the start of cooking, and whether they were brined. Start checking the chops at 6 minutes and continue checking every minute or two until the chops are ready.
Rest the chops. Transfer the pork chops to a plate and pour any pan juices over the top (or reserve for making a pan sauce or gravy). Tent loosely with foil and let the chops rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.