If you've been on the hunt for a pork chop that is fork-tender, incredibly juicy, and full of flavor, stop right here. These onion gravy-smothered Instant Pot pork chops are everything you've dreamed of in a pork chop and more.
Using the one-pot power of an Instant Pot means these pork chops can be quickly braised in a rich onion gravy that makes for almost fall-apart tender pork chops that are anything but dry or flavorless. These smothered pork chops are dinner and a delicious sauce in one.
What Are Smothered Instant Pot Pork Chops?
A universal truth of cooking any type of meat in the electric pressure cooker is that you can't get crispy but you can get saucy. No searing or broiling after cooking in the electric pressure cooker will give your pork chops the crisp exterior of oven or stovetop pork chops, but it does create the opportunity for flavorful sauce.
Smothered pork chops are most often associated with Southern cuisine and can come with mushrooms, onions, or even thick black pepper gravy depending on the recipe. This gravy is full of caramelized onions and garlic, and balanced with a swoop of sour cream just before serving.
Braise Becomes Sauce in Instant Pot Pork Chops
Here's the win of building a gravy for your pork chops in the same pot that you're cooking the chops in: the cooking liquid becomes the gravy. The pork chops are coated in flour before browning in the Instant Pot, and this flour will thicken the broth and onions as the pork chops cook.
Key Steps for Instant Pot Pork Chops
- Use thick, boneless loin chops. You could pretty much use any pork chops for this recipe, but boneless loin chops give you two advantages: The first is there's no bone to work around, and the second is that loin chops are generally more tender and quick-cooking than other pork chops.
- Brown the chops first. Just because we can't have crispy pork chops in the Instant Pot doesn't mean that we can't get some caramelized flavors from them. Use the pot's sauté setting to melt some butter and brown the chops two at a time.
- Use the sauté function to brown the onions. While the pork chops rest, quickly brown some onions in the Instant Pot with the sauté function. You can technically caramelize onions under pressure, but that technique requires more time than we want to spend on a quick weeknight dinner.
- Smother the chops for cooking. After the onions are golden, add some broth to the cooker and return the pork chops to the Instant Pot. Make sure the pork chops are covered before sealing the cooker and setting it to 10 minutes of high pressure.
- Finish the gravy with sour cream. After releasing the pressure from the Instant Pot (10 minutes of natural release before quick releasing), the gravy will still be quite hot and thin. Adding just a few tablespoons of sour cream to the gravy will cool it, which helps with thickening and also balances the very rich, meaty flavor of the onion gravy.
Serving Smothered Pork Chops
I'd love to serve these pork chops on a platter smothered with their golden onion gravy, but I have a 6-year-old who is in an onion-hating season, so she gets a plain chop while the rest of use get individual pork chops with plenty of gravy. But that's the real gift of these chops — even if you choose to skip the onion gravy on a serving, the chops will still be fork-tender and oh-so juicy.
How To Make Tender and Juicy Instant Pot Pork Chops
What You Need
boneless pork chops, preferably loin chops about 1-inch thick (about 1 3/4 pounds total)
freshly ground black pepper
unsalted butter, divided
yellow onions, thinly sliced
low-sodium chicken broth
sour cream or plain yogurt
6- to 8-quart electric pressure cooker or Instant Pot
Measuring cups and spoons
Prep the ingredients. The first few steps of this recipe go rather quickly, so it is helpful to prep some ingredients before beginning. Measure out the flour in a shallow dish, such as a pie pan or rimmed plate; thinly slice the onions; and cut the butter into 2 pieces.
Season the pork chops and coat in flour. Season the pork chops with the salt and pepper — be sure to coat the edges as well as both flat sides of each chop. Press the pork chops into the flour to coat each side. You might not use all the flour; be sure to discard any unused flour.
Working in 2 batches, brown the pork chops. Set a 6- to 8-quart electric pressure cooker or Instant Pot to sauté and give it about 10 minutes to preheat. Add half of the butter. When melted, quickly add 2 of the pork chops and sear until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. The edges of the pork chops will brown the most on the first side. Transfer the browned pork chops to a clean plate. Repeat browning the remaining pork chops in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
Set the pork chops aside. Set aside all 4 browned pork chops while you cook the onions.
Cook the onions. Add the onions to the pressure cooker and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan and stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula, until they just begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
Deglaze with broth. Pour in the chicken broth and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. The broth should almost immediately come to a simmer.
Return the chops to the pot. Return the pork chops to the pressure cooker and make sure they are submerged in the liquid. The pork chops may overlap in the pot in order to fit.
Cook under high pressure for 10 minutes. Cover the pressure cooker and make sure the pressure valve is sealed. Set for MANUAL, HIGH pressure for 10 minutes cook time. It will take the pressure cooker 12 to 15 minutes to come to pressure.
Naturally release the pressure for 10 minutes, then quick release. When the pressure cook time is up, let the pressure cooker naturally release for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, open the valve completely to quickly release all the remaining pressure.
Cool, finish the sauce, and serve. Turn the pressure cooker off, uncover, and let the chops and sauce cool for about 10 minutes. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Using tongs, transfer the pork chops to a serving platter. Add the sour cream or yogurt to the sauce and stir to combine. Serve the pork chops smothered with the rich sauce.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.