One-Pan Caramelized Apples & Pork Chops

published Nov 6, 2023
One-Pan Caramelized Apples & Pork Chops Recipe

Cozy up with a skillet of these juicy, tender pork chops with stewed apples and caramelized shallots.


Prep15 minutes

Cook45 minutes to 50 minutes

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One-Skillet Sage and Apple Pork Chops
Credit: Kelli Foster

Every fall, I make my uncle Shuggi’s one-pan caramelized apples and pork chops. Uncle Shuggi is a British eclectic who wears turquoise jewelry and loves punk rock, poetry, and tai chi. He’s also a savant in the kitchen; he measures nothing, and can tell when a dish is done simply by how it smells or sounds. I learned everything I know about cooking from him. 

I make his pork chops at home in California to remind me of my other home across the Atlantic — Yorkshire, England. Aromas of autumnal herbs, caramelized shallots, and pork fat steeped in cider instantly transport me to a dark, cozy British pub with a rustling fireplace, a pint of Guinness in my hand, and the sight of the sweeping Yorkshire moors through the window. 

Bone-in pork chops, an underrated and cost-effective alternative to beef, are treated like steaks and seared in a hot cast iron skillet until the crackling is crisp and golden. Apple wedges, shallots, cider, vinegar, bone broth, garlic, and woody herbs tie everything together, creating a simple yet spectacular one-pan meal. The stewed apples and salty pork practically beg for the refreshing, spicy kick that freshly grated horseradish provides as a finishing touch. (Prepared horseradish works here too, but it’s worth seeking out fresh.) I recommend having lots of crusty sourdough bread ready on the table for mopping up all the shalloty gravy. 

Credit: Kelli Foster

If You’re Making One-Pan Caramelized Apples & Pork Chops, a Few Tips

  • Always be brining. Leathery pork chops are a thing of the past if you brine them first. Dry brining is my preferred method, but a wet brine would work well, too. To dry brine, simply pre-salt the chops and allow them to rest before cooking. It is the easiest way to ensure juicy, tender pork chops every time. 
  • Always be tenderizing. Poking the pork chops all over with a fork, about 1/8 of an inch deep, before adding the salt produces the best results. This allows the salt and other seasonings to further permeate the protein. 
  • Go for bone-in chops. Pork loin rib chops come in various thicknesses, but the best results come from chops that are at least 1 1/2 inches thick and have the bone in. Pork is much leaner than beef, so keeping the bone in ensures sufficient fat to keep everything juicy and flavorful. 
  • Choose the driest hard cider you can find. This will ensure the dish maintains the perfect balance of sweet and salty. 

One-Pan Caramelized Apples & Pork Chops Recipe

Cozy up with a skillet of these juicy, tender pork chops with stewed apples and caramelized shallots.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 45 minutes to 50 minutes

Serves 2


  • 2

    (1 1/2-inch thick) bone-in pork loin chops or rib chops (about 1 pound each)

  • 3 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 4

    cloves garlic

  • 3

    medium apples

  • 2

    medium shallots

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, divided

  • 1/2 cup

    unsweetened hard apple cider, divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    low-sodium beef or chicken broth

  • 1/4 cup

    distilled white vinegar

  • 3

    sprigs fresh thyme

  • 10

    fresh sage leaves

  • Fresh horseradish root or prepared horseradish, for serving (optional)

  • Crusty sourdough bread, for serving (optional)


  1. Place 2 bone-in pork chops on a baking sheet or plate and use a fork to poke the chops all over about 1/8-inch deep. Flip the chops and repeat poking on the other side. Season all over with 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 5 hours and up to 24 hours.

  2. Remove the chops from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 325ºF. Meanwhile, thinly slice 4 garlic cloves. Halve, core and slice 2 apples into 1/2-inch thick wedges (no need to peel). Peel, halve, and thinly slice 2 medium shallots.

  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron or other ovenproof skillet over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and fry, stirring often, until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a small bowl or small plate.

  4. Add 1 tablespoon of the unsalted butter to the skillet and increase the heat to medium-high. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. Add the skillet and cook, using a spoon to baste the pork chops with the fat as they sear, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate (they will not be cooked through at this point).

  5. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the shallots and 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt to the skillet and sauté until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the hard apple cider and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the cider is reduced by half, 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

  6. Add the apples, 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Sauté, stirring often, until the apples begin to caramelize and soften, about 5 minutes.

  7. Take the skillet off the heat. Add the remaining 1/4 cup hard apple cider, 1/2 cup low-sodium beef or chicken broth, and 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar, and stir to combine. Return the pork chops to the skillet, nestling them into the apples and shallots; pour any accumulated juices on the plate into the skillet. Scatter 3 fresh thyme sprigs and 10 fresh sage leaves over everything.

  8. Transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until the pork chops are just cooked through and register at least 145°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part not touching bone, about 20 minutes.

  9. Transfer the pork chops to a clean plate. Return the skillet to medium-low heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half and thickened to the consistency of gravy, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs.

  10. Return the pork chops to the skillet. Serve garnished with the reserved fried garlic and finely grated peeled fresh horseradish or prepared horseradish if desired. Serve with crusty sourdough bread for dipping if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The garlic can be fried up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container.

Substitutions: Dry white wine can be substituted for the hard apple cider.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.