Perfect Pan Seared Pork Chops are a quick and economical way to enjoy a delicious family dinner without a lot of fuss and hands-on kitchen time for you. The savory, seared to perfection pork chops are tender and juicy. My recipe is so easy and flavorful you’ll definitely want it in your regular meal rotation.
Buying Pork Chops: Bone-In vs Boneless
My husband loves thick-cut boneless pork chops whether I pan sear them or toss them on the grill. It’s one of his all-time favorite dinners.
I’m sort of picky about buying chops, though. Pork chops can have a LOT of fat. That definitely helps with flavor and moisture but I don’t like paying for something we’re not eating.
Plus, if you buy the bone-in chops you’re also going to pay for the weight of that bone. Some will say that bone-in also helps retain moisture. However, my personal experience is that bone-in doesn’t cook as evenly as boneless. And if cooked correctly, your scrumptious boneless pork chops will still be juicy.
I’ve discovered I can create juicy, tender pork chops without investing in tons of fat and bone that will end up in the garbage. And I can make my Perfect Pan Seared Pork Chops more economically than the cuts you’ll find in the meat cases at your local grocery store.
Premium Boneless Pork Chops at Affordable Prices
If I went to my local grocery store, today, a thick-cut (at least one-inch thick), boneless pork chop will cost me $4.78 per pound which is $4.98 for 2 pork chops. That’s $2.50 per chop!
If you’re only feeding one or two people for a special meal, that’s not such a big deal. But, what about a dinner party serving 6 or 8 people? That adds up quickly!
My affordable solution lets you have thick-cut, boneless pork chops for only $1.88 to $2.24 per pound, depending on the brand and any store specials. Even at the full-price end of that price scale I can get 8 (yup, eight) 1‑inch or thicker pork chops from a 4.5 pound pork loin roast. That’s only $1.26 for each boneless pork chop at FULL price and even less when they’re on sale. Half price? Yeah! You bet I’ll take that!
What You’ll Need
- a 4.5 lb. (or larger) boneless pork loin roast
- a good-sized *cutting board : I like the plastic cutting boards for cutting meat, only because they are easy to sanitize by popping them into the dishwasher. Wood cutting boards are fabulous and I use mine regularly, but they need special care and attention to be sanitized after cutting meat.
- a sharp *chef’s knife or butcher knife
- salt and pepper
- optional, your favorite herbs or alternate seasonings
- *cast iron skillet or *electric skillet (Mine is this 16″ Presto fold-away model and I LOVE it!)
The tools and ingredients are simple and basic. Perfect Pan Seared Pork Chops are easy, money-saving and perfectly delicious! It’s a meal that can be served to company with confidence, as well as being a favorite family dinner.
A Seasoning Secret
The secret to better flavor isn’t always more seasoning. Sometimes, it’s more time for that seasoning to do it’s job.
These perfect pork chops cook up in under 30-minutes — probably closer to 20 minutes, in fact. That’s not a lot of time for seasonings to do their best work.
You need to do the seasoning portion of this recipe at least 4 hours in advance and my preference is overnight for the deepest, most savory flavor. My seasoning secret is don’t wait to season your chops (or your chicken, for that matter) after it’s already in the pan. Give your seasonings time to permeate and flavor the meat so you can savor and enjoy every deeply flavorful bite.
For most everyday occasions, I simply salt and pepper both sides of each chop. However, seasoning ideas are unlimited really. Choose your favorite herbs to mix with the salt and pepper as you season your pork chops. Thyme and/or rosemary would be my top two picks. Garlic powder, sage and marjoram are other great options. Even substituting your favorite seasoning salt, in place of plain salt, is fabulous! Pick the flavor profile that fits you and your family best.
Leftovers are our friend! The reason I usually go with just salt and pepper is because leftovers are going to get used in a variety of different ways. And probably quite a few different flavor profiles. Think of thinly sliced leftover pork chops in spicy tacos or quesadillas or even a burrito bowl. Or how about pairing the leftovers with rice and stir-fried vegetables and a simple 5‑minute stir-fry sauce for a killer Asian dinner? You have options my friend! Lots of options. So, I tend to keep the original seasoning deeply flavorful but neutral enough to match a different dish.
Whatever seasoning you decide to go with, the secret is in allowing the meat to rest with that seasoning so the flavors go all the way through. Instinctively, you are going to want to cover the dish you season them in before you set it in the fridge. See how well I know you? lol Please, leave the dish uncovered. Allowing the outside of the pork chops to “dry out” as they rest means you’ll get an even better sear when you cook them.
Making Perfect Pan Seared Pork Chops
Pat the loin roast dry with paper towels. It makes it easier to get a good grip when you are cutting your pork chops.
The pork loin will have one side with a thicker fat cap. If it’s too thick you can remove some of it, but remember that is flavor and moisture. Everyone expects pork chops to have some fat. So trim it to your preference if necessary.
Loin roasts usually have 2 wide sides and 2 narrow sides. Most of the time, the fat cap will be on one of the wider sides. To cut the pork chops from the roast, I turn it onto one of the thin sides. As you push down, cutting through the roast, it will widen the pork chop slightly. Doing it from the thin side ensures that you have nicely shaped chops, not long and thin ones.
I tend to “eyeball” it when I’m cutting the pork chops. I know how many I want to get from the roast and cut accordingly, so that I get evenly thick pieces. 1‑inch is just about perfect for our tastes, but slightly over or under isn’t going to hurt a thing.
Make sure your knife is very sharp. That will help you get smooth even slices, with very little effort. I’ve had my *Wusthoff chef’s knife for over a decade and will have it for decades to come. It sharpens to perfection, every single time and I know it will be up to whatever task is in front of me.
Once the pork chops are cut, season both sides of each one with your chosen seasoning (I used only salt and pepper, today.) Lay them in a baking dish or a container side by side. Leave the container uncovered and allow them to rest and absorb your seasoning flavors for a few minutes, if you’re in a hurry.
If you have time, the best flavor will come from resting these at least four hours, up to overnight. It works really well to take 5 minutes before you go to bed and get them seasoned. Then they’ll be ready to cook in just minutes when it’s dinnertime tomorrow. I don’t recommend a metal container for this step. Glass or plastic is best to prevent a metallic taste on your meat.
Storage Tip: If you are only using a few of your pork chops, this is the time to season the ones you’re using and then bag the rest for the freezer and a delicious meal in the future. I like to flash freeze our extras in a single layer on a tray lined with parchment paper. It will only take a couple hours for them to be individually frozen hard. Then toss them in a ziptop bag, labeled with the date and contents. You can use them all at once or pull them out one at a time. Since they were flash frozen, you don’t have to worry about them being stuck together. They should keep well in your freezer for up to 6 months.
Cooking Pan Seared Pork Chops
Once your pork has rested and had time to absorb your seasonings deep into the meat, you’re ready to cook them. If I am doing four or less pork chops, my go-to cooking vessel is my favorite cast iron skillet. With more than four, I prefer the extra room that my electric skillet provides. Leaving a little space between each chop helps to get a deeper, more caramelized sear on the outside instead of just “steaming” the meat.
I preheat my electric skillet to 375° (medium high on the stove top) with 2 or 3 Tablespoons of avocado oil. While it preheats I blot away any moisture off the chops that may have built up during the rest time.
Then I lay each dry and perfectly seasoned pork chop into the hot skillet. Your skillet and oil must be HOT to get the quick sear you’re looking for. When the meat is caramelized to a deep, rich brown (2 or 3 minutes), it’s ready to turn.
Flip each piece over and allow them to brown on the other side. Once both sides are perfectly seared, I place a lid on the skillet, reduce the heat to medium or medium/low, and complete the cooking. This step is so important. We want to bring the meat up to temperature quickly without over cooking it.
Pork is safe to eat and should be removed from the pan when the internal temperature is 145°. That is considered medium rare but it is going to continue cooking from residual heat, as it rests. Trust me! I do NOT eat rare meat. But, if you cook beyond this point your meat will be dry and tough. After the second side is seared and the lid put on the pan, you could hit that temperature within 8–10 minutes and surely will within 15. I use a *digital meat thermometer and begin checking around the 8‑minute mark, so I can be 100% sure I’m not overcooking the meat.
At the point of a 145° degree internal temperature, lift your pork chops out of the skillet and onto a platter to rest. This lets the chops continue cooking and the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. It should rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Fifteen is usually my go-to.
After the rest time, I drizzle any pan drippings over the Perfect Pan Seared Pork Chops, garnish with a little parsley and serve them up. Oh my holy heaven! They’re sooooo good! Enjoy, Friend!
Perfect Pan Seared Pork Chops is my go-to chops recipe. It comes out tender, juicy and flavorful every time. The chops are perfect with all your family’s favorite sides and cook up in about 20 minutes. Leftovers are delicious, sliced thin and used in stir fries, tacos or other dishes. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
- 4.5 lb pork loin roast
- salt and pepper
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil (or your preferred cooking oil)
- optional, your favorite herbs or seasonings ( i.e. rosemary, thyme, garlic, sage, marjoram or all purpose seasoning)
- Pat the roast dry with paper towels.
- Place the pork loin on a cutting board with one of the narrow sides down.
- Use a sharp knife to cut 1″ thick pork chops from the roast.
- Sprinkle both sides of each pork chop with salt and pepper (or the herbs/seasonings of your choice).
- Place the seasoned chops in a dish or tray, in a single layer. Leave uncovered and rest for just a few minutes, if you’re in a hurry. If you have time, the best flavor will come from resting these (uncovered) at least four hours, up to overnight. (It works really well to take 5 minutes before you go to bed and get them seasoned. Then they’ll be ready to cook in just minutes when it’s dinnertime tomorrow.) I don’t recommend a metal container for this step. Glass or plastic is best to prevent a metallic taste on your meat.
- Pull the chops out of the fridge 30 minutes before you’ll be cooking them. Having them at room temperature allows them to get a better sear.
- Preheat your skillet with a couple Tablespoons of avocado oil in it. I heat my electric skillet to 375° or heat my cast iron skillet on the stove top at the medium high setting (7 or 8 out of a range of 10).
- Use a paper towel to pat away any moisture that has been released from the chops and then place them in the already HOT skillet.
- Sear for 1 — 2 minutes until the bottom is nicely caramelized and golden brown. Turn the chops and sear the other side. Again, 1–2 minutes will probably be enough.
- Reduce the heat to medium or medium/low and place a lid or cover over the skillet and allow chops to continue cooking anywhere from 8–15 minutes. You are going for an internal temperature of 145°. Resist the urge to cook them longer than that or your pork will be dry and tough. Use a meat thermometer and begin checking the temperature 7 or 8 minutes after the second sear is complete. Keep cooking and checking just until the thermometer inserted into the center of a chop reads 145°.
- When you hit 145°, lift the pork chops out onto a platter to rest. They will continue to cook and the juices will redistribute throughout the meat. Rest them a minimum of 10 minutes, though 15 is probably ideal. Skipping this step can result in tough, dry meat.
- After the rest period, pour any pan drippings over the chops and garnish with fresh parsley.
- Serve with your favorite sides.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Resting in Fridge Time:
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Main Dish, Meat, Pork
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: pork, pork chops
What to Serve with Perfect Pan Seared Pork Chops
Pork chops are delicious next to almost any of your favorite sides! Potatoes, baked or mashed; sweet potatoes, rice, or quinoa. We also love them with Potato Salad.