How to Cook Tender Pork Chops: A Foolproof Guide

Pork chops are an easy and delicious dinner option, but cooking them to perfection can be a challenge. Overcooking can lead to dry, tough meat, while undercooking can cause health hazards. It’s important to cook pork chops thoroughly to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) while also retaining their tender and juicy texture. This article will provide you with tips and tricks on how to cook tender pork chops that are flavorful and succulent.

Choose the Right Cut and Thickness

The first and foremost step to cooking a perfect pork chop is to choose the right cut and thickness. Pork chops should be at least 1-inch (2.5cm) thick and have some marbling of fat running through them. This fat will help to keep the meat moist and tender during cooking and add extra flavor to the dish.

When shopping for pork chops, look for cuts that are labeled “rib chops,” “center-cut,” or “loin chops.” These cuts are often considered the best for cooking because they come from the most tender and flavorful parts of the pig.

Brine the Pork Chops

Brining is a simple technique that involves soaking the pork chops in a mixture of salt and water before cooking. This process helps to penetrate the meat fibers and adds moisture and flavor to the pork chops.

To make a brine, dissolve ¼ cup (60g) of kosher salt in 4 cups (1 liter) of water. Add any additional seasoning like herbs, spices, or sugar to the brine if you prefer. Submerge the pork chops in the brine and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to overnight. After brining, rinse the pork chops well with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Season the Pork Chops

Seasoning the pork chops adequately before cooking can add depth and flavor to the dish. You can use a wide variety of seasoning blends or marinades to customize your pork chops.

A simple seasoning of salt, black pepper, and garlic powder is enough to make the pork chops flavorful. Rub the seasoning blend all over the pork chops evenly. You can also add chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, or any other seasoning as per your taste preferences.

Cook the Pork Chops in a Skillet

Cooking pork chops in a skillet is the most classic way to cook them. Skillet cooking offers even heat distribution and creates a beautiful brown exterior that locks in the juices.

To start, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and let it heat up for a few seconds. Add the pork chops to the hot skillet and do not overcrowd them. Let the pork chops cook for 3-4 minutes until a golden-brown crust forms on the underside. Flip the pork chops using tongs and cook the other side for additional 3-4 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).

Rest the Pork Chops

After cooking, it’s important to let the pork chops rest for a few minutes before serving. Resting the meat allows for the juices to redistribute throughout, ensuring maximum flavor, and tenderness. Place the cooked pork chops on a plate and cover them with foil. Let them rest for a minimum of 3-5 minutes before slicing and serving.


  1. How can you tell if pork chops are cooked?
  2. The best way to tell if the pork chops are cooked is by checking the internal temperature of the meat using an instant-read meat thermometer. The pork chops should read 145°F (63°C) in the thickest part of the meat. If there is any pink color in the meat or is too firm to touch, it may need more cooking.

  3. Can you cook pork chops on a grill?
  4. Yes, you can cook pork chops on a grill. Preheat the grill to high heat and lightly oil the grates. Add the seasoned pork chops and grill for 3-4 minutes on each side until they are cooked through.

  5. What are some ways to serve pork chops?
  6. You can serve pork chops with a variety of side dishes such as roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta. You can also make a sauce or gravy to top the pork chops like a mushroom cream sauce or a mustard sauce.


By following these simple steps, you can make perfect pork chops that are tender and juicy every time. Choosing the right cut and thickness, brining the pork chops, seasoning them adequately, cooking them in a skillet, and allowing them to rest are all crucial steps in achieving the desired texture and taste. Next time you are in the mood to experiment with pork chops, try this recipe for an easy and delicious dinner option.