How to Fry Pork Chops to Tender, Juicy Perfection

Pork chops often get a bad rap for being dry. Here's how to fry pork chops so they're tender and juicy every time.

Pan-fried pork chops were a dinnertime staple for lots of us growing up. Served with mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans, few meals represent Mom’s home cooking more. Despite its popularity, it’s a dish that many home cooks struggle with. Cooked right, pork chops are tender, juicy and full of flavor. Overcooked, and they can be used as a regulation hockey puck in the Stanley Cup Final.

Never fear: this common mistake is 100% avoidable with a few simple tips and secret tricks. Follow this helpful step-by-step guide to learn how to fry pork chops and transform them from dull to delicious!

How to Fry Pork Chops

Frying the perfect pork chop doesn’t begin in the kitchen, it begins at your local grocery store or butcher. Make sure you know which cut of pork is best for your recipe. For pan-frying, bone-in pork chops are best because the bone helps the chop retain moisture and also imparts flavor to the meat. Pan-frying uses high, direct heat to cook. It’s easy to overcook (or undercook) your pork chops if they’re not the right thickness.

Ingredients for frying pork chopsLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in pork chops, about 1-inch thick
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups panko-style (Japanese) breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

Directions

Step 1: Let the pork chops rest

Prior to cooking, remove fully thawed pork chops from the refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before cooking.

Editor’s Tip: Cold chops would require a longer cooking time to reach a safe internal temperature. If you just threw your cold meat into the frying pan, the outside of the chops would get dry and overcooked before the center of the chops is ready.

Step 2: Season the pork chops

Generously season and massage all sides of the meat with the spice mixture. In this recipe, we’re using a simple blend of salt, pepper and rubbed sage.

Step 3: Mix your breading

In a large, shallow bowl, beat 1 egg. Set aside. In a second shallow bowl, add the flour and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Finally, on a large piece of parchment paper, dump the panko bread crumbs.

Step 4: Bread and coat the pork chops

dredging pork chops in flourLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

To coat the pork chops, pat them dry with a paper towel, then dredge them on all sides in the seasoned flour. Shake off the excess and then dip the chops in the beaten egg. Next, firmly press all sides of the pork chops into the panko so they’re evenly coated.

coating pork chops in panko bread crumbs for fryingLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Editor’s Tip: We’re using panko-style bread crumbs in this recipe, but crushed cornflakes, Ritz crackers or traditional Italian bread crumbs can also be used with similar results.

Here’s what to do if your breading falls off while cooking.

Step 5: Cook the pork chops

Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, until the oil shimmers. Next, add the pork chops and fry, turning once when the chops are golden around the edges, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until the pork chops and breading are golden on all sides.

Step 6: Check the internal temperature

the proper internal temperature of fried pork chopsLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

When the chops appear to be fully cooked, use an instant-read thermometer to check their internal temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, at least 1 inch away from the bone. When it reads 145°F, the pork chops are done.

Step 7: Let the pork chops rest

Remove the pork chops to a clean serving platter and cover loosely with foil. Let them rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Editor’s Tip: Just like a good steak, a pork chop should rest before you cut into it. When cooking, the juices of the meat migrate away from the heat to the center of the pork chop. If you cut in too soon, all that flavorful juice will spill out. It’s worth the wait—trust us!

perfectly fried pork chops overheadLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

How do you know when a fried pork chop is done?

The best way to tell when a pork chop is done: its internal temperature reaches 145°F. The guidelines for cooking pork chops have changed. The parasite that used to cause worry, trichinella, has been essentially eradicated in commercially raised pork since the 1990s. For this reason, the FDA updated the guideline from 165° to 145° in 2011. This is great news: pork at this temp is much more tender and juicy.

How do you keep pork chops moist when frying?

For this recipe, we’re fans of flipping once to prevent the breading from falling away from the meat. Breading pork chops is a smart way to help them retain moisture and add texture. However, naked chops can benefit from frequent flipping, because this helps them cook more evenly.

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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.