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 dinner staple for us growing up. Served with mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans, few meals represent Mom’s best comfort foods 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 hockey puck. Yikes!

But this common mistake is 100% avoidable with a few simple tips and tricks. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to fry pork chops the right way.

Editor’s Tip: 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.

Pan-Fried Pork Chops Without Breading

Pork Chops With Parmesan Sauce Exps Sdam19 47698 C12 12 6b 10TMB Studio

One of the easiest, no-fuss pork chop recipes requires nothing more than a skillet and four simple ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless pork loin chops (4 ounces each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, cook chops in butter over medium heat, flipping once. Cook until the meat juices run clear, and the chops reach an internal temperature of 145°F. Remove and keep warm.

Editor’s Tip: Try these boneless pan-fried pork chops with an easy Parmesan sauce for a boost of flavor.

Pan-Fried Pork Chops with Breading

Pork Milanese on a plateTMB studio

For extra color and crunch, coat pork chops in a simple panko crumb coating that fries to golden perfection.

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) bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

Editor’s Tip: We use panko-style bread crumbs in this recipe, but crushed cornflakes, Ritz crackers or homemade seasoned bread crumbs can be used with similar results.

Directions

Step 1: Rest and season

Prior to cooking, remove thawed pork chops from the refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before cooking. Then, generously season and massage all sides of the meat with sage, salt, and pepper.

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

Step 2: Mix 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, dump the panko bread crumbs on a large piece of parchment paper.

Step 3: Bread and coat the pork chops

Pat the chops 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.

Step 4: 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 for 4-5 minutes. Turn once when the chops are golden around the edges, then continue to cook until the pork chops and breading are golden on all sides.

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

Step 6: Check the internal temperature

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°, 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 5 minutes before serving. Next, learn how to make simple shake-and-bake pork chops.

Oven-Fried Pork Chops

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Want all the flavor of frying without the spattering and mess? Try making fried pork chops in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 6 boneless pork chops (6 ounces each, 1 inch thick)

Directions

Step 1: Prep the coating

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, chili powder and seasoned salt. In another shallow bowl, combine the egg and milk.

Step 2: Cover the pork chops in bread crumbs

First, dip the pork chops in the egg mixture, followed by the bread crumb mixture. Take care to ensure the chops are coated evenly on all sides.

Step 3: Cook in the oven

Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet coated generously with cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until meat reaches the desired doneness. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Here are a few tips for baking pork chops.

Editor’s Tip: For medium-rare pork chops, cook until they reach an internal temperature of 145° or cook to 160° for a medium pork chop. (FYI, it’s OK if pork is pink inside.)

Air-Fryer Pork Chops

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Need a recipe for fast and easy fried pork chops? Look no further than your trusty air fryer.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup panko-style (Japanese) bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 boneless pork loin chops (6 ounces each)
  • Cooking spray

Directions

Step 1: Prep the coating

Preheat the air fryer to 375°.

In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, garlic powder, Creole seasoning and paprika.

Step 2: Cover the pork chops in bread crumbs

Coat pork chops on all sides with the bread crumb mixture, shaking off any excess. Place the chops in a single layer in a greased air-fryer basket and spritz with cooking spray.

Step 3: Cook in the oven

Cook until golden brown, 12-15 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 145°, turning halfway through cooking and spritzing with additional cooking spray.

Editor’s Tip: Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to work in batches. To keep finished chops warm, arrange them on an oven-safe platter or sheet pan and place the oven (use a keep warm setting if you have it) until ready to serve.

Tips for Frying Pork Chops

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

You know when its internal temperature reaches 145°. The guidelines for cooking pork chops have changed. The parasite that used to cause worry, trichinella, has been essentially eradicated in commercially raised pork. For this reason, the FDA updated its guideline from 165° to 145° in 2011. This is great news; pork at this temp is much more tender and juicy.

However, if you prefer a more well-done chop, cook it longer. Just remember that pork chops run the risk of drying out the higher their internal temperature becomes.

How do you keep pork chops moist when frying?

The best way to keep chops moist and tender is to not overcook them. Whether you choose to coat them in bread crumbs (which also help retain moisture) or cook them naked with a simple seasoning, pull your chops from the frying pan, oven or air fryer the moment they reach 145° to ensure maximum juiciness.

Just like when searing steak, always let your chops rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute before serving.

Potatoes to Serve with Fried Pork Chops
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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren is a recipe developer and food photographer. At Taste of Home, you’ll find her putting famous celebrity recipes to the test, from Dolly Parton’s stampede soup to Stanley Tucci’s six-ingredient pasta casserole. She’s also known for her FoodTok finds and sharing tips for how to re-create Internet-famous 15-hour potatoes, apple pie cinnamon rolls and chamoy pickles. When she’s not trying out a recipe-gone-viral, she’s developing copycat recipes and new twists on comfort food for her food blog, Frydae.