Easy pan-fried pork chops prepared on the stovetop with delicious results. This recipe uses thick frenched bone-in cuts that sear in a hot skillet until a beautiful crust forms. Topped with garlic butter for maximum flavor.
The challenge when dealing with thick-cut pork chops is that they can dry out quickly because the meat is rather lean. There is some fat surrounding the outer edges for extra flavor, but it’s important to focus on the pan-frying technique in order to nail the perfect doneness.
For this recipe, I keep the seasoning simple to ensure that the pork properly sears. An herb and garlic compound butter added on the top right before serving brings this dish together. Pair with your favorite side dishes for a complete gourmet meal.
How to cook pan-fried pork chops
- Season pork chops with salt and black pepper on both sides.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Heat olive oil and then and the chops, pressing down in the pan.
- Sear the pork for 1 minute on the first side, flip and cook for 1 minute.
- Sear the edges to render the fat, about 1 minute.
- Reduce heat to medium, cook until internal temperature reaches 140ºF (60ºC), flipping every minute.
- Set aside on a plate or cutting board and rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Slice pork or serve whole topped with garlic butter.
Buying the right cut
Look for Frenched bone-in pork chops with some marbling in the meat and around the sides. “Frenched” is a fancy culinary term meaning that the meat and excess fat has been trimmed away from the large rib chop for a nice presentation.
The pork should be at least 1 to 1 ½-inch thick to ensure the pork does not dry out. Boneless pork chops can also be used, however, they will be even leaner, and cook faster so keep an eye on the doneness temperature.
How do you know when pork chops are done frying?
I recommend using an instant-read thermometer to measure the temperature after searing both sides and the edges for 1-minute. And then again about 4 minutes after that while it’s still cooking over medium heat.
Target an internal temperature of 140 to 145ºF (60 to 62ºC) for medium doneness. This range takes into account carryover cooking when resting the meat. It’s important to lift the chop off the pan and insert the probe through the side towards the center of the meat.
Add more flavor with compound butter
Compound butter is an easy and creative way to add extra richness, flavor, and aroma to cooked meats and vegetables. The key is to soften the butter so that it’s easy to stir with the other ingredients, this takes about 30 to 45 minutes at room temperature.
For pork, I think a combination of freshly chopped parsley, rosemary, thyme, and garlic holds up well to the skillet fried pork. I sneaked in some salt and pepper for extra savory seasoning. If you have leftover garlic butter, roll it up into a log shape using plastic wrap, then slice as you need it.
What to serve this with
The bone prevents the meat from drying out
The bone not only adds extra flavors, but it also helps prevent the pork from becoming hard and inedible. The calcium-rich bone does not conduct as much heat, so it creates an insulated barrier that prevents the meat from cooking too quickly and drying out.
Pan-Fried Pork Chops with Garlic Butter
- 4 Frenched pork loin chops, 1-inch thick
- 4 tablespoons (60 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon (10 g) minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- ½ teaspoon (3 g) kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- In a small bowl combine softened butter, garlic, parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper.
- Season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan, once hot add the pork chops.
- Lightly press the pork chops down into the pan to get a nice sear, cook 1 minute.
- Flip and sear the other side, 1 minute.
- Cook the sides to render the fat, 1 minute.
- Turn heat down to medium, cook until the internal temperature reaches 140ºF (60ºC), 4 to 6 minutes depending on the thickness, flip every minute for even cooking.
- Transfer to a cutting board, rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing or serving whole.
- Serve the pork chops topped with garlic butter.