Salt and Pepper Pork Chops

The ingredient list for this recipe is as simple as its title: Salt and Pepper Pork Chops. The only other ingredient (listed as “to taste,” but HIGHLY recommended) is butter. Yep. Lip-smacking, old-fashioned, paleo-friendly butter pulls this quick pork dish together and accentuates its simple, unadulterated flavors.

Oval plate with a salt and pepper pork chop, spoon, fork, and juice on it

Chef and author Gabrielle Hamilton was taught this salt and pepper pork chops recipe by her mother-in-law, Alda. Hamilton devotes an entire chapter of her renowned and much awaited cookbook, Prune, to Alda’s traditional Italian cooking. One taste of these chops, and we think you’ll agree that Alda’s actually more like a fairy-godmother-in-law than a mother-in-law. Not only are they exquisitely delicious and flawlessly cooked, but the pork chops are on the table in less than 20 minutes and come together from pantry staples. You’re welcome.–Frances Kim

Salt and Pepper Pork Chops

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 10 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 2
5/5 - 2 reviews
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Place a heavy pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Give it 5 minutes to fully heat.

Liberally season the chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Grab a pair of scissors or a paring knife and make a few slight notches along the fatty edge of each pork chop, scoring the fatty part every inch or so, to prevent the sides of the pork chops from curling when they hit the heat, especially if your chops are on the thinner side.

Place the pork chops in the hot pan, increase the heat to medium-high, and don’t touch the chops for 5 minutes. (Don’t worry if things start to smoke. That happened to us, too. It’ll be fine.) Flip the pork chops and cook for 8 minutes on the other side, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C). Immediately stack the pork chops on a plate. Let the chops rest and the juices accumulate on the plate, about 3 minutes.

Smear the pork chops with soft butter while they’re warm and let it mingle with the pan juices. Do not garnish. Just fork the chops onto plates and dribble some of those buttery skillet juices over the top. Originally published August 30, 2015.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

What can I say? Perfectly pan-cooked pork chops each and every time! I ended up making this pork chops recipe 2 nights in a row because it’s so dang perfect. Juicy, tender, and well-caramelized, this is a pork chop to be reckoned with. One of the many upsides to making these chops is the minimal time investment. Hands-on time was about 5 minutes, which included heating up the pan and prepping the chops, and total cooking time was a mere 18 minutes. This made it possible for someone who works 60 hours a week to actually fathom cooking during the week. I did score the perimeter of each pork chop to prevent curling. I cut 1/4 inch every inch or so, which worked out perfectly. However, my chops were pretty thick, about 3/4 inch, so I’m not sure how much they would've curled without the snipping, if at all. I served these with some grilled asparagus spears and sautéed swiss chard that I prepared while the chops were cooking. Perfect weeknight meal.

These no-fail pork chops are simple and perfect. Good pork chops never need more than salt and pepper, and you can't go wrong with adding a little butter. Pork, butter, salt, pepper, and a cast-iron or steel skillet—just as it was meant to be.

The recipe took under 20 minutes, beginning to end, including butchering my chops. I forgot to score the fat, but the chops were so thick that it didn’t end up mattering.


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  1. Aaamazing! I made this and loved it, thanks! I used bone in sirloin chops. It was great-tasting even with just these few simple ingredients. Two of the chops I experimented with the ingredients. So my husband and I ate the ones I tweaked a little bit more than the recipe. I added on Mrs. Dash extra spicy seasoning blend (salt-free). Besides that one addition, everything else stayed the same for the recipe. I may have used a little Marcum Steak seasoning and worcestershire sauce for the two chops also. I love that this recipe is fine as is and with extra seasoning! It’s a win-win!

  2. Hi all,

    Just found this site and it seems to be a bit of a treasure trove–however, with this recipe, I have a question-is no oil put in the pan to fry the chops? I’ve never done a pork chop without oil, and wondered if you had missed it by accident?

    1. Nick, I understand your confusion, but actually thanks to the fat found along the edge of the pork chops, oil isn’t necessary. When you make slits in the fat, as noted in the recipe, as the meat sears, the fat begins to melt, providing just enough slickness to help coax the meat to lift away from the surface of the skillet. Curious to hear what you think when you try it…

  3. I just made these salt and pepper pork chops on top of the stove in a big red Staub grill pan! Chops have grill marks; it turned out delicious as is, but I think I promised my husband gravy, so (sorry, David) I used the drippings and made some gravy! With this, I served some pierogies with sour cream. I have to have a spoonful of applesauce with my pork chop! You can see we are big into sauces and condiments.

    For my vegetable, I sautéed some onions, both yellow and green pepper, chopped garlic, mushrooms, collard greens, 1/3 cup of sauerkraut (just because I had it in the fridge) using both olive oil and butter, all seasoned with salt, pepper and a hit of crushed red pepper. Dinner was delicious for sure. I was looking through your pork chop recipes and chose this one because I wanted something quick that I did not need to brine! Neither one of us could finish the pork chop! Next time I will try to serve it without gravy, using just the butter.

    A salt and pepper pork chop with gravy, applesauce, pirogies, sour cream, and collard greens

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