Pan Roasted Pork Chops

These pan roasted pork chops are oh so tender from being brined overnight in apple juice, seared in a cast iron skillet, and then finished in the oven for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Here’s how to make them.

Three golden-brown pan-roasted pork chops

Sometimes we like to let other people do the talking. Like in the case of these pan roasted pork chops. “The best brine I’ve ever had.” “Perfect.” “Exquisite.” “The antidote to dried-out, tasteless pork chops.” “I wouldn’t change a thing!” “Oh. My. God.” That’s what folks are saying about this simple weeknight solution to what’s for dinner. Sorta makes you want to see what all the fuss is about, huh? (And, uh, when we say “fuss,” we actually mean hullabaloo, because this recipe is actually about as fuss-free as it gets.)–Renee Schettler

Pan-Roasted Pork Chops

  • Quick Glance
  • (6)
  • 15 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 6
5/5 - 6 reviews
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In a pot, combine the apple juice, water, salt, maple or sorghum syrup, pepper, and cinnamon and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. As soon as the salt has completely dissolved, turn off the heat and let the brine cool to room temperature.

Place the pork chops in a baking dish or another container that lets them fit snuggly in a single layer. Pour the brine over the chops, cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat them dry. Discard the brine.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).

Place a large cast iron skillet on a burner over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and heat until hot but not smoking.

Place the chops in the skillet without crowding them. (If you can’t fit all the pork chops in the pan at once, then do 2 or 3 at a time.) Sear for 3 minutes per side. The chops should have some nice caramelization going on and your house should be smelling awesome.

Tester tip: Your smoke detector may go off when you sear these chops. Be prepared to leap and bang the disable button with a wooden spoon.

Slide the skillet into the oven or, if you seared the chops in batches, transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet and slide that into the oven. Roast the pork chops until perfectly cooked through, anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chops.

Place the pork chops on plates and drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil. Devour right away—as if you could help yourself. Originally published October 15, 2012.

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    Pork Chops with Agrodolce Variation

    • Embellish each pork chop with a dollop of sweetly tart, savory agrodolce, if you please. Roast, peel, and seed 2 large red bell peppers. Cut them into 1/2-inch dice. Plump 1/4 cup raisins in 1/4 cup warm port and 2 tablespoons warm water. Combine the red peppers and tipsy raisins with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    This is the best brine for pork I’ve ever had. There is no reason to ever cook pork chops without brining them first. They were juicy and so flavorful. The apple juice and slight hint of cinnamon complement the pork perfectly. This recipe is one to make again and again and certainly one to share with friends! Wonderful.

    OH. MY. GOD. These pan roasted pork chops are fabulous! The brine—perfect. The cooking time—spot on (just be certain to let the meat warm up a bit before cooking). The chops have a lovely crust along the edges and are so juicy inside.

    The agrodolce, although not absolutely necessary since the pork is wonderfully flavored through and through, is a nice addition. Do make it, especially if you’ve never tried this particular blend of ingredients. The warm port and raisins go quite well with the subtle cinnamon from the brine.


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    1. I don’t use alcohol, even for cooking. I often substitute water-diluted red balsamic for the red wine. What if I used some of the brine instead of straight water to dilute the balsamic?

    2. This recipe made the juiciest, tastiest pork chops I’ve ever cooked! Even after reheating the chops at work, my husband commented on how juicy they were! The brine took less than 10 minutes to prepare, and I let the meat bathe in it for the full 24 hours. I made the agrodolce as well, and it was fantastic. I put the peppers in the oven and the raisins and port mixture on the stove right before I started searing the pork. I followed the recipe to the letter, except that it took 4 to 5 minutes per side to caramelize the chops properly. By the time I put the chops in the oven, everything was ready to assemble. Yum!

    3. I brined the chops last night but can not cook tonight. Should I empty brine? Can I freeze chops at this point?

      1. Yes, Karla, drain the brine from the pork chops and discard it. Pat the pork chops dry. I wouldn’t freeze the pork chops but you could wrap them well and refrigerate them for a day or two. Hope you enjoy them when you have them!

    4. I was so pleased with this recipe and how moist and tasty my pork chops were! I have always have difficulty keeping them from getting dry, no matter the method I used. This is so easy and a keeper for me. Thank y’all so much for this genius of a recipe!

    5. This is a great recipe and the technique can be used for other pork cuts. Having grown up in the Sugar Cane belt of the deep South, maple syrup or sorghum never crossed my lips until I was an adult. I still don’t care for either of them. Instead, my go-to is small batch, locally made cane syrup from the area around Sopchoppy, Florida. Much better flavor.

      1. Mike, we agree, the technique is a keeper. As for that cane syrup, that sounds exactly like what I’d prefer, too. Mind disclosing the brand name of your source? I’d love to track it down and order some. Do you swap it for other liquid sugars at a 1:1 ratio, or do you sorta tweak that depending on the recipe? Many thanks!

        1. Renee, I’m buying Payne Farms cane syrup at a roadside stand located in Crawfordville, FL. I don’t think there is a web site or mail order available. Next time I’m up that way, I’d be happy to get you a bottle if your interested.

          P.S. It’s the same place I get my Tupelo Honey. Certified from the White Tupelo tree. The only region of the country where it’s produced.

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