Juicy Oven Baked Pork Chops
Easy oven baked pork chops that are tender, juicy, and easily customized to your favorite spices and seasonings. With a few simple tricks, you can make juicy and tender pork chops in the oven with very little fuss. Jump to the Easy Oven Baked Pork Chops Recipe or read on to see our tips for making them.
We’ve already shared our method for cooking the juiciest skillet pork chops. Many of you loved that recipe so much that you asked us to share how we cook pork chops in the oven.
We were happy to help so here it is, our no-fail method for the best oven baked pork chops. Let’s do this!
How to Bake Pork Chops So They Are Juicy, Tender, and Delicious
We are sharing more of a method, rather than a recipe. We love the lemon and herb combination shared in the recipe below, but you can use your favorite spices instead.
Whether you use our flavor combination or your own, for the best baked pork chops, keep these simple tips in mind:
- Don’t cook chops straight from the refrigerator. Thirty minutes before you plan to cook, take the pork chops out of the fridge. The time out of the refrigerator lets you bring the meat up to room temperature, which helps the pork cook more evenly throughout. Use this trick for other cuts of meat like pork tenderloin or steak.
- Season the chops with salt 30 minutes before cooking. This way, the salt has a chance to improve the flavor and texture of the meat. Pork chops are pretty lean, so seasoning with salt before cooking is essential for making the most flavorful chops. You can think of this step as a simpler way to brine the pork (instead of a wet brine, the salt acts as a dry brine).
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit so that it is nice and hot before you slide in the chops.
- Let the baked chops rest. Pork is done when an internal thermometer reads 145 degrees F. The moment they are cooked, transfer them to a clean plate and loosely cover with foil. After 5 minutes all the juices inside the chops will have distributed around the meat.
Our Best Baked Pork Chop Tip
The tips above are all important, but here’s our best tip for baking pork in the oven: Sear the chops briefly in a hot skillet before baking in the oven.
We’d love to tell you that lining raw pork chops on a baking sheet and sliding them into the oven to bake will make for a tasty chop, but after years of cooking proteins like pork and steak in our kitchen, we just haven’t had success with that method.
Instead, by taking an extra five minutes to preheat a skillet and sear one side of the pork before baking, the chops take on a beautiful golden-brown color, have a better texture (thanks to the seared crust), and are more interesting to eat.
Since we hate unnecessary dirty pans/dishes around here, we love to use our cast iron skillet to sear and bake the chops in. If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet like ours, you can sear the pork chops in a regular skillet (the heavier, the better), and then transfer the seared chops to a baking dish or sheet pan to finish them in the oven.
Prefer to cook pork chops on the stove? Here’s our no-fail method for the juiciest skillet pork chops.
What seasonings are best for pork chops?
Similar to chicken breast, pork is mild in flavor, so you have lots of options for adding flavor. Here are a few suggestions:
- Keep it simple and use salt, pepper, a fresh herb like thyme, and lemon wedges scattered around the pan. This is what we’ve done in our photos and in the recipe shared below.
- For a chili powder based seasoning, we love using a combination of ancho or our homemade chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and black pepper. Combine 1 teaspoon of everything listed, except use only 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. (We used this blend in our skillet pork chops recipe.)
- For a sweet citrus rub, we love using a blend of brown sugar, grated lemon zest, and smoked paprika. Use 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika. (We use this blend to make our brown sugar baked salmon.)
- A combination of fresh herbs, Dijon mustard, and lemon is classic. (Take a look at our lemon baked chicken thighs or our baked pork tenderloin recipe for inspiration.)
- Italian seasoning, Za’atar seasoning, and taco seasoning are also excellent. (Here’s our homemade taco seasoning blend.)
What kind of pork chops should I use?
When it comes to baking pork chops, the thicker the better. Pork is easy to overcook and when that happens, the results are less than ideal. To prevent overcooking, choose pork chops that are at least 1-inch thick.
If you can buy bone-in chops, do it! The bone helps reduce the chance of overcooking and personally, I think the end result tastes better compared to boneless pork chops.
How long should I cook pork chops in the oven?
The cook time for baked pork chops will vary depending on how thick your chops are. That said, they won’t need very long in the oven. Boneless pork chops that are about 1-inch thick will need a 2 to 3 minute sear in the skillet and then 8 to 15 minutes of bake time in the oven.
Thinner chops will cook much quicker and thicker (or bone-in) chops may take a few minutes longer. Your best bet for checking on whether or not the chops are done is a temperature thermometer. Pork is done when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. If you do not have a thermometer, you will know they are done, if when cutting into the chops, the juices run clear.
What should I serve with pork chops?
Thanks to the fact that pork chops are lean and affordable, we cook them quite a bit. Here’s a list of our favorite sides to serve them with:
- Mashed potatoes or for a low-carb option, try mashed cauliflower
- Since the oven is on, try roasted broccoli, roasted cauliflower, or these honey roasted carrots
- This 10-minute lemon garlic bok choy is a reader favorite
- For a side salad, try our creamy cucumber salad, this easy chickpea salad, or our simple quinoa salad
Juicy Oven Baked Pork Chops
Baked pork chops are a quick, healthy and simple dinner. Our method ensures juicy, tender and flavorful pork chops with little fuss. Use our seasoning suggestions — we especially love the roasted lemon wedges — or substitute with your favorite spice blends (we’ve shared some suggestions in the article above).
We ask you to cover the pork with foil or parchment during baking. By gently cooking the chops this way, they remain juicy and become tender.
You Will Need
4 pork chops, about 1-inch thick and 6 to 7 ounces each
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon high-heat cooking oil like grapeseed, avocado, or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Handful of tender herbs like parsley or dill, chopped
- Dry Brine Chops
- Cook Chops
Take the pork chops out of the refrigerator and season on both sides with salt and pepper — we use just less than 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt per pork chop. Set the chops aside to rest for 30 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large oven-safe skillet — such as a cast iron pan — over medium-high heat. As soon as the oil is hot and looks shimmery, pat the pork dry, and then add the pork. Cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. While the pork sears, scatter half of the thyme over the side of the pork chops that are facing up.
Flip the pork so that the seared side is facing up. (If there is a fattier side of the pork, use kitchen tongs to hold the chops, fat-side-down until it sizzles and browns slightly; about 30 seconds.)
Scatter the remaining thyme over the seared side of the pork. Arrange lemon wedges around the chops, and then loosely cover with foil or tuck parchment paper around the pan. Slide the skillet into the oven to finish cooking. (If you do not have an oven-safe skillet, transfer the pork chops to a baking dish.)
Bake 8 to 15 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 145 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the chop. (Since cook time depends on the thickness of the chops, check for doneness at 5 minutes then go from there, checking every 2 minutes.) If you do not have a thermometer, you will know they are done, if when cutting into the chops, the juices run clear.
Transfer pork chops to a plate then cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let the pork rest for 5 minutes. Serve with additional herbs, a squeeze of the roasted lemon wedges, and a spoonful of pan juices on top.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Optional Pan Sauce: When the pork chops are resting, place the skillet over medium-high then add 1 cup of chicken stock, 2 teaspoons of brown sugar or honey, and the juice from the roasted lemon wedges into the pan. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan so that any stuck bits of pork come up. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by half. Taste then adjust the seasoning with salt or honey. For a bit more of a kick, add a teaspoon or so of apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Slide the skillet off of the heat and when the sauce is no longer simmering, swirl in a tablespoon of butter.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.