Pan fried pork chops basted with savory thyme butter sauce is an easy, 15-minute entree with restaurant quality flavor. Learn how to pan fry pork chops in a cast iron skillet and you'll have an irresistible dinner recipe for any occasion.
Pan seared pork chops are extremely versatile. You can serve them for family dinners, busy weeknights, and they make a beautiful dinner for date night or dinner parties. You could even make this recipe while camping and impress your squad with some juicy cast iron skillet pork chops in the great outdoors!
What makes the best pan fried pork chops
- Thyme-infused butter sauce - quick and easy restaurant hack for giving pork chops insane flavor and impressive presentation right at home.
- No breading or flour - Even without adding any flour, cast iron pork chops brown so nicely. There's no need to add flour.
- Basted with butter - Pan fried bone in pork chops have their own fat that will render, making them juicy inside, but a basted butter surface takes them over the top!
- Simplicity - These cast iron pork chops are seasoned with a little salt and pepper, pan seared and finished with butter and herbs. Just 5 ingredients and a few simple steps ... amazing!
Key ingredients in pan seared pork chops
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- center cut bone-in pork chops - We're using 1" thick chops for our pan fried bone in pork chops. They are perfectly meaty and juicy.
- fresh thyme - Use about 6 sprigs of thyme. Rinse it off, but don't chop it up, we're using it whole.
- butter - Butter adds a silky, savory finish to pan seared pork chops.
- salt and pepper - Just simple seasonings are needed because the thyme and the pork are really the stars of this show.
Do you wash pork chops before frying?
There really is no need to wash pork (or any meat) before cooking. Doing so only contaminates your kitchen surfaces, which require extra sanitizing. I like to use the butcher wrapping as a disposable prep surface for easy cleanup. Or, I simply transfer the meat from the original packaging to the heated cooking surface.
How to make pan fried pork chops
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It all starts with melting butter in an iron skillet on medium-high. Add the chops and sear about 3 minutes, or until they release easily from the pan.
Flip pork chops and sear the other side until it registers 140°F next to the bone. If the skillet gets too warm, flip the chops briefly to avoid overcooking either side.
Reduce the heat to medium low and add remaining butter and fresh thyme sprigs to the pan. Use a small spoon to baste the pork and continue cooking until it reaches 145°F next to the bone.
Transfer pork chops to a plate to rest a few minutes. Serve chops warm, drizzled with the thyme butter and your favorite sides. Lemony Baked Asparagus is especially delicious with these, and will cook in the oven while you're searing the pork chops for a perfectly timed meal.
Tips for making perfect pan fried pork chops
- Cast iron pork chops - If you have cast iron, the thick material maintains an even heating surface which is great for pan seared pork chops. It also helps create a beautiful brown color on the surface. Of course, you can sear pork chops in any skillet.
- Resist the urge to flip the pork if it sticks to the pan. If the pork chop doesn't release from the skillet easily, it's because the proteins are shocked by the heat and grabbing on, but they will release, I promise.
- Use a meat thermometer to measure the temperature of your pork. I don't recommend guessing the internal temperature of pork.
- Always allow the pork chops to rest for a few minutes after cooking. This keeps the juices with the meat (as opposed to cutting it and losing the juices to the plate).
How to season pan fried pork chops
Pork is great no matter how you season it and it should always start with salt and pepper. But, the thyme-infused butter in this recipe is the spotlight and takes pork to a whole new level. Trust me on this one ... you want these flavors!
Why use cast iron for pan seared pork chops?
It's not a requirement, but I love cast iron skillet pork chops because iron distributes heat evenly which helps cook the pork chops evenly. It also creates a consistent brown finish on the surface of the chops. If you don't have a cast iron skillet, any skillet will work.
What is the proper pork chop temperature when cooked?
No matter the size, 145°F is considered the minimum internal temperature for food-safe pork consumption. I like cook pork just to this temperature because it's always juicy and flavorful. When it goes higher than 145°F, it goes in the direction of well-done and naturally becomes less juicy.
What does cooked pork look like?
When pork is cooked to the food-safe internal temperature of 145°F, don't be surprised when you find it a little pink in the center. It's totally normal and it's very tender and juicy. This is considered medium for pork, similar to a medium cooked steak. The more it cooks above 145°F, the whiter the meat becomes and closer it gets to being well done, just like steak.
- cast iron skillet or preferred skillet
- Meat thermometer
- serving platter
- airtight food storage container
Sides to serve with pork chops
- Lemony Baked Asparagus Garlic & Shallots
- Sauteed Asparagus
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- The BEST Potato Salad
- Loaded Baked Potato Salad
- Macaroni Salad
Salads to serve with pork chops
- Strawberry Spring Mix Salad
- Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad
- Simple Homemade Coleslaw
- Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
- Tortellini Pasta Salad
Pan Fried Pork Chops
- 2 Center Cut Bone In Pork Chops (1 lb. each) 1" Thick
- 6 Sprigs Fresh Thyme leave whole
- 3 Tbsp Butter divided in half
- pinch Salt
- pinch Black Pepper
- 12” cast iron skillet or preferred skillet
- meat thermometer
- serving platter
- steak knives
- Season PORK CHOP with SALT and PEPPER. Allow 20 minute rest at room temp to remove chill (optional).
- Heat 1 tbsp BUTTER in skillet over medium-high.
- Place PORK CHOPS in the skillet and sear 3-5, or until they release easily from the pan.
- Sear the other side until chops register 140°F next to the bone. Feel free to flip the chops as needed to avoid overcooking either side.
- Reduce heat to med-low. Add remaining BUTTER and THYME to the skillet.
- Use the melted butter to baste the pork chops, turning as needed, until they reach 145°F next to the bone.
- Transfer pork chops to a plate and allow to rest a few minutes.
Serving and storage
- Serve pork chops warm, topped with the melted thyme-infused butter.
- To Store, allow pork chops to cool completely and refrigerate in an airtight container up to 5 days.
- Cast iron skillet - If you have cast iron, the thick material helps maintain an even heating surface which is great for these seared pork chops. If you don't have one, a regular skillet will work too.
- Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of your pork. I don't recommend guessing the internal temperature of pork.
- Allow the pork chops to rest for a few minutes after cooking. This allows the juices to redistribute into the meat, and then they won't all come rushing out when you cut into the chops.
- Resist the urge to flip the pork if it sticks to the pan. If the pork chop doesn't release from the skillet easily, it's because the proteins are grabbing on for dear life, but they will release, I promise. There's no need to force it to release as it will do so naturally, in time
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.