Pan fried bone in pork chops are thick pork chops fried without flour, and basted in silky thyme butter sauce for restaurant quality flavor!
Thick, center cut loin pork chops, known as Iowa Chops, can be as delicious as a really decent cut of steak with the right cooking method. This pan fried pork chop recipe shows you how to cook a pork chops on the stove with a gorgeous golden brown surface and tender, juicy inside. It's on the table in 15 minutes, so it's perfect for busy weeknights and even date night!
Why we love this pork chop recipe
- thyme-infused butter sauce - quick and easy restaurant hack for giving pork chops insane flavor and impressive presentation right at home.
- no flour or breading needed - Once you know how to fry pork chops without flour, you're going to make your gluten free friends very happy.
- 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!
- simple - 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! Or add a scoop of creamy mushroom soup and you're in comfort food heaven!
- center cut bone-in pork chops - We're using 1" thick pork 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 smooth finish and flavor 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.
How to pan fry pork chops
Melt butter in an iron skillet on medium-high. Add the chops and sear about 3 minutes, or until they release easily when picked up with tongs.
Flip pork chops and sear the other side a few minutes until golden. It should register 140 degrees Fahrenheit on a quick-read thermometer next to the bone.
Pro tip: If the iron skillet gets too warm, transfer the pork chops out of the skillet for a few minutes to prevent overcooking. Then return pork back to the skillet and continue cooking. This is super helpful when cooking pork in cast iron since it retains heat so effectively.
To finish the chops, reduce 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 degrees Fahrenheit next to the bone.
Transfer pork chops to a plate to rest a few minutes. Serve 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.
Do I need to wash pork chops before frying?
No. There 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 will simply season and transfer the pork from the packaging straight to the heated cooking surface.
- 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 when it sticks to the pan. This is common when cooking the first side of the pork because the proteins are shocked by the heat and grabbing on. Cooks often use this as the signal that the meat is ready to flip.
- Use a meat thermometer to measure the temperature of thick pork chops. I don't recommend guessing the internal temperature of pork because you don't want it undercooked or overcooked.
- 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).
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 efficiently which helps cook the pork chops evenly. It also creates a consistent brown finish on the surface of the chops. Don't worry, if you don't have a cast iron skillet, any skillet will work.
How to know when pork chops are done
No matter the size, 145 degrees Fahrenheit is considered the minimum internal temperature for food-safe pork consumption. I like to cook pork just to this temperature because it's always juicy, flavorful, and a tiny bit pink. When it goes higher than 145 degrees Fahrenheit, it's heading towards being 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 degrees Fahrenheit, 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 degrees Fahrenheit, the whiter the meat becomes and closer it gets to being well done, just like steak.
- Sauteed Asparagus
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Loaded Baked Potato Salad
- Strawberry Salad
- Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
Pan Fried Pork Chops (No Flour)
- 2 (1 pound) Center Cut Bone-In Pork Chops, 1-inch thick
- 6 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, divided in half
- pinch Sea Salt
- pinch Black Pepper
- Season PORK CHOPS with SALT and PEPPER. If time permits, rest the chops about 20 minutes at room temp to remove chill.
- Heat half of the BUTTER in a skillet over medium-high.
- Place PORK CHOPS in the skillet and fry until it releases easily from the pan.
- Flip the chop and sear the other side 3 to 5 minutes, or until a quick read thermometer registers 135 degrees Fahrenheit next to the bone.
- Reduce heat to medium low and add remaining BUTTER to the skillet to melt.
- Set THYME SPRIGS in the melted butter and continue cooking a few minutes to infuse.
- Use a spoon to baste the chops with the buttery sauce.
- When the pork reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit next to the bone, transfer to a plate and allow to rest five minutes. Note: carryover cooking will bring the pork to a proper 145 degrees Fahrenheit during this resting period.
Serving and storage
- Serve warm with your favorite sides.
- To store, allow to cool completely and refrigerate in an airtight container up to 5 days.
Traci's Recipe Notes
- You don't need to wash pork chops before frying - Washing pork just contaminates your kitchen surface. It can go straight from the packaging into the pan.
- Cast iron skillet (optional) - If you have cast iron, the thick material helps maintain an even heating surface which is great for these seared pork chops. However, any skillet will get the job done.
- Resist the urge to flip the pork if it sticks to the pan. If the pork chop doesn't release from the skillet easily on the first flip, it's because the proteins are grabbing on for dear life, but they will release. There's no need to force it to release as it will do so naturally.
- Use a meat thermometer to make sure your cook has reached the minimum food safe temperature, but also to avoid overcooking it.
- 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.
- 12” cast iron skillet or preferred skillet
- serving platter
- steak knives
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.