Mom’s Perfect Pork Chops

DinnerGluten-FreePaleoPork Chops

Quick and easy pan fried pork chops, with a cumin and pepper dry rub. Easy recipe with step-by-step on how to cook pork chops on the stovetop to perfection.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Pan Fried Pork Chops

Sometimes the best food is really the simplest. We experiment frequently with different ways of preparing pork chops, but the way we have pork chops most regularly is with a simple dry rub and pan frying. My mother’s been making chops this way for years.

Pork Chop Seasoning

We use a dry rub of my father’s, which requires some advance preparation (when you make some, you make more than you need than for just a few pork chops). If we are out of the dry rub, mom typically uses a bit of paprika, salt and pepper to season the chops. What follows is a step-by-step guide on how to cook pork chops pan fried to perfection.

Mom’s Perfect Pork Chops Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6, depending on the thickness of the chops

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops
  • 1 teaspoon bacon fat, grapeseed oil, or olive oil (or other high smoke point oil)
  • Salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons of dry rub*

*Dad's dry rub:

  • 1/4 cup cumin seeds
  • 3 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Combine cumin, peppercorns, and coriander in a heavy medium skillet. Stir over medium heat until fragrant and toasted, about 8 minutes. Cool slightly. Finely grind toasted spices in blender. Transfer to a small bowl. Mix in sugar and salt. Makes 1/2 cup.

Method

1 Rub spices into pork chops, heat pan: Heat a large cast iron frying pan to medium high or high heat (hot enough to sear the meat). While the pan is heating, sprinkle a pinch of dry rub spices (about 1/8 teaspoon or a little more) on each of the pork chops. Using your fingers, rub the spices into the meat. Turn the pork chops over and repeat on the other side.

2 Add oil to the pan, sprinkle chops with salt, add to pan: Once the pan is hot, add a teaspoon of oil or fat to the pan and coat the bottom of the pan.

Right before you put the pork chops into the pan sprinkle each side with a little salt, or you can salt the chops in the pan.

Put the pork chops in the pan. Make sure they are not crowding each other too much. There should be space between the chops in the pan or the meat will steam and not sear properly.

Tip: Arrange the pork chops in the pan with the thickest, boniest parts towards the center of the pan where they get the most heat.

3 Sear the chops on both sides: Sear the pork chops, about 2 minutes on each side. Watch carefully, as soon as the chops are browned, flip them.

As soon as you flip the pork chops, if you are using a cast iron pan, you can turn off the heat. Cast iron holds heat very well and there will be enough heat in the pan to finish cooking the meat.

4 Cover pan if working with thick chops to finish cooking: If you have chops that are a lot thicker than 3/4" (many are sold that are 1 1/2"-thick), you can put a cover on the pan and let the pork chops finish cook for 5 minutes or so (if you are using a cast iron pan and have turned off the heat, there should be enough heat if you cover the pan to finish the cooking of a thicker chop, if not, lower the heat to low and cover.

How do you know when the pork chops are done? My mother uses a touch test which with practice I've learned as well. If you wait until you see juice oozing out of the top of the chop, it is definitely done. Mom typically just keeps the pork chops in the pan, the heat is turned off, so the pan is losing heat. The pan initially provides enough heat to sear the second side. As it initially cools it is still cooking, though not searing the meat. After a couple of minutes, it's just keeping the pork chops warm.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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36 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Emily

    I have been making this recipe for years and everyone loves it! Thank you!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Kathy L

    After 21 years of marriage, I made a juicy, not dry, not overcooked, not raw pork chop!! I could not believe it. These were fantastic!! and yes, so hard to just “walk away” with leaving the burner off!! I cook things to death most of the time. I will make this again and again! Now, I just need a magic recipe for chicken!

  • Tara

    I made these tonight and while they turned out very nicely thank you…it tasted like Popadom pork to me. Maybe I overdid the Cumin or maybe I just don’t like Cumin. Is there any suggestion on what I could replace the Cumin with in the rub or should I just leave it out of the recipe next time? I’m thinking its a big portion of the recipe so leaving it out may be a challenge.

  • Holly

    I have never left a comment on this wonderful site but I had to say these chops were THE BEST I have ever made or eaten. My husband hails from a “pork family” while I had never eaten it until I met him. Needless to say, pork sort of intimidates me. Well, I felt as if the culinary golden goblet had landed on my counter-top when these were ready. My husband went on, and on, and on about how absolutely delicious these are. The best he’d EVER eaten in his life (score one for the d-i-l:). Our children said they looked, and tasted, like something you would see at a restaurant. When I made chops with another recipe a few weeks back he sadly said, “Oh, I thought you were going to make the Mom’s Perfect Chops recipe.” I would have normally been a little irked (I don’t enjoy cooking) but took it as a great compliment. The best part, for me, is that he does not know how simple they are to make. Thank you Elise for sharing! Please thank your parents for me too! :)

    Will do! ~Elise

  • Sylvia

    OMG! These are the best pork chops i’ve ever tried to cook! They were perfect!!!

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