How to Make Juicy Pork Chops
Dry pork chops haunt many cooks, but they needn’t. While it is relatively easy to over-cook pork and dry it out, there are a few ways to easily avoid this problem in the kitchen and this recipe for air fryer breaded pork chops incorporates all of them.
The first way to avoid dry chops is to buy thicker pork chops. Very thin pork chops cook all the way through and dry out before the outside really has time to brown. Thicker pork chops, on the other hand, take longer to cook through, giving you enough time to get the exterior of the chops brown (or crispy if that’s what you’re going for) before they over-cook.
The second way to avoid making dry pork chops is to brine the chops first. Now, this does take some forethought since brining should really be done for a minimum of 6 hours, but it is so worth it in the end.
The third way to make juicy chops is to use your air fryer. Air frying is faster than baking because of the intense heat and as a result the chops don’t have as much time to dry out. If you brine chops that are 1-½ inches thick and then air fry them, you’re destined for a nice juicy pork chop dinner!
Brining Pork Chops
Brining simply means to pre-salt your chops. You can dry-brine the chops with a salty spice rub (as is the case with these Honey BBQ Pork Chops), or you can wet brine the chops with a salty water solution. Either way, the salt draws moisture out of (yes, out of) the chops. But then the movement of water reverses and the chops draw the moisture back in. When that happens, the flavors that you’ve put into your spice rub or salty marinade also get drawn into the meat and you’re left with pork chops that are seasoned on the inside. That moisture and flavor remains in the chops when you cook and the increased moisture level makes it more difficult to over-cook the pork. Result: juicy pork chops.
Breading Pork Chops
Once we’ve brined our thick chops and ensured they will be juicy on the inside, it’s time to dredge and bread the chops so that they are crispy on the outside. There is a right way to do this and it might not be naturally intuitive to you. You can read all about breading and dredging in this cooking school lesson, but at the most basic level you need to know that you always start dredging or breading with flour, THEN egg, THEN crumbs. Push the crumbs onto the chops to make sure they are well coated.
How Long to Air-Fry Pork Chops
Once the chops are coated, place them into your air fryer basket and give them a good spray with oil. It’s important for the crumbs to be evenly coated with oil so that they brown and crisp well. If you have patches of dry crumbs when you put the chops into the air fryer, you’ll have patches of dry, flavorless crumbs when they are done. That’s why I recommend using a spray bottle to coat your breaded food items – so that you can evenly coat the crumbs with oil without over-doing it.
The time it takes to cook your chops in the air fryer will depend entirely on how thick they are. Bone-in chops that are about 1 ½ inches thick will take about 15 minutes. If your chops are thinner than that, they’ll cook faster so just drop the time down a little. When the chops are fully cooked, they will feel firm to the touch, but you can always check them with an instant read thermometer. They should reach 150ºF at their thickest point when cooked.
To Go Alongside…
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what to serve with your beautiful juicy air fryer breaded pork chops, but if you were looking for inspiration, a potato dish would be nice. You could go for some homemade French fries or a delicious potato salad or some smashed potatoes. For a vegetable, you could make a quick green salad or this spring green salad, or you could serve some minted green peas or just some steamed broccoli alongside. Serve whatever vegetable you like. All eyes will be on the pork anyway!
Comments (14)Post a Reply
I had the meat in the brine for approximately eight hours and the pork was indeed very tender. The bad news, however, is that the meat was far too salty from the brine. Their was no salt added to the flour, panko, or egg.
Hi Norm. Some people do find brined food too salty. Did you rinse and dry the pork chops before coating them?
Is it really 14,468 mg of sodium in each pork chop? That’s about a week’s total amount of sodium per person! Very unhealthy and possibly dangerous to some individuals health! Or is this a mistake? Please advise- I bought the ingredients to make this but now I might not!
Hi Gary. No, it is not really that much sodium. There’s a lot of salt that goes into the brine, but not all that salt goes into the pork chops. Unfortunately, my nutritional analysis program can only use the total quantity. How much salt is absorbed by the meat depends on the type of meat, the amount of salt in the brine and the time spent brining. Cook’s Illustrated did an experiment on this and discovered the following (as quoted from the South Florida Sun Sentinel:
“The editors at Cook’s Illustrated magazine once did a test in which they brined pork chops and skinless, boneless chicken breasts in a solution of 1/2 cup table salt in 2 quarts of cold water for 30 minutes. After cooking the meat, it was sent to a lab for analysis. The pork chops had a sodium content of 245 milligrams for 100 grams of meat, or slightly less than 1/8 teaspoon per serving, while the chicken breast had 353 milligrams, or just over 1/8 teaspoon per serving.”
If you are on a low sodium diet, brining is not a good idea for you. Otherwise, I think the amount of salt is manageable for a daily intake of 1,500 mg or 1 teaspoon of salt.
I made these for dinner tonight. Out of this world. My husband took his first bite and said, oh my god! I made them in my oven on TruConvec because I don’t have an air fryer. I also added a chopped onion to the brine, but definitely a keeper.
Delicious, moist and tasty. Made with air fryer. A keeper. EASY.
Made these air fryer pork chops today. Very good indeed. Will be making these again.
These are without a doubt the best fried porkchops I have ever had. Quite tasty and juicy. I adjusted the brine ingredient amounts slightly but the 6 hour brine was perfect.
I don’t like breadcrumbs. most air fryer recipes call for these. can you do pork chops, chicken, and other fried foods without breadcrumbs.
There are other air fryer recipes on the website that do not have breading on them. You can search for them under the air fryer tab. Here is a recipe for Honey Mustard Pork Chops: https://bluejeanchef.com/recipes/honey-mustard-pork-chops/
Those pork chops are so juicy and easy to make. I usually don’t have breadcrumbs at home, so I used crushed cornflakes. Because of the high sodium, I didn’t brine either, and still, that meat came out tender, juicy and just delectable. Dinner was gone in a flash but requested for the following week.
Omg, first time for chops. Just didn’t think it was a good match, but this recipe was great. I’ve ruined chops every way possible but this was good. Recipe is a keeper.
Thank you Meredith!!!
While I am looking forward to making these, I’m REALLY excited that you linked the oil sprayer you use in the recipe! I’ve been on the hunt for a good one with no luck. But I just ordered the one you use and can’t wait to try it out! Thank you so much for adding such helpful links!
Made these chops tonight, they are the best I ever made. Tender and juicy. Thank you Chef for sharing.