Thick-Cut Pork Chops
The most important ingredient in this recipe for easy brown sugar glazed pork chops is… you guessed it, the pork chops! So many people complain that they find pork dry and tough, but if you start with the right pork chops, there’s no reason why you can’t make delicious, juicy and tender chops, along with a very simple glaze in about ten minutes. The key to the chops is the thickness. Chops that are at least one-inch thick will take longer to cook through than thin chops, and that time is needed to properly sear the outside of the meat. If you try to make the recipe with thin pork chops, the interior can easily be over-cooked by the time the outside has browned. So… buy good thick cut pork chops! Having said that, if thin chops are all you have (or what you prefer), reduce the cooking time to 4 to 5 minutes once you’ve put the lid on the pan and then remove the chops and proceed with making the glaze. They may not be quite as brown on the outside, but they should still be moist inside.
Four Ingredient Glaze for Pork Chops
One of the reasons this recipe is so very simple is that the ingredient list is really kept to a minimum. Even so, there’s no compromising on flavor. Seasoning and dredging the chops with flour, salt, freshly ground black pepper and smoked paprika adds great flavor to the chops before we even get started. The spice rub not only seasons the chops properly, but also helps to brown them on the outside as well. You could also use brined pork chops for this recipe if you really want to ensure a flavorful and moist result. You can see how to brine the pork chops here.
The glaze is made of just four ingredients: brown sugar, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and soy sauce. That’s it! It’s a simple combo of acid and sugar and it works. You’ll need a good whisk to get the Dijon mustard and brown sugar to completely dissolve in the pan. I like to use my favorite flat whisk for this task.
How to Cook Thick Cut Pork Chops
There are a number of ways to cook pork chops. I believe this method is really the easiest and guarantees moist results. Sear the chops in the pan over medium-high heat. Don’t flip the chops too soon. Give them a solid two minutes on each side. That, incidentally, is longer than you think. Count to 120 before you even think about touching them. Then, pop a lid on the pan and lower the heat to medium-low. This turns the sauté pan into an oven of sorts, helping to trap the steam around the pork chops and letting them cook more evenly without losing their moisture. An alternative would be to transfer the pan to a 375ºF oven, but honestly it will take longer to cook in the oven and that just gives the pork more time to potentially dry out. We’re going with easy in this recipe, so a lid and lower heat works like a charm.
Glazed Pork Chops
Once the pork chops have cooked through and register 145ºF on an instant read thermometer, set them aside and loosely tent with foil. Then make the glaze by simply adding the four ingredients mentioned above and whisking to dissolve. It will only take a minute or two for everything to dissolve and come to a boil. Then, return the chops to the pan and turn them over a few times to coat all sides of the chops with the glaze. Another minute to make sure everything is nice and hot and that’s it!!
Air Fryer Pork Chops
Don’t feel like cooking on the stovetop? Yes, you can convert this recipe to your air fryer, although the chops might not get as brown. (Learn more about how to convert recipes to the air fryer here.) Dredge the chops with the seasoned flour and then spritz all sides of the chops with oil. Air-fry at 400ºF for 10 minutes, flipping them over halfway through the cooking time. While the chops are air-frying, combine the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking to dissolve the mustard and brown sugar. Brush the glaze on the chops and air-fry for another 2 minutes, flipping the chops and glazing again halfway through. Et voilà – easy air fryer brown sugar glazed pork chops!