Swan dive into some sauce, sink your fork into some juicy meat, and impress everyone at your table with this Smothered Pork Chops recipe!
Thick-cut pork chops that are mouth-wateringly tender (YES, there is such a thing as pork chops that are NOT dry) and bathed in a rich onion gravy, this pork chop recipe is easy to make and the kind of homey comfort that never fails to hit the spot.
I avoided pork chops for most of my adult life.
My childhood body of evidence taught that pork chops were bland, dry, and chewy.
As these creamy smothered pork chops declaratively prove, it does not have to be this way!
Secrets to Tender Pork Chops
To keep pork chops from drying out, you have to do two main things:
- NOT overcook them
- Choose the right cooking method.
I also recommend thick-cut, bone-in pork chops, as they are the most difficult to overcook.
To keep from overcooking, you must use an instant read thermometer.
- I stop cooking my pork chops at 155 degrees F, then let them rest.
- The temperature will continue to rise to the FDA’s 165 degrees F.
For the cooking method, you have options.
These easy smothered pork chops use a few tactics to tenderize them.
- They begin as pan fried smothered pork chops. The sear on the outside helps create a tasty brown crust.
- Then, they bake at a moderate temperature (350 degrees F) in a rich stock mixture, which keeps them moist.
- While the chops rest, the pan drippings are reduced into a phenomenal gravy that serves as an additional insurance policy (it’s harder for a smothered pork chop to taste dry).
For Extra Tender Pork Chops
If you’d like to go above and beyond to make the most tender, moist pork chops of your life, brine the pork chops (submerge in a saltwater solution) for 45 minutes or up to 12 hours prior to cooking.
Brining is not strictly necessary for good results (we’re still cooking the pork chops gently in liquid and smothering them with gravy), but it does provide another layer of protection against tough chops.
How to Make Smothered Pork Chops
It’s mood comfort food!
These smothered pork chops are intensely savory, well-seasoned, and will more than right the wrongs of dry pork chops past.
This recipe yields a generous amount of the gravy; don’t skip it! Everyone is going to want more, so spoon a generous portion onto each plate. You can use any leftovers to top Air Fryer Chicken Breast.
- Bone-In Pork Chops. Bone-in pork chops are extra flavorful and less prone to drying out than boneless. They’re also a wonderful source of lean protein.
- Flour. A light coating of all-purpose flour and spices creates a scrumptious, crust-like exterior for the pork chops.
- Spices. Cumin and smoked paprika add rich smoky and earthy flavors. Salt and pepper are can’t-miss classics.
- Onions. The onions help build deep flavor for the gravy and pair nicely with the pork chops.
- Dijon Mustard. The tangy bite of Dijon mustard adds depth to the gravy and is a lovely pairing with the pork and onions.
- Chicken Stock. Richly-flavored chicken stock acts as a base for our gravy sauce. It also deglazes the pot after cooking the pork and onions, ensuring that we don’t miss any of those delightful browned bits.
- Balsamic Vinegar. For depth of flavor and a hit of acidity.
- Brine the pork chops (if desired). Pat dry.
- Stir the flour and spices together.
- Dredge the pork.
- Brown the pork chops on both sides, then transfer to a plate.
- Saute the onions.
- Add the stock and simmer until thickened. Return the pork to the pot.
- Cover and bake the smothered pork chops at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the pork to a plate. Finish making the gravy on the stove
- Remove the pot from the heat, then add the pork chops back in. ENJOY!
How to Serve Smothered Pork Chops
- To Store. Refrigerate pork chops and gravy in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze pork chops in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Leftover Pork and Gravy. Use leftover pork chops to create a spin on a French dip sandwich. Place thin slices of your pork chops between two pieces of toasted bread (add cheese if you please), and serve the sandwich with a side of the gravy for dipping.
Leftover Gravy. Leftover gravy is scrumptious over a Baked Chicken Breast for lunch or dinner. For breakfast, serve it over a sturdy, thick piece of toast with an egg on top.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Dutch Oven. Perfect for making smothered pork chops.
- Wooden Spoon. The ideal tool for stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot.
- Tongs. An easy way to flip and transfer the pork chops.
The Best Cast Iron Skillet
This Dutch oven will take you seamlessly from stovetop to oven. It’s an investment piece that you’ll have for years to come.
Cook this recipe to prove to yourself that pork chops can be moist.
Cook it because the gravy alone is a thing of beauty.
Cook it because you need a dinner that your family will love, and this recipe is going to be a hit!
Frequently Asked Questions
If your pork chops are tough, there is one sure-fire reason: you overcooked them. USE A THERMOMETER (this one is inexpensive and works well; this one is fast, dead accurate, and will last years). I really cannot stress this thermometer point enough.
Yes, you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper to your spice mixture to give your pork chops a kick.
Up to 12 hours in advance, add the pork chops to the brining liquid (if using) and store them in the refrigerator. Mix the spices and flour together in a bowl, then cover and store it at room temperature.
- 4 bone-in pork chops at least 1-inch thick
- Brine if using (see notes)*
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt* divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper divided
- 4 medium yellow onions thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 4 cups unsalted chicken stock divided
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Chopped fresh parsley or thyme
- Cooked brown rice, quinoa, Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes, or Crockpot Mashed Potatoes optional, for serving
If you’d like to brine the pork chops, do so 45 minutes to 12 hours before you plan to start cooking (see recipe notes).
Pat the pork chops very dry on both sides with paper towels (discard the brine if using).
Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a wide, shallow bowl (a pie dish works well), stir together the flour, cumin, paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
In a Dutch oven or similar large, deep, oven-safe pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat the oil over medium. Dredge the pork chops in the flour mixture on both sides, shaking off any excess. Reserve the remaining flour mixture.
Once the oil is hot and shimmering, gently lower the chops into the pan (lower them away from you to prevent splattering yourself with oil). Cook on both sides until brown and crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes per side (they will not be fully cooked through). If the pork chops will not all fit in your pan without touching, cook them in batches. Transfer to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onions, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are completely softened, about 15 minutes. Stir in the Dijon mustard.
Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the reserved flour mixture over the top of the onions. Stir to combine and cook for 2 full minutes, stirring often. No white bits of flour should remain.
Slowly add 1 1/2 cups of the stock, stirring constantly. With a wooden spoon, scrape along the bottom of the pan to remove any brown bits. Let simmer until the sauce starts to form a cohesive mixture and is slightly thickened. Return the pork to the pot, nestling it in a single layer.
Cover the pot and place it in the oven. Bake the smothered pork chops until the pork is tender and reaches 135 to 140 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, about 30 to 40 minutes (pork is considered safe to eat at 145 degrees F, but its temperature will continue to rise as it rests).
Transfer the pork chops to a plate. Return the pot to the stovetop. Turn the heat to medium, add the remaining 2 1/2 cups stock, and reduce, stirring often and scraping along the bottom of the pan, until the sauce thickens into a gravy, about 15 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar.
Remove from the heat. Return to the pork chops and any juices that have collected on the plate to the pan to let the gravy rewarm them. Serve hot, smothered with gravy, and sprinkled with chopped parsley or thyme.
*BRINE: If time allows, for the juiciest possible pork chops, submerge them in 4 cups water mixed with 3 tablespoons kosher salt for 45 minutes at room temperature (or up to 12 hours in the refrigerator). Drain and pat dry. Reduce the salt in the dredging mixture to 1/4 teaspoon and the salt added to the onions to 1/4 teaspoon.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate pork chops in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze pork chops in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 499kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 43gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 117mgPotassium: 1012mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 522IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 85mgIron: 3mg
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