The Basics: How to Pan-Fry Pork Chops

From the store to the kitchen to the table: We outline the steps that get you from raw ingredients to your dinner tonight, free of measurements and complicated techniques. It’s a method you’ll remember and whip out whenever you like. It is the most basic way to make the thing you’re making.

  • - an oven-safe frying pan, or a frying pan and a baking dish
  • - paper towels
  • - tongs or a spatula
  • - a meat thermometer
  • - aluminum foil
  • - two pork chops
  • - vegetable oil
  • - salt and pepper
  • - meat spice rub, dried ground cumin, ground sage, or ground mustard (optional)


  • 1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (it will take at least 20 minutes to warm up). Let the pork chops come to room temperature while you are heating the oven. Coat the bottom of your frying pan with oil.

  • 2. Spread the oil around with a paper towel. Heat the pan over medium-high heat on the stove until the oil’s almost smoking, about four minutes.

  • 3. Meanwhile, season the chops generously with salt and pepper. Rub the spice rub, cumin, sage, or mustard on all sides of the chops, if using.

  • 4. Once the pan is hot, place the chops in the pan and cook for five to six minutes without moving. A nice brown crust should form. Flip the chops.

  • 5. If you’re using an oven-safe pan, transfer the pan to the oven. If you aren’t, place the chops, cooked side down, in a baking dish and transfer that to the oven.

  • 6. Roast until the chops are well browned, firm, and have an internal temperature between 135 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit when a meat thermometer is inserted into the thickest part, about five minutes. If the chops aren’t ready, put them back in for another five minutes and recheck. When they’re finished, remove the chops from the oven and loosely cover the pan with foil. Let the meat rest for two to five minutes before serving.

Illustrations by Bill Russell