Marinate or brine then cook in an air fryer, oven, grill, or skillet. The best thin pork chops are juicy inside and crispy on the outside.
Also called pork cutlets, thin pork chops are crunchier and quicker to cook than their thicker alternative.
Thin pork chops can be cooked in multiple ways without hassle. Ideally, you’ll want a nice crispy edge, and to avoid drying them out.
Can You Marinate Thin Pork Chops?
Yes, you can marinate thin pork chops; if you have time, it’s a great idea before you start cooking.
Do note that marinating thin pork chops will be the longest part of the process. So, if you don’t have the time, it’s not essential.
Common ingredients for a thin pork chop marinade include:
- Soy sauce.
- Brown sugar.
- Worcestershire sauce.
- Vinegar—apple cider or balsamic.
Preparing a marinade for thin pork chops should take no longer than five minutes. Thin pork chops should be left to marinade for at least an hour in the fridge.
Can You Brine Thin Pork Chops?
Another way you can add additional flavor to thin pork chops before cooking them is by brining them.
If you are looking to make super juicy and tender thin pork chops, you may prefer this method over marinating them.
Brining meat is quite simple. You need hot water, a pot, and salt. Dissolve the salt in the water, add the thin pork chops, and heat the pot.
But brine doesn’t just have to be salty water. There’s a wealth of ingredients you can include to add more flavor to thin pork chops.
Lindsay D. Mattison of Taste of Home highlights that you can also add sugar or molasses to your brine or even a bit of alcohol.
Mattison also explains that brines don’t always need to use water. Instead, you can substitute it with apple juice or even pickle juice.
Other great ingredients you can add to thin pork chop brine include herbs, citrus peels, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
Boneless pork chops take approximately 1 hour to brine while bone-in pork chops take between 30 minutes and 1 hour.
However, these times are for regular pork chops, not thin pork chops which will cook faster.
When you’re done with the brining process, you can go on to finish cooking the meat whichever way you prefer.
What to Bake Thin Pork Chops On?
Thin pork chops are versatile and can be cooked in multiple ways—oven, frying pan, or even in an air fryer.
Whichever way you choose, the basics stay the same, cook them quick!
Can You Cook Thin Pork Chops in the Oven?
Cooking thin pork chops in the oven is a popular method and it doesn’t require any special prep or skills.
Sarah Pflugradt of Livestrong.com explains it rather simply:
- Place the thin pork chops in the center of the oven.
- Cook at 425 °F (218 °C) for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Leave to rest for (at least) three minutes.
The last step is vital if you want to keep your thin pork chops juicy—if you dig into thin pork chops immediately after cooking, you’ll lose a lot of moisture.
How to Make Fried Thin Pork Chops?
Frying thin pork chops is a wonderful way to get a nice crusty sear on the outside.
You may even want to use a skillet to add a sear before adding thin pork chops to the oven, though solely frying thin pork chops is a fair bit faster than using the oven.
Make Your Meals has a ‘honey mustard pork chop’ recipe that supposedly takes no longer than 15 minutes.
They recommend ‘dredging’ the thin pork chops in flour, salt, and pepper mixture before searing, adding a sauce, and finishing off the meal.
Their recipe includes a useful tip: after you have accomplished a nice sear, remove the thin pork chops from the pan, cool it down, and then continue.
Can You Air Fry Thin Pork Chops?
Using an air fryer is the quickest way to cook thin pork chops, requires minimal effort, and is an effective way to achieve a crispy outside and tender inside.
To make the best of thin pork chops in an air fryer, Jeri of Winding Creek Ranch recommends preheating the air fryer to 360 °F (182 °C).
While you wait for the air fryer to heat up, you can apply a dry rub of your choosing and a dab of oil. Cover the top, bottom, and sides.
A great advantage of air frying thin pork chops over pan frying is that it uses less oil. So, if you’re looking to cut down on oil, this is a great option.
Make sure you give each pork chop a bit of breathing room and cook for 10 minutes, flipping after five minutes.
How Long to Cook Thin Pork Chops?
Here’s a breakdown of the different times you can expect thin pork chops to take to cook:
- Oven—20-25 minutes (slowest).
- Stove—15 minutes.
- Grill—24 minutes.
- Air fryer—10 minutes (fastest).
Remember, these times are not exact! It also depends on the temperature and how thick your thin pork chops are.
How to Cook Thin Pork Chops Without Drying Them Out?
Locking in moisture is key to keeping your thin pork chops juicy. There are several small but crucial things you can do to make sure thin pork chops don’t dry out.
The first thing you can do is let the meat reach room temperature before cooking. You can also marinate or brine thin pork chops to add additional moisture.
The primary reason thin pork chops become dry is that they’ve been overcooked, and any moisture evaporates.
Using a thermometer is the best way to make sure you don’t overcook your thin pork chops. Know what temperature they need to cook at and adjust the heat if it rises above that point.
Likewise, a thermometer can also tell you if you’re not cooking the meat enough.
Incorrectly searing thin pork chops can also dry them out. Ideally, sear the meat before cooking, don’t cook then add a sear.
There are two reasons for this:
- You can risk overcooking the pork chops.
- Searing the outer layers first traps moisture that you won’t lose as you cook at a lower heat.
When you’ve finished cooking thin pork chops don’t cut into them immediately. Instead, let them rest for a few minutes. This is a standard rule for cooking meats.
Technically speaking, just because you take the meat off the stove (or wherever you’re cooking) doesn’t mean they have stopped cooking—they’re still piping hot.
Because of this, the fluids inside are moving around and need time to settle. And so, if you cut into the thin pork chops right away, it would spill out and become drier.
Keep leftover thin pork chops tightly wrapped in the fridge to retain moisture.
How to Make Crispy Thin Pork Chops?
The crispiness of thin pork chops is not just created by searing the meat at a high temperature. If you season the meat properly beforehand, it can be very crispy.
The Food Network’s ‘Crispy Fried Pork Chops with Chunky Pear Chutney’ recipe outlines exactly what you need to do to get a perfectly crispy edge.
- Season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Beat eggs in a bowl with water.
- Add cayenne and black pepper.
- Cover the thin pork chops in the egg mix.
- Add flour on top—the Food Network recommends using a bag.
Next, to get that crunchy edge, your pan will have to be preheated and very hot. When you’re sure it’s ready, slide the thin pork chops into the pan and let it do the work.
When the bottom side is nicely seared, flip the thin pork chops, and sear the other side. When both sides are as crispy as you intend them to be, remove them from the pan and cook at a lower heat.
It’s important to remember a key thing that I’ve repeated several times in this article—thin pork chops cook quicker.
So, as soon as you have reached your desired crispiness, take the thin pork chops off the pan (or wherever you’re searing them) to avoid turning them into charred and inedible debris.