Grilled Pork Chops with Cherry Salsa

If your cherries are juicy, the salsa will be juicy too. If you want the salsa less juicy, put the finished salsa into a fine-meshed strainer and strain off some of the excess juice.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds cherries, about 4 cups
  • 4 pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon sugar


1 Mix onion with lemon juice: Mix the chopped onion with the lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside. The lemon juice will help take the edge off the onions.

2 Coat the pork chops in olive oil and sprinkle salt over them. Set aside at room temperature.

3 Pit and de-stem the cherries. A cherry pitter is magical for this task, but if you don't have one, use a small knife. Double check for stray pits, they always seem to find their way into dishes that call for fresh cherries.

4 Process cherries, onions, basil for salsa: Put the cherries, onions and chopped basil into a food processor. Pulse a few times until you have a chunky salsa, with differing textures of cherry. Alternately, you can chop everything by hand.

5 Add balsamic vinegar, salt, sugar to salsa: Mix in the balsamic vinegar, the 1/2 teaspoon salt and sugar. Add more of any of these ingredients to taste. Set aside at room temperature. You can make this salsa up to 8 hours in advance.

6 Grill pork chops: Prepare your grill for high direct heat. Grill the pork chops over high heat with the grill cover closed for 3 minutes. Turn them 45 degrees on the same side to get a pretty cross-hatch pattern, then close the grill cover and cook another 3 minutes.

Turn the pork chops over, but this time keep the grill cover open and cook for a final 2-3 minutes. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serve the pork chops with the cherry salsa.

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  • William Grandone

    I have done this with medallions of pork tenderloin and a cherry sauce made of whole cherry preserves cut with white wine and some red pepper flakes for a little zip without altering the flavor of the cherries. I imagine it would work with pork chops as well

  • Lee Ann

    What type of cherries?

  • janet

    made this this evening, family loved it! to add heat to the salsa, i added probably 2 tsp of pepper, gave it heat, but didn’t change the taste. this is definitely a keeper! thanks!

  • Sara

    Made this tonight and it was awesome! I only made half the amount of the cherry salsa and found it to be plenty. My fiance and I both really enjoyed it – a great use for the cherries I picked up at the farmer’s market yesterday!

    I marinated my pork chops in red wine vinegar for about 45 minutes, then rinsed, dried, covered each side with salt and pepper, and cooked on the stove as described in your recipe for “mom’s perfect pork chops” – they turned out perfectly juicy and were delicious alongside this unique salsa! Thanks Elise!

  • RachH

    My husband and I made this for dinner tonight, and it was superb!!! I’ve been a canning fool this weekend, but I could not bear to can any more cherries and still had 2 lbs. left. This recipe is a lifesaver, and I am so excited to have leftovers for tomorrow. Thanks for your wonderful site and recipes!

  • SaraR

    My husband made this for dinner a couple of nights ago, and it was SO delicious. Thank you!! We always love all of your recipes, but I am still dreaming about this one – YUM!

  • juliemarg

    It is really a great combination. So delicious!

  • Debbie

    I made this last night and had a hard time time not eating all the cherry salsa before the pork chops were grilled! Delicious recipe and combo. Thanks Elise.

  • Anna

    I made this recipe for Father’s Day and the cherry salsa is DELICIOUS!! We had it with salmon a few days later and it was also very good! I will definitely make this recipe again.

  • Rachel

    This sounds terrific, but my husband has an allergic reaction to uncooked stone fruits. Any idea if this would work with cooked cherries?

    I would use our cherry compote which is cooked. Leave out the nuts if you want. ~Elise

  • patricia

    Love the sound of this salsa – don’t eat pork, but will try it with grilled chicken.
    I love cherries and use them for several types of sweets (muffins, tarts, cake, sauce for ice cream, etc.) As for savory, I’ve only done salad. Not really much of a recipe, but I like mixed greens salad with cherries, fresh goat cheese, olive oil and balsamic reduction. One of my summertime favorites.

  • Celeste Quinn

    How about a curried couscous salad with cherries and parsley and pine nuts? A local co-op does something like that with dried cherries, why not fresh? Suspect other grains, rices would also do nicely as a salad served room temperature and would be a make ahead thing w/out mayo for a summer time savory treat. Thanks, Elise. Happy Father’s Day to your father and all the best to your entire family. Celeste

    Great idea Celeste and I’ll pass your father’s day greeting along to my dad! ~Elise

  • Scott McGlinchey

    This is a very nice salsa recipe however, Pork chops react better to moderate heat for a bit longer time period vs. high heat and fast cooking like a steak does. They come out more tender and jucier using lower heat. I love the salsa!

  • Gloria

    Tucos in Davis makes a wonderful cherry gazpacho. It’s apparently so popular that when I asked for the recipe, the chef had a pre-printed handout.

  • Linda Connelly

    This sounds lovely, but we don’t grill much. Is there a way to make this dish on top of or in the oven?

    Just make pork chops in the regular way, like this, but with salt and pepper instead of a spice rub. ~Elise

  • Barbara Tarrh

    Have done a similar salsa with pork tenderloin but cilantro lime and jalapeno. It’s very good. Last night used leftover cherries and blueberries w/OJ and sugar to make a compote for waffles. Also yummy.

  • Adam Hertz

    What an interesting combo of flavors. I don’t do pork, so I’m thinking of trying this with duck breasts.