Mom’s Perfect Pork Chops

Quick and easy pan fried pork chops, with a cumin and pepper dry rub. Easy recipe with step-by-step on how to cook pork chops on the stovetop to perfection.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6, depending on the thickness of the chops


  • 4 pork chops
  • 1 teaspoon bacon fat or extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons of dry rub

Dad's dry rub (makes 1/2 a cup):

  • 1/4 cup cumin seeds
  • 3 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt


1 Make the dry rub: Combine cumin, peppercorns, and coriander in a heavy medium skillet. Stir over medium heat until fragrant and toasted, about 8 minutes. Cool slightly.

Finely grind toasted spices in blender. Transfer to a small bowl. Mix in sugar and salt.

The recipe makes 1/2 cup, for which you will only need 1 or 2 teaspoons for this recipe. Save the rest for future use!

2 Rub spices into pork chops, heat pan: Heat a large cast iron frying pan to medium high or high heat (hot enough to sear the meat). While the pan is heating, sprinkle a pinch of dry rub spices (about 1/8 teaspoon or a little more) on each of the pork chops. Using your fingers, rub the spices into the meat. Turn the pork chops over and repeat on the other side.

3 Add oil to the pan, sprinkle chops with salt, add to pan: Once the pan is hot, add a teaspoon of oil or fat to the pan and coat the bottom of the pan.

Right before you put the pork chops into the pan sprinkle each side with a little salt, or you can salt the chops in the pan.

Put the pork chops in the pan. Make sure they are not crowding each other too much. There should be space between the chops in the pan or the meat will steam and not sear properly.

Tip: Arrange the pork chops in the pan with the thickest, boniest parts towards the center of the pan where they get the most heat.

4 Sear the chops on both sides: Sear the pork chops, about 2 minutes on each side. Watch carefully, as soon as the chops are browned, flip them.

As soon as you flip the pork chops, if you are using a cast iron pan, you can turn off the heat. Cast iron holds heat very well and there will be enough heat in the pan to finish cooking the meat.

5 Cover pan if working with thick chops to finish cooking: If you have chops that are a lot thicker than 3/4" (many are sold that are 1 1/2"-thick), you can put a cover on the pan and let the pork chops finish cook for 5 minutes or so (if you are using a cast iron pan and have turned off the heat, there should be enough heat if you cover the pan to finish the cooking of a thicker chop, if not, lower the heat to low and cover.

How do you know when the pork chops are done? My mother uses a touch test which with practice I've learned as well. If you wait until you see juice oozing out of the top of the chop, it is definitely done. Mom typically just keeps the pork chops in the pan, the heat is turned off, so the pan is losing heat. The pan initially provides enough heat to sear the second side. As it initially cools it is still cooking, though not searing the meat. After a couple of minutes, it's just keeping the pork chops warm.

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  • Can'tcookbeforethis

    I’ve been using this recipe for two years. The fried pork chops are always perfect!


  • Jeff the Chef

    I was wondering how you’d keep them from drying out without a brine, but the idea of using a cast iron pan and turning it off after you flip sounds definitely worth trying. Thank you!

  • Jo

    No leftovers. I didn’t use sea salt but a garlic salt. Thanks the pre-searing was the ticket.


  • Emily

    I have been making this recipe for years and everyone loves it! Thank you!


  • Kathy L

    After 21 years of marriage, I made a juicy, not dry, not overcooked, not raw pork chop!! I could not believe it. These were fantastic!! and yes, so hard to just “walk away” with leaving the burner off!! I cook things to death most of the time. I will make this again and again! Now, I just need a magic recipe for chicken!

  • Tara

    I made these tonight and while they turned out very nicely thank you…it tasted like Popadom pork to me. Maybe I overdid the Cumin or maybe I just don’t like Cumin. Is there any suggestion on what I could replace the Cumin with in the rub or should I just leave it out of the recipe next time? I’m thinking its a big portion of the recipe so leaving it out may be a challenge.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Tara, you didn’t use the whole rub recipe did you? This recipe makes more rub than you need. You only need a small pinch on each side. You can also cut back on the cumin if you want.

  • Rick

    It’s so nice to see a pork chop picture with a bit of pink. It’s so unbelievably good when it’s cooked like this.

    Trichinosis is such an old wives tale at this point. In the last 30 years the way we feed pigs has changed significantly, reducing it to almost 0. All of the 18 cases of trichinosis last year were a result of eating meat from pigs killed in the wild.

    If you still are worried about it, the Trichinella spiralis roundworm is killed at 137 degrees. Cook your pork to 145 (not 150 or…eeek! 170) and enjoy your juicy piece.

  • Holly

    I have never left a comment on this wonderful site but I had to say these chops were THE BEST I have ever made or eaten. My husband hails from a “pork family” while I had never eaten it until I met him. Needless to say, pork sort of intimidates me. Well, I felt as if the culinary golden goblet had landed on my counter-top when these were ready. My husband went on, and on, and on about how absolutely delicious these are. The best he’d EVER eaten in his life (score one for the d-i-l:). Our children said they looked, and tasted, like something you would see at a restaurant. When I made chops with another recipe a few weeks back he sadly said, “Oh, I thought you were going to make the Mom’s Perfect Chops recipe.” I would have normally been a little irked (I don’t enjoy cooking) but took it as a great compliment. The best part, for me, is that he does not know how simple they are to make. Thank you Elise for sharing! Please thank your parents for me too! :)

    Will do! ~Elise

  • Sylvia

    OMG! These are the best pork chops i’ve ever tried to cook! They were perfect!!!

  • Sandra T.

    Oh my! These are the best pork chops I have ever made! I just used salt & pepper and cooked them in bacon fat for 2 minutes in a cast iron pan. Then I flipped them over and left them alone, which was hard to do. They were juicy and full of flavor. Thanks so much!

  • Jennifer L

    Thank you for the recipe!!!

    Made these for my in-laws last night and they told me that if it came down to it, they’d choose me over their son as long as I promised to keep cooking for them. (Laughed my butt off with that one).

    I reduced the amounts for the rub to about 1/4 of what’s called for and used already ground dried spices since that’s what I had on hand and it worked beautifully.

    I also brined the pork chops first for about half an hour. Served it with scalloped potatoes, garlic green beans and applesauce.

  • Briony

    Hello, I have been using your site for years and it is definitely my go to place for recipes and general inspiration when it comes to cooking. My boyfriend and I have used this recipe several times, and we both agree that it’s one of the best pork chop recipes we’ve ever tried. We have tried it both on the stove top in a cast iron pan, and on the BBQ. Generally I love anything and everything BBQ’ed, but in this case cooking them in the cast iron is definitely the better choice. They just come out sooo good!

  • EveT

    Thank you for this excellent recipe! I’ve struggled for years with pork chops trying to get them cooked through yet still juicy and flavorful. And not to hassle with a marinade, or koshering, or egg & breadcrumbs, or swamping them in mushroom soup (not least for health reasons, which is why we’re eating pork rather than beef in the first place). I made your recipe tonight and it was the easiest AND tastiest of the dozens of methods I’ve tried. I let the dry rub sit on the meat for about 10 min before the skillet was ready. I don’t have a big enough cast iron skillet, but a heavyweight stainless steel copper-clad one worked fine. We like our pork well done, so I left the burner on “low” for a few extra minutes with the lid askew, and ended up with a delicious brown juicy sauce (thanks to the sugar content) to spoon over the brown rice I had made to accompany the chops. From now on this is THE pork chop recipe in my house!

    P.S. to the comment about trichinosis — the disease is almost 100% eradicated nowadays, so it is really not necessary to cook pork to such a high temperature, but I don’t blame you for preferring it well done anway.

  • Jocelyn

    This recipe is amazing! I followed it implicitly except for the dry rub part. I didn’t have cumin seeds so I added 2 Tbsp of ground cumin. The grinding part didn’t go so well so I sifted out the pieces that didn’t become powdered. The rub is great and has a unique flavor. This is the first time I made perfect pork chops! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Hannah

    I just tried this, first time I’ve ever cooked pork chops and it was amazing! Thanks.

  • Debbie Campbell

    I was so nervous about the time on these!!! It just didn’t seem possible that 2 mins on each side and then sitting would be enough to cook them through. I had chops that were about and inch…. The butcher told me to put them on grill for 10 mins a side. I trusted the reviews and left them on 3 mins a side and then covered pan and let them continue to cook. They were great, but 2 mins….still would have been fine…so trust what she says! I made a Balsmic Vinegrette Reduction to go with the chops…. Here is the recipe…It was wonderful all together!

    1/4 cup minced shallots
    1/3 cup aged balsamic vinegar
    3/4 cup chicken broth
    1 tablespoon butter

    Remove chops from the skillet, and keep warm on a serving platter. Add shallots to the skillet, and cook for a few minutes, just until browned. Stir in vinegar, scraping any bits of lamb from the bottom of the skillet, then stir in the chicken broth. Continue to cook and stir over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced by half. If you don’t, the sauce will be runny and not good. Strain the remaining liquid. Stir in the butter. Pour over the l chops, and serve.

    The original recipe plus the reduction is awesome! Again….her cooking instructions are perfect!!!! Don’t worry!

  • Julia

    Made these tonight and they were great. I think it was the first time I didn’t overcook pork chops. In response to the woman about not having a cast iron skillet – I used a nonstick skillet, followed the directions and it worked fine.

  • Chris

    Great recipe and exactly what I needed tonight. We ran out of time and couldn’t do baked chops like we had planned. I’ve never done them in the skillet before, but I will be saving this recipe and doing them this way frequently from now on. Thanks for the “touch test” tip too. Not sure I’m good enough to trust it 100% yet, but it’s a good tool to have handy, especially when BBQing.

  • Julie

    This method did not work for me. I used a cast iron skillet & the second side did not brown at all. Also, meat was only 120 degrees after turning off heat and leaving covered for five minutes. I turned the heat back up and browned the second side, but chops got quite dried out by then.

  • Helen

    I just made these pork chops for dinner tonight because I had a tub of bacon grease and figured why not! I added some dried thyme and rosemary to it, and it was wonderful! I thought your cooking time notes were very helpful since my pork chops were about an inch thick; they cooked perfectly! Thanks!

  • mike

    I stumbled across the way I like chops cooked a few years ago. Start with regular non stick skillet. Just a little oil. You’re going to burn the pan in this recipe but it is the only way for the flavor. Start med-high heat. Put your seasonings on chops put in pan after hot (it’s going to pop) add a couple splashes of Worcestershire, after seasoning turn crispy and stick to chops(which will be fast) turn heat to low. This will work for thin chops. For thick chops you will need to make slits in the meat after the step of crisping the seasonings. And do not cover the pan (it will change taste). The recipe sounds strange but I have this down to an art. So far no one can make them the way I do. They are excellent!

    • Kera

      I love this comment. It is the way I cook my pork chops all the time. I love worcestershire sauce, but if you do not you can use a little chicken broth or a splash of water for the moisture effect(i discovered on a couple occasions after being without worcestershire, its popular in my house). Also if you are using bone in pork chops and don’t like curling cut 2-3 slit in the fat evenly apart, this will eliminate the curl factor.

  • Emily

    This was great! It always amazes me how fast meat cooks on the stovetop. I mixed salt, pepper, sugar, and ground cumin and rubbed it into delicious pork chops from a local pig. Thank you!

  • B.Swetnam

    I love this recipe. I keep you Dad’s rub on hand because I also use it on boneless chicken breast. I pound them just enough for even thickness. The sugar makes everything brown nicely. I do let the rub sit on the meat for at least 20 minutes, longer if I have time, so all the little flavors get to know each other.
    Now is the time to use your Mom’s tip with the Mason jar (I use a pint jar for spices)on the blender. I just love that tip.

  • columbine

    I’ve tried loads of pork chop recipes (except dry rub), always ending up with a dry meat. The pic looked so appetizing that I thought I’d try one last recipe.
    Never had such a juicy, tender and tasty pork chop at home as the one I cooked using your recipe. Rub seems to be the secret.
    Thanks so much for a well-described and excellent recipe. Made me want to explore your website.

  • Missy

    These were great! Mother knows best. I used 2 T of the dry rub with a combo of 1/2 sleeve of crushed Ritz crackers and 1/4 c. ground flax seeds. Fab-u-loso! Thank you for a great addition to our pork chop repertoire.


  • Hank

    WOW!!! This recipie was great thanks for such a great idea for a way to cook an american classic. My dinner was great and I thank you all for that!!

    Hank in Kansas City, Missouri

  • Nick

    I just made this for my family and everyone loved it. I was afraid of having too much cumin within the mix. I added a little more sugar to my own taste and it came out wonderful. Thanks for the recipe! I will use this one for years to come.

  • melissa

    Elise, I had seen this in the archives but hadn’t tried it until this repost. I made these last week just as you wrote it. Yum! My husband saw my post on it, looked at the pictures and said “I could have those again right now!” he doesn’t always get excited about food like I do, so I know it’s a keeper. ;) Anyway, thanks!

  • Bob

    These were great

  • Janet

    mmmm, made these last night and they were spectacular! thank you :-)

  • Donald

    MMMMMMMMM! Pork! I too love a good pork chop. I read in ATK that starting chops in a cold pan and slowly bringing them up to temp keeps them juicier. I tried this and it works really well. They don’t get nearly as browned as I’d like, but juicy nonetheless. Can’t wait to start the grilling season. Chops on the grill…I’m feeling a bit Pavlovian now.

    Great rub recipe by the way.

  • Paul

    Nice recipe–simple but good. I’ve tried many ways to cook pork chops–baked, poached, with cream sauces, mustard sauces, grilled, etc., and most are disappointing, but this approach works, and it’s quick and easy, too. Thanks!

  • Lady Amalthea

    I too am getting over my fear of cooking pork chops. I know you don’t need to cook them until shoe leather, and I really enjoy them juicy and slightly pink, but I still get nervous. Lately, I’ve been braising them, which keeps them moist, but is still more work. Here’s how I do it:

    I’ll definitely have to try your method next!

  • Elise Bauer

    I think the USDA has a high temperature recommendation just to be on the super-extremely idiot-proof safe side, taking into account faulty meat thermometers. The government guidelines to restaurants are actually much lower than 160.

  • Katherine

    Rich, I do believe you’re correct – and most people still haven’t caught on that we can serve our pork still juicy! I do believe that it’s recommended that you cook pork to 160 or higher, but who really wants to eat it at that point?

  • Kristi

    I must be honest: I’ve always been a bit scared to cook pork. But yesterday I decided to conquer my fear. Indeed, this recipe was perfect – the chops were so juicy and flavorful! I topped them with a spoonful of homemade honey dijon sauce, and served them over soft polenta with roasted brussels sprouts on the side. Yum. Thanks again for all of your wonderful recipes and inspiration – this website is truly a gift! :)

  • Janet Moga

    This recipe came just at the right time! I had gotten some pork chops to cook for dinner and your email had arrived. Decided to give it a try and it was fabulous! Perfect. Served it with a mixed green salad and cous cous. Used some of the leftover rub for fajitas I cooked the next night. Thank you!!