How to Make Pan Roasted Pork Chops


This is a post by Rebel Chef Noel.

I don’t know about you, but where I live, changes are happening. The leaves are turning, the air is a little crisper, and it’s finally cool enough to turn on the oven!

The weather getting colder also means my appetite for warm comfort food is in full effect. Usually, the colder weather means tons of sweet treats and unhealthy meals – but not for Rebels!

Fear not, living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean we have to give up comfort food all together. We have the power to make hearty meals that are not only delicious, but will also nourish our bodies and make us stronger. Win-win (win)!

I don’t want you go get the wrong impression. When I say comfort food or “pan roasted” it might sound intimidating, but I assure you, this is a level 2 recipe. If you can make paleo spaghetti, you can absolutely do this.

These pork chops take 20 minutes, only need 5 ingredients, and have minimal preparation.

Let’s get started!

Pan Roasted Pork Chops



Active time: 10 min

Total time: 20 min

Serves: 2-3 (depends on how many pork chops you buy)



2-3 Pork Chops –
I suggest buying the thicker ones for this recipe. They look like this:

They’re generally about an inch thick. All pork chops come with a fat cap on one side, so don’t worry about that. Whether you buy bone in or bone-less is up to you. I personally prefer boneless since I don’t like paying for the weight of a bone that I’m not going to eat, but the bone-in ones do look rather impressive…

1 Teaspoon Ghee or Olive Oil – Ghee is a form of butter that is basically heated until it all of the lactose, casein, and whey are cooked out. This makes it a safer paleo option than regular ol’ butter. It is richer tasting than butter, and can pack a serious punch when added to veggies, used for sautéing, or for searing meats (which is what we’ll be doing here). If you don’t want to use ghee, use olive oil!

1/2 a Lemon – for squeezin’ over the chops

2-3 Cloves of Garlic – one for each pork chop. Remember, these are the little guys that you break off of a bulb. Don’t use a whole bulb (unless you want to repel vampires for weeks…which might be advisable).

Salt and pepper


Knife –
for cutting your lemon and smashing your garlic

Cutting board

Frying Pan or Skillet – Anything without a plastic/meltable handle will work great here. Cast iron skillets are awesome. My pans are stainless steel and they work just fine. Though, if you only have pans with plastic handles, I have a solution for you. Keep reading.

Measuring spoon – just the teaspoon this time.

Tongs – for flippin’ the chops. A fork will work in a pinch.

Meat thermometer – (optional) I LOVE using a meat thermometer. It insures that my meat is cooked perfectly every time. If you’re new to cooking, especially if you’re squeamish about cooking meats (I know, I’ve been there. Former vegetarian here!), please consider getting one of these. Mine cost $15 and was totally worth it considering the number of chicken breasts I have undercooked (and the resulting ruined lunches that have left me hungry and my willpower bar empty at work).

I would suggest a digital probe thermometer with a cord so you can keep it outside of the oven to monitor the temperature. Most of them come pre-programmed with settings for different types of proteins so that you don’t have to memorize or look up the temps you need every time. And, all the ones I have owned beep obnoxiously enough to get me off the couch when my food is done.

Foil lined baking sheet – (optional) You can use this if you don’t have a pan without a plastic handle. If you do this, you’ll use both your pan and the baking sheet.

Pan Roasted Pork Chop Instructions

1. Heat things up! Start by pre-heating your oven to 350 F (177 C) and pre-heating the pan you’ll be using to sear the meat.

2. Now start prepping your pork chop. First, pat it dry with a paper towel. We do this to make sure it sears quickly and evenly the second we put it in the frying pan.


3. Then, sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Massage the spices into the chop with your hands. Make sure you get both sides. If you have a favorite pre-made rub, you can use it here too! Once you’ve seasoned them to your liking, set them on a paper towel near the stove. (And always wash your hands after touching raw meat!)


4. Move on to the rest of the ingredients. Cut your lemon in half and smash your cloves of garlic using the side of your knife. Don’t worry about peeling them or anything. Just smash!


5. Once your pan is heated and the oven has come to temperature, measure out 1 tsp ghee or olive oil and pour it into your pan. Once it hits the pan it will melt and spread very quickly. Tilt the pan to move the oil and coat it.


6. Place your cloves of garlic in the pan. They will sizzle and pop. It’s kinda scary, I know. Be brave! (If you don’t want your hands too close to the oil, you can use your tongs to place everything in the pan.)


*Make sure to NEVER drop anything into hot oil. (Even if it’s just a little bit of oil.) The hot liquid can splash up and burn you. Set everything down in the pan gently.

7. Place your pork chops on top of each clove of garlic. Once you put them down, don’t touch! They are searing! Let them sit for 2-3 minutes.


8. Now take your tongs and flip the chops over. It’s okay if the garlic sticks to the meat. The side that was seared will now be a nice toasty brown color. We want to do that to the other side too, so after you flip, no touching. Just let this side sear for another 2-3 minutes.


9. Take your 1/2 lemon (or the juice from the lemon) and squeeze or pour it over the chops. This will cause the hot pan to sizzle and some of the oil to pop, so be careful!


9.5 (optional) If you’re using a meat thermometer, now is its time to shine! Turn it on, set it to the correct temperature (for pork, the standard food safe temperature is 145* degrees F (63 C). Stick the probe into the thickest part of the chop and set the digital reader on the counter.

*Note: The temperature standard for pork was changed recently from 160 F (71 C) to 145 F . This is why if you have a pre-programmed thermometer, the setting for pork may say 160. Because the pork chop is a leaner cut of meat, it may dry out if it is cooked up to 160. This is your personal preference as to whether you like a juicier or with less juicy texture to your meat.

10. If your pan is completely metal, you can take that baby and stick it directly in the oven. If it’s not, remove the chop from the hot pan and place it on your foil lined baking sheet. Pour the remaining juice from the pan on top of the pork chop and stick that in the oven.


11. If you’re using the meat thermometer, you don’t have to set a timer, but if you’re not using a thermometer, set a timer for 10 minutes. (Ten minutes is about the amount of time it takes for pork chops of this size to reach 145 F.)

12. When the chops are done, remove the pan from the oven. Take the chop off the pan and rest it on a cutting board or plate for at least 3 minutes before devouring.


*Don’t forget to use a towel or oven mitt when touching the handle of the pan! It stays hot for a long time. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve forgotten that it’s hot and burned myself with the darn pan that I just took out of the oven.

Grab a veggie, and enjoy


I like to serve pork chops with a side of garlic cauliflower mash (recipe available in our Paleo Central App!) and roasted asparagus or broccoli. Simple steam fresh veggies, sautéed kale, a baked or mashed sweet potato, or your favorite vegetable sides should be served along with your chops!

If you want the meal to be extra delicious, make some of this caramelized onion and apple hash from the pulled pork recipe and serve it on top of your chops. Amazing!

If this is about a level two recipe, what level of recipe would you like to see in the future? Keep it simple or level up your cooking game?

Let me know in the comments!


PS: We’ve been adding these recipes and a few dozen more to our Nerd Fitness Academy, which has recipes, meal plans, workout plans, and even the ability to complete quests and missions and level up as you get healthier. Check it out!


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33 thoughts on “How to Make Pan Roasted Pork Chops

  1. If you want to avoid the frying part, sprinkle the chop with Cajun seasoning or lemon pepper (no salt) and bake it on a foil lined cookie at 350 degrees for 7 minutes per side. The chop will be juicy and tasty…and clean-up is easy: just throw away the tin foil.

  2. I *HIGHLY* recommend buying some of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute blend. It’s downright life-changing on pork, and killer on veggies (sautéed green beans or carrots roasted in the oven). Plus, it’s salt free. I dumped mine in one of the grinders left over from some sea salt, keep it next to my stove, and pretty much grind it on everything.

    Another note, make sure you don’t use the fancy olive oil, it’s got a low smoke point – meaning that it burns relatively quickly compared to other fats. If you can find it, I recommend duck fat. It’s delicious, has a high smoke point, and lasts forever in your fridge. Leftover bacon fat is great too. 😀

  3. Congratulations, Noel, now you’ve made me crave pork chops uncontrollably. 🙂 Great post!

    For a future recipe, it would be great to see some sort of a guide to a foolproof steak – with advice on less expensive but tasty cuts (skirt, featherblade etc.) and various cooking methods.

    Or maybe a Paleo version of chicken Kiev, that one would be nice. With ground nuts instead of bread crumbs and cauliflower mash instead of potatoes.

  4. Thank you so much for all the recipes you’ve ever posted- I don’t do Paleo but recently my body has forced me to go gluten-free. (Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerant, or something exactly like it, according to the Gastroenterologists I went to.) Paleo recipes are perfect for recipes I know will probably not include flour/malt/rye or other gluten sources. I am having to totally relearn how to cook, but it’s so nice to know other nerdy people are bread-free and learning to cook too.
    _ Rosslyn, NG Ranger.

  5. Keep on keeping it simple! Let folks use the boards to level up their cooking, these articles generally are for the newbies, aren’t they? (Like me?) 🙂

  6. FOR THIN ( <= 1" thickness ) PORK CHOPS, DO NOT SEAR. Pork proteins constrict greatly under high heat, forcing out lots of interstitial fluids (juiciness) and making the meat dry. Cooks Illustrated, part of America's Test Kitchen, has an article about the best way to cook thinner chops to keep them moist and flavorful. As a note — these chops will not be as pretty as the seared, GBD chops in the article – but they will be plenty tasty.
    1) Purchase bone-in, rib chops. Center cut is for suckers.
    2) Get home, pull out pan – non-stick is preferable in this method
    3) Turn on stove top burner and set it to med-high heat. KEEP THE PAN OFF THE BURNER. (*important*)
    4) Dry off, then salt and pepper both sides of the chops.
    5) Sprinkle one side only of the chops very lightly with sugar. This will quasi-brown that one side. (optional, but recommended)
    6) Arrange the chops in the pan, sugared side down and with the end of the rib bone pointing towards the center of the pan. I.e. — the meatier part will be closer to the pan's edge.
    7) Put the pan on the burner. Wait 2 minutes.
    8) Listen for sizzling. If your chops are not just starting to sizzle after 2 minutes, turn up the heat.
    9) Let them cook for another ~5 minutes.
    10) Flip. Reduce the heat to med-low and put a lid on the pan. Check after ~3 minutes with a meat thermometer to test for doneness. (143 degrees)
    11) Remove them from the pan and put on a plate to rest. Let the thermal drift take them up the last couple of degrees.
    12) In the meantime, crank that pan with all them juices up to NASA hot so you can make a pan sauce!
    13) Eh — save the pan sauce for another article, this post is already too long.
    TL;DR — Start thin pork chops in a cold pan to prevent the meat from drying out. They won't have that delicious sear, but a little sugar can mimic that for you if you must have it.

  7. Haha! Thanks Oleg! Pork chops are delicious!

    Thanks for the requests! I’ll get workin on recipes for these kinds of things in the future. 🙂

  8. Aww. Thanks for the comment Rosslyn! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipes. Learning to cook without gluten can be a major challenge, but it’s totally worth it.

    Let me know if you’re struggling with anything or if you have any questions or requests! I’ll be more than happy to help. 🙂

    Email me noel (at) nerdfitness (dot) com or leave a comment on my posts!

  9. Awesome! Great to know there are plenty of newbies out there! Thanks for the feedback Jody!

    You can always send me an email if you have questions about cooking or recipe requests!

  10. I made this last night for dinner; it was delicious and very easy. Even my husband loved it and he is super picky. Thanks!

  11. I’ve been making pork chops like this ever since getting my cast-iron skillet. Great recipe! And of course you can go full Peter Brady and serve ’em with Applesauce.

  12. Check out Alton Brown’s steak recipe, very similar to this pork chop one (sear and bake).

  13. Be carefull getting the olive oil to hot. the smoke point is much lower than the Ghee. You can make your own ghee by slowly heating your butter untill the butter fat seperates from the milk solid and skiming the butter fat off.

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