How to Tell if Pork Chops Are Done

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When you’re making pork chops, like everyone your desire is to achieve those cooked to perfection pork chops that are wonderfully tender, juicy, and taste delicious. Knowing how to tell if pork chops are done is the key.

Let’s take a look at knowing how to tell if pork chops are done along with various methods that can be used to determine doneness, along with bonus tips and tricks for making the perfect pork chops.

how to tell if pork chops are done pinterest pin
pork chops showing varying levels of doneness

A Word About Food Safety

When cooking meat, it’s important that the internal temperature as specified is reached before the meat is consumed. If meat is under done, it has the potential of making one sick and causing a food borne illness. We recommend following the recommended internal temperature before consuming pork.

How to Tell If Pork Chops Are Done (No-Fail Method)

When you cook pork chops or any pork for that matter, you want it to be tender, juicy, and perfectly cooked. But how is that done? Knowing how to tell if pork chops are done is the key, among a few other tips that we’ll share with you using our no-fail methods. 

How to Tell If Pork Chops Are Done (Using a Thermometer)

The most accurate way to tell if pork chops are done is to use a meat thermometer. The kind of meat thermometer doesn’t particularly matter and a digital one is very accurate, while an analog one will also get the job done.

If your desire is for the most tender and juiciest pork chop, you’ll want to aim for medium rare to medium doneness for the best results. Below is our table of cooking temperatures for pork for your reference.

Using a meat thermometer is the best way to test for doneness, ensuring both a safe and delicious eating experience.

Yes, there are other methods you can use such as feeling your pork chop for firmness but using a meat thermometer is the most accurate method that will not fail you.

What Internal Temp Should I Use for Pork Chops?

What is the final cooking temperature of pork? Follow our table below for Pork Cooking Temperatures. You’ll want to aim for an internal temperature of 145° F – 155° F, which is medium rare to medium to achieve the most tender, juicy pork chops.

Once you’ve reached 165° F, anything after that is going to be done like tough shoe leather, yuk!

pork cook temperatures showing varying degrees of doneness

The minimum safe internal pork cooking temperature is 145° F followed by a 3-minute rest.

Cooking Temperature of Pork

Medium Rare: 145-150° F
Medium: 150-155° F
Medium Well: 155-160° F
Well: 165° F

How to Use a Meat Thermometer

The use of a meat thermometer is going to give you the most accurate reading to know whether your pork chops are done. You can use either a digital instant read thermometer, or an analog one will work fine too.

How to Temp Pork

While a digital instant read meat thermometer gives the most accurate results, an analog meat thermometer is fine too.

The best way to measure the internal temperature of your pork chop to confirm that it’s reached at least 145F degrees is to leave it right in the oven, on the grill, or wherever it’s being cooked.

Then, poke the thermometer probe into the meat at thickest part, away from the bone. If the desired temperature has been reached, let the meat rest for 3 minutes before cutting it. Resting allows the juices to redistribute.

How To Tell If Pork Is Done Without a Thermometer

If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can guess whether your pork chop is done by giving it the firmness test. When pressing down on it with a cooking utensil, if it’s soft it means it’s still raw, and if it’s firm it means it’s well done.

You might be thinking but how will I know if soft is soft and firm is firm? What can I compare it to?

Hand Trick

There’s a hand trick that you can use to compare the firmness of your pork chop. 

1. Use your forefinger and thumb from your right hand to feel the fleshy part of your left hand right below your thumb. This is the thickest part of your hand, and it feels soft. Now press on your cooked pork chop, if it feels soft like your hand does, it’s still raw.

2. Now feel the firmness of the pad of your pointer finger, and on down each one of your fingers, all the way to your pinky. It gets firmer as you go.

First finger – rare
Middle finger – medium rare
Ring finger – medium well
Pinky – well done

3. Touch your hand, then touch your meat to compare the firmness.

And, if possible, refrain from cutting into your pork chop to see if it’s done. Cutting it will let the juices out and you’ll end up with a dry pork chop, so use the firmness test or a meat thermometer before cutting.

two thick cut raw pork chops
2 thick cut boneless pork chops

Tips and Tricks for Making the Best Pork Chops

Following are our top tips and tricks for making the best tasting pork chops. If you follow these, along with internal cooking temperatures, you’ll have a delicious outcome.

Know the cut. Know the cut of your pork and remove any excess fat. All pork comes from the loin, but it might also come from the shoulder, loin, ribs, or sirloin.

Season the meat. Pork alone has somewhat of a bland taste, but if you season your pork chops, it makes them very delicious. Want to know how to season pork chops? You can use your favorite seasoning or use a mixture of garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, black pepper, onion powder, and brown sugar.

Brine. Using the seasoning mixture above or your favorite brine, you can rub soak the meat and let is sit in the brine for up to 4 hours.

Let stand before cooking. Rather than cooking a cold slab of meat, for the best results, allow your thawed pork chops to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before adding it to the heat to be cooked.

Rest. After the meat has reached the desired internal temperature and it has been removed from the heat, allow it to rest for 3 minutes so that the juices can redistribute before you cut into it.

Testing by Touch and Cutting into the Meat

Another method that can be used to know if your pork chop is done is touching it to check the firmness and then cutting into the meat to see if it’s still pink. This is our least favorite method because once you cut into the pork chop, it’s over. The juices begin to flow and there’s not putting them back inside.

And the result is usually a dried-out pork chop. Checking the temperature with a meat thermometer is indeed the best method for how to tell if pork chops are done.

What color should pork chops be when they are done?

Pork chops are not like beef when they cook, as they don’t change colors necessarily to a nice brown hue, depending on the method used to cook them. Here are some tips for knowing if your pork chops are done by what color they are.

Bright pink is still raw.

It’s okay to eat when a little pink, but grayish white on outside with just a hint of pink on the inside.

Grilling often results in white pork chops with grill marks.

When cooked in a skillet or oven, pork can be browned.

How Long Do I Cook Pork Chops?

After you’ve learned the basics of cooking pork chops, you’ll want to know how long to cook them. The recommend length of time to cook pork chops depends on the desired doneness as well as the thickness of the cut of pork chops. See our list of frequently asked questions below to help you know how long to cook your pork chops.

Season Those Pork Chops EARLY!!

Seasoning your pork chops early, even before you put them on the heat to cook, allows the flavors to begin to penetrate the meat early on. And this will result in delicious flavor.

What if Your Pork Chops are Frozen?

If you’re cooking your pork chops from frozen, we recommend defrosting them at least 1/3 of the way before cooking them.

How Long To Grill Pork Chops

Grilling pork chops can results in some delicious flavor. But knowing how long to grill pork chops can be helpful. Our recommendation for boneless pork chops is to grill them at 400F degrees for about 7 minutes per 1/2inch thickness.

And for bone-in pork chops that are about a 1-inch thickness, grill them at 400F degrees for about 10 minutes per side until the desired doneness is achieved.

Tips On Grilling Perfect Pork Chops

The biggest tip for grilling perfect pork chops is for thicker chops you’ll want to sear the meat first. You can sear it on the grill or on the stovetop, whatever your preference.

After the meat is seared, you can lower the temperature and continue grilling until the desired internal temperature of the meat is reached.

pork chop cooking in cast iron pan

Switch To Indirect Heat

If your pork chops are seared first, you’ll want to switch to indirect heat part way through cooking them, so they don’t dry out. Too high heat for too long will result in a shoe leather like pork chop, which is not desirable to eat.

Brine The Meat

When grilling meat, you might choose to brine them in a salt water or similar brine before cooking them. This can help to create a more tender outcome for your meat that’s also juicy.

How To Tell If Pork Chops Are Done: 3 Simple Techniques

By way of re-cap, there are three simple techniques that can be used for knowing if your pork chops are done. They are as follows:

The Temperature Test

Use a meat thermometer to that confirm that the desired doneness has been achieved. See above for how to use a meat thermometer. This method is the most accurate.

The Touch Test

You can touch the pork chop with a cooking utensil, pressing down to see if it’s firm enough and is done.

The Nick-and-Peek Test

You can cut the pork chop open to see if it’s still pink inside. When only a bit of light pink remains, your pork chop is likely done. This method is our least favorite because juices are lost when the pork chop is cut.

What If The Pork Chops Are Still Pink In The Middle?

As long as the pork chops have reached an internal temperature of at least 145F degrees, it’s safe to eat, even if a little bit of pink color remains.

Popular Types of Pork Chops

Following are some popular cuts of pork chops and it’s important to know that all pork chops come from the pig’s loin which runs from its shoulder area to the hip.  Which cuts are your favorite?

The Blade Chop. The blade chop is cut from the beginning of the loin from the shoulder blade area of the pig.

The Rib Chop. The rib chop comes from the pig’s loin in the rib area.

The Loin Chop. The loin chop comes from the pig’s loin.

The Boneless Chop. The boneless chop is bone free and comes from the same area as the rib chop.

The Sirloin Chop. The sirloin chop has a reputation for being a tougher cut of pork and are located on the loin, near the hip.

7 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking Pork Chops

Following are the biggest mistakes that people make when cooking pork chops. We’ve compiled a list so that you can avoid making them too.

Choosing boneless pork chops. Rather, choose bone-in pork chops that are cut about 1 inch thick for the most juicy flavor.

Cooking ice cold pork chops. Rather, let your thawed pork chops sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes before cooking them so that they can warm slowly.

Choosing thin cut pork chops. Rather, choose thick cut pork chops for the best results that are cut about 1 inch thick.

Seasoning inadequately. Pork tends to have a bland flavor if it’s not been seasoned, for the best results season your pork chops early and choose a quality seasoning or create your own blend.

Not trimming excess fat. Rather, take the time to trim off excess fat from your pork chops before cooking them.

Cooking pork chops well done. Unless there’s a specific reason to cook your pork chops to the point of being well done, we recommend removing them from the heat when they reach medium rare to medium for the most juicy and tender pork chops.

Not resting pork chops after cooking. Rather, take the time to allow your pork chops to rest for 3 minutes after they’re removed from the heat before cutting into them. This will allow the juices to redistribute.

How to Tell if Pork Chops Are Bad

If you suspect that your pork chops are bad, you’ll want to give them the once over, using your senses.

Key indicators that show that your pork chops are likely bad include them being slimy in texture, dull in color, or smelling sour. If your pork chops show any of these signs, throw them away and don’t risk getting food poisoning.

Baked Pork Chop Ingredients

Along with buying pork chops, we recommend the following ingredients to make the best baked pork chops.

pork chops
brown sugar
garlic powder
onion powder
paprika
black pepper
salt

Follow our instructions below for the proper time and temperature for cooking, baking, grilling, or air frying.

How to Store Pork Chops Properly

Pork chops that are uncooked should be placed in the freezer for storage or cooked within a day or two after they’re purchased.

Cooked pork chops are best when eaten fresh, but leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Bone-in vs Boneless Pork Chops

The difference between bone-in pork chops compared to boneless pork chops is exactly how it sounds. Bone-in pork chops are cut with the bone still in them. Bone-in pork chops tend to remain moister when they’re cooked.

Boneless pork chops are cut and sold without the bone. Boneless pork chops tend to dry out more rapidly when they’re cooked so usually require a shorter cook time.

how to tell if porkchops are done horizontal

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions that relate to how to tell if pork chops are done. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop it in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.

How long to bake pork chop in an air fryer?

To bake a pork chop in an air fryer we recommend a temperature of 350F degrees for 15-30 minutes. Be careful not to crowd your air fryer basket for best results.

How long to bake pork chops at 350F degrees?

When baking pork chops at 350F degrees, we recommend cooking them for 20-30 minutes when they’re uncovered, and 18-25 minutes when they’re covered, assuming that your pork chops are approximately a 1-inch thickness.

How long to bake pork chops at 400F degrees?

To bake pork chops at 400F degrees, we recommend 25 minutes of cook time for boneless pork chops and 30 minutes cook time for bone-in pork chops, assuming your pork chops are approximately 1-inch thick.

How long to bake pork chop at 450F degrees?

For approximately 1-inch thick pork chops, cook at 450F degrees for about 25 minutes for bone in pork chops and about 18 minutes for boneless pork chops.

How long to bake pork chops from frozen?

Frozen pork chops baked in a 350F degree oven will take about 40-45 minutes to cook, depending on the thickness of your pork chop.

How long does it take to cook frozen pork chops in an air fryer?

In a 400F degree air fryer it will take about 10-15 minutes to cook your pork chops, depending on their thickness. Remember not to crowd your air fryer basket for best results.

Can you eat pork chops at 150F degrees?

Yes, the internal temperature of your pork chops needs to register at least 145F degrees for safety purposes. Eating pork chops that are 150F degrees is fine.

Baked Pork Chops Nutrition Facts

We estimate 1 pork chop without seasonings or oil to have the following nutrition facts. However, nutrition facts will vary depending on the brand or cut of meat. Be sure to calculate nutrition facts based on your ingredients used.

Calories 146
Total Fat 8.2g
Saturated Fat 3.2g
Cholesterol 57mg
Sodium 258mg
Total Carbohydrate 0.2g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 18.8g

Using a Cast Iron Pan for Pork Chops

Using a cast iron pan is one of our favorite ways to cook pork chops. You can brown them on the stovetop, then transfer them to the oven in this same pan to finish them off. And any food cooked in a cast iron pan tastes delicious.

What to Serve With Pork Chops?

Whether you’re serving mom’s perfect pork chop for Sunday dinner or you’re using your favorite grill recipe, You can serve just about anything with pork chops. Here are some recommendations:

Grilled Baked Beans

Grilled Green Beans

Asparagus wrapped in bacon

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Baked Potato

Grilled Apples

Meat Cooking Temperature Kitchen Conversion Chart

We’ve created this handy free download for you. You can keep this meat cooking chart in a handy place so that you can easily refer to it a know the proper internal temperatures for various kinds of meat.

meat cook chart done temperatures

The delivery of our FREE printable download will be directly emailed to your desktop or mobile device. You’ll need to click the download button first and then the PDF printable download will begin. And you can print to a printer directly from your desktop or mobile device.

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