These gorgeous Brown Sugar Pork Chops may look fancy, but they are actually so simple to make! You’ll definitely want to add these sweet, savory chops to your regular menu rotation.
An Easy, Saucy Pork Chop Recipe!
Pork chops are such a great dinner option. They’re easier to cook than steak, and go well with so many flavors. Take a break from the same old chicken dishes, and hamburger recipes, and make these easy pork chops with a killer brown sugar glaze.
What’s that? Your pork chops always turn out dry? No worries – this recipe includes an easy brine that supercharges the recipe with moisture and flavor. Plus, the pan sauce adds even more moisture! This dish doesn’t disappoint, and it’s incredibly simple to make.
There are three parts to this dish – the brine, the pork chops, and the sauce. Don’t worry, it’s all super easy! Here’s what you’ll need for each one. (Remember, if you want the full recipe card with the amounts and nutrition facts, it’s at the bottom of this post!)
- Water: Warm the water somewhat so that it can dissolve the salt.
- Balsamic Vinegar: This sharp, pungent ingredient gives the pork chops extra flavor.
- Salt: I like sea salt, but any salt is fine.
- Pork Chops: You’ll need bone-in, thick-cut pork chops, about 1 inch thick.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is fine.
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika.
- Olive Oil: For pan-frying the pork chops.
For the Sauce
- Butter: You can use unsalted butter, or use salted butter and reduce the amount of soy sauce a bit.
- Brown Sugar: Light brown sugar will have a milder flavor, while dark brown sugar will have a stronger, more molasses-y taste. You can choose whichever you like.
- Soy Sauce: Or gluten-free tamari if you want a gluten-free version, or coconut aminos for a soy-free version.
- Chopped Herbs: For garnish.
How to Make Brown Sugar Pork Chops
The brining step in this recipe is easy, but it packs a huge punch of flavor! Put the pork chops in the brine around lunchtime, and they’ll be ready to cook for dinner.
- Brine the Pork Chops. In a large bowl, stir together the warm water, balsamic vinegar, and a tablespoon of sea salt. Stir these together until the salt is dissolved. Add the pork chops to the brine, making sure they are fully submerged. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours.
- Dredge the Pork Chops in Seasoned Flour. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, one teaspoon of sea salt, and the black pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. Take the pork chops out of the brine, and dry them off with paper towels. Dredge each pork chop in the seasoned flour mixture, and shake off the excess.
- Pan-Fry the Chops. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the pork chops to the skillet, and cook for 7 – 8 minutes on each side. When the pork chops are browned and cooked through (they should reach an internal temperature of 145°F), take them out of the skillet and set them aside on a clean plate.
- Make the Sauce. While the pork chops are hanging out on the plate, take the skillet you cooked the pork chops in, and melt some unsalted butter in it. Add the water, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Stir to combine, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook the sauce for 1 – 2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Cook the Pork Chops for a Couple of Minutes in the Sauce. Add the pork chops back to the skillet, spoon the sugar sauce over them, and continue to cook over low heat for another 2 – 3 minutes. The pork chops will become glazed, and the sauce will continue to thicken.
- Enjoy! Transfer the pork chops to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh chopped herbs. Drizzle the sauce over the pork chops and serve.
Tips for Success
To make the juiciest, tastiest pork chops, check out these helpful hints. This meal is sure to become a family favorite, especially when you have these tricks up your sleeve.
- Don’t Overcook: The most important thing for cooking pork that’s juicy is not to overcook it. Pork is very lean, so if you cook it too long, it just dries out.
- Use a Meat Thermometer: On that topic, the easiest way to make sure your chops are done without being overcooked? A good meat thermometer. I like instant-read thermometers the best. Pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F.
- Get the Right Pork Chops: For this recipe, you want chops that are about an inch thick. Thinner chops cook much faster, so be careful with those. Bone-in chops tend to be juicer and more flavorful.
Easy Serving Suggestions
Serve these saucy pork chops with just about any sides that you like: rice, pasta, salad, green beans, you name it. Want something a little more special? Try one of these mouthwatering side dish recipes:
- Brussels Sprouts: I love, love, love these little “mini cabbages” when they’re cooked right. My favorite method is probably roasting – it leaves the sprouts crunchy, caramelized, and addictively delicious. Try this easy recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts and you’ll be a believer!
- Zucchini Tomato Gratin: A ratatouille-like recipe, this healthy Zucchini Tomato Gratin is a comforting casserole made with thin slices of zucchini, potato, and tomato, cooked in tomato sauce and olive oil with herbs. Yum.
- Asparagus: Steam it or blanch it… or make it into fries! Making Parmesan Panko Asparagus Fries is a great way to introduce this veggie (or re-introduce it) to picky eaters.
How to Store and Reheat Brown Sugar Pork Chops
- To keep your leftovers fresh and tasty, cool them down and store them in your fridge in an airtight container. Be sure to refrigerate the sauce and the pork chops together, so that the meat doesn’t dry out. Leftover pork chops will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
- To reheat, place the pork chops and sauce in a covered skillet over low heat until the pork is warmed through. Don’t overcook the chops, or they’ll be tough.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
- Sure! If you have leftover pork chops, freeze them in their sauce. I like to use a freezer bag or a small, shallow container for this, to keep as much air out as possible. Less air means less opportunity for freezer burn.
- Keep the pork chops in the freezer for up to three months.
Brown Sugar Pork Chops
- 3 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- In a large bowl, combine the warm water, balsamic vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Stir until the salt is dissolved.
- Add the pork chops to the brine, making sure they are fully submerged. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 4 hours).
- In a small bowl, mix together the flour, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika.
- Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat them dry with paper towels. Dredge each chop in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking off any excess.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the pork chops to the skillet and cook for 7 to 8 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through. Pork chops are done when the internal temperature registers at 145°F. Remove the pork chops from the skillet and set them aside on a plate.
- In the same skillet, add the unsalted butter, water, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Add the pork chops back to the skillet, spoon the sugar sauce over them, and continue to cook over low heat for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the pork chops are glazed and the sauce has thickened to your liking.
- Transfer the pork chops to a serving platter and garnish with fresh chopped herbs.
- Spoon the sauce on the pork and enjoy.
- Pork Chops: For this recipe, you will need bone-in pork chops that are about one inch thick. Bone-in chops tend to be juicier and more flavorful. Thinner, boneless pork chops cook much faster, so be careful with the cooking time.
- Don’t Overcook: Use an Instant Read Meat Thermometer to check for doneness. Pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145˚F and a resting time of 3 minutes afterward.