These Crispy Air Fryer Pork Chops deliver a dinner that’s fast, easy, and full of juicy pork flavor. Cut the fuss, AND the fat with this new weeknight favorite recipe.
This post and related video were sponsored by the Ohio Pork Council. As always, all opinions are my own.
Pork gets a bad rep.
There are 3 false accusations that are constantly made against pork:
- Pork is dry
- Pork is unhealthy
- Pork is hard to cook
You may have even had some bad experiences that seem to validate these.
But today, I’m telling you things can be different. This recipe for Crispy Air Fryer Pork Chops is here to set the record straight on pork, and hopefully dispel some of the misinformation that has soured our opinions of pork for too long.
Pork is NOT Dry
We’ve just been doing it wrong, people! For a perfect example of some juicy, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth pork, look no further than my recipe for Mediterranean Stuffed Pork Tenderloin.
If you believe pork is dry, I’d bet it’s because you can relate to one (or both) of the following situations. You either:
- Remember scraping the fossilized crusty remnants of some shredded pork off the sides of a crock pot that’s been left on for hours too long at a party, or
- Remember biting into thin, grey pork chops that were broiled into oblivion and had a texture more like your dad’s wallet than well-prepared meat.
Now, I ain’t sayin nothin about your mama’s cooking, I’m just saying that in BOTH these situations that pork was overcooked!
It can be easy to overcook pork for several reasons:
- Wrong temperature
- Wrong color
- Wrong cut
Pork is different from beef or chicken.
I know I’m stating the obvious here, but it’s important to remember that pork has its own unique color and character as it cooks.
Did you know that the safe internal temperature of cooked pork is actually lower (145 degrees Fahrenheit) than beef or chicken?
And unlike chicken, having a “blush of pink” in your cooked pork is ideal.
The moral here is, don’t try to apply the same rules as other meats or you’ll end up with dry overcooked pork.
Sometimes a thin cut doesn’t cut it.
Even if you know the right color and temperature to target for perfect pork, sometimes you just start with a cut that’s too thin to begin with. (I’m looking at you, grocery store family pack of thin-cut pork chops!)
When this happens, you’ve got a cut of meat that cooks much faster, is much less forgiving, and is harder to get a good consistent temperature reading on.
For pork chops, err on the side of a thicker cut. It’s much harder to overcook a thick cut!
Pork that is cooked right doesn’t need to be drowned in sauce, or slathered in canned “cream-of-something” soup in order to be chewable.
Pork is NOT Unhealthy
At least when held up to other comparable meats, pork has just as many lean cuts (which the USDA defines as having less than 10 grams fat, under 4.5 grams saturated fat and fewer than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving).
I’m NOT saying your diet should be comprised solely of fatback bacon… But you might be surprised to learn that many cuts of pork are as lean (or even leaner) than chicken!
Pork also provides many important vitamins and minerals like
- Phosphorus (for bone health)
- Potassium (for balancing water, and normal blood pressure)
- and Thiamin, Niacin, Riboflavin, and Vitamin B6 (all which are essential for a healthy metabolism)
The key to finding a healthier lean cut of pork is to look for the word loin or chop. (As in these delicious Air Fryer Pork Chops.)
Pork is NOT hard to cook
This Air Fryer Pork Chops recipe is all about simplicity.
Sure, there are hundreds of other ways to enjoy well-cooked pork. Smoked, braised, fried, low and slow cooked BBQ…
But with this pork chops recipe, there is NO hot frying oil, skillet, pan or grill to worry about, no fussing with complicated prep or sauces, and almost zero mess.
And with most store-bought pork chops being ready to go right out of the package, you’ll be cooking up Air Fryer Pork Chops in no time.
Tips for Super Crispy Air Fryer Pork Chops
- Pound your chops to the same thickness (but not thin). A simple stainless steel rolling pin (<< here’s ours!) wrapped in saran wrap works great for this. This helps the chops cook evenly, so a thinner side doesn’t dry out before the middle is cooked.
- Trim off any fat around the edges of the pork. This helps the coating to stick and prevents biting into a stringy piece of fat.
- Spray your chops evenly with the non stick cooking spray before air frying. This not only keeps the chops from sticking, but also amps up the crispiness. I prefer not to spray the air fryer itself as it can cause a gummy coating to build up.
- Leave plenty of space between the pork chops. The air fryer works by circulating hot air around the food. If the food is crowded, air isn’t able to circulate around it, resulting in soggy chops (and nobody wants a soggy chop!). Our air fryer is on the smaller side and fits 2-3 chops at a time.
- If you’re frying in batches, you can keep the chops warm and crispy by placing them on a paper towel lined cooling rack in a 200 degree oven.
What temperature should you cook pork chops?
My biggest tip for making juicy pork chops, whether in the air fryer, oven, or frying pan, is DON’T OVERCOOK THEM!
The USDA recommends cooking pork chops to 145 degrees Fahrenheit and then allowing them to rest for around 3 minutes (similar to cooking a Cast Iron Ribeye Steak). Allowing meat to rest lets the cooking process complete and helps the juices reabsorb and distribute throughout the meat before cutting it open.
At this temperature, pork chops may still have a blush of pink in the center. This is perfectly normal and safe to eat! Cooking to this ideal temperature leaves the meat juicy and tender every time!
Ingredients for Air Fryer Pork Chops
All you’ll need to start cooking this Air Fryer Pork Chops Recipe is:
- 2 – 4 pork chops (1-inch thick cut preferred)
- Salt and Pepper
- Panko Breadcrumbs
- Parmesan Cheese
- Italian Herbs (oregano and basil)
How to Make Air Fryer Pork Chops
These chops use a simple 3 step coating process for crispy perfection!
- Start by filling one bowl with flour, another with a lightly beaten egg, and a third with a mixture of Panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasonings.
- Pound the pork chops to 3/4-1 inch thick and season with salt and pepper.
- Dip them first in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs, making sure the coating gets on all sides.
- Spray both sides with vegetable oil then air fry at 375 degrees for 12-13 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 140-145 degrees. Let rest for 3 minutes, then you’re ready to eat!
Want a Gluten Free Air Fryer Pork Chop recipe?
We tested this without the flour coating, and it still worked, though it was slightly less crispy. Feel free to omit the flour step and look for gluten free Panko crumbs at your grocery store!
What to Serve with Air Fryer Pork Chops
I hope these juicy, crispy pork chops can convince you to leave behind any past grudges about pork. Those past bad experiences are over. Now let’s make some new memories of pork chops that are next-level good!
This pork chops recipe makes a perfect quick dinner for two, and has found a permanent place in our family dinner plans. Crispy air fried pork chops pair perfectly with Creamy Mac and Cheese, an Easy Garden Salad or Cucumber Tomato Salad, or some Easy Cheesy Potatoes.
Be sure to check out OhioPork.org for more information about Ohio’s pork industry and the over 2,500 members working hard to bring quality pork to our tables.
- 4 thick cut pork chops
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Trim any excess fat off your pork chops. Sprinkle both sides generously with Kosher salt and black pepper.
- Add the flour to one bowl, the egg to another, and the Panko, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, basil, and oregano to a third bowl. Lightly beat the eggs and stir together the Panko mixture.
- Dip both sides of the pork chops first in the flour, then the egg, then the panko mixture. Lightly spray them with cooking spray.
- Place them in the air fryer, as many as will fit without touching. Fry for 7 minutes then flip. Fry an additional 6 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 140-145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Let meat rest for 3 minutes before serving
If your air fryer can't fit all of the chops at once, cook them in batches rather than crowd them. Place the already cooked chops on a raised cooling rack on a baking sheet in a warm oven (~200 degrees) until ready to serve. This keeps them warm and crispy while the others bake.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Looking for more pork recipes?
- Check out this fan-favorite recipe for Mediterranean Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
- Rule the cookout with these Pork and Apricot Kebobs
- Try these bone-in Skillet Pork Chops with Tomato Shallot Pan Sauce.
- This One Pot Italian Sausage Stew is a pantry staple!