Whether a childhood of overcooked pork chops left you with an adulthood aversion or you are their biggest fan, these flavorful Air Fryer Pork Chops will have you falling freshly in love. They’re lightly crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside (NOT DRY), and ready in just 20 minutes.
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To the pork chops skeptics: I see you.
- Pork chops cooked in the air fryer are juicy inside and crispy outside (without the need for egg and flour or Panko breadcrumbs).
- A simple pork seasoning rub made with a reasonable list of spices you likely already have on hand gives the pork chops a rich smokiness and a little bit of a kick.
Cooked properly, you can make pork chops that are melt-in-your-mouth tasty and (I really can’t emphasize this enough) NOT DRY.
5 Star Review
“My husband claims these were the juiciest chops we’ve ever made!”— Danielle —
How to Cook Pork Chops without Drying Them Out
- Choose Thick-Cut Chops. Look for the thickest ones you can find, and don’t be shy about asking the butcher counter if needed. For juiciness guaranteed, I recommend pork chops that are at least 1 1/2-inches thick.
- Go Bone-In. Boneless pork chops are far easier to overcook than ones with the bone in. Cooking air fryer bone-in pork chops gives you more wiggle room. The bone gives the meat extra flavor too (which is why bone-in is also perfect for Stuffed Pork Chops, Honey Garlic Pork Chops, and Smothered Pork Chops).
- DO NOT OVERCOOK. Unlike a tougher cut of pork like pork shoulder, pork chops are lean (like Stuffed Pork Tenderloin and Grilled Pork Tenderloin) and do not become more tender the longer they cook. Use an instant-read thermometer like this and check the pork early and often. It’s the absolute best way to know when pork chops are done in an air fryer.
Per the FDA, pork is considered safe to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. I typically remove my pork around the 135-140 degrees F, cover it, then let the carry-over cooking finish the rest.
- Lest Rest. Resting the meat is MANDATORY. It allows the juices to reincorporate into the meat. If you cut the pork chops right away, all those lovely juices escape onto the plate.
- Try the Air Fryer! Of all the ways I’ve tried making them, the air fryer is the best way to cook pork chops. Because it circulates air so effectively, the air fryer crisps the outsides beautifully and leaves the inside of the pork chops moist. It’s great for simple proteins (like Air Fryer Salmon, Air Fryer Steak, Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin).
How to Cook Air Fryer Pork Chops
In addition to its prowess at making pork chops juicy, the air fryer offers a further benefit: it is FAST.
Air Fryer Pork Chop Cook Times
- Thick-cut bone-in pork chops cook for 9 to 11 minutes in the air fryer at 375 degrees F. Flip them halfway through.
- How long to cook bone-in pork chops in the air fryer will vary based on your air fryer model and the exact thickness of your chops. I tested this recipe in this Ninja air fryer with pork chops that were 1 ½ inches thick.
- Be sure to check the temperature of your pork chops several minutes early, especially if your pork chops are thinner (1-inch pork chops may finish cooking in 7 minutes or less). You can easily return the basket to the air fryer if they need to cook a few additional minutes.
Seasoning Rub for Air Fryer Pork Chops
Now let’s talk FLAVAH! We are going to season these beauties with an easy pork rub.
- One of my pet peeves is when meat recipes call for you to make an entire batch of a large-scale seasoning blend it will take you a year to work through. That’s why I’ve included just enough of the pork seasoning ingredients to generously coat the two chops called for in this recipe.
- If you’re serving a larger group or you do want to keep extra on hand in a jar for pork rub on demand (good for you!), you can scale it up to your heart’s content.
I opted to make these simple air fryer pork chops (no breading); if you’d like to see a crispy breaded version from me in the future, be sure to leave a comment below. I am listening!
- Bone-In Pork Chops. Thick, bone-in, center-cut pork chops are the perfect choice for this recipe. Pork is a wonderful source of lean protein, vitamins, calcium, and minerals.
- Smoky Spice Rub. A mixture of chili powder, ground coriander, dry mustard, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, ground cumin, and cayenne pepper is my secret to the best-tasting, most delicious pork chops. It has a little kick (but not too much), lots of smokiness, and a wonderful depth of flavor.
- Dry the pork chops, and coat them with oil.
- Stir the spice rub ingredients together.
- Rub the mixture onto the top, bottom, and side of the pork chops.
- Place the chops in a single layer in the air fryer basket (you cannot stack pork chops in an air fryer). The temperature you should air fry pork chops at is 375 degrees F. Cook them for 5 minutes, then flip them over.
- Cook for 4 to 7 more minutes. Place the pork chops on a plate, cover them, and let them rest for a few minutes. ENJOY!
- Air Fryer BBQ Pork Chops. Slather the cooked chops with this homemade Barbecue Sauce or your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce. I recommend warming up the sauce first, then brushing it on liberally once the pork has rested.
- Air Fryer Pork Chops Parmesan. Add 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese to the spice mixture. YUM!
- Air Fryer Ranch Pork Chops. Swap the pork seasoning blend used here with a ranch seasoning mix.
- Garlic Air Fryer Pork Chops. Add 1 teaspoon garlic powder to the spice mixture.
- To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm the pork in the air fryer or oven at 350 degrees F, in the microwave, or in a skillet on the stove.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Pork Chops
- Potatoes. Air fryer pork chops and potatoes are a perfect match. Try Crockpot Sweet Potatoes, Grilled Potatoes, or Potato Skins.
- Veggies. Zucchini Fries coated in bread crumbs are a crowd-pleaser. Grilled Corn or Roasted Asparagus would be too.
- Salad. Apple Walnut Salad is a delicious choice.
- Rice. A simple side of Instant Pot Brown Rice or stovetop brown rice or white rice will let the pork’s BBQ flavors shine.
- Applesauce. You can’t go wrong with a side of Crockpot Applesauce or Instant Pot Applesauce.
- Mac and Cheese. Pair these chops with a side of Instant Pot Mac and Cheese and prepare for a standing ovation.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Air Fryer. This is the model I own and love!
- Mixing Bowls. Ideal for preparing the spice mixture.
- Instant Read Thermometer. No need to estimate, a meat thermometer is the best way to know when your pork is cooked through. It’s one of my most-loved kitchen purchases.
Crispy. Juicy. BBQ-y.
Air fryer bone-in pork chops, you’ve redeemed this dinner forever more!
Frequently Asked Questions
If your air fryer pork chops are tough, it’s likely because they are overcooked. To make sure your pork chops are juicy and tender, remove them at 135 to 140 degrees F and let them rest for 10 minutes.
While these pork chops do have a little kick from the spice rub, they are not overly spicy. If you want your pork chops to be less spicy, you can adjust the seasonings to your tastes.
Yes, you can swap the seasonings in this recipe for another spice rub you prefer. I think Cajun air fryer pork chops (using Cajun seasoning) or air fryer pork chops with herbs and Parmesan would be delicious. You could also simply add in some garlic powder or onion powder. (Marinated pork chops in the air fryer would be tasty too.)
I do not recommend using thin pork chops, as they will dry out quickly. This recipe was designed for thick-cut pork chops, so the times listed will not work well for thin-cut ones. If you decide to experiment with thin air fryer pork chops, start checking several minutes earlier to gauge their progress.
375 degrees F is the perfect temperature for cooking lean cuts like pork chops in the air fryer.
Air Fryer Pork Chops
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For the Pork Chops:
For the Pork Rub:
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat the air fryer to 375°F accordingly to the manufacturer’s instructions (for my air fryer, that’s 3 minutes of preheat time).
- With paper towels, pat the pork chops dry on both sides. Coat the outsides with olive oil.
- In a medium bowl, combine the rub ingredients: chili powder, coriander, mustard, smoked paprika, salt, black pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
- Rub all over both sides of the pork.
- Lay the pork chops in a single layer in the air fryer basket; do not overlap them (if they both do not fit in a single layer, cook them in batches). Air fry for 5 minutes, then with tongs, carefully flip the chops.
- Continue cooking for 4 to 7 additional minutes, or until the meat registers 135°F on an instant read thermometer. If your pork chops are boneless, start checking 2 minutes earlier to ensure they do not overcook.
- Remove the pork chops to a plate. Cover and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve hot with warmed barbecue sauce as desired.
- *You can also use this recipe for boneless center-cut pork chops; still look for thick ones that are at least 1 1/2 inches thick. I do not recommend thin pork chops, as they will dry out ultra quickly. If you decide to experiment with thin chops, start checking several minutes earlier to gauge their progress.
- As with ovens, air fryer models vary, so your pork chops may take a bit longer or a bit shorter (this is the air fryer model I used to test the recipe). The safest option is to check the meat’s temperature earlier to make sure it doesn’t overcook. As soon the pork chops 135°F at the thickest part of the meat, remove mine for resting.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover pork chops in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm pork chops in the air fryer or oven at 350°F, in the microwave, or in a skillet on the stove.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftover pork chops in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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