But sometimes I want something that feels a bit fresher and a bit cleaner. Still easy and delicious of course, but maybe a little less “stick to your ribs.”
That’s when I make maple glazed pork chops!
These maple glazed pork chops are SO good, my husband moaned – out loud – the first AND second time I made them. He said, “Man, these are so good!” to which I replied, “I thought you only liked pork chops that were breaded and baked?”
He said, “I really like these – you can definitely make these again.”
Friends, we have a winner!
What I like most about these maple glazed pork chops is that they are SO easy to make. They’re almost TOO easy, if that’s even possible.
It’s literally a one-two-three process:
- Mix everything up in a bowl.
- Let a cast iron skillet (or other heavy bottom pan) warm up.
- Dump everything in the pan and cook until the pork chops are carmel-y and glazed and have reached 145F internally.
Serve them with roasted potatoes (or crash hot sweet potatoes!) and roasted broccoli and maybe even a Caesar salad and you’ve got a restaurant-quality dinner that will knock your taste buds out of the park!
Maple Glazed Pork Chop
Here’s what we have going on in this SUPER simple yet SUPER yummy glazed pork chops:
I like using and recommend thick pork chops for this recipe, the ones that are nearly 1” thick. If you use thinner pork chops, they’ll cook really fast and the liquid wouldn’t have had a chance to turn into a glaze yet.
I also recommend boneless pork chops for this recipe too. It makes cooking them a lot easier – fitting four pork chops into my 12” cast iron skillet is no problem.
Also though, cooking when a bone can sometimes throw off the time it takes to cook through. The meat closest to the bone will take longer to cook, while the outside edges will quickly become over done.
Any thick-cut, boneless pork chops from any grocery store will work, but if you haven’t tried truly pastured pork, it’s definitely worth the splurge. We joined Butcher Box and I tried their pork chops and OH MY GOODNESS – it was unlike any other pork I had ever eaten before. It was so juicy, so tender, and so flavorful! I was never a huge fan of pork chops because I always thought they were so boring, but these were AMAZING!
My husband completely agrees with me, and can tell the difference when I’ve made pork chops from Butcher Box pork versus pork chops from the grocery store.
You can’t have maple glazed pork chops without MAPLE syrup!
I don’t often use sweeteners in dinner (with the exception of Instant Pot honey garlic chicken and sweet and sticky chicken), so we’re using just enough to add flavor and get a nice caramel-y glaze without filling our bellies full of sugar.
Be sure you’re using PURE maple syrup – the ingredients should read “maple syrup.” Pancake syrup or waffle syrup or table syrup is usually corn syrup with some maple and additional caramel coloring added – don’t use that stuff! Stick with the real maple syrup; it costs a bit more, but a little bit goes a long way.
If you don’t have maple syrup you can substitute sugar or brown sugar, but be aware that your dish will turn out much sweeter. You’ll get a really good glaze if you use sugar, so watch it closely to make sure it doesn’t burn. (You don’t have to be so much of a hawk when you use maple syrup.)
You can substitute honey, but I haven’t tried it personally. Honey tends to burn quickly, so if you feel experimental and go this route, be sure to stay by the stove and watch carefully… watch the pork, watch the sauce, watch for little hands close by in case a drop of hot honey jumps out of the pan… you catch my drift.
The seasonings for maple glazed pork chops are basic spices from your cabinet – salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and cayenne.
As written, the amount of cayenne is enough to give you a “Whoo! That’s got a kick to it!” type of reaction on the first bite. The heat definitely diminishes as you make your way through the pork chop.
If you have littles or anyone who is sensitive to spicy foods, I’d recommend halving the cayenne just in case. You can always sprinkle a bit of crushed red pepper on at the table if you like the extra heat!
A few cooking/prep tips for maple glazed pork chops:
- These pork chops are AMAZING fresh off the skillet, but they’re really good reheated as leftovers too! Feel free to make extra to save time later in the week. (If you do this, be sure to make extra glaze too!).
- Make sure you cook the pork to JUST 145F. I use and love this instant digital thermometer for instances just like this. When the pork chops reach that temperature, remove the pan from the stove and let them sit in the pan for about 10 minutes for the internal juices to redistribute.
- You only need to flip the pork chops once, but once you do, be sure to swirl them around in the maple glaze!
- This recipe is PERFECT for the freezer. Simply combine all of the ingredients in a gallon-size plastic bag (or your choice of a freezer-safe container), remove all of the air, label and freeze. When you want to make dinner, pull the bag out the night before and let it thaw in the fridge. To cook, dump everything into the skillet and follow the rest of the recipe as written!
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¾ tsp cayenne
- ¾ tsp garlic powder
- ¾ tsp paprika
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 thick-cut boneless pork chops
- Combine everything in a large bowl.
- Preheat a cast iron skillet (I have this 12” skillet) or a heavy bottom pan to medium heat. When a drop of water sizzles on the skillet, place the pork chops and the sauce into the skillet in a single layer.
- Let the pork chops cook undisturbed for 6 minutes.
- Carefully flip each pork chop over, swirl around in the glaze and re-arrange as necessary so that they’re cooking evenly on all the edges.
- Let the pork cook undisturbed for 4 minutes.
- Using an instant digital thermometer, test the smallest pork chop for doneness (145F). If the pork chops are done, remove the pan from the stove and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.
- If the pork chops are not done, swirl in the glaze again and continue cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 145F.
- Serve warm and enjoy!