Estimating the correct cook time for a new recipe can be nerve-wracking.
So if you’re wondering how long you need to bake boneless pork chops in the oven at 350°F, then you’re not alone.
When I baked chops for the first time, I stood over the oven like an overprotective parent over his newborn babe.
And after some trial and error, I managed to estimate exactly how much time it takes to cook them:
Baking pork chops in the oven at 350°F takes between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat.
Thicker chops require more cooking time and should generally be roasted at a lower temperature.
There are, however, a few other factors that come into play when determining the bake time of pork chops.
Let’s take a look.
How long to bake pork chops in the oven at 350°F?
The best way to make sure your baked pork chops turn out tender, juicy and full of flavors, is to cook them for the right amount of time.
And to determine this, you’ll need to take into account whether they’re boneless or not.
Bone-in chops typically take more time since the bone insulates their meat and slows down heat exchange.
This means that you’ll need to cook thick bone-in pork chops for 25 to 30 minutes at an oven temperature of 350°F.
For 1/2 inch bone-in chops you’ll need between 16 and 18 minutes at the same temperature. That’s what I used when taking the photos for this post.
Boneless pork chops on the other hand require less cooking time.
In general, you’ll need around 10 to 12 minutes to fully bake a thin boneless pork chop in the oven and about 20 to 22 minutes for a 1-inch thick pork chop at 350°F.
Another thing you should keep in mind is whether you’re searing, stuffing, or breading your chops.
Seared pork chops take roughly 2-3 minutes less to cook, while breaded and stuffed chops take about 3-4 minutes more.
To make things simple, I made charts with the estimated cook times of pork chops at 350°F, but I’ve also included the cooking times at 375°F, 400°F and 425°F in case you want to experiment.
Here are the cooking times for boneless pork chops:
And here’s chart that shows the recommended cooking times for bone-in pork chops at 350, 375, 400, and 425 degrees Fahrenheit:
Keep in mind these are only estimates, and you’ll need to use a food thermometer to tell whether your pork chops are fully cooked.
Should you bake pork chops at 350°F or 400°F for the best results?
Choosing whether it’s better to bake your pork chops at 350°F or 400°F will all depend on their thickness.
Thick pieces of meat need to be cooked slowly so the heat can have enough time to penetrate their center.
If they’re cooked at a high temperature, they’ll develop a sear but remain raw on the inside.
Therefore, if you’re using thick pork chops, you should bake them at 350°F to ensure they’re evenly cooked. Consequently, thin pork chops will turn out better if they’re cooked at 400°F instead.
Baking thin pork chops at a lower temperature will give them a leathery, unappetizing texture.
I personally like cooking thicker chops since they’re more flavorful and allow for a wider margin of error.
Even if you accidentally leave them for a few more minutes than they need to, they’ll still be perfectly fine to eat.
Their thinner counterparts, however, aren’t as forgiving and can turn into rubber soles in a small matter of time.
What’s the best internal temperature for pork chops?
Not so long ago, the government’s regulations stated that we should cook pork to 160°F.
However, in 2011 the USDA switched their stance and changed the recommended cooking temperature of whole pork to 145°F.
So for anyone who still believes that pork chops should be cooked to 160°F, then a temperature of 145°F might sound odd if not even dangerous.
However, most of us have eaten more than a few cuts of pork made this way without even realizing it.
This is because the ‘newer recommendations’ have been used as a standard for all federally regulated establishments for decades.
So you can bet that those tasty baby-back ribs you ate at your favorite BBQ chain were most probably smoked to 145°F.
Anyways, the reason behind this unexpected shift in the agency’s guidelines, can be boiled down to the lowered consumption of home grown pork and the subsequent drop in Trichinellosis rates.
So what’s the best cooking temperature for pork chops then?
Well, it all depends on the way you like your meat.
If you want a melt-in-your mouth piece of pork that’s also tender, then you should cook pork chops to 145°F.
If, however, you prefer your it a bit more dry, then going for an internal temperature to 160°F would be a better idea.
Since I like juicier cuts of meat, I cook my pork chops using the first approach and let them rest for 5 minutes afterwards.
This allows them to retain their juices which fills my heart and belly with joy.
Don’t forget to read: At what temperature is pot roast done?
How to tell if pork chops are done without a cooking thermometer?
If you don’t have a food thermometer at hand, you can tell whether your pork chops are done by checking their color.
Fully cooked pork chops have a creamy white color without any pink or red spots.
If you notice any discoloration, then you should give them a few more minutes in the oven.
Another way to tell whether pork chops have finished cooking is by looking at their juices.
If they run clear without any pink or red discoloration, then they’re done and you can take them out of the oven.
Finally, you can press the surface of the meat with a pair of tongs or a spatula.
If the meat feels really soft, then it’s still raw and needs more cooking.
If, on the other hand, it feels too firm, then the meat is overdone.
The texture you’re looking for should be close to that of the tip of your nose.
How to improve the flavor of your pork chops and keep them juicy
Making juicy pork chops might seem like a simple endeavor, but they can easily turn leathery if you’re not careful.
However, if you follow these 3 simple steps, your pork chops will be the star of the dinner show every single time:
- Soak the pork chops in a brine. Brining the pork chops before baking will hydrate their cells and let them hold on to more water.
This will prevent them from drying and make their meat more juicy.
I like to soak mine for an hour in a simple brine of water, brown sugar, and Kosher salt.
I use this process to make brine for my pork chops:
- Heat two cups of water.
- Add 3/4 cups of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of Kosher salt.
- Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve completely.
- Add another 4 cups of unheated water.
- Put the pork chops inside an airtight bag, then fill it with the brine.
- Let the meat soak up the marinade in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours.
- Bring them to room temperature before putting them in the oven. Cooking cold or frozen pork chops is never a good idea.
Frozen meat loses some of its flavors and tends to develop a tough texture when it gets cooked without thawing.
And to make matters even worse, it often ends up undercooked which puts you at risk of food poisoning.
If you’re working with cold pork chops, simply let them rest on a metal tray for 15 minutes before you throw them in the oven.
Frozen pork chops will need to be thawed first.
The fastest way you can do this is by using the defrost setting of your microwave.
On a side note, maybe you’ll be interested in reading: How to best defrost frozen pork shoulder?
- Wrap the chops in foil and let them rest for 5 minutes after cooking. This is a crucial step many beginner cooks forget or misunderstand.
When you take a hot piece of meat out of the oven, it loses some of its moisture by releasing it in the air in the form of steam.
To prevent this, you can wrap each pork chop in aluminum foil and let it sit for 5 minutes before consuming.
This will not only spare your tongue but also improve the flavor of the meat.
Even though searing is still touted as a way to keep meats moist, there’s sufficient evidence that disproves this notion.
A study on the effects of searing on the psychochemical properties of beef, concluded that searing did not affect juiciness or water content in any way.
All it did was improve the overall flavor, aroma, and color of the meat.
So you can skip searing your pork chops or beef steaks if you’re only doing it to keep them moist.
My short recap
Pork chops are one of the easiest and most tasty meals you can learn how to cook.
The only thing you should be mindful about is how long to cook them in the oven.
Fortunately, you have an answer to this question and you can finally let your pork chop passion loose.
Share this article if you found it useful and leave me a comment if you want to ask something else.
…Or take a peek at my oven baked Pork And Sauerkraut recipe by clicking here.