Featuring tender pork coated in a golden brown cheesy crust, Easy Breaded Pork Chops are made even better by a flavorful homemade bacon-kale pesto. The bacon and cheddar bring a rich salty tang to round out the more savory flavors of the crackers and pork, while the kale and pesto add a healthy freshness.
Looking for a more traditional baked pork chop recipe? Check out these Oven Baked Bone-In Pork Chops.
The Best Breaded Pork Chop Recipe
The cheddar-infused crust on these pork chops is so crispy, and the meat is juicy and tender, giving this dish the ideal balance of textures. With the creamy pesto coming in to round everything out, there’s really nothing else with the chops to beat these chops. The flavors are just as complex and well-balanced as the textures, with salty bacon, tangy cheddar, savory pork and fresh basil.
These impressive pork chops come together in just 7 easy steps. When you can get a restaurant-quality dinner thrown together with less than 20 minutes of active prep, you know you’ve found a keeper. Get ready to add these pork chops to your weekly rotation.
What You’ll Need
First, we’ll go over the ingredients to make the breaded pork, then move on to the pesto. You can find the amounts for each ingredient by scrolling down to the recipe card.
For the Pork
- Skim Milk: Or use 1% milk.
- Oyster Crackers: Crushed, but not too finely.
- Cheddar Cheese
- Dried Oregano
- Salt and Pepper
- Pork Chops: Choose thin-cut boneless chops for this recipe.
For the Pesto
- Baby Kale Leaves: Pack these tightly into the measuring cup.
- Basil Leaves: Make sure these are fresh and not dried.
- Walnuts: Halved.
- Bacon: Cooked until crisp and crumbled.
- Garlic: Chopped finely or minced.
- Olive Oil
What Cut of Pork is Best for Pork Chops?
I prefer to use center-cut boneless pork chops for this recipe. Technically any pork chop can be breaded and baked, but the meat shrinks a little as it cooks, so with bone-in chops you’re more likely to see cracking and flaking in the crust. I find that 3/4-inch thickness is perfect for this recipe, but 1 inch works too. Any thicker than that and you might have to change the cooking time to get the center up to a safe temp.
How to Make Breaded Pork Chops
Active prep for this recipe only takes around 20 minutes. While your chops are cooking, you’ll have time to throw together a few sides, or just sit back and relax.
- Prep Your Materials: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set it aside.
- Whisk the Egg: Combine the milk and egg in a bowl and whisk them together until they’re fully incorporated.
- Create the Crust: Add the crushed crackers, shredded cheese, dried oregano, salt and pepper into your food processor and process the mixture until it turns crumbly. Transfer it to a shallow dish.
- Coat the Pork: Coat your pork chops in the crumb mixture, then dip them in the egg mixture and into the crumbs again.
- Bake: Arrange the pork chops in your prepared baking dish. Pop them in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then flip them over. Continue to cook them for another 12 to 15 minutes, or until they’re cooked through. You can check to see if the pork is done with a food thermometer, which should read 150°F (the safe temperature for pork) when they’re ready to come out.
- Make the Pesto: You can start preparing the pesto as soon as the pork goes in the oven. Combine all the remaining ingredients in your food processor and process them until the mixture smooths out, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula if necessary. Taste it and adjust the seasonings as needed. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add a dash more olive oil.
- Let Stand, Plate and Serve: Remove your pork chops from the oven and let them stand for a few minutes, then transfer them to dinner plates. Top each pork chop with a tablespoon of pesto and serve them.
Tips for Success
These breaded pork chops are baked to perfection. Follow these tips to get them tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside.
- Tenderize the Pork: This step isn’t necessary, but it can help make sure everything cooks through evenly. Getting your chops pounded down to an even thickness can prevent any tough or dry spots.
- Trim the Fat: Many people will cut around the rim of fat on a pork chop, but the breading will cover this up. Eating a breaded pork chop is more pleasant if this part is already cut away.
- Try a Brine: While brining the pork definitely isn’t necessary, it can lock in the moisture and keep your chops more tender. If you choose to brine, fully submerge the meat in 1 tablespoon salt for every 1 cup of cold water, mix it well, and leave them in the fridge for an hour or two. You’ll want to rinse and dry them well before adding the breading.
This recipe gives you so much room to experiment. Try one of these quick variations to put your own spin on it.
- Sub Out the Cheese: The cheddar brings sharpness and tang to the breading on these pork chops, but you can use any hard cheese you want. Parmesan is a great option that tastes so good paired with the pesto.
- Other Crumbs for the Coating: You can swap the oyster crackers in this recipe out for another hard cracker. Try Saltines, or go with Ritz crackers for a more buttery flavor. You can also make a more traditional bread crumb coating.
- Replace the Kale: Kale is a great green leafy veggetable to use for the pesto, but it’s not the only one. Baby spinach, collard greens and turnip greens all bring their own flavor.
- Add Another Veggie: Adding another veggie to your pesto can make it even more flavorful. Sundried tomatoes and roasted red peppers are both great ways to add body and flavor to your pesto without making it watery.
- Use a Different Meat: Though this is a pork chop recipe, the pesto and breading combo goes just as well with other types of meat. Chicken, veal and lamb all have cuts of a similar thickness that can be used in this recipe.
This pork dish pairs really well with one starch-based side and another veggie side. Mashed potatoes and rice both make really good options, along with asparagus and broccoli. Or you can try a simple and light veggie-packed pasta dish like this Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta or Garlic Butter Asparagus Pasta to get both a starch and a vegetable side all in one.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Leftover pesto is super easy to store, and you can use it in pasta dishes, on pizza or with other meats. Just seal it tightly in a clean glass jar and keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
When it comes to the pork, it’s really best to prep individual components in advance and then eat the pork chops fresh out of the oven. If you end up with leftovers, they’ll stay good wrapped or covered tightly in the fridge up to 4 days. You can reheat them on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven until they’re just warmed through, but be aware that they might be a little tougher and the crust might not crisp up the same as when they’re fresh.
Do These Freeze Well?
Freezing these chops comes with the same warnings as storing them in the fridge, but it can definitely be done. Wrap them tightly in plastic and freeze them for up to 3 months. Wait for them to thaw fully in the fridge overnight, then heat them up the same way that you would from the fridge.
Easy Breaded Pork Chops
- 1/4 cup skim milk
- 1 egg
- 1 cup oyster crackers
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and fresh ground pepper , to taste
- 6 thin-cut pork chops
- 2 cups packed baby kale leaves
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup halved walnuts
- 4 slices low-sodium bacon , cooked to a crisp and crumbled
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Lightly coat a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Combine milk and egg in a bowl; whisk until well incorporated.
- In your food processor bowl, combine crackers, cheese, oregano, salt and pepper; process until crumbly.
- Transfer crackers mixture to a shallow dish.
- Coat pork chops in crumb mixture.
- Dip in egg mixture and into crumbs again.
- Arrange pork chops in previously prepared baking dish.
- Bake for 20 minutes, flip over the pork chops, and continue to cook for 12 to 15 minutes more, or until cooked through. Pork is done when internal temperature registers at 150°F.
- While the pork chops are cooking, prepare the pesto.
- Combine all ingredients in your food processor and process until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
- If you prefer, add more extra virgin olive oil for a thinner consistency.
- Remove pork chops from oven and let stand a few minutes.
- Transfer pork chops to dinner plates.
- Top each pork chop with a tablespoon of pesto and serve.
- To Store: Seal pesto tightly in a clean glass jar and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Keep pork wrapped or covered tightly in the fridge up to 4 days.
- To Freeze: Wrap tightly in plastic and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw fully in the fridge overnight.
- To Reheat: Place on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven until just warmed through.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.
1 thought on “Easy Breaded Pork Chops”
Wondering if this pesto would pair well over pasta?