These easy, breaded pork chops will become a new weeknight favorite. Tender pork chops are coated in a crispy, cheesy crust and served with homemade bacon-kale pesto. Get ready for a great combination of flavors and textures!
The Best Breaded Pork Chops
I cannot get enough of these breaded pork chops. The pork itself is so juicy and tender and is covered with the best breading ever. As you take a bite, the crunchy crust gives way to the juicy meat, creating a contrast of textures. The cheddar in the breading adds a rich and savory note that compliments the natural sweetness of the pork beautifully. And then, there’s the bacon-kale pesto. Wow. The smokiness of the bacon and the earthiness of the kale and walnuts are balanced perfectly by the freshness and aroma of the basil. It pairs wonderfully with the pork chops, creating a perfect blend of flavors.
I love a quick and easy weeknight recipe that not only fits into my busy schedule but also gets me super excited for dinner time. This one definitely fits the bill. You’ll only need to set aside 20 minutes to get these succulent pork chops in the oven and make the delicious pesto that goes along with them. A tasty dinner in no time.
Why You’ll Love These Baked Pork Chops
So what makes these breaded pork chops so outstanding? Let me tell you some of my favorite things about this easy weeknight meal.
- Quick and easy. In just 7 easy steps and less than 20 minutes of active time in the kitchen, you will have yourself a pork chop meal that will have you racing back for seconds.
- That crunch, though! The cheddar-infused crust on these pork chops is wonderfully crunchy and adds contrast to the tender, juicy pork chops.
- Well balanced. Between the salty bacon, the tangy cheddar, the savory pork, and the fresh basil, every bite of this meaty entree contains a combo of flavors that complement each other perfectly.
What Cut of Pork is Best for Pork Chops?
Technically any pork chop can be breaded and baked, but I prefer center-cut boneless chops for this recipe. The meat shrinks a little as it cooks, and the crust has a propensity to crack and flake as a result. This is much more apparent with bone-in pork chops. So go for boneless.
When it comes to thickness, I find that 3/4-inch is perfect for this recipe. 1-inch thick chops will work too. For anything thicker, you might have to change the cooking time to get the pork to a safe internal temperature.
This recipe gives you so much room to experiment. Try one of these fun variations to put your own spin on it.
- Play with 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. It tastes so good when paired with the pesto.
- Use a different cracker. You can swap the oyster crackers in this recipe for another cracker. Saltines will work. Ritz crackers are great if you’re looking for a more buttery flavor. You could use bread crumbs instead if you’d like.
- Replace the kale: I love adding kale to this pesto. It adds some substance to the sauce and is loaded with health benefits. You could just as easily use baby spinach, collard greens, or turnip greens instead though!
- Try a different kind of pesto. Basil pesto is a classic, but have you ever tried adding sun-dried tomatoes to the mix? Just pulse them in with the rest of the ingredients for an exciting new flavor. You could also add roasted red peppers.
- Experiment with nuts. Walnuts aren’t the only option here. You could just as easily use pine nuts, cashews, or pistachios. Play around and see which is your favorite.
- Use a Different Meat. Don’t limit yourself to pork. Chicken, veal, and lamb all have cuts of a similar thickness that can be used in this recipe.
How to Make Breaded Pork Chops
Ingredients For The Pork
- Milk: 1% milk will do just fine.
- Oyster crackers: You can use Ritz crackers instead.
- Shredded Cheddar cheese: Parmesan also works really well here.
- Dried oregano
- Salt & Pepper
- Thin-cut pork chops: – You could also use a different protein if you’d like. Chicken would be perfect.
Ingredients For Kale Pesto
- Baby kale leaves
- Fresh basil leaves: Don’t use dried basil for pesto.
- Walnuts: Cashews or pistachios would work as well.
- Low-sodium bacon: Cook and crumble the bacon before using it in the recipe.
- Extra virgin olive oil
Here’s a quick look at how to make breaded pork chops in the oven. This is just a general overview so be sure to scroll to the recipe card below for more in-depth instructions.
- Prepare the breading. Whisk together the milk and egg in one bowl. Use a food processor to turn the crackers, cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper into crumbles. Transfer the mixture to a separate bowl.
- Bread the pork. Coat pork chops in the crumb mixture, dip them in the egg mixture, and then coat in the crumb mixture again.
- Bake. Arrange the pork chops in a single layer on a baking sheet greased with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes on one side 12-15 minutes on the other.
- Make the pesto. Combine the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor and process until smooth.
- Rest. Remove the pork chops from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Serve. Serve the pork chops topped with pesto
Tips for Success
Looking for the perfect crunchy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside pork chops? Follow these tips and tricks for optimal results.
- Aim for even thickness. Pound your pork chops to an even thickness before breading and baking. While this step isn’t necessary, it will definitely help ensure that everything cooks evenly.
- Trim the fat. I suggest cutting the fat around the edges of the pork chops away. It makes for a much more tender bite.
- Try a brine. If you have a little extra time, mix together salt and cold water (1 tablespoon salt to every cup of water) and submerge your pork in the brine. Allow the brining pork to sit in the refrigerator for an hour or two before patting it dry with a paper towel and proceeding with the recipe. This can help lock in moisture and keep your chops nice and tender.
- Let it rest. When pork is exposed to high temperatures (such as in the oven), its juices rush to the center of the meat. After removing the pork from the oven, it is important to allow it to rest for 5 minutes or so before cutting into it. During that time, the juices will redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a much juicier, more flavorful bite.
What to Serve with Baked Pork Chops
I enjoy pairing this pork dish with one starch-based side as well as a veggie side. Here are some fun ideas to get you inspired.
- Potatoes. Pair these crispy pork chops with some Crispy Smashed Potatoes, Air Fryer Baked Potatoes, or these Spinach and Artichoke Dip Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes.
- Rice. Keep it simple with my Instant Pot Jasmine Rice or try this Garlic Butter Cauliflower Rice with Spinach.
- Salad. Get your greens in with my Green Goddess Salad or delight your taste buds with this Heirloom Tomato Salad. Looking for something a little different? Try my Broccoli Apple Salad.
- Cooked veggies. I have been loving serving these pork chops with these Roasted Artichokes. My Crispy Air Fryer Roasted Broccoli or these Easy Roasted Green Beans would be great as well.
- Pasta. Get your starch and veg covered with this Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta or my Garlic Butter Asparagus Pasta.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
Breaded pork chops are best when enjoyed fresh out of the oven, but if you have leftovers, you can store them to be enjoyed later. Just note that the breading will get soggy the longer it sits.
- Refrigerator: Cool the pork chops completely before sealing them in an airtight container and storing them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Seal the pesto tightly in a clean glass jar and store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Use it on the leftover pork or as the sauce for your favorite pizza or pasta.
- Freezer: Seal the cooled pork in an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
- To reheat: Arrange the pieces of pork on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake at 350˚F for 15 minutes or until heated through.
More Easy Pork Recipes
- Pork Katsu
- Country Style Pork Ribs
- Honey Garlic Roast Pork Tenderloin
- Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
- Macedonian Fried Pork Pizza
- Apple Cider Braised Pork Shoulder
Easy Breaded Pork Chops
- ¼ cup milk, you can use skim milk, 1%, or 2%
- 1 whole egg
- 1 cup oyster crackers
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 6 center cut boneless pork chops, pounded to a 3/4-inch thickness
- 2 cups packed baby kale leaves
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup halved walnuts
- 4 slices low-sodium bacon, cooked to a crisp and crumbled
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Lightly coat a 9×13-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; pulse until crumbly. Transfer the crumb mixture to a shallow dish.
- Coat the pork chops in the crumb mixture, then dip in the egg mixture and into the crumbs again. Press down on the breading with your fingers to adhere.
- Arrange the pork chops in the 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 the internal temperature registers at 145°F.
- Meanwhile, combine all the pesto ingredients in your food processor and process until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary.
- Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
- If you prefer, add more olive oil for a thinner consistency.
- Remove the pork chops from the oven and let stand for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the pork chops to dinner plates, top with the kale pesto, and serve.
- To get even cooking, consider pounding your pork chops to the same thickness. When it comes to thickness, I find that 3/4-inch is perfect for this recipe.
- Cut off the fat. It’s recommended to remove the fat around the pork chops’ edges.
- Allow resting time. Post-cooking, let the pork chops rest for around 5 minutes to redistribute the juices, giving you a juicier, flavorful bite.
- Experiment with the cheese. While cheddar lends a tangy sharpness to the breading, any hard cheese is suitable. For instance, parmesan pairs beautifully with pesto.
- Switch up the crackers. The recipe’s oyster crackers can be replaced with any other type, like Saltines for a classic taste or Ritz for a buttery flavor. Alternatively, breadcrumbs could also be used.
- Try different nuts. Walnuts aren’t the sole choice – pine nuts, cashews, or pistachios can be used instead.
- Use different meats. Don’t limit the recipe to pork. Cuts of chicken, veal, or lamb of similar thickness can be used just as successfully.
- 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 for up to 4 days.
- To Freeze: Wrap the pork tightly in plastic and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw thoroughly 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.