Breaded and baked juicy pork chops are not hard to make, but they can be a bit time-consuming to prepare, especially if you are making a large number at one time. To save time on the day you plan to prepare the pork chops, bread them the night before and stick them in the freezer. The next day, all you have to do is put the chops straight into the hot oven to bake.
The Pork Chops
You can use either boneless or bone-in pork chops. Although a majority of breaded pork chop recipes call for boneless, it is really a matter of preference. Bone-in pork chops retain more flavor than boneless and take roughly the same amount of time to cook if they're the same size. Select thick-cut pork chops that are between 3/4-inch and 1-inch thick. The thicker they are the longer they take to cook, but thinner pork chops tend to overcook before the breading browns well enough.
Breading the Chops
Traditionally, pork chops are breaded with plain dry bread crumbs, seasoned to taste. You can purchase store-bought plain or Italian-style preseasoned bread crumbs from the grocery store or make your own, turning white bread slices into crumbs with a food processor. Toss the crumbs in oil and seasonings and bake in the oven until they're golden brown and dried out. Or use Japanese-style panko bread crumbs, which give the chops a lighter, crunchier crust. To bread the pork chops, dredge each one thoroughly in flour, then in an egg wash, and finally in the bread crumbs, pressing the crumbs into the pork chops to make them stick.
Freezing the Chops
To store the pork chops for cooking the next day, you need to freeze them. The freezer helps keep the breading crisp, rather than going soft in the refrigerator. Wrap each breaded pork chop in freezer paper, then in a layer of plastic wrap. Store the wrapped pork chops in an airtight plastic container to protect them from the freezer air. If you do not plan on cooking all of the pork chops the next day, they can stay in the freezer for up to two months.
Baking Frozen Chops
You can put the frozen pork chops straight into the oven to bake without defrosting them. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Unwrap the number of pork chops you want to use and place them on a wire rack sitting on a baking sheet. The wire rack allows the heat of the oven to crisp the breading all around the pork chops. Bake the pork chops in the oven for roughly 35 to 40 minutes, or until a food thermometer inserted in the center of each reaches 145 F, the minimum safe temperature for eating pork. If you want the pork chops ready faster, turn your oven to the broiler setting and broil for about 8 to 12 minutes on each side. The broiler burns food easily, so keep a close eye on the pork chops on this setting.
Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.