You don't need a recipe to roast pork chops to their tender, juicy best. A little olive oil, a 350 F oven and around 20 minutes of cooking time give you the prized golden-brown crust and rich flavor that make pork chops a quick and hearty go-to dish fit for any night of the week.
Oven Cooking Times
Cooking times always vary based on a number of individual factors, especially when baking or roasting in the oven. The oven temperature affects cooking time, plus oven temperatures aren't precise and fluctuate, so each oven cooks at its own pace to some degree. With repeated use, you'll get a feel for whether your model tends to require shorter or longer cooking times. The thickness of your pork chops also affects cooking time; the thinner the cut, the quicker it cooks through. Also, bone-in cuts tend to cook faster than boneless ones. The amount of food you're cooking at the same time, the material and color of the baking tray and other particulars influence cooking time, too.
Of course, you need a good idea of how long your pork chops will be in the oven so you can plan the rest of your cooking and meal prep. While cooking times always vary, it's not difficult to come up with a decent estimate of how long the meat stays in the oven. To use the simplest method, bake your pork chops at 350 F on a shallow, uncovered roasting pan. Using this method, expect bone-in pork chops to require about 20 minutes cooking time per pound, and boneless pork chops to need about 23 minutes per pound. Remember, these are only approximations, and the meat's internal temperature is the key to perfectly cooked meals.
The cooking time and the color of the pork chops are variable enough to be unreliable measures for knowing when the meat is cooked just right. As the USDA advises that pork must be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 F to be safe. This kills off bacteria in raw pork that can trigger illnesses in humans, such as salmonellosis and trichinosis. Ideally, pork chops shouldn't be cooked beyond this point, since the longer it cooks, the drier and tougher the meat becomes.
Because the pork chop's internal temperature is the key to knowing when it's safely cooked, consider investing in an instant-read meat thermometer. Lots of different types are available and most are generally reliable, so pick a style you like and that fits your budget and follow the usage and care directions. Insert the tip into the center of the thickest pork chop to take a temperature reading. Make sure the thermometer stem doesn't come into contact with bone or the baking tray, as these read hotter than the meat.
Eric Mohrman is a food and drink, travel, and lifestyle writer living with his family in Orlando, Florida. He has professional experience to complement his love of cooking and eating, having worked for 10 years both front- and back-of-house in casual and fine dining restaurants. He has written print and web pieces on food and drink topics for Orlando Style Magazine, CrushBrew Magazine, Agent Magazine, Dollar Stretcher Magazine, The 863 Magazine and other publications.