This Pork Chop Skillet with Cranberry Apple Pan Sauce is an easy, one-pan dish that features all the flavors and colors of fall! It's a healthy skillet dinner that is great for weeknights and even fancy enough for a special dinner.
About the recipe
Raise your hand if you're in a weeknight dinner rut and are in dire need of a break from chicken! We've all been there at some point, and if you haven't been, you will be if you cook dinner at home on the regular. Let's face it, sometimes the grocery budget gets tight - fish and beef can be expensive, and we just get tired of chicken!
When I want something super fast and have food on the table in under 30 minutes, I love to rely on boneless, center-cut pork chops! This is such an affordable cut, a great source of lean protein, and in my opinion, easier to cook than a chicken breast.
This easy pork chop recipe uses the delicious brown bits that develop on a skillet as the pork is cooked to make a simple pan sauce. The acid from the fruit and fruit juice does something that chefs call "deglazing" the pan, and the technique results in adding tons of flavor to your final sauce that will elevate your dish and make it taste super fancy!
- Boneless, center-cut pork chops
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Honeycrisp apple
- Fresh cranberries
- Fresh thyme
- Chicken stock
- Pomegranate juice (substitute with apple cider)
- Maple syrup
- Dijon mustard
Step 1: Sear the pork chops. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Place a bit of oil on the bottom, then add the seasoned pork chops. Cook the chops for 2-3 minutes per side, then transfer them to a plate and cover them loosely with foil.
Step 2: Make the pan sauce. Saute some apples then add the fresh cranberries, thyme, chicken stock, juice, and maple syrup. Bring all of this to a boil over medium heat, reduce to a simmer, then cook for 7-8 minutes until the sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon. Whisk in the Dijon mustard, then add the pork chops back into the skillet with any accumulated juices. Serve right away!
What internal temperature should you cook pork chops to?
You don't have to cook pork as long to reach the safe internal temperature. In case you were wondering, pork only needs to reach a temp of 145 degrees℉ for safe consumption, and chicken needs to reach 165 degrees℉. So there's much less of chance that you will overcook the pork when simply sauteeing in a skillet!
Boneless, center-cut pork chops cook quickly and only need 2-3 minutes per side when pan-fried over medium heat.
What flavors pair well with pork chops?
Pork pairs really well with the sweet acidity of fruit like fresh cranberries and apples, and Dijon mustard and a hint of maple syrup are great ingredients to add depth and interest to the flavor of your sauce.
I've got a ton of fresh thyme exploding in the box garden that I added to my sauce, but you can also use dried thyme. And as far as the juice goes, I used pomegranate juice to enhance the beautiful maroon color of the cranberries that burst as the pan sauce is cooked. But apple cider or apple juice would work just as well.
Looking for more savory apple recipes? Check out these Cheddar Grits Bowls with Cinnamon Apples and Crispy Turkey Sausage or this Red Cabbage Apple Slaw!
Are you ready to get make this Pork Chop Skillet with Cranberry Apple Pan Sauce? Good! I’m so excited for you to try this recipe. Once you get the chance to make it, please let me know how it turns out for you!
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Pork Chops with Cranberry Apple Pan Sauce
- 4 boneless center-cut pork chops (about 1.25 pounds)
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 large Fuji or Honeycrisp apple, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh cranberries, washed
- 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme, roughly chopped (or ½ teaspoon of dried thyme)
- ½ cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup pomegranate juice, apple cider, or apple juice
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper. Place a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add about 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the heated skillet. Place pork chops in skillet and saute for 2-3mminutes on each side, about 9 minutes total. The internal temperature should reach 140℉. Remove pork chops from skillet and transfer to a plate on the stovetop. Cover with foil to keep warm.
- Return the skillet to medium-low heat and add the apples. Saute until slightly softened, about 3 minutes, then add the cranberries. Saute for a minute to combine. Add the thyme, chicken stock, pomegranate or apple juice, maple syrup, stirring continuously to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to medium-low and stir often to reduce the liquid down until the sauce will be thicker and lightly coats the back of a spoon. Whisk in the Dijon.
- Return pork chops and any accumulated juices back to the pan. Use tongs or a fork to turn the pork chops a couple of times in the pan to heat through and coat with sauce. Serve pork chops hot with fruit and sauce spooned over the top.
- Serving suggestions: creamy polenta, mashed sweet potato or butternut squash, or wild rice pilaf as a carb option and winter greens like sauteed chard, collard greens, turnip greens, kale or spinach as a veggie option.
- Leftovers are wonderful up to 3 days. Simple reheat the chops covered in the microwave with sauce spooned over the top. I recommend heating for 1 ½ to 2 minutes at 70 percent power to prevent toughness with reheating.