Southern Smothered Pork Chops are high on my list of the best comfort food recipes. Pan-fried and perfectly seared, these tender pork chops smothered in a rich onion gravy is a meal the entire family will love.
If you’re a fan of pork, these delicious juicy pork chops in a creamy gravy that’s so flavorful it’s almost sinful. This Southern Classic will definitely change how your family feels about pork chops, and I promise they’ll love every bite.
This one-pot meal is easy to make and is definitely an upgrade from those tired old pork chops most of us serve. The chops stay tender and juicy, and of course, lots of creamy onion gravy helps make them even more delicious.
If you love pork as much as I do, check out my Oven Roasted Rack of Pork. It’s amazingly delicious and easy to make.
Ingredients to make Smothered Pork Chops
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make Smothered Pork Chops. In Chef Speak, this is called the “Mise en Place,” which translates to “Everything in its Place.”
Not only does setting up your ingredients ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
I use bone-in pork chops for this recipe. I love the added flavor that the bone adds to pork as it cooks. You can use boneless pork chops, but they won’t be as flavorful.
How to make Smothered Pork Chops
- Pat dry the pork chops on both sides using a paper towel.
- Generously season both sides of the pork chops with salt, black pepper, sweet paprika, and garlic powder.
- Gently rub the seasonings into the chops and set aside until needed.
- Add the flour to a shallow bowl or plate, and dredge the seasoned pork chops in the flour, completely coating both sides of the pork (save the flour, it will be used later).
- Add the butter and olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. As the butter melts, swirl the mixture until well blended.
- When the pan and butter/olive oil mixture is hot, add the floured pork chops to the skillet.
- Cook the pork chops for 4-5 minutes, letting a dark golden brown crust develop on the chop. Turn the pork over and sear the other side for 4-5 minutes until you get the same beautiful brown crust.
Remove the pan-fried pork chops from the pan and place them on a baking sheet or platter. Loosely cover the chops with aluminum foil and set aside until needed.
- In the same pan with the remaining oil/butter mixture over medium heat, add the onions to the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes. During the cooking process, the onions will break down and caramelize. You want them to get deep brown color, almost to the point of turning black. If they start to burn, reduce the heat to low to finish the caramelization of the onions. *Stir the onions throughout the cooking process.
- Add the garlic to the pan, stirring it into the onions, and cook for one minute.
- Add two tablespoons of the reserved flour to the onion mixture. Stir the flour into the onion mixture until all the flour has been incorporated, then let it cook over low heat for 2 minutes to cook the raw flavor out of the flour. *This is the roux that will thicken the sauce.
- Add the chicken broth to the pan, and use a large metal spoon to scrape up all the tasty brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Let the mixture cook for 2-3 minutes until it begins to thicken.
- Add the heavy cream and fresh thyme to the pan, mixing to incorporate, and let the mixture come up to a simmer. Taste the onion gravy and reseason as needed with salt and black pepper (you can use light cream or whole milk if you prefer).
- Add the pork chops to the pan with any juices that may have been released as they rested. Spoon the onion gravy over top of the pork chops and reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the pork uncovered in the onion gravy for 12-14 minutes.
The gravy will continue to thicken, and if it gets too thick or it starts to separate, add a little water to the pan as needed.
Remove the pan from the heat and let the pork chops rest in the creamy gravy for 5 minutes before serving. Serve the Smothered Pork Chops with mashed potatoes and green beans or your favorite green vegetable, and enjoy!
The pork chops should be fully cooked, but if you’re not sure, use an instant-read or meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached at least 165 degrees.
The most common reason pork chops are tough is simply that they were overcooked. Also, searing them at too high of a temperature can cause the muscle to tighten up and makes the chops tough.
Use an instant-read thermometer to make sure the chops don’t overcook. Even an extra minute can make a difference.
Start with bone-in pork chops, and stay away from thin-cut pork chops if you want to sear them.
Let the chops come to room temperature before cooking.
Season the pork chops generously and let the pork chops rest for 5 minutes before cooking.
Sear the pork chops over medium heat, not medium-high or high.
Let the pork chops rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Serving gravy with the chops keeps the chops from drying out.
Yes, they can. The USDA says that pork chops can be served at 145 degrees.