ranch chops

Are you team “fry” or team “bake”?

I’m team “it’s all good.” Sometimes I go for the fry because it creates unparalleled texture, but sometimes I go for the bake because I’m just not in the mood for oiliness and the smell of fried food kinda makes my stomach turn.

I tried these chops both ways, and although my cooking technique may have left a little bit to be desired, the flavor was SO OMG GOOD that all texture shortcomings were forgiven. I mean, these were the juiciest, most flavorful pork chops that I’ve ever eaten. Hands down.

I fried the first two chops briefly on each side to get a nice golden crispness, but then finished them in the oven because they were thick and they needed to be cooked through. They were nice and juicy, but maybe a tad oily for my liking. The second two chops I baked from start to finish, but had to give them a few minutes under the broiler because they were so moist that the crumbs didn’t brown even after AN HOUR. Some of the bread crumbs never did achieve golden brown crispness, but it was all good because the flavor was so amazing that my stomach kept saying “GIMMEEEE!”

True story. My stomach really said that.

So, you might want to experiment with baking/frying techniques to get them just right for you, but the marinade and breading are 100% delicious. If you’re an experienced pork chop cooker (which I admittedly am not), feel free to share you tips in the comments below! We’ll all be very thankful!

Ranch Chops

Ranch Chops

5 from 1 vote
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Ranch Chops

Juicy and tender pork chops drenched in a homemade ranch dressing and then breaded and pan fried.

Total Cost $6.73 recipe / $1.68 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 4 medium boneless pork chops (1 1/4 lbs) $5.80
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk $0.27
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs $0.34
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05
  • 1 tsp dried parsley $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill $0.02
  • 10-15 cranks fresh cracked pepper $0.16
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil for frying $0.02

Instructions

  1. Place the pork chops in a zip top bag or another shallow, spill proof container and cover with the buttermilk. Allow the pork to marinate in the refrigerator for two hours or over night.
  2. Prepare the breading by combining the bread crumbs, salt, garlic powder, parsley, dill, and cracked pepper in a bowl. For each chop, allow the excess buttermilk to drain off and then dip it in the seasoned bread crumbs until all surfaces are well coated.
  3. To fry the pork chops, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is nice and hot, add two chops to the skillet and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Add the second 2 tablespoons of oil and cook the second two chops in the same manner. Transfer the fried chops to a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the center of the pork chops are no longer pink. OR...

  4. To bake the pork chops, place a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet to keep the chops lifted off of the baking sheet. This will allow heat and air to reach the bottom of the chop and reduce sogginess. Bake the chops for 45 minutes to one hour or until the center is no longer pink. If the breading is not golden brown by the time the inside of the chops are cooked, place the chops under the oven broiler for a few minutes on each side (adjust the rack so that the chops are about 4-6 inches from the heat).

Ranch Chops

Step By Step Photos

raw chops
I used boneless, thick cut chops. This recipe might be better with thin pork chops because they cook quickly and you might not even need to finish them off in the oven after frying… might try that next time!

marinate in buttermilk
Add the raw pork chops to a zip top bag or a shallow dish and cover with buttermilk. Marinate for about 2 hours or over night. Buttermilk is pure magic here… it gives an amazing flavor and keeps the chops super moist. You can not use a buttermilk substitute here, it won’t be the same. You’ve gotta use the real thing. Luckily, I saw on the internet recently that you can freeze leftover buttermilk for use later. I haven’t tried it yet, but everything on the internet is true, right? 0_o

Panko
I used panko bread crumbs because they’re light and crunchy, but you could also use regular bread crumbs… or even Special K or something if you wanted. Just make sure the pieces are small enough so that when you mix the spices in they don’t all fall to the bottom of the bowl.

spices
This is what I used to make my ranch-dressing-eque seasoning blend (the buttermilk totally makes it like ranch dressing, though). Salt, garlic powder, parsley, dill, and pepper. If you have onion powder, you can throw some of that in there too (1/4 tsp or so).

breading
Combine the bread crumbs and the seasoning in a bowl and mix very, very well.

dip chop
Take each chop, let the excess buttermilk drain off, and then dip it in the seasoned bread crumbs. I made sure to wiggle it all the way down to the bottom because I suspected that some of the spices had fallen all the way to the bottom of the bowl. Coat the chop on all sides.

breaded chops
And then they look all fuzzy and cute. Anyway. If you’re going to bake them, place them on a wire rack over a baking sheet like this to keep them up off the pan where moisture can get trapped. Use non-stick spray to help keep them from sticking. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes to an hour.

fry chops
Or you can shallow fry them in a skillet with a couple tablespoons of oil. Make sure the oil is nice and hot before you add the chops. It should sizzle if you drop a bread crumb or two into it, that’s how you can know it’s ready.

bake vs fry
Even when you fry them, you’ll need to finish them off in the oven if you’re using thick cut chops. See how nice and golden the fried chops are on the left and the baked chops are still all blonde (this is only after about 15 minutes, though).

fried chops
After about 30 minutes in the oven, the fried chops were cooked through. Always cut one open to see if they need more time. If so, just pop them back in for 10-15 minutes until no longer pink.

broiled chops
Even after an hour in the oven the baked chops were still completely white and even a little bit soggy. So, I placed them under the broiler (direct, close proximity heat) to brown them up a bit. I let them go for about 3-4 minutes on each side, but this will vary greatly depending on your broiler and how close your chops are… so, just keep an eye on them, k?

baked chops
So, despite the fried chops being a lil oily and the baked chops being a lil soggy in the middle, they were still SO FREAKING GOOD.