Using Panko crumbs is the secret to crispy, crunchy pan-fried pork chops!
What Are Panko Crumbs?
Panko crumbs are a a light, flaky bread crumb used in Japanese cooking to coat fried foods. Not only are is the bread baked, but the Panko crumbs are then toasted.
They provide considerably more crunch than regular bread crumbs! Panko crumbs are also a little larger in size and, in my opinion, are way, way less likely to get soggy if they absorb too much fat.
That’s always been my biggest beef with breaded foods. If you don’t cook it just right, the coating can get soggy. Then, well, ick.
Panko crumbs can be purchased seasoned or unseasoned. You can also buy gluten-free Panko crumbs if you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity.
Pork chops are one of our go-to meats here at Chez Alexander. Our local grocery store puts center cut pork loin on sale about every other week, so we’ll buy a whole loin, slice it into one-inch thick chops and freeze them.
TIP: If you are freezing pork chops (or chicken, for that matter), place a piece of wax or parchment paper on a cookie sheet and lay the chops flat. Keep from touching so they freeze individually. After about 2 hours in the freezer, transfer to a gallon Ziplock. You will be able to thaw and eat as many pork chops as you need for a meal.
A center cut pork loin abuts the tenderloin area of the pig, so one end of the pork loin usually has a portion of darker tenderloin. We call this the “yum yums.” We cube this section and freeze it for “Pork Yum Yum Stew.” (More on that later!) Also, we add to the bag every time we buy pork until we have enough for stew.
Yes, they do get a titch freezer burned if you don’t use them soon enough, but when you use the yum yums in a stew, as opposed to say, kebabs, you don’t notice!
Crispy Pan-Fried Pork Chops
This recipe has quickly become a favorite at our house! It took me some trial and error to figure out the details, but once I did, Mr. Alexander and Biscuit were thrilled!
It starts with the Panko crumb breading, which is a mixture of Panko, Italian seasoning, shredded Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt and pepper. Whisk the breading well.
You can see in the background my recipe development book for The Titanium Spork. Here you can see it in the wild, so to speak:
By the way, don’t follow the recipe above. I’ve tweaked it since then.
(Also, that is the salt cellar my MIL bought me, which I lurve, and some bananas that will soon become banana bread.)
Next up is emulsification to allow the Panko breading to adhere to the chops. You’ll find in a lot of breading recipes that the mixture base is egg. That’s a totally traditional method of breading.
In this case, however, I’ve used butter, plus 2 Tablespoons of stone ground mustard.
Yes. Stone ground mustard. Or, whole grain mustard. I suppose you could substitute Dijon, but don’t substitute plain yellow mustard. You loose depth of flavor that way.
Whisk the butter and mustard together until it is mixed and emulsified.
Dip the pork chops in the butter and mustard mixture, then coat in the Panko crumbs, pressing the crumbs firmly into the meat. The more Panko you have, the crispier it will be!
Heat a large cast iron or non-stick skillet to medium low heat. That’s 3.5 on my stovetop. The key is to cook the pork at a low temperature so the meat is cooked through without burning the Panko breading.
Not that I know anything about that:
For the record, the second side did not get any better. It got worse. We had to scrape off the breading that time. Oops! Still, it wasn’t as bad as The Worst Ever French Onion Soup.
After much trial and error, for a 1 inch thick pork chop, I finally determined frying them on medium low heat for about 5 minutes per side makes for the perfect crispy pork chops!
Just spork it!
Crispy Pan-Fried Pork Chops
- 4 boneless pork chops, 1 inch thick
- 1½ cups Panko crumbs
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- ⅓ cup Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano shredded
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 stick melted butter, plus 2 tbsp divided
- 2 tbsp stone ground mustard
- In a large bowl, whisk together Panko crumbs, Italian seasoning, shredded cheese, salt and pepper until well mixed. Set aside. In another large bowl, whisk 1 stick melted butter and mustard until emulsified/well incorporated.
- Dip each pork chop into the butter mixture. Transfer to the Panko crumbs and coat both sides of the pork chops, pressing the meat into the Panko crumbs until well coated. The more crumbs you have, the crispier it will be.
- In a cast iron or large non-stick skillet, heat remaining 2 tbsp of butter over medium low heat. (3.5 on my stovetop.) Pan fry the pork chops for 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Adjust heat to avoid burning the Panko, as needed.