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Crunchy Baked Pork Chops

Crunchy Baked Pork Chops

The Cook’s Illustrated Magazine is a great read, since it really goes into detail about how the cooks in America’s Test Kitchen came up with each recipe. The only problem I have is that their idea of a “perfect” recipe isn’t always in line with mine – but when they are, they are real winners. A good example of this, for me, is their recipe for crunchy, oven-baked pork chops. This recipe was featured on a segment of the America’s Test Kitchen TV show (it was online, but I’m not sure if you’ll be able to access it without a subscription to their website), where it was filmed from start to finish and the recipe, including the amounts, were given.

I liked the idea of the oven-baked pork chops because they’re a little healthier than fried and the test kitchen kitchen crew was very convincing when they said they were just as good. And they were right. These pork chops were easy to make, on the healthier side and absolutely delicious. The crumb coating was crunchy and flavorful while the pork was moist and tender. I’d recommend not going any thicker than 3/4-inch for the pork chops, as I find that thicker chops tend to be a little bit tougher.

The secret to these is the crumb coating. The crumb layer is made with a combination fresh bread crumbs, garlic and shallots that is toasted in the oven in advance. This gives it a great brown color that it wouldn’t get if you put it on the meat untoasted. There is also an extra battering step, where the chops are dipped in a mixture of egg whites, dijon mustard and flour, which really helps the crumbs adhere and also makes the coating a little extra thick (and therefore, extra crunchy!). The whole dish took less than an hour to make, and most of that was the cooking time for the pork chops. It’s an easy, healthy dinner for a weeknight – and leaves you feeling like you can splurge on some cookies or ice cream for dessert!

Crunchy Oven-Baked Pork Chops
(adapted slightly from a recipe seen on America’s Test Kitchen)
3 cloves garlic
1 large shallot
4 slices of sandwich bread
2 tbsp vegetable oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 large egg whites
3 tbsp dijon mustard
6 tbsp all purpose flour
4 3/4-inch thick boneless pork chops

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a food processor, whizz garlic and shallot until very finely chopped (or chop by hand).
Break sandwich bread up into large chunks. Add bread to the food processor, along with the garlic and shallot, and pulse bread until uniform crumbs form. Add vegetable oil, salt and pepper and pulse a few more times to mix well.
Spread crumb mixture into an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring once, until crumbs are a dark golden brown. They will not brown much once they are on the pork chops, so aim for a very deep brown.
Set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes
Turn oven up to 425F. Lightly grease a wire rack (like a cooling rack) and place on a baking sheet.
In a large dish or pie plate, place 1/2 cup of flour.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, dijon mustard and additional 6 tbsp flour until a smooth batter forms. Pour into another large dish or pie plate.
Place cooled breadcrumbs into a third dish or pie plate.
Pat pork chops dry with a paper towel and trim off any excess fat. Working with one at a time, coat each completely in flour, dip into the egg batter and thoroughly coat with crumbs. Make sure to coat all sides of the meat. Use tongs if you don’t want your hands to get too messy. Place each pork chop on the prepared, lightly greased rack.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until the pork registers 155F with an internal read thermometer.

Serves 4.

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36 Comments
  • Coco
    September 16, 2009

    Totally made these last night and they were YUM!! You’re right, the crumb coating (even though it takes some time) really makes it!

  • Nutmeg Nanny
    September 16, 2009

    How yummy! I got a free Cook’s Illustrated and found it to be a great magazine. These pork chops look great…can’t wait to try them:)

  • leigh anne
    September 16, 2009

    what perfect timing you have! Sam’s just had pork for 1.80/lb last weekend and i now have 12lbs of it in my freezer thanks to my overzealous meat-loving bf 🙂
    making these tomorrow night for sure! thanks!

  • Shaz
    September 16, 2009

    I used to demonstrate recipes from America’s Test Kitchen at the local supermarket and they were always delicious! I’m so going to try this sometime.

  • Daydreams of Baking
    September 17, 2009

    I wonder if this breading would work on chicken or fish for us non-pork eaters? I’ll have to try it out sometime.

  • Coco
    September 17, 2009

    The breading would be amazing on anything… I ate it by the spoonful when it came out of the oven!

  • Kiva-Farmstead Lady
    September 18, 2009

    My sent me a link for these from America’s Test Kitchen and I watched the video and made them last week as well. The bread coat is delicious and they were quite yummy.

    Lovely blog you have here. I share the link to the video (the scones are delicious as well) on my blog.

  • leigh anne
    September 20, 2009

    i made this last thurs evening and it is going in my “regular rotation” for pork from now on – it was awesome!! i had to use an extra piece of bread to get what i thought would be enough crumbs (cuz the bread i used was a small-ish loaf of whole wheat) bu ti ended up with exactly enough crumbs 🙂 and at first i thought mixing flour in the egg wash was a little weird but it worked SO well. perfectly crunchy, delicious, AND absolutely no grease! the crust sealed in the juices and this was a big hit at my house – thanks again for posting this recipe!

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    October 6, 2009

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    November 6, 2009

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  • Sonya
    July 28, 2015

    Exactly – they can’t account for personal taste…but at least their recipes are always fool-proof, and delicious even if not to my taste. I just wanted to vouch that this recipe is delicious! We had the original version (this one here) earlier this year, and today I made the variation (also from CI) with Prosciutto and Asiago cheese. My husband and I loved them! I have the recipes from Cooking for Two 2009 so they’re just scaled down versions. I love Cook’s Illustrated!

  • Sonya
    April 4, 2017

    I made these again, but this time side by side with the prosciutto and asiago variation, and (I guess this is a “duh”), the cheese version was even better! I’m just gonna make them with the prosciutto and asiago every time now. That recipe is in the magazine too, but for those of you who don’t have it, you just omit the salt when seasoning the pork (and also no salt in the bread crumbs). “Before breading the pork chops, place a 1/8-inch thick slice Asiago cheese on top of each chop, then wrap the chops with a thin slice prosciutto, pressing on the prosciutto and cheese to help them adhere. Coat and bake the chops as directed, handling the chops gently to prevent the cheese and prosciutto from falling off.” While it felt like they would never hold together while I was making them, miraculously they held together completely fine. The original version is delicious, kinda like a fresher, much better tasting version of shake n’ bake with great flavors, and the prosciutto/asiago makes it a little bit gourmet 🙂

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