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Should I cover pork chops when baking?

Whether to cover pork chops while baking is a common question many home cooks have. The answer depends on a few different factors. Covering pork chops while baking can help them cook more evenly, retain moisture, and prevent drying out. However, leaving them uncovered can help form a nice browned crust. Below we’ll explore the pros and cons of covering vs. uncovering pork chops during baking along with some tips and guidelines.

Benefits of Covering Pork Chops While Baking

Here are some of the benefits of baking pork chops covered:

More Even Cooking

Covering pork chops while baking helps ensure even cooking on all sides. The hot air circulates around the chops under the cover or foil, cooking the tops and bottoms evenly. Chops baked uncovered may develop a very browned exterior before the inside cooks through.

Retains Moisture

Covering baked pork chops helps keep them moist and tender by trapping steam under the cover. This steam keeps the meat from drying out. Uncovered chops often end up drier.

Prevents Burning and Drying Out

Another advantage to covering pork chops during baking is it prevents them from getting too brown or burning. The chops essentially steam and braise under the cover, making it hard for the exterior to overcook.

Disadvantages of Covering Pork Chops

Here are some of the downsides to consider about baking pork chops covered:

Lack of Browning

Covering pork chops while baking prevents formation of a flavorful, browned exterior crust. Many people enjoy a crispy, caramelized crust on pork chops. Covering them can make the chops less visually appealing.

Less Concentrated Flavor

Covered baking dilutes and steams away some of the pork flavor rather than concentrating and caramelizing it in a nice crust. The meat flavor itself may come across more bland.

Longer Cooking Time

Trapping moisture under a cover slows down browning and cooking. This means covered pork chops can take 10-15 minutes longer to bake than uncovered.

Tips for Baking Uncovered Pork Chops

If you opt to bake your pork chops uncovered, here are some tips:

Get Thick, Bone-In Chops

Thick chops over 1-inch hold up better uncovered. The bone also shields the meat near it from drying out. Lean thin chops can easily overcook when baked uncovered.

Use a Broiling Pan

A broiling pan with a slotted top rack allows fat to drip down while the chops brown nicely. This prevents burning from excess fat.

Start Skin-Side Down

For bone-in chops, start them skin-side down on the pan before finishing meat-side up. This renders fat and promotes browning.

Brush with Oil

Coat chops lightly with oil before baking. This improves browning as the chops cook.

Cook at High Temp

Bake uncovered chops at 425°F or higher to quickly develop a flavorful, browned exterior before the inside overcooks.

Let Rest Before Serving

Always let chops rest 5 minutes after baking before cutting to allow juices to redistribute.

Guidelines for Covered Baked Pork Chops

If covering your pork chops while baking, keep these guidelines in mind:

Use a Roasting Pan or Baking Dish

Covered baking works best in a deep pan where steam can recirculate under the lid. Use a roasting pan, casserole dish, or oven-safe skillet with a tight-fitting lid.

Add Some Liquid

Add a small amount of water, stock, wine, or juice to the bottom of the pan before baking covered. This creates steam and prevents burning.

Bring to Temperature Before Covering

Preheat your empty pan at 425°F for 10 minutes. Add chops and cook 5 minutes before covering to develop flavor.

Flip Chops Halfway

Remove the lid and turn chops over about halfway through baking to ensure even cooking. Recover and continue baking.

Make Sure Chops Are Done

The USDA recommends cooking pork to 145°F internally. Use a meat thermometer to confirm doneness if needed before serving.


Overall, whether or not you should cover pork chops when baking depends largely on your end goal. Covering helps chops cook gently and evenly while staying moist. Uncovered baking promotes caramelization but carries a higher risk of drying out. Thick, bone-in chops bake best uncovered while thin chops do well covered. Just be sure to monitor for doneness and rest chops once baked for maximum juiciness. Adjust your baking method based on the specific cut, thickness, and results you want to achieve.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I bake pork chops covered or uncovered?

There are good arguments for both covered and uncovered baking. Covered baking keeps pork chops very moist and cooks them evenly. Uncovered baking helps develop a flavorful browned crust but can lead to dryness. Thick bone-in chops tend to bake best uncovered while thin chops do well covered.

How long does it take to bake pork chops?

Uncovered bone-in chops take 15-25 minutes at 425°F. Covered bone-in chops bake for 25-35 minutes at 350°F. Boneless chops take 10-15 minutes uncovered or 20-25 minutes covered. Cook to 145°F internal temperature.

What temperature do you bake pork chops at?

For uncovered baking, 425-450°F works well. For covered baking, 350°F is ideal. Higher heat helps uncovered chops brown before overcooking. Lower heat prevents burning for covered chops.

Should you put water in the pan when baking pork chops?

Adding some liquid to the bottom of the pan is a good idea when baking pork chops covered. Use 1/4 cup water, wine, broth or juice. This creates steam to keep chops moist. Uncovered chops don’t need liquid.

How do you keep pork chops moist when baking?

Covering pork chops while baking is the best way to keep them moist. Also, use thick, boneless chops and bake at 350°F or lower. Brine the pork chops before baking as well. Let chops rest after baking so juices redistribute.

Nutrition Information

Here is the nutrition information for a 6 ounce pork chop cooked without oil or added fat:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 242
Fat 12.6g
Saturated Fat 4.1g
Trans Fat 0.4g
Cholesterol 89mg
Sodium 59mg
Carbohydrates 0g
Fiber 0g
Sugar 0g
Protein 29g

As you can see, pork chops are an excellent source of protein and also provide a good amount of B vitamins, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus. The fat content will vary depending on the cut, with loin chops being the leanest. However, much of pork’s fat is unsaturated. When enjoyed in moderation, pork chops can be part of a healthy diet.

Cooking Methods Comparison

There are various ways to cook pork chops beyond just baking them. Here is a comparison of some of the most popular pork chop cooking methods:

Method Pros Cons
  • Allows flavoring with rubs or marinades
  • Easy hands-off method
  • Can cook multiple chops at once
  • Risk of drying out
  • Longer cook time
  • Hard to brown evenly
Pan frying
  • Fast cooking time
  • Easy browning
  • Adds flavor from fond in pan
  • Risk of undercooking middle
  • Can burn exterior
  • Cooks few chops at once
  • Adds smoky flavor
  • Creates nice char
  • Direct heat cooks quickly
  • Risk of flare ups
  • Chops may dry out
  • Hard to cook chops evenly
  • Browns chops nicely
  • Cooks quickly with high heat
  • Requires minimal added fat
  • Risk of burning if not watched
  • Dries out thinner chops
  • Only cooks few chops at once
  • Very tender, fall off the bone
  • Retains moisture well
  • Longer cook time
  • Less caramelized flavor
Sous vide
  • Extremely tender and juicy
  • Exact temperature control
  • Specialized equipment needed
  • Long cook times
  • No browning

As you can see, each method has pros and cons. Baking can be ideal when cooking for a crowd or meal prepping. Pan frying or grilling offer faster cooking and more browning but cook less at once. Braising and sous vide deliver very moist and tender chops. Choose the method that best suits your needs and preferences.

Top Recipes to Try

Here are 3 delicious baked pork chop recipes to try:

1. Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Chops


  • 6 bone-in pork chops, 3/4 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Pat pork chops dry and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and brown chops 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
  3. To skillet, add brown sugar, honey, butter, chili powder and cayenne. Cook 1 minute, stirring. Return chops to skillet in sauce.
  4. Bake chops 15-20 minutes until cooked through, basting with sauce halfway. Broil last 1-2 minutes if desired to caramelize sauce.

2. Baked Apple Cider Pork Chops


  • 4 bone-in pork chops
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Combine apple cider, brown sugar and spices in a skillet. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Brush pork chops with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sear chops in skillet 2-3 minutes per side just until browned.
  3. Transfer chops to a baking dish and pour apple cider mixture over top. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.
  4. Serve chops drizzled with pan sauce.

3. Garlic Herb Crusted Pork Chops


  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 bone-in pork chops


  1. Make garlic breadcrumb mixture by mixing all ingredients except chops.
  2. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and lightly coat with oil. Press breadcrumb mixture evenly onto chops.
  3. Bake chops at 400°F for 20-25 minutes until cooked through and topping is browned.


Whether or not to cover pork chops when baking depends on your preferences for moisture vs. browning. Covered baking keeps chops very moist and cooks them evenly. Uncovered baking develops more flavor but brings higher risk of drying out. Use lower heat around 350°F for covered chops and higher 425-450°F for uncovered. Consider the thickness of the chops as well. Thick chops hold up better when uncovered. Brining provides extra moisture insurance when baking uncovered. Let chops rest before serving. With the right method, baked pork chops can deliver tender, juicy results.