Stuffed pork chops are an incredible way to add even more flavor to an already delicious cut of meat!
However, if you’re making a stuffed pork chop recipe for the first time, you might be wondering how long this dish needs to be baked for?
So, how long should you bake stuffed pork chops at 400°F? The answer depends on how thick your pork chops are. I suggest checking the temperature of your stuffed pork chop after 20 minutes. It will need to reach an internal temp of 145°F to be safe to eat. Most stuffed pork chops will need to cook between 20-55 minutes.
Read on to discover the internal temperature you should follow to cook stuffed pork chops, tips and tricks for baking the perfect stuffed pork chops, and how to bake stuffed pork chops!
To What Temperature Should You Bake Stuffed Pork Chops?
Back in the 1990s when I was growing up, everyone was terrified of this parasitic worm found in pork called Trichinella, so they often cooked their meat to within an inch of its life all the way up to 160°F.
That’s why I never really liked pork chops growing up. They were always gray, overcooked, dry, and tough.
But luckily for all of us, that worm was more deeply studied in the 1990s and the USDA updated those cooking guidelines. Now, pork only has to be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F.
This updated safe cooking temperature was a game-changer in allowing pork chops to be the best dish on any table.
Suddenly, instead of dry, dusty chops, we had moist, tender, and oh-so-flavorful pork chops as the centerpiece to a nice meal.
All of this is to say that it is completely safe to cook your pork chop to an internal temperature of 145°F. It will be safe to eat and delicious. A bit of pink blush is totally normal to see, so no need to be afraid.
Tips And Tricks For Perfectly Cooked Stuffed Pork Chops
If you’re making your own stuffed pork chops, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to make sure your chops are as delicious as possible every single time.
1. Invest In Thick-Cut, Bone-In Pork Chops
If you don’t want dried-out pork, make sure you are buying thick-cut pork chops. These cuts will retain their juices and stay moist and flavorful.
For even better results, look for bone-in pork chops, since the bone helps them stay juicier and adds another layer of delicious flavor.
You will want to look for pork chops that are cut about 2 inches thick for best stuffing results.
2. Try Brining Your Pork Chop Before Stuffing
Pork chops can dry out quickly as they cook since they are so lean. Their flavors are also pretty mild since they don’t have a ton of fat. That’s where brining can come in.
This process of soaking your pork chop in a saltwater solution helps tenderize the meat and add tons of flavor.
The brining process helps the meat draw in and keep moisture, so you’re left with the juiciest stuffed pork chop you’ve ever had! A super simple brine recipe is below:
- 4 cups of water
- 1/4 cup Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons of brown or white sugar
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 4 thick-cut, bone-in pork chops
- Place a medium-sized saucepan on the stove and add all ingredients except pork chops (keep those in the fridge until step 4).
- Over medium heat, bring the water, salt, sugar, and herbs to a gentle simmer. Don’t worry about bringing everything to a boil, but just make sure the sugar and salt have completely dissolved in the water.
- Once the sugar and salt have fully dissolved, remove the brine from the stovetop and let the liquid completely cool. You can pour it into a container and put it in the fridge or freezer to speed up the cooling process.
- As soon as your brine is cooled, you can put the pork chops in a large freezer bag and pour in the brine.
- Seal the bag and place the pork chops in the fridge for 2-4 hours. Do not let them sit on the counter!
- When you’re ready to cook the pork chops, take them out of the brine, dry them off, cut a pocket into the chop, and stuff with your favorite filling.
3. Cut A Small Pocket Into The Chop
There is a trick to making sure your stuffed chop doesn’t bleed all the pork juices everywhere as it bakes and that is to make sure you don’t cut too big of a hole in the side of your chop.
You will want to use a small, very sharp paring knife to slice a small hole into one side of the chop.
Make sure you don’t push your knife all the way through to the other side. The key is to make a pocket, not cut your chop in half like a sandwich.
Once you have your small slice cut, wiggle the knife back and forth inside the chop to widen the inner pocket without making the slice bigger.
This technique might take a bit of practice, but just go slowly and be patient. Eventually, you will end up with a large pocket to stuff full of deliciousness.
4. Bake Them In A Baking Dish And Leave An Inch Of Space Between Each Chop
To make sure you evenly cook your stuffed pork chops, you will want to place them in a baking dish (I like ceramic or heavy stainless steel). Arrange the pork chops so there is about an inch of space between each one.
Leaving some space between each chop lets the air circulate so that each chop is evenly cooked.
If your chops are touching you run the risk of undercooking parts of the chop and overcooking other parts, so when in doubt use more baking dishes!
5. Season Generously With Salt And Pepper
Pork has a mild flavor, so you want to season the outside of your chops with salt and pepper to let that flavor sing.
You don’t need to use a marinade or a dry rub since most of the flavor is going to come from the stuffing you use.
6. Invest In A Meat Thermometer
When it comes to cooking stuffed pork chops, time isn’t really what you’re going to use to guide you.
What you actually need to follow is the internal temperature of 145°F, which you should use a meat thermometer to accurately figure out (my favorite is this one).
I suggest checking your pork chops at 20 minutes and gauging your time from there.
Remember that pork will continue to cook and gain a few degrees as they rest, so you can even take them out of the oven at around 140°F and still have completely safe and fully cooked chops.
5. Let Your Stuffed Chops Rest
Before you dig into your delicious stuffed pork chops, let them rest for at least 5 minutes.
As meat cooks, the juices run towards the center and away from the heat. Letting the meat rest allows the juices to return to where they came from so you end up with juicy and tender pork chops.
Cutting into your stuffed pork chops will let all those juices run onto the cutting board or plate, so be patient and your taste buds will thank you.
How Long To Bake Stuffed Pork Chops At 400°F
Finally, how long should you bake stuffed pork chops at 400°F? The answer depends on a couple of things:
- How many pork chops you’re cooking at once
- How thick the pork chops are
- How much stuffing you’re using
The thing about baking stuffed pork chops is that you can’t fully rely on a time to tell you when they’re done. What you really need to use is the safe internal temperature for cooked pork, which is 145°F.
What I suggest is that you start checking your pork chops at about 20 minutes to see what temperature they have achieved. From that starting point, I would check them every 5-10 minutes until you’ve reached 145°F.
The more pork chops you have in a baking dish, the longer they will take to cook since there is less space for air to circulate.
Make sure you leave at least an inch of space between each chop to ensure even cooking. If you have 4-6 chops in a dish, they may take 40-50 minutes to cook.
Thicker cut pork chops will likely take closer to 40-50 minutes to cook, while thinner cut chops will take closer to 20-30 minutes of cooking time.
Also, the more stuffing you have in your chop, the longer they can take to cook as well. If you use a lot of filling, you might end up baking your chop for closer to 30 to 40 minutes.
The main thing you’ll need to cook your perfect stuffed pork chops is a meat thermometer and patience!
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