Apple Cider Sage Pork Chops

66 Comments

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

Jump to RecipeJump to Video

Perfect pork chops brined in apple cider and cooked with fresh apples and sage. They look impressive, but between you and me, they’re super easy to make! All you need is a cast iron skillet and a my insider tips for juicy, crusty browned, no-fail pork chops.

Apple cider sage pork chops in a skillet

Pork Chops with Apples

Let’s scrap the idea that restaurant-worthy, pan fried pork chops are unattainable at home. It’s quite the opposite! And this apple sage version hits the sweet spot for an impressive (and relatively inexpensive) fall dinner idea. The pork chops are brined in an apple cider solution, seared until golden in browned butter, then cooked with fresh apples and sage. Oh yeah – so good.

They’re a great one-pan meal and just as delicious as my chicken picatta or Tuscan chicken, but highlight fall’s best flavors. And honestly, they give pork chops the spotlight they deserve on a weeknight dinner or holiday table. So grab your best cast iron skillet and let’s cook these pork chops with apples to perfection.

Ingredients for apple cider sage pork chops on table.

Apple Pork Chop Ingredients

For the brine:

  • Water & Apple Cider: If you can, grab apple cider and not apple juice. Yes, there is a difference!
  • Kosher Salt & Black Peppercorns: Salt plays a huge role in tenderizing the meat (which I’ll talk more about below) and the peppercorns give this a spiced kick.
  • Garlic & Sage Leaves: This duo is a fall inspired aromatic combo that really takes these pork chops over the top.

For the pork chops:

  • Butter: Opt for unsalted butter as the chops will already have been soaked in the salty, briny solution.
  • Pork Chops: Bone-in pork chops are the way to go for maximum tenderness. Keep reading to see why!
  • Apples: Freshly sliced apples are added for a sweet, crisp touch. I personally love honeycrisp or gala apple for this recipe, but you can use whichever variety you like.
  • Sugar: Just one tablespoon is needed to give a touch of sweetness to the buttery skillet sauce. I’m using coconut sugar but you can use any granulated sugar.
  • Shallot & Sage Leaves: I add a few more sage leaves to really enhance the overall autumnal flavor.
  • Apple Cider & Dijon Mustard: A blend of these two will add lots of flavor and depth to the apple cider sauce.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

The Secret To Juicy Pork Chops: The Brine

Did you know that pork chops are naturally lean? Not quite as lean as pork tenderloin, but they’re still prone to drying out when cooked. And no one wants to eat a rubbery pork chop. So, I’ve got a little tip to prevent that – brining! This extra step early in the process goes a long way for extra juicy results.

When pork chops are soaked in brine (a mixture of salt, liquid, and sometimes aromatics), it helps to add moisture and flavor from the get-go. More specifically, the salt has a tenderizing effect on the meat, helping to soften the muscle fibers.

And good news – the brining process isn’t as long as you think. You really only need an hour or two. Heck, you’ll even notice a difference after 30 minutes. Just make sure not to exceed 12 hours, otherwise it’ll have a reverse effect and activate that (unwanted) rubbery texture again.

How To COOK PORK CHOPS WITH APPLES

Are you ready for the best pork chops ever? You’ll be blown away with these pork chops seared in buttery, apple cider goodness, and cooked to a perfectly juicy interior. Let’s get started!

Brining pork chops in apple cider solution in a glass bowl.

Start with the brine. In a small pot, bring the brining ingredients to a boil (except the apple cider). Remove from the heat, stir in the apple cider, and let it cool. Then, place the pork chops in a dish, bowl, or sealed bag, and pour the cooled brine over the pork chops. Brine for a few hours in the fridge.

Prepping pork chops on a paper towel.

Prep the chops. Remove the pork chops from the brine, rinse with cold water, and pat them dry with paper towels. Then let them come to room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.

Searing pork chops in a skillet.

Let the searing begin! Heat your cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter and oil. Once it starts to cook a little, turn the heat down to medium and add the pork chops. Sear for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Then move them to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm while you make the apple cider sage sauce.

Making apple cider sauce in skillet for pork chops

Apple cider sage sauce time. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and coconut sugar to the pan, and stir together. Add the sliced apples and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly soft. Then stir in the shallots and chopped sage leaves for another minute.

Apple cider sage pork chops in a large skillet.

The final touches! Add the apple cider and mustard, and gently stir the sauce together. Add the pork chops back to the pan, and simmer in the sauce until warmed through, while occasionally spooning the sauce over the pork chops. You’ll know your chops are done when they’re cooked to 145°F.

Storage Tips

If you happen to have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. When it comes to reheating, I’ve got two methods to tackle the fear of drying them out.

  • Microwave: For a quick reheat, the microwave is your best choice. Just place the pork chop on a plate, cover it with a wet paper towel, and heat in 30-second intervals, until the internal temperature reaches 145°F.
  • Oven: Heat your oven to 350°F and place your pork chop in a baking dish along with a few tablespoons of broth. Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F.

COMMON QUESTIONS

Can boneless pork chops be used as well?

Yes, you can use boneless pork chops. But I prefer bone-in pork chops for two main reasons. First, there’s more fatty goodness around the bone, which gives the chop a juicier flavor and texture. And second, bone-in meats take longer to cook, so again, the meat is slightly more juicy and tender, and not as easily overcooked.

What temperature do you need to cook the pork chops to?

According to the USDA, the safe internal pork cooking temperature is 145°F, followed by a 3-minute rest before eating. This will result in a product that is both safe to eat and at its best quality—juicy, moist, and slightly pink in the middle (yes, a smidge of pink is okay). You can always use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature before removing from the skillet.

Is a cast iron skillet necessary for this recipe?

Here’s my pro tip – always cook big chunks of meat in a cast iron skillet. It maintains consistent heat and will cook your pork chops evenly, enhancing the meat’s natural flavor, and giving it that browned crust we all love.

Apple cider sage pork chops on a plate with fork

What to Serve with Pork Chops

More Meaty Dinner Ideas

These pork chops make for a stunning dinner, but have you tried these other meaty mains? They’re just as delicious, quite foolproof, and reader favorites!

Enjoy these apple cider sage pork chops! If you make them, let me know how they turned out in a comment below. Your review will help other readers in the community.

Apple cider sage pork chops in a skillet next to a napkin.

Apple Cider Sage Pork Chops

4.89 from 26 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Brining Time: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

These juicy, pan fried pork chops brined in apple cider and cooked with fresh apples and sage make for the best fall dinner idea. Watch the video below to see how I make them in my kitchen!

Video

Ingredients 
 

For the Brine

  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 4 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 cups apple cider juice

For the Pork Chops

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 4 bone-in pork chops
  • 2 apples (I prefer honeycrisp or gala apples), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped sage leaves
  • 1 cup apple cider juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Instructions 

  • In a small pot, bring the water, salt, garlic, sage, and peppercorns to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in apple cider. Let the brine cool to room temperature.
    Apple cider brine in a white pot for pork chops.
  • Place the pork chops in a glass baking dish or bowl (you could also use a sealed bag). Pour the cooled brine over the top of the pork chops, making sure they're completely covered, and let them brine for 1 to 2 hours (or up to 12 hours) in the fridge.
    Soaking pork chops in apple cider brine.
  • Remove the pork chops, give them a rinse with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Let them come to room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.
    Pork chops on a paper towel.
  • Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter along with the oil. Once shimmering, turn the heat down to medium and add the pork chops. Sear for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove the chops from the pan, set on a plate, and cover with foil to keep warm.
    Pan fried pork chops in a skillet.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, add another 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan, along with the coconut sugar, and stir together. Add the sliced apples and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened but still firm. Add the shallot and chopped sage leaves, and stir for another minute.
    Apple cider sauce in a skillet for pork chops.
  • Add the apple cider and mustard to the pan, and gently stir together. Use tongs to add the pork chops back to the pan, and bring the liquid in the pan to a simmer while warming the pork chops, about 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the pork chops and use an instant read thermometer to ensure the pork chops are cooked through to 145°F.
    A skillet with apple cider sage pork chops.

Lisa’s Tips

  • For a slightly thicker sauce: mix 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder with 2 teaspoons water in a slurry, then add to pan.
  • To make it dairy-free: use a vegan butter or swap the butter for more oil. 

Nutrition

Calories: 486kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 140mg | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 767mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 324IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Apple Pork Chops, Pork Chop Recipe, Pork Chops, Pork Chops with Apples
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted November 2021, but updated to include new information for your benefit!

You May Also Like

About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you for sharing your feedback!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




66 Comments

    1. Hi Miriam – It sounds like you might have overcooked them! Next time, try reducing the time a bit and make sure you use an instant-read thermometer to keep track of the internal temperature.

  1. My family said this was the best pork chops I’ve ever made! They came out tender and moist and not dry at all. Loved the addition of the apples. Yum!5 stars

  2. This was absolutely delicious! The pork chops were so flavorful and the recipe was fairly simple to follow! I will definitely be making this again5 stars

  3. Agree with all the wonderful comments. This was wonderful…husband raved. Served with mashed potatoes and some delicata squash. By the way, Lisa, just got your cookbook. Congratulations! It’s a beauty. So fun following you as a fellow OC gal!5 stars

    1. I’m thrilled to hear these pork chops turned out perfectly, Marie! Glad you got your hands on my cookbook, as well. I’m excited to see what you meal prep from it.

  4. I’ve made this twice now, my picky kids eat it too! it’s a great festive dinner. Paired it with rice and lisa’s berry crisp and icecream – a winning combo5 stars

  5. Another winner! I am starting a new job with early variable hours, so anything I can make ahead is fantastic. It’s so easy to reheat this hearty meal.5 stars

  6. Well, not sure I can review this completely as I made my first blunder with a Downshiftology recipe. I’m heartbroken, but can’t wait to make it again. I use ACV instead of ACJ in the brine…😪yea, I wondered why my chops wouldn’t brown. LOL. However, let me just say, my husband said they were still rather tasty. They were a little sweet, from the wonderful apple, butter, Sage and AC and a bit tart from my boo-boo.  Lol

  7. Wow it looks really good, of course I think the quality of the ingredients is important for this dish. thanks for this beautiful recipe.5 stars

      1. I would love to try this recipe. Can I substitute regular granular sugar for coconut sugar? Or what else is a substitute? Thanks. 

  8. I love, love, love this recipe. I make this once or twice a month for just my husband and I. But it’s special enough for hosting a simple dinner party. We love this yummy sauce over mashed potatoes.5 stars

  9. I would love to try this recipe. Can I substitute regular granular sugar for coconut sugar?  Or what else is a substitute?  Thanks. 

  10. It says to add chopped sage leaves to pan with apples and shallots yet there is no amount listed in for pork chops only for brine

  11. I made these tonight with a salad for our Anniversary and what an amazing dinner.  I love the difference brining makes when cooking.  I did cheat and added a little white and also thickened the sauce.  Many thanks.5 stars

    1. You can do this in the oven, although I’m not sure what the time and temperature would be. Stay tuned for baked pork chops!

  12. This was delicious. I don’t usually like or make pork chops, but the brine was a game changer.
    The apples with the delicious sauce was perfect – like a northern French dish. I served with baked sweet potatoes.
    thanks for your recipes…5 stars

  13. Hi, this recipe looks lovely but I don’t eat pork. What could I replace it with that would still fit this recipe- chicken breast or thighs perhaps?

  14. I’ve made this twice now and it’s absolutely fantastic. I follow the recipe exactly. I would expect to pay $40 for this dish àt a restaurant in NYC. Love it!

  15. This was fantastic! I used boneless pork chops because that’s what I had. Other than that, I strictly followed the recipe. I brined the chops for 4 hours and they turned out super juicy. I’m definitely making these again but I will double the apples and sauce next time. I hope the poor person that used ACV instead of cider gives it another try because it really is delicious!!5 stars

    1. I’m glad these turned out great even with boneless pork chops Lisa! You can always add more apples and sauce to this as well :)

  16. Lisa, 
    I watched this video on You tube this morning and then made it for dinner tonight. This was so easy to make and tasted delicious! The apples still has a little crisp to them and so much flavor, YUM! Thank you for always posting easy, clean, delicious recipes.
    XO, Michelle 5 stars

  17. Hello! I have all the ingredients and will be making this recipe for my boyfriend this weekend. The thing is, I do not yet know if I will cook on Saturday or Sunday. Do you think I can marinate in the brine for 2-5 hours on Friday and then pat dry and store chops in frig (already previously marinated) waiting to learn which day I will actually cook the full meal? Many thanks! Renée

  18. Wow! This was a huge hit in our house. We used 2 very large and thick cut pork chops from our local butcher. Just my husband and myself. I followed your recipe as written. The apples, shallots, coconut sugar, dijon, etc blended perfectly. We coupled this with your green bean shallot lemon recipe. Loved it!5 stars

  19. I liked the marinade but found 1 cup of ACV in the sauce was wayyyyy too much. Inedible. I managed to salvage sauce by adding bicarb of soda, more sugar and some milk. I think 1/4 cup ACV and 3/4 stock would be a better balance.2 stars

    1. Hi Evelyn – it sounds like you made a mistake on the recipe. You’re supposed to use apple cider juice, not apple cider vinegar. The vinegar would definitely change the entire flavor profile.

  20. I made this last night, and it was a complete and utter hit!! We cleaned the pan of all the juices, and loved every bite!! Total repeat! I used thinner, boneless chops (from a pork loin), and although these are typically a very dry cut of meat, they turned out super juicy and full of flavour. I will absolutely make this again.5 stars

  21. I made!!! Easy and quick aside from hands off brining part… was delicious. Will make again and use same technique with different flavor profiles.5 stars