This Puerto Rican fried pork chop recipe is an easy recipe that's full of flavor and perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.
Why You'll Love This Classic Puerto Rican Recipe
Known as chuletas fritas in Puerto Rico, these juicy pork chops are a classic recipe and the perfect choice of protein with a simple side dish such as arroz con habichuelas (white rice and beans).
- Tasty: Adobo seasoning is the secret ingredient that makes this pork chop finger-licking good!
- Affordable: Stores often have sales on pork chops, so this recipe is perfect to add to your monthly meal plan.
- Versatile: You can use different cuts of pork such as center-cut bone-in pork chops, boneless pork chops, thick pork chops, or thin pork chops. You can even take this recipe, skip the frying and use it as a base to make chuletas guisadas.
- Adaptable: The cooking techniques for these easy Puerto Rican pork chops do not end at a frying pan. You can choose to make them a lighter version when you air-fry them, bake them on a sheet pan, or grill them, too!
Bone-In or Bone Out? That is the question!
The first step in choosing the most important ingredient for a juicy pork chop is choosing the right cut! Personally, I like to choose bone-in center-cut pork chops. They're the perfect thickness at close to an inch thick.
There's a good amount of fat on a center cut of pork chop that you won't find in a thinly sliced chop. I love to make the fat on the edge extra crispy (stand it on its edge until it gets to the desired level of crispiness you enjoy before removing it, when pan-frying your pork chop.)
I also find that thick pork chops take too long to fry. (I have a family of 7, and with cooking in small batches to keep from overcrowding the frying pan, thick chops are best for baking or chopping into bite-sized pieces to make spaghetti with pork chops in my house.)
The bone known as "el huesito" also helps keep the pork chop from drying out and is often shown as much love as if you were eating BBQ spare ribs. The marrow is juicy and, according to this article by WebMD, a healthy way to naturally add some nutrients to your meal.
- Pork Chops: Bone-in is best.
- Brine: Water, white vinegar, lemons.
- Seasonings: Sazon, adobo seasoning, garlic powder, dried oregano, black pepper.
- Sofrito: This is optional, but homemade sofrito adds additional flavor from the aromatics of the fresh cilantro, onions, fresh garlic, and bell peppers.
- Oil: Choose a neutral-flavored, high-smoke point cooking oil for frying pork chops. Canola, vegetable, corn, or peanut oil are good choices for frying pork chops. Please do not use olive oil; the smoke point is too low for deep frying meat.
Step 1: Rinse your room-temperature pork chop with water to remove sediments and trim excess fat.
Using room-temperature meat allows for your pork chops to cook evenly.
Step 2: Soak pork chops with water, white vinegar, and lemon or lime juice for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Drain your pork chops and dry them with paper towels.
Step 4: This is optional, but the best way to keep your pork chops from curling while frying, cut slits along the fat about every 1-2 inches.
Step 5: Season pork chops with dry ingredients first, then add the sofrito. Be sure to rub in the seasonings well to coat every inch of your chuletas.
Tip: Wear gloves when seasoning with sazon to keep hands from staining.
Step 6: Pan-fry your pork chops for 3-5 minutes per side or until they get a golden brown color.
*Make sure the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit with a meat thermometer.
Step 7: Remove your pork chops and let them rest on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
Tip: If you're making multiple batches, you can place your cooked pork chops onto a cooling rack over a sheet pan in the oven on warm heat, to keep the pork chops warm.
Pro Tip: Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of your cooking oil. Ensure your starting oil temperature is 375 degrees Fahrenheit when frying pork chops. When cold food touches the oil, the temperature will fall at least 25 degrees immediately. This is why it is essential to cook your pork chops in batches for even cooking.
Puerto Rican Fried Pork Chops Recipe
- 2.5 lbs pork chops center cut
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 teaspoon salt optional, for brine
- 1 packet sazon seasoning with achiote
- ½-1 tablespoon adobo seasoning
- 1 tablespoon oregano dried
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper ground
- 2 tablespoon sofrito optional
- cooking oil enough neutral cooking oil to cover about 1 inch of your frying pan
- Rinse pork chops and remove any excess fat.
- Add pork chops to a large bowl and cover with water, vinegar, lemon juice (and you can also add in the lemon itself once squeezed), and the optional salt. Let the pork chop sit for 30 minutes before draining the brine.
- Pat dry the pork chops with paper towels before seasoning with sazon, adobo, garlic powder, dried oregano, black pepper, and sofrito. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 6 hours.
- Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator and allow it to get to room temperature.
- Preheat over medium high, a heavy bottom, large frying pan and fill with neutral cooking oil until the pan is filled about an inch. Heat oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit before adding about 3 pork chops to the pan.
- Fry pork chops 3-4 minutes per side or until the edges get a beautiful golden brown color before flipping. Fry pork chops until the center reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Drain pork chops on a paper towel lined plate and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.