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Many recipes explaining how to cook pork chops in an air fryer often treat the internal temperature when they’re done as an afterthought.
Why is this a problem?
The usual advice will be to place your pork chops in the air fryer and cook them for a given time, flipping them over halfway through the process.
This cooking time guidance is wide and will usually take the form of something like this:
Cook pork chops for (insert wide time frame like 10 to 15 minutes) until it reaches a minimum temp of 145°F (exact cook time will vary depending on the thickness of pork and your model of air fryer).
By the time your pork chops have reached an internal temp of 145°F (the USDA’s minimum safe temperature) in an air fryer, it’s already too late, they’re most likely overcooked.
The problem with most of these recipes is that they are based on only one given thickness of pork chop, leaving you guessing what to do with any size that’s not in the recipe.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know what’s going on with your pork chops when they’re cooking inside the air fryer?
Wonder no more. (this is starting to sound like an infomercial)
Using the air fryer-safe Tappecue AirProbe2 Wireless Meat Probe, I was able to track the cooking progress of boneless pork chops of varying degrees of thickness inside an air fryer.
I will show you how long it takes to cook a boneless pork chop in an air fryer, from 1/4 inch thick all the way to 2 inches thick.
And no, you don’t need to go buy the Tappecue AirProbe2, just follow the advice in this article.
How Long to Cook Pork Chops in an Air Fryer
How long does it take to cook a pork chop in an air fryer?
An inch-thick boneless pork chop will take between 10 to 11-minutes to cook in a 375°F air fryer.
The pork chop will have an internal temperature of around 136 to 138°F around this time, as monitored by the Tappecue Wireless Airprobe2 from inside the air fryer.
After resting for 2 to 3-minutes this temperature will be at 152°F.
That’s why it’s crucial to know when the internal temperature of your pork chop is approaching the 130°F to 135°F range.
Having a dependable meat thermometer is key to not overcooking your pork.
Trying to tell if your pork is done without a thermometer using the poke method or the “juices run clear” method are imprecise indicators at best.
To gain more insight into how long it takes a pork chop to cook in an air fryer, I tracked the temperature of eight boneless pork chops with the AirProbe2 inserted into the middle of the pork chop.
Starting at 1/4 inch thick all the way up to 2 inches thick, here are the approximate total cooking times for each:
- 1/4 inch thick pork chop- 5 minutes. (Flip at the halfway mark for all.)
- 1/2 inch thick pork chop- 6 minutes.
- 3/4 inch thick pork chop- 7 minutes.
- 1-inch thick pork chop- 10.5 minutes.
- 1 1/4-inch thick pork chop- 12 minutes.
- Inch and a half thick pork chop- 13.5 minutes.
- 1 3/4-inch thick pork chop- 15 minutes.
- 2-inch thick pork chop- 19.5 minutes.
These cooking times are based on a pull temperature between the 130°F to 135°F range.
See the time and temperature graph below.
(Flipping the pork chop and reinserting the temperature probe on the other side added a little bit of time in the graph below, but kept out of the guidance above.)
Expect carryover cooking to continue after you pull your pork chops from your air fryer.
The internal temperature of your pork chops will rise another 10 to 15°F while resting after cooking.
Air Fryer Step-By-Step Instructions for Pork Chops
Here is the basic process for cooking pork chops in an air fryer.
- Decide if you want to brine your pork chops, allow at least an hour for brining. (see brining section below)
- Measure the thickness of your pork chops. Get a general idea of how long you will air fry them by using the time guidance in this article.
- Gather any helpful tools like a timer and a meat thermometer and set them by the air fryer.
- Preheat your air fryer set to 375°F for at least 5 minutes when you’re ready to cook.
- Season outside with preferred seasonings and rub a tablespoon of oil of your choice on the outside.
- Place your pork chops in the air fryer. Set a timer for flipping your pork chops, depending on their thickness. (1/4″ thick flip at 2 mins 30 secs, 1″ thick flip at 5 to 6 mins, etc.)
- Flip your pork chops at the preferable time for their size, making sure to do it quickly as the longer you take, the longer it takes your air fryer to get back up to frying temperature.
- Set your timer again for the second half of the cook based on your pork chop’s size. Pull your pork chops at the specified time or when they reach 135°F. Let them rest for 5 minutes and serve.
Air Fryer Pork Chop Internal Temperature
What happens if you pull your pork chop from the air fryer at 135°F and it never reaches an internal temperature of 145°F?
It’s ok, don’t throw it back in the fryer.
Destruction of harmful pathogens in meat is a product of both temperature and time.
Here’s the USDA‘s time and temperature guidance for pathogen destruction in pork.
For example, if you air-fry your pork chop to an internal temperature of 134°F and let it rest for 6 minutes you will achieve the same amount of pathogen destruction that occurs instantly at 144°F.
Could you pull your pork chops before this point? You could, but you need to make sure that the internal temperature is meeting the USDA’s guidelines above.
I find that an air fryer pork chop internal temperature of 135°F to be suitable from both a safety and a taste perspective.
An air-fried pork chop will have a certain amount of carryover cooking. Use the time and temperature chart above and you will see a noticeable improvement in the juiciness of your pork chops.
Things That Will Affect Your Cooking Time
Here are some things that could affect your air fryer pork chop cooking time, other than their size.
- Amount of pork chops in the air fryer. Too many pork chops will add to your cooking time.
- How long you’ve used your air fryer prior to cooking your pork chops. An air fryer pre-heated for 5 minutes is preferable. An air fryer in constant use beforehand will run hotter than the temperature indicated.
- Using bone-in pork chops. If you’re cooking bone-in pork chop you can add a few minutes to your time on each to allow for the meat by the insulated bone to finish cooking.
- Going higher or lower than an air fryer temp of 375°F. I’ve found that cooking pork chops at 400°F leaves the outer parts overcooked while the rest of the meat is playing catch-up. An air fryer temp 350°F revealed no benefits over 375°F, and the pork chops took longer.
Rubs and Other Seasonings for Air Fryer Pork Chops
You can use pretty much any dry seasoning you want on your pork chops before you put them in the air fryer.
One ingredient you should avoid in your rub is anything with sugar. Sugar will burn in the air fryer and doesn’t taste good.
Basic salt and pepper are fine as well as garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, dried rosemary, and thyme.
Oil the Outside
You don’t need to oil the outside of your pork chops but they will have a pale appearance without. Just a tablespoon of olive oil rubbed on the outside of your pork chop will give it a nicely browned exterior.
Brining Your Pork Chops
I know that brining can have its detractors, but a lot of the pork chops you purchase are bland and need seasoning on more than just the surface.
A quick 1 to 2-hour soak in a 5% salt brine helps flavor the inside of your pork chop. Mix 8 cups of water and 1/3 cup salt and pour the brine over your pork chops in a casserole dish.
Let them soak anywhere from 1 to 4 hours and you’ll see a marked improvement in the interior taste of your pork chops.
What About Frozen or Breaded Pork Chops?
Great question. What is the guidance for cooking frozen pork chops?
For frozen pork chops you will obviously need to add some time.
My advice would be to cook them as you normally would depending on their thickness to start.
At the 5 minute mark or halfway point, whichever comes first, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Flip them over once they hit 100°F.
Why 100°F? That seems to be around the temperature at the halfway point in the cooking time of most of the pork chops I’ve tested.
Keep checking the internal temperature and pull them from the air fryer when they hit 135°F.
What about breaded pork chops?
I will be doing some tests later but I don’t expect the times to vary too much from the spice-rubbed only pork chops noted in this article.
When cooking pork chops in an air fryer you need to be aware of their internal temperature so that you don’t overcook them.
As you can see, it only takes a minute or two for your pork chops to go from perfect to dry.
By familiarizing yourself with how long a pork chop should take to cook depending on its thickness, you will be ready to pull them well before they reach 145°F.
By pulling them out of the air fryer between 130 to 135°F, you will ensure a juicy pork chop with a crispy outside.
All of this requires a meat thermometer of course.
Having a meat thermometer is nice because it puts the control of your cooking back into your hands.
Rather than relying on recipes with vague and imprecise times and temperatures, you can determine for yourself when your food is done to your liking.