Sous Vide Pork Chops, marinated in fresh herbs with lemon, are super succulent and juicy, and they make for a fabulous main course. They’re easy enough for a busy weeknight, and impressive enough for a dinner party.
If you’re a longtime Cooking On The Weekends reader, you know I’m not someone who uses many kitchen gadgets.
That said, I love my sous vide immersion circulator. I've been experimenting with it for a little while now and I'm excited to share a few recipes, starting with these amazing sous vide bone-in pork chops.
I’d actually call a sous vide cooker kitchen equipment before I’d call it a gadget. 😉
Side note: Pork is delicious with apples. To make the above pictured apples, add sliced firm apples to a sauté pan over medium-high heat, with about 1 tablespoon of butter per apple. Mix the apples frequently until golden, toss in chopped herbs, and season with a bit of salt and pepper. This should take about five minutes.
What is Sous Vide Cooking?
- Sous vide cooking is the process of sealing food in an airtight bag, cooking it in temperature-controlled water, and then searing it quickly.
- The water is heated to the temperature that you want the protein to be (Temperature guidelines are below). Once preheated, the temperature of the water won't fluctuate. Cooking times for proteins are long, as the food heats slowly until it reaches the temperature of the water. The protein will never go to a higher temperature than the water, so it’s impossible to overcook it.
- In sous vide cooking there's no contact between the food and a cooking surface. So the protein won’t have a crisp or caramelized surface, which isn't very appetizing -- most proteins will be grayish when they’re done. As a result, they need a quick sear. This can be done with a very hot pan or grill, only for about a minute. Remember, the protein is already cooked perfectly, searing is only to add the “crust” and make it beautiful -- not cook it further.
- While meat is the most common food to sous vide, it’s quite popular to cook eggs this way. You can also sous vide poultry and fish. And though not as common, it's possible to sous vide some vegetables.
What do you need for sous vide cooking?
- sous vide immersion circulator (or you can use a digital thermometer and follow these instructions)
- cooking pot (or cambro food container)
- zip-lock bags (or vacuum sealer bags with vacuum sealer)
What temperature do you sous vide bone-in pork chops? For how long?
These guidelines are for bone-in pork chops that are about 1½ inches thick. (About 15 minutes should be added per additional ½ inch.)
Medium-Rare 130°F / 54°C - 1 to 4 hours (Tender, juicy and pink.)
Medium: 140°F (60°C) - 1 to 4 hours (Tender, juicy, a bit less pink.)
Well Done: 150°F (66°C) - 1 to 4 hours (Firm, dry, not pink at all.)
(Personally, I find anything over 140°F too dry.)
The large window for the sous vide pork chops cooking time frees you up. For 1½ inch thick pork chops, they will reach the set temperature at 1 hour, the minimum cooking time -- if they stay in the water for more time, the temperature of the pork will not increase. This means you don't have to worry if you're busy at the end of the minimum cooking time.
How to Make Sous Vide Pork Chops
- Place the sous vide immersion circulator in the vessel you're using, and fill it with water so the level is between the minimum and maximum lines, and then preheat to the desired temperature.- Make the marinade with fresh herbs, lemon juice and olive oil. Trim any excess fat off of the pork chops and spread some of the marinade on top of them.- Add the chops to a large zip-lock bag, or vacuum sealing bag, and add any remaining marinade -- be sure the chops are well coated on both sides. Remove as much air as you can from the bag and seal it.- When the sous vide cooker has preheated, add the bag to the water and set its timer for at least 1 hour. Be sure the pork is completely submerged in the water.- Remove the bag after the allotted cooking time. Take the sous vide pork chops out of the bag and gently pat them dry with paper towels — trying not to remove any of the herbs. Set aside on a clean dry surface, and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
- Lightly coat a large sauté pan or stove-top grill with olive oil and place it over a high flame to preheat. Once the pan is very hot, add the pork. You should hear a sizzling sound when it hits the pan — if you don’t it’s not hot enough yet. Sear the pork only long enough to brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute or so per side.
(More detailed instructions are below.)
Can you reuse sous vide water?
Yes! Since the food is always in a well sealed bag, it never makes direct contact with the water. If you sous vide more than once or twice a week, don't empty the water between each one!
Can you make sous vide pork chops ahead?
Refrigerator: Let the bag cool completely once you remove it from the water. You can refrigerate them in the airtight bag for three days. When you're ready to serve them, remove them from the bag, pat dry with paper towels, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and quickly sear them.
Freezer: Let the bag cool completely once you remove it from the water. You can freeze them in the airtight bag for about four months. The day before you want to serve them, place them in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Remove them from the bag, pat dry with paper towels, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and quickly sear them.
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
- For the fresh herbs, I use a mix of rosemary, thyme and sage. Oregano is also lovely. You can use any or all of them. If you want to use dry herbs instead of fresh, use about ⅔ the amount.
- Even though I know the minimum cooking time is an hour for the temperature I want my pork chops, I'm in the habit of setting the timer for an extra thirty minutes. It's just for insurance, and since it's impossible to overcook, there's no reason not to.
Why Use the Sous Vide Method of Cooking
- It's impossible to overcook your protein.
- The cooking is perfectly even. The thinnest part of the protein will be no more cooked than the thickest.
- You can "set it and forget it."
- The results are incredibly delicious!
Can you make this recipe using a different cooking method?
Yes, here’s how: Marinate the pork chops for about an hour, then bake them in a preheated 375°F oven until the chops are cooked through, about 15 minutes (for about 1-inch thickness.) For more details for baking pork chops, check out this recipe.
I hope you enjoy these scrumptious sous vide pork chops with fresh herbs as much as my family and I do.
This is not a sponsored post. You will note that I'm not promoting a specific brand of sous vide immersion circulators. FYI, mine is made by Instant Pot and it's been great.
Sous Vide Pork Chops with Herbs
- 2½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for searing
- 2½ tablespoons fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano), washed and dried, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon plus ¾ teaspoon lemon juice
- 4 (approximately ½ pound) bone-in pork chops, about 1½ inches thick
- salt and pepper
- olive oil for searing
- Set up and preheat the sous vide immersion circulator. Set up the sous vide immersion circulator in a pot or food storage container. The water level should be between the minimum and maximum lines. Preheat the sous vide cooker to the desired temperature: Medium-Rare: 130°F, Medium-Well: 140°F, Well Done: 150°F. (I like it set to 132°F.)
- Make the marinade. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil with the herbs and the lemon juice. Set aside.
- Prepare the pork. Trim any excess fat off of the pork chops and add some of the marinade to each one. Add them to a large zip-lock bag, or vacuum sealing bag, along with any remaining marinade. Be sure the chops are well coated on both sides. Remove as much air as you possibly can from the bag and seal it.
- Sous vide cook. When the sous vide cooker has preheated to the desired temperature, add the pork bag and set its timer for at least 1 hour. Be sure the pork is completely submerged in the water. Remove the bag after the allotted cooking time. Take the pork out of the bag and gently pat it dry with paper towels — trying not to remove any of the herbs. Set aside on a clean dry surface.
- Sear the pork. Lightly coat a large sauté pan or stove-top grill with olive oil and place it over a high flame to preheat. Generously sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper on both sides. Once the pan is very hot, add the pork. You should hear a sizzling sound when it hits the pan — if you don’t, it’s not hot enough yet. Sear the pork only long enough to brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute or so per side.
- Serve. Slice the pork if desired, or serve on the bone. Serve!
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