Although there’s no substitute for freshly cooked meat, it is possible to reinvigorate your leftovers. This is especially true when it comes to versatile cuts like chicken breasts and pork chops.
However, while I usually prefer to integrate leftover chicken breast into a new meal altogether, pork chops are at their best when they’re the star of the show. Here’s how to reheat pork chops so they’re just as juicy and flavorful as ever.
Why Should You Learn How To Reheat Pork Chops?
If you’ve prepared a huge batch of chops, you’ll want to consume them as soon as you’re able. Any leftovers that have been stored in the fridge should be eaten within four days, or the meat will begin to spoil.
Alternatively, you can store leftover cooked pork chops in the freezer. If you choose to go this route, remember to thaw and reheat the pork within three months. Be aware that cooked meat loses a great deal of its texture when it’s frozen for long periods of time, so try not to go beyond that three-month window.
Reheating cooked pork chops will help you get dinner on the table in a hurry. This comes in especially handy on busy weeknights. The trick is to find the reheating method that will preserve the integrity of the original dish.
What You’ll Need
Before you begin, you’ll need to make sure you have the following basic kitchen supplies on hand. Depending on your technique, you might not end up using all of the equipment on the list, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Glass pan or other oven-safe casserole dish
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Neutral oil, such as canola, or cooking spray
- Aluminum foil
- Heatproof tongs
- Pot holders
- Chicken stock or broth (you can also use water in a pinch)
- Paper towels
- Brush (for the oil)
How To Reheat Pork Chops
In this section, we’ll go over the various reheating techniques. The first method is our top pick for most cooking applications (including grilled pork chops), while the less desirable methods are located toward the bottom of the list.
In The Oven
When it comes to pork chops, we prefer this method above all others. The heat of the oven surrounds the chops from the top, sides, and bottom, allowing them to reheat thoroughly and efficiently. Additionally, by keeping them covered the entire time, you’re ensuring that the meat won’t be overcooked.
To reheat pork chops using this technique, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add a splash of chicken stock or broth to a casserole dish or any oven-safe pan that’s large enough to hold the chops without overlapping. As a rule of thumb, use about one tablespoon of liquid for every pork chop.
Set the cooked pork chops in the prepared dish and cover with aluminum foil. Don’t worry about crowding them—when it comes to reheating, it’s fine if the chops are close enough to touch.
Heat in the oven for about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chops. You can use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature. Be aware that leftover meat should be heated to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Remove the pork chops from the oven and serve them while they’re hot. Because this process is largely hands-off, you can prepare a simple side dish or two while the chops are heating up. Steamed vegetables and couscous are fine accompaniments, and both can be ready within the suggested time frame.
On The Stovetop
The second-best method is quicker than reheating the pork in the oven, but you’ll need to introduce a bit more moisture to the pan in order to keep the meat from drying out. For best results, use a cast iron skillet that’s big enough to hold the chops in a single layer.
Add a small amount of oil and a splash of chicken broth to the pan before adding the chops. Set the pan over a burner set to medium-high heat.
Cover the pan and bring the liquid to a strong simmer. After three minutes, flip the pork to the other side, adding more stock if necessary.
The pork chops are ready when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using The Flash Reheating Method
Flash reheating refers to the process of heating foods at high temperatures for a very brief period of time. It’s meant to warm the food to a safe internal temperature without actually cooking it. We would recommend using it only on smaller cuts, such as thinly sliced boneless pork chops.
First, heat the oven to 475 degrees. Then wrap the leftover pork chops in a sheet of aluminum foil. Stick to one or two per sheet. If you need to reheat more than that, you’ll need to make multiple packets.
Set the foil packets on the top rack in the oven and allow them to heat for 5-7 minutes. Test the temperature to see if it’s reached the safe zone of 165 degrees and reheat for an additional 5 minutes, if necessary. Let the meat rest for 2-3 minutes, then serve hot.
In The Microwave
We’re not big fans of the microwave in general. The method tends to yield lackluster results, with meat that’s often cold in some spots and burning hot in others. That said, if you’re pressed for time, this technique can be used to your advantage.
To reheat pork chops in the microwave, make sure the machine is set to 50 percent power. If the power setting is any higher, it will result in dried-out meat that resembles shoe leather instead of dinner.
Set the pork chops on a microwave-safe plate, making sure to place them in a single layer. Cover the meat with a layer of damp paper towels.
Heat the chops for 30 seconds, then test them lightly with your index finger. If they feel cool to the touch, return them to the microwave for another 20 seconds. Continue to heat them in this manner, testing the temperature after each 20-second interval, until the pork chops are warm in the center and all around the outer rims.
Let the meat rest on the plate for 2-3 minutes. Just to be safe, check the internal temperature once more before serving. An instant-read thermometer should read 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the chop.
How To Reheat Breaded Pork Chops
If the pork chops were breaded before they were cooked, you’ll want to alter your technique. The following methods will give you the most satisfactory results.
One important tip: Reheat any leftover breaded chops within two days. If you wait any longer, the coating will turn soggy.
In The Oven
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then coat the foil with a thin layer of neutral oil or cooking spray.
Set the leftover breaded pork chops on the baking sheet and cover the sheet with another layer of foil. Heat in the oven for 7-8 minutes, then remove the foil and turn the pork chops over. Return to the oven and heat for another 8 minutes.
Check the internal temperature of the pork and return it to the oven for another 5-10 minutes if necessary. Keep a close eye on the breading during this final period to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Once the chops have heated to 165 degrees, allow them to rest for 3-5 minutes before serving.
In an Air Fryer
Yes, you can use an air fryer to reheat food, as long as it had a crisp exterior to begin with. When you reheat non-fried foods in any type of fryer, they tend to be too greasy. Breaded pork chops, meanwhile, are a perfect candidate for the technique.
To begin, brush the chops with a thin coating of neutral oil. Set them in the air fryer and heat the fryer to 175 degrees. Heat for about 10 minutes, shaking the fryer every so often to make sure the chops are heated all over.
After 10 minutes, use an instant-read thermometer to test the internal temperature of the meat. If it’s reached the 165 degree threshold, it’s ready to eat. Otherwise, give it another 2-3 minutes in the fryer, turning and shaking the unit as before.
For more tips on reheating breaded foods in an air fryer, take a look at this instructional video.
A Word About Pork Tenderloin
Let’s say you need to reheat pork tenderloin rather than chops. Is it permissible to use the same methods we’ve described?
Yes and no. Because the tenderloin is such a lean cut, it’s especially prone to drying out during the reheating process. That’s why we would recommend sticking with the oven method, with a few minor alterations.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. The increase in temperature means that the pork will spend less time in the oven, keeping it tender and moist.
Place the cooked pork tenderloin on a rimmed baking sheet and heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. If the pork loin has been sliced into medallions, reduce the heating time to 6-8 minutes.
Selecting Your Cut
For best results, start with high-quality cuts of pork. When you use inferior ingredients, the dish suffers as a result, no matter how skilled you are.
As an aside, we would also suggest sticking with bone-in pork chops, especially if you plan on having leftovers. The meat will contain more natural moisture, which will help it regain its texture as the chops are reheated. The meat will also be more flavorful to begin with, so choosing bone-in pork chops is a win-win proposition.
Seasoning The Meat
For best results, season your pork chops with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. You can experiment with different seasonings as you gain confidence, but these ingredients provide an excellent counterpoint to the pork’s natural flavor.
Depending on how the pork chops were prepared the first time around, you can jazz up the leftovers using sauces and sides. Try topping the reheated pork chops with cherry or apricot preserves, mint jelly, or your favorite chutney. If you reheat them in a skillet, you can coat them in barbecue sauce for the last few minutes of cooking.
To reheat a single pork chop in a hurry, try setting it on top of a batch of brown rice just before the rice is finished steaming. If you’re feeling energetic, prepare a saffron risotto and serve the pork chops alongside.
Reheating Dry Pork Chops
If the cooked pork chops are already on the dry side, you might be hesitant to reheat them. This is understandable—the last thing you want is to wind up with meat that’s completely inedible.
The best way to revive a dry pork chop is to carve it into very thin slices before pan-searing it with a bit of butter. When the pork is sizzling hot, add a splash of full-flavored broth or soy sauce. Once most of the liquid has been absorbed, remove the pan from the heat and serve the sliced pork over rice or steamed vegetables.
When it comes to reheating leftover pork chops, you have plenty of options. The next time you decide to grill up a batch of brined or marinated chops, don’t be afraid to make a few extra. With the right technique and a bit of practice, you can get several meals out of one batch.