No more dry as cardboard pork chops with this sour cream pork chops recipe for juicy, tender chops. For a flavorful dinner tonight, make chops that the whole family will enjoy. It might just become your next family favorite. The sauce is smooth and creamy with caramelized onions, garlic and herbs and the secret ingredient switch? Using French-style sour cream called creme fraiche instead of sour cream. Read on to find out why.
Why use creme fraiche instead of sour cream? Because of the higher fat content. Creme fraiche has twice the fat of traditional sour cream. Unlike sour cream, it won't curdle in sauces or soups and brings richness to simple recipes. Look for it near the sour cream in the refrigerated dairy section. It makes a terrific sour cream gravy.
Bone-in or Boneless?
Many people don't like dealing with bones, so I went with a boneless cut of pork chops for this recipe. If you prefer to use bone-in pork chops, this recipe still works. Be sure they fit in the pan with the bones. Bones give flavor and moisture to meat, but you'll find with the cooking method of this recipe (called braising), you get the best pork chops that are moist not dry.
Buy pork chops that are 1-inch thick. If they are super thick (2-inches) slice them in half for 1-inch chops, or have the butcher do it for you. If you use thicker chops, they will work, but the cooking time will be a few minutes longer.
See recipe card for quantities.
- 4 boneless pork chops (1" to 1 ½" thick)
- A large onion (brown, yellow, or sweet)
- Fresh garlic
- Sea salt or kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- Fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dry)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Unsalted butter (or salted butter, use less salt to season)
- Low sodium chicken broth (or beef broth)
- Dry white wine
- Creme fraiche French-style sour cream (do not sub regular sour cream)
- Dijon mustard (optional)
See recipe card for quantities.
For four chops, use a 10-inch cast iron skillet and a lid. I like glass lids because you can see through them. For a large family, you'll need a larger pan. Try a Lodge 12" or 15", or for a terrific investment piece, look at this enamel coated cast iron braiser (I love mine). It has a wide base for a lot of cooking area.
After slicing onions and chopping the garlic and herbs, season pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Next, brown pork chops in a hot cast iron over medium heat with the olive oil. Sear the top side until golden brown, just a few minutes. Remove the chops and any pan drippings to a plate or small rimmed baking sheet and keep warm.
Add the butter to the pan and cook the sliced onions until golden brown, then add the garlic and cook briefly. Whisk together the broth, creme fraiche, herbs, and Dijon (if using) and add broth mixture to the onions.
Simmer into a thickened creamy sauce (no corn starch needed), then place browned chops and meat juices back into the pan in a single layer. Cover and simmer until pork is done, 7-10 minutes. To serve, pour sauce and onions over the top of the pork chops onto plates.
Cook the pork chops to an internal temperature of 145°F. Measure with an instant read thermometer and don't overcook them. Measure temperature early versus late to not overcook.
- Get the pork chops out of the refrigerator 45-60 minutes ahead, bringing them closer to room temperature, for best results.
- Cook time will depend on the thickness of the pork chops. Thin one cooks faster, a thicker cut pork chop will take a little longer.
- When you slice the onions, it looks like a crazy amount of onions; they cook down as the release moisture.
- Some recipes use bouillon cubes. All I can say is don't. Use real chicken broth. Those cubes (and jarred pastes) are super high in sodium and filled with unhealthy ingredients.
Low Carb or Keto
If you follow a low carb or keto diet, this recipe will work for you. It has 6 grams carbs per serving and 21 grams of fat.
Sour cream pork chops work well with a simple side vegetable like 5 minute green beans or easy broccolini. And to go with that terrific sauce, mashed potatoes are hard to beat! Also delicious are fluffy white rice, egg noodles, or brown rice pasta (like farfalle) for gluten-free work well too.
If you'd like to change this up a bit, here are a few variations:
- Instead of thyme, try fresh oregano, marjoram, parsley or sage. Herbs differ in the strength of taste so maybe start with a bit less and taste, then add more if desired.
- Swap dry sherry for the dry white wine (or do half and half)
- Love mushrooms? Add a few thinly sliced mushrooms to the sauce before adding the chops.
Other Ways to Use Creme Fraiche
- Garnish soup or chili
- Sweeten with honey and use over berries for dessert
- Stir into soups for a creamy richness (like tomato soup)
- Make a decadent hot fudge sauce
- Dollop next to dessert like an apple cake or pumpkin tart.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Be sure to label and date.
Leftovers reheat well. Use your oven. Place the chops in a small glass dish and add the leftover sauce. If no sauce, add a little broth, 1-2 tablespoons. Cover tightly with foil and heat for about 30 minutes.
Pork chops are lean protein, so it's easy to over-cook them, so watch your timing. The sauce in this recipe keeps them moist and flavorful. Thin chops cook faster than thick ones. Test with a digital thermometer. The perfect temperature is (145°F).
A little pink is ok. Rather than guess whether they are properly cooked, use a digital thermometer and cook until they reach 145°F (the safe temperature).
No. Washing raw poultry, beef, pork, lamb or veal before cooking it is not recommended. That just spreads and bacteria to other surfaces. Cooking to the proper temperature makes them safe.
Sour Cream Pork Chops
- 10" cast iron skillet or similar heavy pan
- Lid for the pan
- 1 ½ pounds boneless pork chops 4 chops about 1" to 1 ½" thick each
- 1 large onion brown, yellow, or sweet
- 2 garlic cloves
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dry
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or salted butter, use less salt to season
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 3 ounces dry white wine or dry sherry
- ¼ cup creme fraiche French-style sour cream
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard optional
- Slice the top end of the onion off and set it flat on your cutting board. Then slice the onion in half through the root. Peel the onion, the lay the onion halves flat and sliced into ¼-inch thick slices (half rounds). Place in a small bowl.
- Peel and chop the garlic cloves fine, and chop the fresh thyme leaves.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Season pork chops on both sides with salt and black pepper. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil to the pan, then add the pork chops. Sear until that side of the chop is a golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Remove the chops to a plate or small rimmed baking sheet and keep warm. Pour any pan juices over the chops to save.
- Add the butter to the hot pan, then add the sliced onions. Cook the onions until golden brown, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon or wooden spatula, about 10 minutes. Next, add the garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add the wine and cook down until almost gone (called deglazing).
- Whisk together the broth, creme fraiche and thyme (and Dijon if using) until smooth, then pour over the onions in the pan. Simmer the onions and sauce over medium to medium low heat for 5 minutes, then add the pork chops back in with any juices.
- Place a lid on the skillet and simmer the chops until they reach 145°F measured with a digital thermometer, 8-10 minutes. When done, the sauce should be thickened and the chops tender. Measure the chops temperature early versus late and don't overcook.
- Serve 1 chop per person with sauce and onions spooned over the top. If you want a thicker sauce, remove the chops from the pan and keep warm, then simmer the sauce down for a few minutes until thickened.
- Any leftovers keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container. To reheat, leave the container on the counter for up to an hour, then heat in a shallow pan with the sauce covered with a lid until heated through.