Your busy lifestyle may include a few missteps, like forgetting to take the pork chops out of the freezer before rushing off to work or school. Though cooking frozen pork chops takes a little longer, you can safely prepare a delicious dinner without taking time to thaw the meat. Whether you choose the oven, pressure cooker or an air fryer, pork chops require an additional 50 percent cooking time.
Thawing Pork Chops
Though you can bake frozen pork chops, slow thawing in the refrigerator or quick thawing in the microwave is always an option. Pork chops generally require 12 to 14 hours in the refrigerator to thaw. Alternately, you can place the pork in a resealable plastic bag and submerge the bag in cold water. Change the water every 20 minutes until the pork is thawed. Don’t use hot water; it can encourage the growth of bacteria.
To defrost pork chops in the microwave, remove the meat from the packaging and place it on a microwave-safe dish. If you’re thawing 1-inch-thick boneless pork steaks or chops, set the microwave at 40 percent power and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the pork chops over and separate the pieces, if possible. Continue to microwave at 30 percent power for an additional minute per 1/2 pound.
If microwaving 1 ½-inch bone-in pork steaks or chops, start at 50 percent power for 2 minutes. Separate and turn over. Continue microwaving at 30 percent power at 1 minute per pound. Whether defrosting 1-inch or 1 ½-inch-thick chops, turn and check the meat every minute until the pork is thawed. Cook the pork immediately after thawing in the microwave.
Baking Frozen Pork Chops in the Oven
Heat the oven to 350 or 375 degrees Fahrenheit, according to your recipe. Quick thaw the pork chops in the microwave, just until you can separate the chops. Prepare the pork according to your favorite recipe. If the recipe calls for breading, dip each chop into beaten eggs or milk to help the breading stick to the frozen meat. When browning, use caution as the oil will spatter when you add the frozen pork chops to the pan.
Place the frozen pork chops in a single layer in a baking pan. Pour any additional ingredients over the chops before putting them in the oven. Bake 50 percent longer than the time stated in the recipe, or approximately 50 to 55 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches at least 145 degrees.
Pressure Cooking Pork Chops
You can cook frozen pork chops in an Instant Pot or other electronic pressure cooker. Follow your favorite recipe, but add an additional 4 minutes when programming the cooking time. Your Instant Pot or pressure cooker will take longer to reach the cooking pressure, so allow extra time for the meal to cook. While you can cook frozen pork chops in the Instant Pot, cooking a frozen pork shank, loin or roast is not recommended.
Air-Frying Pork Chops
You can also cook frozen pork chops in an air fryer. Separate the pork chops, lightly coat them with oil, and season them according to your recipe. Set the temperature at 380 degrees. Place the pork chops in a single layer in the basket and air-fry thawed pork chops for 12 minutes, but air-fry frozen pork chops for an additional 4 to 8 minutes. Turn the pork chops over halfway through the cooking process and check for doneness. Add additional cooking time as needed to bring the pork chops to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees.
Slow Cooking Pork Chops
In general, you shouldn’t cook frozen pork chops or other frozen meats in the crockpot. The slow-cooking process takes too long for the frozen pork to reach a safe temperature. Instead, thaw the pork chops first; then brown and layer the chops in the crockpot with additional ingredients, such as onions, peppers, carrots, potatoes, broth or other liquid, and spices. You should fill the crockpot one-half to two-thirds full. Cover and set on “high” for the first hour; then set on “low” and cook for an additional 4 to 8 hours. Alternately, leave the crockpot on “high” for 3 to 6 hours.
Ruth de Jauregui is the author of The Soul of California - Cooking for the Holidays. She spent five summers working in the Napa Valley as a catering assistant, mostly for weddings and special events at the various wineries. While working in San Francisco for William (Bill) Yenne at American Graphic Systems, she assisted in the design and publication of several cookbooks. In addition to her interest in food and cooking, de Jauregui has several nonfiction garden books and her first novel in the works.