When the evenings get cool, it’s time to pull out comforting dinner recipes. One of our favorites? Southern-inspired Crockpot smothered pork chops, which are exactly as they sound: tender, succulent chops cooked under a blanket of creamy gravy. The dish is rich and full of flavor, but the slow cooker method makes it easy enough to put together on the busiest day.
Ingredients for Crockpot Smothered Pork Chops
Bone-in pork chops: Using bone-in chops ensures a juicy, flavorful final dish. Look for thicker chops, at least 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Thinner chops may dry out during cooking.Cream of chicken and mushroom soups: The thick, creamy gravy relies on these favorite shortcut ingredients. They add tons of flavor and richness to the pork dish.Mushrooms: Earthy, tender mushrooms are the perfect match for savory pork chops.
Crockpot Smothered Pork Chops Recipe
This recipe was developed by the Taste of Home Test Kitchen. It makes six servings, with a pork chop and a scoop of gravy each.
6 bone-in pork loin chops (7 ounces each)1 teaspoon kosher salt2 tablespoons canola oil3/4 cup beef broth1 can (10-1/2 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted1 can (10-1/2 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted2 garlic cloves, minced1/4 teaspoon paprika1/4 teaspoon pepper1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms1 large onion, halved and sliced1 tablespoon cornstarch1 tablespoon cold water
Step 1: Brown the pork
Pat the pork chops dry and sprinkle with salt on both sides. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Working in batches, brown the pork chops on both sides. (You’re just browning them, not cooking them through.) Be sure not to overcrowd the pan, as that will impede the browning process.
Transfer the chops to a 7-quart slow cooker (turned off, for now).
Step 2: Deglaze the pan
Add the broth to the skillet over medium heat, stirring to loosen browned bits from the pan. Whisk in the soups, garlic, paprika and pepper.
Step 3: Add gravy and veggies
Pour the skillet gravy over the chops. Top with the mushrooms and onions.
Step 4: Cook
Cover and cook on low until the meat is tender, five to seven hours.
Step 5: Thicken the gravy
Remove the chops. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Slowly stir into the slow cooker, whisking as you go to prevent lumps. Return chops to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until the gravy is slightly thickened.
Step 6: Enjoy!
Serve hot, ideally with a side dish that soaks up the gravy.
Cook on the stovetop: If you want dinner a bit quicker, cook the pork chops on the stovetop rather than in a slow cooker. As a bonus, this only creates one dirty pan, as you can cook the entire dish in the same skillet you use to brown the chops and make the gravy. Simply return the chops to the pan after Step 2, and add the onions and mushrooms. Cook over low heat until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. The internal temperature of the pork should be at least 145F.Add bacon: Boost the savory flavor by browning bacon in the pan before Step 1. Then, remove the bacon and brown the chops directly in the rendered fat (omit the added oil). If there is too much fat in the pan after the chops brown, sop a bit up with a paper towel before deglazing.Change up the seasonings: Pork’s mild flavor matches with most spices and herbs. Take this cozy recipe in an Italian direction by replacing the paprika with an Italian blend, or lean French with chopped fresh rosemary and thyme (dried would work, too). A dash of heat from cayenne pepper would also be welcome.
How to Store Crockpot Smothered Pork Chops
Store smothered pork chops tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Can you make smothered pork chops ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare smothered pork chops a day or two in advance. Reheat the chops and gravy together, gently, on the stovetop, stirring to encourage the gravy to smooth out.
How to Freeze Crockpot Smothered Pork Chops
Allow smothered pork chops to cool completely, then freeze in an airtight container. Put the gravy right over the pork to preserve the meat’s tender texture. The chops will freeze well for up to three months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight, and gently reheat on the stovetop.
Smothered Pork Chops Tips
How thick should the pork chops be to make smothered pork chops?
Use thicker pork chops to make smothered pork chops, at least 3/4 or 1 inch, or even thicker. The long cooking time means that thinner chops may dry out. (Though, luckily, the slow cooker’s low, steady heat reduces the risk of dry pork.) If your chops are on the flatter side, start checking for tenderness after two or three hours rather than the full cooking time.
Do you have to brown the pork chops?
The initial step of browning the pork chops adds flavor, both by searing the exterior of the meat and by creating fond, the official name for those browned bits that stick to the pan. They add richness to the gravy when whisked in.
That said, if you’re in a hurry, you can skip this step. The gravy will still have plenty of flavor. Simply add the raw pork chops to the slow cooker, whisk together the gravy ingredients and pour over the pork and then top with mushrooms and onions.