This brown sugar marinade for pork chops is quickly made with just pantry ingredients and delivers incredibly juicy pork chops that are full of flavor! Simply pop boneless pork chops into this easy marinade in the morning and cook them in the oven at dinnertime in under 30 minutes. Serve these brown sugar pork chops with a salad or side dish for a delicious and easy dinner that’s perfect for busy weeknights.
Marinade ingredients and notes:
- Brown sugar is the star ingredient in this pork chops recipe. It gives the meat a savory-sweet flavor and also helps it to develop a delicious brown crust. (Brown sugar has the same great browning effect in dry rubs, like this salmon seasoning rub or this chipotle bbq seasoning.) You can use light or dark brown sugar for this marinade.
- Orange juice and unseasoned rice vinegar add flavor, tenderize the meat and provide just the right amount of acidity to balance the sweetness of the brown sugar.
- Soy sauce adds saltiness and a whole lot of umami.
- Thyme pairs well with any cut of pork and works particularly well with savory-sweet flavors, like this marinade. (That’s why the herb also works great in this apple cider pork tenderloin and in this apricot marinade!)
How to make the marinade:
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.
Another great way to flavor pork is with a spice rub! For some delicious ideas, check out this country style rib rub, this fennel rub for pork chops and this rub for pork belly.
How to use the marinade:
Add boneless pork chops to a resealable plastic bag, pour in the marinade, then move around until the chops are fully coated. Marinate for at least 4 hours and up to 10 hours in the fridge.
RECIPE NOTE: You can use bone-in pork chops for this recipe as well but boneless chops are simply more convenient and much easier to eat. Boneless pork chops are often thought of as being less flavorful than bone-in chops but since this marinade keeps the meat juicy and flavorful that’s not something to worry about here.
How to cook the pork chops:
When you’re ready to cook the chops, add a little bit of oil to a cast iron skillet and set the skillet into the cold oven. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. with the skillet in it. Once the oven is preheated, transfer the chops directly from the marinade to the hot skillet and discard the marinade. Cook the chops on both sides until the internal temperature of the pork has reached 145 degrees F. Let the meat rest for 3 minutes before serving.
What is the cooking time?
The exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of the pork chops. For 1 inch-thick pork chops, cook the chops for 4 to 7 minutes per side. If your chops are thinner than that, the cook time may be less long.
Since it’s really important not to over- or undercook pork chops, I recommend to use an instant-read thermometer and check the temperature frequently.
How to store leftover pork chops:
If you have leftover cooked pork chops, let them cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge. Reheat the chops in the microwave or on the stovetop but note that the chops will lose much of their juiciness when being reheated.
More delicious pork marinade recipes:
- Apple Cider Pork Tenderloin Mustard Marinade6 Hours 30 Minutes
- Apricot Marinade for Pork Chops4 Hours 20 Minutes
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Full Printable Recipe
Brown Sugar Marinade for Pork Chops
- measuring cups and spoons
- mixing bowl
- resealable plastic bag
- kitchen tongs
- cast iron skillet
- digital meat thermometer
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed*
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ tablespoon mild olive oil, more for cooking
- ½ teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 boneless pork chops
How to marinate the pork chops:
- Add brown sugar, soy sauce, orange juice, thyme, olive oil, rice vinegar and pepper to a bowl and whisk until well combined.
- Add the pork chops to a resealable plastic bag, then pour the marinade into the bag.
- Move the chops around to make sure both are well coated. Transfer the bag to the fridge and marinate for at least 4 hours** and up to 10 hours.
How to cook the pork chops:
- Add a little bit of oil to a cast iron skillet and set it into the cold oven. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. with the skillet in it. Once the oven is preheated, use kitchen tongs to transfer the chops directly from the marinade to the hot skillet. Cook on both sides until the internal temperature of the pork has reached 145 degrees F. (4 to 7 minutes per side for 1 inch-thick chops).*** Remove the pork chops from the oven and let rest for 3 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information (Estimated):
Nutrition values provided on this website are generated from a nutrition database and are estimates only. The accuracy of the nutrition information for any recipe on this website is not guaranteed. Nutrition values can vary quite a lot depending on which brands are used.
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