Will Cooking Pork Chops In An Air Fryer Dry Them Out?

What's not to love about a big, meaty, perfectly-tender pork chop? Whether on the bone or off, whether accompanied by a heap of mashed potatoes or a pile of braised cabbage, this meat eater's delight is a standby entrée for a reason.

The trouble with pork chops, however, is that once cooked and plated, they often fall far short of the platonic ideal of a chop. At their best, pork chops are juicy on the inside, browned on the outside, and well-seasoned throughout, but we all know that this cut of meat often turns out dry, too. Thanks to the fact that meat pigs have been bred leaner and leaner over the years to accommodate low-fat diet trends (via The Guardian), pork — a once naturally fatty meat that stayed nice and moist as it cooked — is now often susceptible to drying out. There are tips you can employ to keep home-cooked chops moist, from brining them beforehand to bringing them to room temperature pre-cooking — but you might want to add some moisture insurance by reaching for your air fryer when choosing a cooking method.

The air fryer can help keep pork chops nice and moist

While the word "fryer" generally makes us think of a fast and hot cooking method aimed at producing crispiness — which the air fryer certainly is — the handy countertop appliance actually offers an ideal cooking environment for keeping pork chops moist. As Delish explains, the intense heat circulating in the fryer slightly crisps the outside of pork chops while keeping the interior plenty moist. How so? There's simply not enough time for the meat to dry out, with the cooking time for 1-inch thick boneless chops amounting to a mere 20 minutes, the chops being flipped halfway through.

We're very inclined to agree, with our recipe for air fryer pork chops also calling for a 20-minute cook time at 400 degrees F. Once you've got those perfectly air-fried chops, you're not quite done yet. We'd like to note: You definitely need to let the meat rest, for between five and 10 minutes, before slicing into it. This will ensure that the quickly-cooked, still-moist meat won't let go of all its delicious juices when you cut into it too soon.