Thick Chops with Sauerkraut & Apples

Thick-cut pork chops cooked tender in a bed of sauerkraut, apple and onion. This is one of my very oldest recipes, it's a fall favorite year in and year out.

~Recipe updated 2015 for a little weeknight cooking inspiration!~

Thick Chops with Sauerkraut & Apples ♥, a country-style skillet, easy enough for a weeknight supper, special enough for Saturday company. One of my very oldest fall recipes.

This year’s favorite new kitchen tool is a digital meat thermometer. Before now, poke-it-in-every-so-often meat thermometers only rarely, ahem, produced perfectly cooked meat.

Mine came from Santa. Who knew that Santa shops at my local kitchen shop here in suburban St. Louis?! It has a heat-resistant cord that connects the temperature probe to a digital display. While the meat cooks, the probe stays inserted while the display rests nearby away from the heat, whether the stove, the oven, even the grill.

No more is there cause to poke holes in the meat, releasing precious flavor and moisture. No more must the grill or oven door be opened, releasing precious heat. There’s even an alarm when the meat reaches the specified temp.

The best news is that with the new thermometer, I’ve overcooked meat only twice, once when distracted by the phone, once when the probe was resting on bone.

Does your Santa take suggestions? Meat thermometers make for great gifts for stockings and culinary pals.

ALANNA's TIPS For great flavor, choose sauerkraut in bags or jars, not cans. Watch too for small producers. I'm always tempted to add another pound of sauerkraut but really, just one pound is perfect. Thick-cut chops are often large so one chop may be two servings. I think this would be especially good with smoked pork chops, one of our very favorite things to find at local country smokehouses. Starting the meat in a cold skillet helps retain moisture. For a one-skillet supper and easier clean up, brown the meat first and set it aside. Then use the same skillet to cook the onions, apples and sauerkraut. I'm a big fan of "slow cooking in the oven" and Thick Chops with Sauerkraut & Apples cooks beautifully that way. Just put into a 200F/100C oven for about six hours. The meat wil be fork tender, the sauerkraut-onion-apple mixture sweet with caramelization.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Moist chops in apple-chunky sauerkraut
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 30-45 minutes
Serves 4
  • 16 ounces sauerkraut (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 tart apples, skins on, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice (chicken stock works too)
  • 1-1/2 pounds thick-cut bone-in pork chops
  • Olive oil
  • A bit of sugar (for browning)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Splash of apple cider or juice

SAUERKRAUT Rinse and drain the sauerkraut. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the bacon grease on medium high until shimmery. Add brown sugar, caraway, then onion and apple as they're prepped. Let simmer until onions turn gold, stirring often. Add sauerkraut and cider, then return to simmer.

PORK CHOPS Meanwhile, pat the chops dry, then rub both sides with a little oil, one side with sugar, then season both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chops sugar-side down into a second skillet, it should be cold not hot! Set heat on medium, cook the chops for 5 minutes just until they're beginning to brown. Flip the chops and cook another 3 minutes.

COMBINE Arrange the chops on top of the sauerkraut, the sugared side up. Add a cider splash to the meat skillet, it will sizzle! Stir the skillet to collect all the meat bits, then pour those meat juices over the chops. Insert the digital thermometer probe horizontally into one chop until the tip reaches the fleshy midpoint, you don't want it to touch bone. Finish cooking either on top of the stove or in the oven.

STOVETOP OPTION Cover the skillet and let cook on medium heat until the chops are fully cooked, that takes 5 – 15 minutes depending on their thickness.

OVEN OPTION Cover the skillet and let bake at 400F/200C until chops are fully cooked, about 15 minutes.

WHEN ARE THE CHOPS DONE? The chops are done when the internal temperature reaches 145F to 160F. Why 145F - 160F? Here's the explanation, Should Cooked Pork Be Pink?

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving (assumes 3 ounces cooked pork per serving): 314 Calories; 11g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 28g Carb; 5g Fiber; 372mg Sodium; 59mg Cholesterol; 21g Sugar; Protein 25. Weight Watcher Old Points 6, PointsPlus 8

Such An Easy, Adaptable Recipe

Thick Chops with Sauerkraut & Apples ♥, a country-style skillet, easy enough for a weeknight supper, special enough for Saturday company. One of my very oldest fall recipes.

When I visit my dad in my hometown in Minnesota, the cooking setup is, well, different. He doesn't cook so there are basically no pantry staples, the few spices in the cupboard are more than a decade old, dating back to before my mom passed away. It's a small town, just 1000 people, so the grocery store isn't as well-stocked as I'd like.

When I'm visiting for a week or more, I'll carry along spices and staples and if the timing's right, stop for produce along the way at the wonderful St. Paul farmers market.

But when I'm just there for a day or two, these pork chops work beautifully! Here are my notes from the last visit. "VVG! No thick chops. No spices. No apple juice. Just S&P and a small can of pears. Drained sauerkraut in sack by cutting holes in bottom. Browned chops then put back in cast iron skillet, covered w foil, baked 45min 400F with roasting veggies, they went in first. Meat very tender & flavorful. Geese honking outside."

Tee hee, just a little local color there at the end. Twas fall, for sure!

Thick-Cut "Iowa Chops" Are a Favorite Here!

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Perfect Thick Pork Chops Thick Chops with Mustard Crust Pork Chops & Rice Oven Dinner
~ more pork recipes ~

More Sauerkraut Recipes

~ Reuben Casserole ~
~ more sauerkraut recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

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Alanna, Chops and sauerkratu. That is sooo German and something we would typically get over at my mum-in-laws!! And this is pretty close to the way she makes it too. I was never a sauerkraut fan - but my mum-in-laws is irresistible and this looks great too. Perfect!

Thanks, Meeta! It was my aunt who turned me onto sauerkraut, by giving me a big jar of her local sauerkraut from Minnesota. It was just gorgeous so I've been having fun with it. The chops are very worth cooking, even without sauerkraut.
My husband loves porkchops so I will make this, one question for the slow cook oven version do you brown the meat and vegetables first?
Debbie ~ Oh good! And yes, do brown the meat and vegetables first. I hope you both like this dish, it makes the house smell so good while it’s cooking!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna