Pork Chops & Rice Oven Dinner

How to bake pork chops with rice in the oven in one skillet, a simple satisfying meal. Baking pork chops and rice yields tender, fall-apart chops and tasty rice. This is the very first meal I ever cooked, memorable for reasons good and bad!

An Old-Fashioned One-Pot Dinner, True Comfort Food. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly.
Pork Chops & Rice Oven Dinner, another One-Pot Dinner ♥ KitchenParade.com, a simple satisfying meal. Old-Fashioned Comfort Food. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly.

A Food Disaster with Happy Memories.

Breast Cancer Awareness, On My Mind ♥ KitchenParade.com

Here’s to memories, the ones connecting home-cooked food and real life.

This is the story.

I was only eleven years old but on March 31, 1970, I cooked this easy one-skillet supper, just pork chops baked with rice.

And yes, I really do recall a single meal cooked exactly 39 years ago today, perhaps more than the meal cooked yesterday. Here's why.

  • It was my mother’s birthday, her 40th.
  • It was the first meal I ever cooked.
  • It was a disaster.

But there’s more to the story, one that demonstrates how kitchen disasters can have happy endings and how some times, no matter what is served, meals are not about the food.

Here's how that day went, March 31, 1970.

Mom had a new job, she was working long hours so everybody was expected to pitch in. I was only eleven but was charged with cooking dinner.

That morning, Mom jotted down her recipe, it was for a simple, standby pork chop supper she made herself all the time, one so familiar that she left out one itsy bitsy detail: browning the pork chops.

Oops. An experienced cook might have realized. Me, I was 11 and followed her recipe to the letter.

Oops. I also baked a surprise birthday cake and frosted it with blue icing, a disaster in its own right. Worse? I forgot the cake's sugar.

Weary from her day, hungry for real food, Mom arrived home to pale pork and an inedible gooey-blue cake. Still, she was full of smiles and her characteristic hear-it-from-across-the-room laugh.


You see, five years earlier, Mom had been diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, a near-certain death sentence for a young woman just 35 years old.

Turning 40 meant she’d reached the five-year mark of breast cancer survival: she’d beaten the odds. Supper may have been a mess, but Mom – and all of us – had good reason to celebrate.

My mom was a breast cancer survivor. With any luck, so am I, see Survivor Soup (Beet, Potato & Cauliflower Soup). And I'm on a mission to ask readers, Is your mammogram overdue? Please, make that appointment!

Everything to Know About Baking Pork Chops With Rice

Oven-baked pork chops and rice are a dinner staple in my kitchen. The oven dinner is so easy, one of those low-effort, big-payoff dinners. There are really just three steps.

  • Brown the chops, don't forget to season them too!
  • Throw in some rice and stock, top the chops with vegetables.
  • Cover and bake, whoosh, 90 minutes later, dinner is on the table!

WHAT PAN TO USE for BAKING PORK CHOPS My mom used her trusty electric skillet. But most of us will use a regular skillet.

For a "one dish" dinner, choose a skillet that works both on the stove and in the oven. If it has a lid, all the better, although foil works well too.

I use a cast iron skillet with foil, a heavy braising pan or Dutch oven would work great too.

If your skillet isn't oven-safe, brown the chops in one skillet and even stir the rice into the pan drippings; then move the rice and chops to a casserole dish, cover and bake. Good to go!

BONE IN PORK CHOPS vs BONELESS CHOPS Bone-in pork chops work, so do boneless chops. That said, I'm partial to bone-in chops because the bones seem to add a certain savory flavor that makes pork chops taste more like, well, pork chops. That said, it's easier to cut up large, boneless chops to serve more than one person.

THICK CHOPS vs THIN CHOPS Either one works but me, I'm partial to the thick ones.

DO THE CHOPS REALLY HAVE TO BE BROWNED FIRST? It's not mandatory to brown the chops before going in the oven but I do recommend it. The pork chops just look prettier if they've been browned first. Plus, the crusty bits that form in the pan when the meat cooks (called fond) and the meat juices add flavor to the rice too.

HOW TO SEASON THE PORK CHOPS & RICE My mom used that classic combo of plain salt and pepper, so yeah, that's what I do too. But you do you with a seasoning you like, perhaps one of those spice blends for meat? perhaps a little chili powder? or some thyme? or smoked paprika? or lemon pepper?

WHAT KIND OF RICE WORKS WELL WITH PORK CHOPS? With the exception of instant rice, any kind of rice works well. My mom used simple white rice, I suspect that's all she had access to in a tiny town in the 1960s and 1970s. I usually bake pork chops with a mix of brown rice and white rice. After that, the varieties (jasmine, long-grain, etc.) really don't matter.

That said, avoid any "instant" rice that's par-cooked to cook in a few minutes, I fear it would turn to mush.

Other grains would work too, barley, kamut, even lentils and quinoa, this Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf with Quinoa, Barley, Kamut & Other Grains might well inspire.

HOW LONG TO BAKE PORK CHOPS & RICE IN THE OVEN For fork-tender pork chops, bake for 90 minutes at 350F/180C.

Alternatively, bake until an instant-read thermometer reads 145F - 160F. (Why the temperature range? Please see Should Cooked Pork Be Pink?.) The pork chops will be meatier, you'll need a knife to cut them. The rice may also need some extra time to finish.

HAVE I MISSED YOUR QUESTION? Leave a comment below, I work hard to answer specific questions quick-quick.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 2 hours
Serves 4 (easily divided or multiplied)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 pork chops, bone in or boneless
  • Salt & pepper to taste (don't skip!)
  • 1/2 (or 1) cup rice (see TIPS)
  • 4 onion slices
  • 4 rings of green pepper
  • 4 tomato rounds
  • 1-1/2 cups stock (any king, chicken, beef, vegetable)
  • Generous salt & pepper

Heat oven to 350F/180C.

SEASON & BROWN THE PORK CHOPS Heat the olive oil in an oven-safe skillet until shimmery on medium high. If you like, cut off any obvious fat from the chops., Season both sides with salt and pepper. Drop the chops into the skillet (they should sizzle). Brown each side for about 3 minutes per side, without moving except for turning over, the chops will take on a little color but won't be fully cooked. Put the chops aside just for a second.

ADD THE RICE Stir the rice into the pan drippings, then arrange the chops back into the skillet in a single layer. Layer a slice of onion, a ring of green pepper and a tomato round on top of each chop.

ADD STOCK Gently pour the stock over the rice and around the meat, redistribute the rice a bit so that it's evenly distributed. If the broth is lightly seasoned, sprinkle the top generously with salt and pepper.

BAKE Cover with foil and bake for 90 minutes.

ALANNA’s TIPS If you're watching calories, know that single pork chops can range from big to enormous. Here, we split a single chop between two smaller eaters, a bigger eater eats his own. Splitting a chop isn't as pretty on the plate but worth it, consumption-wise. My mom used only 1/2 cup rice but to my taste today, that's pretty skimpy. She also used white rice but my choice is usually brown rice or a mix of brown and wild rice. Really, any rice will do except a "minute rice". Mom used an electric skillet on the counter for cooking the pork chops on the counter, I use a cast iron skillet in the oven. Ninety minutes in the oven means that the pork chops turn out fork tender. But they'll be "done" much sooner, if "done" means reaching pork's safe internal temperature of 145F/63C. You can pull the chops out early but they may be more meaty, less tender. Your choice. More information, Should Cooked Pork Be Pink?.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Chop, assumes 3 ounces of cooked pork per serving: 303 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 62mg Cholesterol; 169mg Sodium; 22g Carb; 1g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 27g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 7 & PointsPlus 7 & SmartPoints 8 & Freestyle 7

More Ways to Cook Pork Chops

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Perfect Thick Pork Chops Mint Julep Pork Chops Juicy Pork Chops
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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 recipes@kitchen-parade.com. 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. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. This sounds really simple and tasty. Good fodder for addition to my comfort food collection.

    One question, though. I'm not a huge fan of cooked bell peppers. (A picky-eater roommate led to overexposure, since they were one of the few veggies she would eat. We made a lot of stir-fries.) Do you have any suggestions for substitution?

  2. Great story!...and the recipe sounds good too. I think I'll thaw out some chops...

  3. What a lovely story, and how fun that you've shared it with us. I remember making something very similar to this when I was a kid too.

  4. Marilyn3/31/2009

    LOL ... Every time my brother does a similar recipe with mushroom soup, he reminds me that I used to cook this for him in the seventies. It was a success as I could not cook many things without recipes.

  5. Robin - Just skip the pepper entirely, or you might try a poblano pepper which would add a little zip and might be enough different. I suspect that the green pepper, tomato and onion are more for 'garnish' -- ha! -- than for flavor.

    Stephen ~ Thanks. Now you know!

    Kalyn ~ Do you suppose this was a dish all kids could make and thus did?

    Marilyn ~ How far we've come!

  6. NYMomette3/31/2009

    Oooh! A blast from the past... I found this recipe in Peg Bracken's "I Hate to Cook" Book when I was a newlywed... about 39 years ago!! It really is delicious and has been a standby for a long time. Re Robin's comment: We don't like green peppers, but the sweeter red or yellow peppers are really, really good as substitutes.

  7. Love this story. Thanks for posting it. Your mom is a very special lady! I made a cake for my mom once using a store bought angel food loaf cake and icing it with whipped creme tinted a very lovely shade of olive green (institutional green really). There's something about whipped creme that color that just says "culinary risk"! My mom was all smiles. I'm not sure if she ate it though!

  8. Mmmm! I will make this tomorrow. I liked your story, too. truly heartfelt and it brought tears to my eyes and a sweet memory to mind of my own mom and my first cake (for my parents' WA.)
    Many thanks!

  9. I remember making something similar to this when I was a kid, too. I'll have to add it to my recipe rotation. Thanks!


  10. Alanna,
    This is right down my alley. Thanks for posting it!

  11. Hi again Alanna...
    The chops thawed, we had this Sunday night...for commenter Robin: I didn't have any peppers so topped with some the tomato slice, some matchstick-cut carrots and a few leek slices. I also threw some minced garlic and rosemary in with the rice as the path to my beloved's heart is paved with garlic and rosemary...

    It was just as good as it sounded...thanks!
    best, Stephen

  12. Grace F.5/05/2009

    What a wonderful story. I hope that my daughter is so thoughtful when she gets a little older! With these busy times, we sure could use more one pot recipes!

  13. I have a hunch that the recipe was a Minnesota Extension recipe. You assembled it, and put it in the oven when you left for church, and Sunday dinner was all ready when you returned. Meryl should recall that. It’s the green pepper rings stacked that prompted this memory.

  14. Anonymous8/22/2009

    O.K. My recipe is from the 1950's!! A neighbor from New England gave it to me. The only difference is no green peppers, and use one large (29oz) can tomatoes. My family loved it.

  15. Anonymous10/07/2009

    Is it really only a 1/2 cup of rice? mine turned out pretty runny. Thanks!

  16. Hi Anonymous ~ I've never had the rice turn out 'runny' - the liquid always gets soaked right up. In fact, once or twice, the rice has gotten a little crispy along the edges, a good thing. It might be a difference in the rice, perhaps the freshness of the rice. So long as the rice is cooked, I'd just cook put the chops aside and then turn up the heat on the rice/liquid and cook it down a bit. And of course, another time, use as much rice as works for you.

  17. I was perusing Kitchen Parade for a recipe for crown roast and came upon your first pork chop dinner. I love happening onto Alanna stories!

  18. Anonymous5/07/2012

    I made this in 1974 as a newlywed, I also made this last week for my daughter. When my kids come home, this one of the things they have to have, I also use an electric skillet.


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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