Learn how to cook stuffed pork chops – these tender and juicy chops are oozing with cheese, spinach, and a fresh tomato sauce. Pan-fried stuffed pork takes you 30 minutes to make from scratch and offers a delicious variation to the usual pan-seared pork loin chops!
This dish is classy enough to impress your dinner guests and easy enough to make as a family meal during the week.
You’ll be amazed at how ordinary pork chops can be transformed with the addition of a simple cheesy spinach stuffing. You can also add sun-dried tomatoes or extra cheese to the stuffing mixture too! Enjoy these stuffed pork chops with homemade sweet dinner rolls or this refreshing broccoli grape salad.
Table of contents
What are Stuffed Chops?
These Stuffed Pork Chops consist of juicy pork chops that are sliced with a sharp knife to make pockets and then stuffed with a cheesy spinach mixture. They are seared on both sides in a hot skillet, and then cooked in the oven with thyme and cherry tomatoes.
Ingredients Needed for Stuffed Pork Chops
- salted butter
- baby spinach
- fresh garlic, thyme, paprika, sea salt, and black pepper
- grated mozzarella cheese
- crumbled blue cheese
- boneless pork loin chops
- canola oil
- cherry tomatoes
How to Cook Stuffed Pork Chops
Prepare the filling:
Gather your stuffing ingredients. Saute the spinach and garlic in an oven-safe skillet over medium heat, just until the spinach wilts and the garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat and add the cheeses to the spinach. Stir well.
Stuff the Pork Chops:
Using a sharp knife, cut a slit into the side of each pork chop, making a deep pocket, but being careful not to cut all the way through. Keep one side, the top and bottom intact and create a pocket from just the one side. Spoon a quarter of the spinach and cheese mixture into the pocket of each chop. Discard any leftover stuffing and sterilize your cutting board and knife well as raw pork can carry bacteria.
Sear the stuffed pork chops on the stovetop:
Sprinkle both sides of each pork chop with the seasonings while heating the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat (you can also use vegetable oil or olive oil). When the oil is hot and shimmers, carefully place the pork chops into the skillet. Sear until a nice brown crust forms on each side. Don’t move them around. Simply let them brown on each side and flip once.
Bake the Stuffed Chops:
Heat oven to 400°F. Sprinkle the thyme and cherry tomatoes over the chops. Bake the chops until the internal temperature reaches 145°F. This should take about 10 minutes, but could take 15-20 minutes for thick-cut pork chops.
Variations & Substitutions
- While this recipe calls for mozzarella cheese, you could easily make use of another Italian-based cheese such as Provolone or Fontina to keep within the theme of these Italian-inspired stuffed pork chops. Otherwise, most other cheeses work really well too such as Swiss cheese, blue cheese, Monterey Jack, or Parmesan cheese.
- Adding sun-dried tomatoes to the spinach and cheese stuffing is another great option otherwise the sun-dried tomatoes could take the place of the cherry tomatoes in the pan with red bell peppers and/or green beans also being a delicious addition.
- If you don’t have any spinach on hand, kale leaves work as a great substitute.
- Use Italian seasoning in place of the seasonings and herbs to keep within the Italian theme.
- I’ve used boneless but you could opt for bone-in pork chops. If you do, just keep in mind that bone-in chops will take a little longer to cook. It will also be trickier to stuff them.
- Include other veggies such as onions or celery in addition to the cherry tomatoes.
- I’ve used 1-inch thick pork chops. If you use thick cut pork chops then you may need to pan sear them on the stove top and bake a little longer.
- Sage is a great replacement for thyme with a one-to-one substitution.
You can store leftover Stuffed Pork Chops in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
You can also freeze these cooked Stuffed Pork Chops for 1 month. Cool to room temperature and then wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then place the pork chops in a baking dish covered tightly with aluminum foil, setting your oven at 350℉ for approximately 10-15 minutes or until heated throughout. You can also reheat single servings in the microwave.
There are quite a few options for what you could serve alongside these delicious Stuffed Pork Chops. From a leafy green salad to a side of roasted potatoes or mashed potato…the options are endless!
Here are a few options that you could also consider:
Instant Pot Corn on the Cob
Strawberry Spinach Salad
Garlic French Bread
Tips For Making this Pork Chop Recipe
- Make sure that you don’t overcook the pork as you want the meat to be tender and juicy by the time it’s done in the oven. If you aren’t sure whether your pork is cooked or not, test for an internal temperature of 145℉ using a digital food thermometer.
- Allow your pork chops to rest for a few minutes after cooking. This will help the meat juices to rest in the meat so that you don’t end up with pink juices on your plate.
- Perfectly cooked pork should look mostly white with a slight pink tint when cut into.
- You could use toothpicks to help keep the stuffing mixture from falling out during cooking but make sure that you remember to remove them when serving!
Stuffed Pork Chops
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 5 oz. bag of baby spinach leaves about 4 cups
- 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 2-4 oz. crumbled blue cheese optional
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme plus more for topping
- 4 boneless pork chops about 1-inch thick each
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, saute spinach and garlic in the butter for 1-2 minutes until spinach is beginning to wilt and the garlic is fragrant.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in cheese.
- Slice a slit into the side of each pork chop to make a pocket. Do not slice the pork chops all the way through.
- Stuff pork chops by spooning ¼ of the spinach/cheese mixture into the pocket of each pork chop.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Sprinkle both sides of the pork chops with the salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Spread a thin layer of canola oil in the bottom of a clean skillet and place the pork chops into the pan. Heat the skillet over medium heat, browning the pork chops on both sides (about 2 minutes on each side). Try to keep as much of the spinach/cheese mixture inside the pork chops while browning and turning.
- Remove the skillet from the stovetop and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves and the cherry tomatoes.
- Place the skillet in the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the pork registers 145°F on a meat thermometer.
- Remove from the oven and allow pork chops to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.