Cooks Illustrated Smothered Pork Chops in Onion Gravy

Cooks Illustrated Smothered Pork Chops in Onion Gravy

Smothered Pork Chops in an onion gravy with bacon! The bomb!!

Downhome cooking at it’s best and perfect for fall, these Cooks Illustrated Smothered Pork Chops in Onion Gravy aren’t your Grandma’s pork chops, or even your Mom’s. That is if your Mom was like mine and used a canned soup or a Lipton’s mix. Those recipes, while always good, don’t hold a candle to this one!

Cooks Illustrated Smothered Pork Chops in Onion Gravy

Cooks Illustrated Smothered Pork Chops in Onion Gravy

Cooks Illustrated Smothered Pork Chops in Onion Gravy are succulent and moist, tender, and never dry. The onion gravy, flavored with bacon (yes, bacon!) is just thick enough to nap, then pool and so full of flavor. And over mashed potatoes? It’s just a beautiful thing, I’m tellin’ ya!

About Cooks Illustrated Smothered Pork Chops in Onion Gravy:

Thank the folks at Cook’s Illustrated for taking a down-home recipe like smothered pork chops to a whole new level. What do a bunch of New Yorkers know about a Midwestern favorite like this? Well, a lot, apparently! This recipe was an absolute hit at the house, especially with the folks, or as I call them, my favorite octogenarians. Dad, especially, is always thrilled with a bit of down-home cooking. I think it brings him happy memories from childhood at his Grandparents. But it was probably even better than Grandma’s Smothered Pork Chops, too, because – well because of bacon!

Now if you know Cook’s Illustrated, you know some of their recipes can be pretty tedious and complicated. I had to change things up a bit with just a dash of Iowa sensibility. They used multiple pans and processes when really Smothered Pork Chops can and should be cooked in one pan, preferably a cast-iron skillet.  So my recipe isn’t an exact duplicate of theirs, but it’s every bit as delish and a little more straightforward to make.

The recipe timing will vary a bit depending on the thickness of your pork chops, so watch and test as directed and you’ll have beautifully tender pork chops.

Choosing your pork chop for Cooks Illustrated Smothered Pork Chops in Onion Gravy:

While a bone-in chop is always a winner for flavor and moistness, this gentle braise on the stove-top or in the oven always produces tender meat, even with a boneless loin chop.

The workhorse pork loin, which can dry up in a heartbeat is just fine in this recipe as long as it isn’t overcooked. Don’t buy the center loin chops at the store if you decide to go with a loin chop; it’s much less expensive to buy a whole loin on sale and slice it to your exact specifications. Just cut it into beautiful chops in the thickness your family prefers and bag them up in portions your family needs. Then stack them in the freezer.

Shopping well for your pork chops will really maximize your dollar and bring this meal in at a budget price.

What to serve with Cooks Illustrated Smothered Pork Chops in Onion Gravy:

Do serve these Smothered Pork Chops with mashed potatoes rather than rice or noodles…Cook’s Illustrated doesn’t know everything, after all, and they recommended noodles! I say No to the Noodle! This is a dish that just cries out for mashed potatoes. My Simple, Rustic Mashed Potatoes are especially good with this dish and can be put on the table on the cheap. If you’d prefer something a little more refined, check Best Company Mashed Potatoes.

Brussels Sprouts are a perfect side, but I’d skip any fancy recipes and let the pork chops shine. I just steamed the Brussels and served tossed in a little butter. You can’t go wrong with corn, either. This was one fantastic dinner and no one even guessed it was brought in at a budget!

Cooks Illustrated Smothered Pork Chops in Onion Gravy

Cooks Illustrated Smothered Pork Chops in Onion Gravy



Smothered Pork Chops in Onion Gravy

A beautiful pork chop dinner with the best gravy! Serve over mashed potatoes.

  • Author: adapted from Cook's Illustrated
  • Total Time: 45 to 60 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: American


  • 2 slices bacon, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 4 pork chops, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, preferably bone in
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved pole to pole and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 medium garlic cloves minced
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • green onion or parsley for garnish


Fry bacon in cast iron skillet or heavy ovenproof pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving fat behind. There should be about 2 tablespoons bacon fat; if not, supplement with vegetable oil.

Pat pork chops dry with paper towels and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Brown chops in a single layer until deep golden on first side, about 3 minutes. Flip chops and cook until browned on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Add onions to pan when chops are flipped. Transfer chops to large plate and set aside while onions finish cooking.

As onion cooks, add the tablespoon oil and two tablespoons water. Cook onions until softened and lightly browned and water is evaporated. Add in garlic and cook for a moment longer. Reduce heat and sprinkle flour over the top of the onions. Whisk in until smooth and cook, whisking frequently, until mixture is light brown, about the color of peanut butter, about two to three minutes. Whisk in chicken broth in slow, steady stream; increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, stirring occasionally.

Return chops to skillet in single layer, covering chops with onions. Cover, and simmer gently or place in oven (350 degrees) and cook until pork is tender, about 25 to 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chops. Check by inserting a paring knife into the chops. There should be very little resistance,

If desired, transfer chops to warmed serving platter and tent with foil. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer sauce rapidly, stirring frequently, until thickened to desired consistency, about 5 minutes.

Cover chops with sauce, sprinkle with reserved bacon and serve immediately.


  • Cook’s Illustrated suggesting using about a teaspoon of thyme and two bay leaves in the gravy.
  • Vary the pork chops according to budget and preference – just watch the timing if going thinner.

Keywords: Bacon, Bargain Meal of the Week, Cook's Illustrated, Heritage Recipe, Pork, pork chops, Pork Loin

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Kitchen & Cooking Hack:

Making small slits through the fat (or the edge) of a chop keeps it from curling while it cooks – Keeping the chop flat maximizes contact with the pan and ensures even cooking.

Slice through the fat and the pork chop won't curl when cooking

Slice through the fat and the pork chop won’t curl when cooking

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Cook's Illustrated Smothered Pork Chops in Onion Gravy: Down home cooking at it's best, these Pork Chops in Onion Gravy aren't your Mama's Pork Chops! They're succulent and tender and the gravy so good you'll want to lick your plate! #PorkChopsInOnionGravy #SmotheredPorkChops #CooksIllustratedPorkChopsOnionGravy

4 thoughts on “Cooks Illustrated Smothered Pork Chops in Onion Gravy

  1. Pingback: Pork Chops Lipton Soup | Mackenziedecor

    • Thanks, it is…and as I was thinking today, so begins the 10 to 12 pounds that I seem to put on every winter! Before I blogged, I think I was often flummoxed as to how/why that happens every year. When I put out a post, it’s so easy to see the change from summer to fall to winter in the types of food I make/eat!

      Tomorrow – your Farro Salad you just posted! I’ve been thinking about it all day!

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