Cooking pork can sometimes be intimidating when it comes to food safety. Be informed, and confident, in the kitchen with this guide to the safe temperature for pork chops.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani

Whether you’re cooking boneless or bone-in pork chops, whether you’re grilling, sautéing, roasting, broiling, or pan-frying, the rule for pork chops is to cook them to an internal temperature of 145°.

    Way back in the olden days (prior to May 2011), the USDA’s safe temperature guideline for pork chops was 160°, which basically resulted in tough, dry shoe leather. As it turns out, pork used to carry a pathogen that caused trichinosis. However, thanks to improved breeding practices, trichinosis from pork is no longer a health concern today. The 145° recommendation, though, came as music to most cooks’ ears, as it yields moist, juicy, and slightly-pink-in-the-middle pork. 

    Looking for delicious pork chop recipes? Try these recipes:

    To take the temperature of your pork chops, slide an instant-read thermometer into the middle of the thickest part of the chop. Take care not to go all the way through the chop so that the thermometer makes contact with the pan (I like to go into the chop at about a 45° angle).

    This temperature guideline, by the way, is the rule for pork tenderloin, too, but ground pork should be cooked to 160°. Once your pork is cooked, don't forget to let it rest for several minutes. Resting keeps the meat perfectly juicy and moist—and ensures that you aren't undoing all of your hard work!