BEST EVER Pork Chop Marinade
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The Best Ever Pork Chop Marinade produces tender and flavorful pork chops every time! It’s an easy pork marinade recipe made with soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, olive oil, and ketchup. These marinated pork chops are perfect for grilling, pan frying, or baking.
Pork chops have a mild flavor and are prone to overcooking. This homemade pork chop marinade helps to tenderize the meat while also adding sweet, salty and tangy flavors. Unlike lemon juice-based marinades, this recipe enhances the natural flavor of pork chops without being overpowering.
You can make it with pantry ingredients in less than 15 minutes. I usually whip up the marinade the night before and let the pork chops soak overnight in the sauce. The next day, they need just a few minutes to sear on the grill. A stunning grilled pork chop dinner is ready in minutes, so say good-bye to tough and dry pork chops!
This recipe works for both bone-in and boneless pork chops, in addition, you can also use it for pork loin, tenderloin, pork steak, and even sliced pork!
What Ingredients Go Into Pork Chop Marinade?
- Soy Sauce – it’s the secret to a delicious pork chop marinade, acting as a brine to tenderize the meat while adding depth of flavor. (Use a low-sodium light soy sauce for a healthier version).
- Apple Cider Vinegar – acid in the vinegar helps to “break down” proteins, making the meat extra tender. You can substitute white vinegar, rice vinegar, or use pineapple juice for a Hawaiian style marinade.
- Brown Sugar – another key ingredient that enhances the natural flavor of pork chops while balancing out the acidity of the vinegar. It also helps create a caramelized crust. You can substitute honey or white sugar if you prefer.
- Ketchup – as the basis for many barbecue sauces, ketchup helps the chops to brown nicely. In addition, it contributes stickiness allowing the sauce to adhere better to the chops.
- Olive Oil – don’t use extra virgin olive oil because it has a low smoke point. Regular refined olive oil works best!
- Garlic– use freshly minced garlic for the best taste.
All of the ingredients above work together in harmony to make the perfect pork marinade!
How to Make Pork Chop Marinade
- Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, olive oil, garlic and apple cider vinegar in a medium bowl. Whisk until blended.
- Pierce the pork chops with a fork all over, and then place in a large resealable plastic bag.
- Pour the marinade over the pork chops, squeeze out excess air and seal the bag.
- Massage the bag so the pork chops get coated thoroughly with the marinade. Let marinate in the refrigerator.
How Long Do You Marinate Pork Chops?
Here are the ideal marinating times for pork chops:
- 1-3 hours for thin-cut pork chops (up to 1 inch thick)
- 2-6 hours for thick-cut pork chops (more than 1 inch thick)
The key is to let the pork chops marinate for at least one hour. However, if you’re short of time, even 30 minutes of marinating will make a difference. If you want to make it ahead of time, store the marinated pork chops for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
How to Grill Marinated Pork Chops?
Remove the pork chops from the fridge 15-20 minutes so they reach room temperature before cooking. Preheat your grill to medium-high (400°F / 204°C) and oil the grill grates. For 1-inch (2.5cm) thick pork chops, grill for about 4-5 minutes per side. Pork chop grill time will vary by thickness and temperature.
How Can I Tell When Pork Chops are Done?
Pork chops should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) according to the USDA. The best way to measure this is by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the chop. If you’re cooking bone-in chops, make sure the thermometer does not touch the bone for an accurate reading. Remove the chops from the grill when the thermometer reads 140°F / 60°C, as the temperature will climb several degrees more afterward. Then let it rest covered with foil for 5 minutes.
Can I Fry Marinated Pork Chops on the Stove?
Yes. Place a skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry the pork chops using the same approach as grilling, about 4-5 minutes per side for a 1-inch thickness.
Tips for Making the Best Pork Chop Marinade
- Choose thick chops for the most tender meat.
- Pierce pork chops with a fork all over to allow the marinade to penetrate into the meat.
- Always marinate your pork chops in the refrigerator, but bring them to room temperature about 15-20 minutes before cooking to promote even cooking and get tender meat.
- Don’t overcook the pork chops! Remove them from the heat as soon as the internal temperature reaches 140°F (60°C), as the temperature will rise a few degrees afterward.
- Flip the chops using kitchen tongs instead of a fork, as puncturing them will cause juices to leak and the meat to dry out.
What to Serve with Marinated Pork Chops
Other Marinade Recipes:
- Lime and Soy Sauce Flank Steak Marinade
- Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak
- Balsamic Honey Marinated Sirloin Tip Steak
- Teriyaki Marinade
BEST EVER Pork Chop Marinade (+Video)
Marinade Sauce for Pork Chops
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 pork chops, boneless or bone-in (1 inch thick)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Pork Chop Marinade
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and olive oil. Whisk until blended.
- Pierce pork chops all over with a fork. Then place in a large resealable plastic bag.
- Pour the marinade over pork chops, squeeze out excess air and seal the bag. Massage the bag to coat evenly.
- Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight*.
Grill Marinated Pork Chops
- Remove the pork chops from the fridge 15-20 minutes before cooking to let them come to room temperature.
- Heat your grill on medium-high (400°F / 204°C). Grease the cooking grates with oil to prevent sticking.
- When hot, add the pork chops and sear for 4-5 minutes**.
- Flip the pork chops using kitchen tongs and grill the other side for about 4 minutes more until the internal temperature reaches 140°F / 60°C. (Note that the temperature will rise to about 145°F / 63°C during resting.)
- Remove to a plate and let rest covered with foil for about 5 minutes before serving.
- Serve with potatoes, pasta and green vegetables.
- *To make it ahead of time, you can leave the pork chops in the marinade for up to 3 days in the fridge.
- **Grilling time will vary depending on the thickness of the pork chops. For thicker pork chops (over 1 inch/2.5cm thick), you will need to use indirect heat.
- Residual marinade: most studies warn against reusing residual marinade because it can contain harmful bacteria. If you’d like to use the marinade for basting or as a dipping sauce, just double the recipe and reserve the extra amount.
- Make it spicy: add red pepper flakes to the marinade.
Please read our nutrition disclaimer.
More Pork Chop Recipes:
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Editor note: Originally published June 27, 2018 and updated September 6, 2019.