To grow up in a Cuban family means pork becomes a part of your DNA.
Chuletas de Puerco, or Chuletas de Cerdo are Cuban-style pork chops that are a flavorful dish that’s perfect for weeknight dinners or special occasions.
In Cuban cuisine, pork is a staple ingredient that is used in a variety of dishes, including the classic Cuban Roast Pork (Lechon Asado) and the famous Cuban Sandwich. Another popular dish that uses pork is the Tamal en Cazuela (Cuban Tamal Casserole), a hearty casserole made with cornmeal, pork, and other ingredients.
Now all you need to do is add these Chuletas de Puerco to the rotation and you’ll be golden. This delicious Cuban pork chops recipe consists of a blend of spices and a citrus marinade. Once pan-fried to perfection, they can be served on their own or with a side of Cuban Rice and Beans Recipe (Arroz con Frijoles Negro) for a complete meal.
Fire up the stove and let me show you how to make them!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Bold Cuban Flavors. What makes these Cuban Pork Chops taste so good? The citrus marinade, of course! Fresh sour orange juice with spices, I mean it doesn’t get any better than that!
- Easy to Make & Versatile. Despite its rich flavor, Chuletas de Puerco is an easy-to-make dish that requires just a few ingredients and minimal cooking skills.
- Perfect for busy weeknights. When you want something tasty and satisfying but don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen, these delicious pork chops are the move!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Bone-in center-cut pork chops. Richer in flavor, more succulent, and super tender than boneless pork chops. Bone-in pork chops retain their moisture and are more forgiving so you’ll never have overcooked, dry pork chops. Win-win!
- Sour orange citrus juice. I recommend making homemade sour orange juice. All you need is orange zest, 1 cup of fresh orange juice, 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice. You can also buy store-bought naranja agria (sour orange juice).
- Neutral oil. You want to use an oil with a high smoke point. I’ve used vegetable oil in the past but you can also use canola oil. I don’t recommend olive oil for this recipe.
- Garlic paste. 8 garlic cloves mashed to a paste is what I recommend for this dish but if you’re a garlic lover, feel free to add more!
- White onion, thinly sliced half moons. Sweet and slightly pungent which helps balance the acidity of the citrus marinade. they also help tenderize the meat and retain its moisture. Hola juicy pork chops!
- Spices. We keep it simple with dried oregano, ground cumin, and salt + black pepper but, if you prefer, you can also use 1-2 teaspoons of my Homemade Cuban Sazon Completa (Complete Seasoning).
- Make the marinade. In a large bowl, stir together the sour orange juice, olive oil, mashed garlic paste, onions, oregano, cumin, and salt.
- Marinade the pork chops. Add the pork chops to a baking dish and pour the marinade over them. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight in the fridge.
- Prep & preheat. Preheat a gas grill, grill pan, or cast iron skillet to medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil. Remove the pork chops from the marinade and pat them dry with a paper towel. Discard the marinade.
- Cook the pork chops. Pan-fry the pork chops for 5 minutes on each side until cooked through and browned on all sides. The internal temp should be 145ºF. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
When you’re done making this recipe, make one of my other recipes made with pork!
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Use a cast-iron skillet. Cast-iron skillets are ideal for cooking these pork chops because they distribute heat evenly and hold heat well. This allows you to achieve a crispy, golden-brown crust on the pork chops while keeping the meat tender and juicy.
- Bring to room temperature before cooking. Letting the pork chops sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking will help them cook more evenly and prevent them from becoming tough.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan. To ensure the pork chops cook evenly and get a crispy crust, make sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook the pork chops in batches for best results.
- Use a meat thermometer. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature and prevent overcooking. No one wants dry pork chops! Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the pork chop, and make sure it reaches 145°F before serving.
- Cuban Rice and Beans Recipe (Arroz con Frijoles Negro). This classic Cuban dish pairs perfectly with Chuletas de Puerco. The beans add a creamy texture and a savory flavor that complements the pork chops well.
- Sweet Plantains (Platanos Maduros). Adds a sweet and savory flavor to the meal which is perfect for balancing out the savory and salty flavors of the pork chops.
- Avocado salad. A simple avocado salad is a great way to add a fresh and zesty flavor to the meal. The creamy avocado is a great complement to the rich and flavorful pork chops. Recipe in the notes section of the recipe card.
- Store in the fridge. Refrigerate the pork chops within 2 hours of cooking to prevent bacteria growth. Place them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap before storing them in the refrigerator. This will help to keep them fresh and prevent them from drying out.
- Enjoy within 3-4 days. Leftover pork chops should be consumed within 3-4 days to ensure they are still fresh and safe to eat.
- Freeze for longer storage: Place them in a freezer-safe container or wrap them tightly in foil and freeze for up to 2-3 months.
- Thaw first then reheat. When you’re ready to eat the leftover pork chops, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight if they were in the freezer or at room temperature if they were in the fridge. This will allow them to thaw slowly and retain their moisture. You can reheat them in the microwave, oven, or on the stovetop.
Chuletas de Puerco (Cuban Fried Pork Chops)
- 6 bone-in center-cut pork chops about ¾-inch thick (approx. 3 lbs)
- 1 cup sour orange juice (naranja agria)
- 1/4 cup neutral oil
- 8 cloves garlic mashed to a paste
- ½ medium white onion thinly sliced half moons
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt to taste
- Sweet Plantains
- Avocado Onion Salad (recipe in notes)
- Lime wedges
- In a large bowl, stir together the sour orange juice, neutral oil, mashed garlic paste, onions, oregano, cumin, and salt.
- Add the pork chops to a baking dish and pour the marinade over them. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight in the fridge.
- Preheat a grill, grill pan, or cast iron skillet to medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil. Remove the pork chops from the marinade and pat them dry with a paper towel. Discard the marinade.
- Pan fry the pork chops for 5 minutes on each side until cooked through and browned on all sides. The internal temp should be 145ºF. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
- 2-3 Hass avocados
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced white onions (half moons)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste