Apple Cider Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples

Apple Cider Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples is the perfect fall meal. Fragrant sage and sweet caramelized apples pair perfectly with savory pork chops!

pork chops in a cast iron skillet

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Creating This Cast Iron Pork Chops Recipe

I like pork, but for years I didn’t cook it as often as I should. The truth is, a for a long time I just forgot about pork (unless it is bacon). Now, we eat pork probably once a week because Kevin and Logan LOVE pork chops.

This isn’t your stereotypical pork chop with apples recipe, but it’s still just as comforting. Meals like this are perfect during the fall, but I like to have a few recipes that fit the “comfort food” bill for any of those cool, rainy (or even snowy!) evenings.

Pork chops seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, and sage, then cooked in a heavy cast iron skillet with olive oil and butter until browned. Then, they simmer in a creamy apple cider sage sauce and are topped with caramelized apples.

I wanted to keep the recipe fairly simple, even though it would be more creative than your typical weeknight dinner, because I know most moms are pretty busy. Moms want to eat something good for dinner but they don’t want to spend all day preparing it. I totally get that because I am right there with you.

pork chops and apples in cast iron

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Apple Cider Pork Chops Ingredients

These sage pork chops with apples require very few ingredients to make. Here’s what you’ll need for this stovetop pork chops recipe:

  • Bone-in pork chops
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic
  • Fresh sage
  • Apples
  • Butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Apple cider
  • Heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
pork chops in a cast iron skillet

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How to Cook Pork Chops on the Stove

To make these pork chops with apples, first cook the pork chops in an oiled cast iron skillet, flipping occasionally.

In another skillet, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and cook until it begins to melt. Then, add the sliced apples and saute until they begin to brown and cook down.

Add the apple cider to the pan with the pork chops and continue cooking until the liquid reduces by about half. Add the cream to that same skillet and cook until slightly thickened.

Sprinkle with fresh sage, then spoon the apples over the pork chops and serve immediately.

This recipe does have the optional step to brine the pork chops if you’d like. I don’t always do this, but the apple cider pork chop brine does add some extra flavor and I like how it seasons the meat throughout and helps keep it tender and juicy.

But, this step is perfectly fine to eliminate on a busy day, or if you don’t have all of the ingredients.

honeycrisp apples with kitchen towel

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What Type of Apples Should I Use?

Any variety of apples that you have on hand would work fine in this Pork Chop Recipe! Just make sure they are fresh and crisp. Mealy, overripe apples would not work well in this recipe as the apples would fall apart when cooked and not hold their shape well.

Personally, I like using sweeter apples in this apple cider pork chops recipe. The sweet apples paired with the savory pork chops is hard to beat.

My favorite varieties to use with this Apple Cider Pork Chop Recipe are Honeycrisp or Pink Lady.

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I don’t have apples, can I use something else?

I haven’t personally tried to substitute another fruit in this recipe for Apple Cider Pork Chops.

Based on the flavor profile of this Cast Iron Pork Chop Recipe, I would recommend substituting pears for the apples if you have pears on hand. Just make sure the pears are ripe but still firm so they hold their shape when cooked.

Another alternative would be to simply omit the apples from the recipe. You will still have the tasty apple flavor from the apple cider in the sauce. That plus the sage and garlic will give you lots of flavor to go with these cast iron pork chops!

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Can I Substitute Boneless Pork Chops?

Yes, although you’ll likely need to cook the pork chops for less time when using boneless pork chops in this recipe. I would choose the thicker boneless pork chops if I were to use the boneless variety in this recipe.

If possible, use bone-in pork chops since they have more flavor due to the bone and are typically thicker. Bone-in Pork chops also typically don’t get as dry as boneless pork chops do.

What Can I Substitute In Place of Pork

If you don’t consume pork but you’d still like to try this recipe, I recommend using bone in, skin on chicken thighs instead of the pork. Apples, sage, and chicken all taste good together, so this is a good substitute.

Alternatively, you could also use trimmed boneless, skinless chicken breasts if you would like a leaner meat. Make sure the chicken is not too thick, otherwise the meat won’t turn out as tender.

If you can’t purchase thin cut chicken breasts, I suggest pounding them thinner using a meat mallet or butterflying the breasts if they are very thick.

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Tips for Making Apple Cider Pork Chops

Before cooking the pork chops, you need to set them on your counter to come to room temperature. If you place the pork chops in the hot pan while they’re still fridge cold, it’ll take longer for the insides to cook through.

You’ll also want to make sure that you pat the pork chops completely dry on both sides before you begin browning them. I find that a paper towel works well for this. Pork Chops will get a much nicer crust when browning if they are dry to the touch when they go in the pan.

Also, make sure you’re using unflavored apple cider and not the kind that has spices added to it. Double check the ingredients list to make sure you bought the right kind.

pork chops on a plate with mashed potatoes and broccoli

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What to Serve with Apple Cider Sage Pork Chops

To make these pork chops with apples a full meal, I like to serve these Cast Iron Pork Chops with some of my favorite fall comfort food sides! Check out these recipes, or browse the Recipe Index for more Side Dish Recipes and Vegetable Recipes.

Classic buttery russet potato mashed potatoes are elevated thanks to the addition of plenty of browned butter and fresh grated parmesan in this Browned Butter Parmesan Mashed Potatoes.

In this recipe for Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Garlic and Sage, Cubed sweet potatoes are tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper are roasted and then tossed generously with fresh garlic and sage.

Cream Cheese Chive Duchess Potatoes are delicious, individually portioned mounds of mashed potatoes that have been baked. Inside they’re creamy and fluffy while the outside is beautifully golden and crisp.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic are a fantastic side dish that is full of delicious flavor — caramelized, roasted Brussels sprouts, savory bacon, and tangy balsamic vinegar.

My go-to super easy vegetable side dish is Roasted Broccoli. For a fancier version, try Lemon Roasted Broccolini.

pork chops with sage in and apples in a cast iron skillet

More Fall Dinner Recipes:

This Italian Sausage and Kale Soup is a lightened up version of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana. It’s easy to make and so flavorful!

A Roasted Pork Sandwich with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms is a welcome addition to the dinner table year-round, but it’s especially delicious when the weather’s cooler.

Few soups are as cozy as this Turkey Black Bean Chili. It’s made with pumpkin for an extra dose of fall flavor, and comes together in no time.

It doesn’t get much easier than this Sheet Pan Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Vegetables. It’s done in under an hour and requires just 10 minutes of hands on prep work.

Sometimes all I want is mac and cheese for dinner — when that craving strikes I make this Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. Serve it with a side salad to round out the meal and enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie with Buttermilk Biscuit Crust is fall comfort food and it’s finest! Creamy chicken filling is topped with tender buttermilk biscuits. Come learn how to make chicken pot pie, how to make a vegetarian pot pie (if you don’t consume meat, I have plenty of suggestions for substitutes!), and how to freeze chicken pot pie.

What are your favorite fall pork chop recipes?

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Apple Cider Sage Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples

Apple Cider Sage Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples

Yield: serves 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Apple Cider Sage Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples is the perfect fall meal - fragrant sage and sweet caramelized apples pair perfectly with savory pork chops!

Ingredients

For the Pork Brine (Optional)

  • 4 cups Cold Water
  • 4 Cups Apple Cider (not Apple Juice)
  • 2 tablespoons Whole Black Peppercorn
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, smashed
  • 2 Sage stems

For the Pork Chops

  • 4 bone-in pork loin chops
  • 2 teaspoons butter*
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil*
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons fresh sage chopped, according to preference

For the Apples

  • 1 pound apples, peeled, cored and sliced in ¼-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar

For the Sauce

  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons fresh sage chopped, according to preference
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

FOR THE BRINE (OPTIONAL)

  1. Add 2 cups of the water, salt, garlic, peppercorn, and sage to a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  2. In a resealable bag or large bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups of cold water, apple cider, and pork chops. Then, add the salt water mixture. Mix well so the mixtures are combine and the pork chops are completely coated and submerged.
  3. Chill the pork in the brine for at least 3 hours or up to 12 hours. Then, proceed with the recipe as instructed but eliminating any additional salt on the pork chops as they will be salted throughout due to the brine. Discard the used brine the pork chops are done bringing.

FOR THE PORK

  1. Pat the pork chops completely dry on both sides (paper towels work well). Season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and f the sage.
  2. In a large sauté pan or cast iron skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until it begins to bubble.
  3. Add the meat and cook for 3–5 minutes, or until browned.
  4. Turn and cook the other side until browned and the pork is cooked through
  5. While cooking, brush some of the butter and olive oil mixture on the side of the pork facing up.

FOR THE APPLES

  1. In another skillet melt the remaining tablespoon butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the brown sugar to the butter and cook for 1 minute, or until it begins to melt.
  3. Add the apples and sauté over medium heat until the apples are browned and tender. This should take about 10–15 minutes.

FOR THE SAUCE

  1. In the pan with the pork chops, add the apple cider and cook over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by about half.
  2. Add the cream, bring to a boil and allow it to bubble for a few minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Make sure the pork is cooked through to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
  3. Sprinkle with remaining fresh sage if desired, and season with salt and pepper if desired. Spoon some of the sauce over the pork chops.

SERVING

  1. If serving immediately, spoon the caramelized apples on top of the pork in the pan.
  2. Alternatively, you can pass the apples separately at the table and portion them out directly on the dinner plates.

Notes

*this recipe originally called for a garlic herb seasoned butter and olive oil blend called Saute Express, however that product is no longer on the market. I've updated the recipe with alternative ingredients.

Tips for this Recipe

Before cooking the pork chops, you need to set them on your counter to come to room temperature. If you place the pork chops in the hot pan while they're still fridge cold, it'll take longer for the insides to cook through.

You'll also want to make sure that you pat the pork chops completely dry on both sides before you begin browning them. I find that a paper towel works well for this. Pork Chops will get a much nicer crust when browning if they are dry to the touch when they go in the pan.

Also, make sure you're using unflavored apple cider and not the kind that has spices added to it. Double check the ingredients list to make sure you bought the right kind.

Apple Variety Recommendations

Apples should be ripe but still crisp and firm. Any variety will do but my favorites are Pink Lady or Honeycrisp.

Need a Pork Substitute?

If you don't consume pork but you'd still like to try this recipe, I recommend using bone in, skin on chicken thighs instead of the pork. Apples, sage, and chicken all taste good together, so this is a good substitute. Alternatively, you could also use trimmed boneless, skinless chicken breasts if you would like a leaner meat. Make sure the chicken is not too thick, otherwise the meat won't turn out as tender.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 384 Total Fat 21g Saturated Fat 9g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 10g Cholesterol 111mg Sodium 189mg Carbohydrates 21g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 2g Sugar 17g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 28g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

This recipe was originally published April 2013. It has been updated from the archives with new photos and an optional pork chop brine step.