The Best Guide For How Long To Cook Pork • Steamy Kitchen Recipes Giveaways

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From smoky barbecue ribs to that fall-off-the-bone slow-cooked shoulder, pork is a beloved white meat staple of good home cooking. 

But here’s the rub: cooking pork so it’s tender and juicy (rather than resembling something like an old leather boot) is an art form so many strive to master. The trick is all about cook times!

We know there are so many cuts of pork and so many ways to cook them. It can get overwhelming really fast. That’s why we’ve dug deep and laid it all out for you.

We’ve created a comprehensive quick-look guide on how long to cook all kinds of pork cuts among a wide variety of cooking methods.

No longer will you have to scour the interwebs every time you decide to cook. It’s all right here for you, internal temp requirements included!

How Long Do You Have To Cook Pork? The Short Answer…

For those of you sprinting through dinner prep and needing the lowdown RIGHT NOW, here’s the skinny on pork cooking times: they’re not one-size-fits-all. Whether you’re dealing with a lean pork tenderloin, a festive pork loin roast, or some delectable boneless pork chops, the key to unlocking their delicious potential lies in their internal temperature. 

Aim for the USDA’s golden standard of 145°F, followed by a brief but crucial three-minute rest. This pause allows the juices to redistribute, so each bite stays tender and juicy.

With that being said, you will find each cooking method along with types of pork and all the details you need for how long to cook each. 

Cooking Method: Pan Frying

Pan fried pork chopsPan fried pork chops

Pan-frying is a great way to guarantee a golden crust on the outside, and a tender and juice experience on the inside. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to perfectly pan-fry your pork.

Pork Chops

  • Cooking Time: 4 minutes per side
  • Steps:
    1. Prep Your Chops: Start by patting your bone-in or boneless pork chops dry with a paper towel to ensure proper searing. Add a light oil and your choice of seasoning.
    2. Fry to Perfection: Place a frying pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Gently lay the pork chops in the hot pan, careful to avoid overcrowding. Cook for 4 minutes on one side, then flip and repeat on the other, or until an internal temperature of 145°F.
    3. Rest and Serve: Once cooked, let your pork chops rest on a wire rack or plate for a few minutes before serving.

Bacon

  • Cooking Time: 4 to 5 minutes per side
  • Steps:
    1. Heat Things Up: Set a frying pan over medium heat on your stovetop. No need for oil, as the bacon will render its own fat.
    2. Cook: Add bacon slices to the pan once hot. Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, adjusting the time based on how crispy you like your bacon. Flip the slices carefully to ensure even cooking.
    3. Drain and Enjoy: Transfer the crispy bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess fat.

 

Cooking Method: Oven

Looking to cook something a little bigger, or just want the perks of tender, juicy oven-baked pork? Here’s how to master the art of oven cooking when it comes to pork.

Pork Chops

  • Cooking Time: 7 to 8 minutes per 1/2 inch of thickness
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Preheat your oven to a cozy 350°F.
    2. Prep: Gently pat your pork chops dry with a paper towel. A light brush of oil and season to your preference.
    3. Cook: Slide those chops into the oven for 7 to 8 minutes per 1/2 inch of thickness, flipping halfway through, until you hit an internal temperature of 145°F.

Tenderloin

  • Cooking Time: 20 to 25 minutes per pound
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Preheat your oven to 350°F.
    2. Prep: Season to your liking.
    3. Cook: Let the tenderloin roast for 20 to 25 minutes per pound, until you hit an internal temp of 145°F.

Pork Roast

  • Cooking Time: 20 to 25 minutes per pound
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Preheat your oven to 375°F.
    2. Prep: For an extra layer of flavor, consider searing your roast on all sides in a hot pan before it hits the oven. Season as desired.
    3. Cook: Roast for 20 to 25 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reads 145°F. Let the roast rest for maximum juiciness.

Ribs

  • Cooking Time: 1 hour per pound
  • Steps:
    1. Pre-prep: For best results, remove ribs from fridge 30 to 60 minutes before prepping
    2. Warm Up: Preheat your oven to a low 250°F for slow-roasted tenderness.
    3. Prep: After removing the membrane, season both sides with your favorite spice blend or a classic mix of brown sugar and smoked paprika.
    4. Cook: Roast your ribs for an hour per pound until they’re fall-off-the-bone tender, aiming for an internal temperature of 195°F.

Pulled Pork (Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt)

  • Cooking Time: 40 to 60 minutes per pound
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Preheat your oven to 275°F.
    2. Prep: Season with a bold spice rub or a simple salt and black pepper combo. Optionally, sear it for a few minutes on high heat in a frying pan before placing it in the oven.
    3. Cook: Roast for 40 to 60 minutes per pound, or until it reaches pull-apart tenderness at an internal temperature of 195°F.

Pork Belly

  • Cooking Time: 25 minutes per pound
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Preheat your oven to 250°F.
    2. Prep: Scoring the skin every 1.5 inches allows for crispier bites. Choose your own adventure with spices or keep it classic with salt and pepper.
    3. Cook: Aim for a crispy yet tender finish at 25 minutes per pound, checking for a final temperature of 145°F.

Bacon

  • Cooking Time: 14 to 18 minutes
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Preheat your oven at 400°F to get a perfect crisp.
    2. Prep: Arrange bacon on a lined baking sheet for even cooking.
    3. Cook: Cook for 14 to 18 minutes. Halfway through, give those slices a flip.

Ham

  • Cooking Time: 15 to 20 minutes per pound (pre-cooked); 35 to 40 minutes per pound (uncooked or bone-in)
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Prep: For uncooked hams, scoring and seasoning with a rub of cloves and brown sugar can create an amazing glaze.
    3. Cook: Bake 15 to 20 minutes per pound for pre-cooked ham (35 to 40 minutes per pound for uncooked or bone in) until it reaches a safe and delicious internal temperature of 145°F.

 

Cooking Method: BBQ

Ready to fire up that grill? Here’s your go-to guide for BBQing pork like a pro, with clear temp and times so that every piece of pork leaves your grill perfectly cooked.

Pork Chops

  • Cooking Time: 4 minutes per side
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Preheat your barbecue to a sizzling 500°F.
    2. BBQ Settings: Adjust the dials to medium-high and get ready for some direct heat action.
    3. Cook: Place pork chops over the flame and grill each side for 4 minutes, keeping the lid open if you prefer. The goal is a beautiful sear with an internal temperature of 145°F.

Tenderloin

  • Cooking Time: 5 minutes per side (there are 3 sides to a tenderloin)
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Set that barbecue roaring to 500°F.
    2. BBQ Settings: Medium-high is your setting for this lean cut.
    3. Cook: Hit all three sides of your pork loin for 5 minutes each under direct heat. Closing the lid is recommended, but chef’s choice! Aim for a total of 15 minutes or until it reaches the perfect 145°F inside.

Pork Roast

  • Cooking Time: 25 to 20 minutes per pound
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Bring the heat to a moderate 325°F.
    2. BBQ Settings: Dial in medium on both sides, leaving the center off for indirect cooking.
    3. Cook: Nestle your roast in the middle, away from the flames, and let it bask under a closed lid for 25-30 minutes per pound until it hits 145°F internally.

Ribs

  • Cooking Time: 1 hour per pound
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Preheat to a low and slow 250°F.
    2. BBQ Settings: Set for indirect heat with the dials turned to low.
    3. Cook: Place ribs away from direct flame, close the lid, and let them slowly cook to perfection, about 1 hour per pound. Your patience will be rewarded at a 195°F internal temp.

Pork Belly

  • Cooking Time: 1.5 hours per pound
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Aim for a steady 250°F on your grill.
    2. BBQ Settings: Medium heat, but keep it indirect for this fatty delight.
    3. Cook: Pork belly thrives with the lid closed and away from the direct flame. Cooking for 1.5 hours per pound. You’re shooting for a succulent 145°F internal temperature.

Pulled Pork

  • Cooking Time: 1.5 hours per pound
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Get your BBQ to a consistent 250°F.
    2. BBQ Settings: Keep it at a lower temperature and away from a direct flame for the long haul.
    3. Cook: A fall-apart pork shoulder needs about 1.5 hours per pound under a closed lid, reaching an internal temp of 195°F inside.

Ham

  • Cooking Time: 15 minutes per pound if it’s pre-cooked; 1.5 hours per pound if it’s fresh
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Set the stage with your BBQ between 350°F and 375°F.
    2. BBQ Settings: Medium heat, no direct heat.
    3. Cook: Whether it’s pre-cooked or fresh, ham loves indirect heat and a closed lid. Cook for 15 minutes per pound if it’s pre-cooked, or up the ante to 1.5 hours per pound if starting from fresh, aiming for an internal temp of 145°F either way.

 

Cooking Method: Slow Cooker

Looking to set it and forget it? Then you definitely want to slow cook your pork. Crockpots may just be the best way to achieve fall-off-the-bone pork every time. We’ve broken the process down for each cut. All you have to do is season and set it to the time we’ve specified below. Done and done!

Pork Chops

  • Cooking Time: About 4 hours on LOW
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Set your slow cooker to LOW.
    2. Prep: Pat the pork chops dry and season to your liking. Then, give them a quick sear in a hot frying pan with a bit of oil for about 1 minute per side to develop a rich flavor.
    3. Cook: Place the chops in the slow cooker, cooking for around 4 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F.

Tenderloin

  • Cooking Time: About 4 hours on LOW
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Set your slow cooker to LOW.
    2. Prep: Pat dry and season your pork tenderloin. Add at least 2 cups of liquid or sauce for the best results.
    3. Cook: Nestle the tenderloin into the slow cooker, letting it cook for 4 hours to a perfect 145°F.

Pork Roast

  • Cooking Time: 6-7 hours on LOW or 3-4 hours on HIGH
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Adjust your slow cooker to either LOW or HIGH, depending on your schedule.
    2. Prep: Season to your liking and then simply place the pork roast in the slow cooker.
    3. Cook: Let it tenderize for 6 to 7 hours on LOW or 3 to 4 hours on HIGH, checking for tenderness an hour before the end. The roast is done when it effortlessly falls apart.

Ribs

  • Cooking Time: 7-9 hours on LOW or 3-5 hours on HIGH
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Set your slow cooker to your desired heat setting.
    2. Prep: Remove membrane, season and add sauce if needed, and position the ribs in the slow cooker.
    3. Cook: Allow the ribs to slow cook until they are so tender they nearly melt in your mouth. Check for doneness an hour before you anticipate they’ll be ready.

Pulled Pork

  • Cooking Time: 8-10 hours on LOW or 4-5 hours on HIGH
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Choose LOW or HIGH on your slow cooker.
    2. Prep: Season the pork shoulder and add it to the cooker along with your chosen spices, vegetables, and a flavorful liquid (chicken broth or root beer are great choices).
    3. Cook: Slow cook until the pork is tender enough to be easily shredded. Then prep for your pulled pork meal of choice, whether that be sandwiches or tacos!

Cooking Method: Air Fryer

Want a sear on your pork without having to pan fry before slow cooking? Looking to avoid the mess of firing up the grill or oven? Air fryers are where we complicated meals go to die. Let’s uncomplicate your pork dish (while keeping it succulent) with just a few simple steps.

Pork Chops

  • Cooking Time: About 10 minutes
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Preheat your air fryer to a hot 400°F.
    2. Prep: Coat pork chops with just a bit of oil and season to your liking.
    3. Cook: Place the chops in the air fryer basket or on the shelf and set it to cook for 10 minutes at 400°F. After 5 minutes, flip to make sure it cooks evenly. Aim for an internal temperature of 145°F.

Tenderloin

  • Cooking Time: About 20 minutes
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Preheat your air fryer at 400°F.
    2. Prep: Season the tenderloin as desired. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you might need to cut the tenderloin in half to fit.
    3. Cook: Cook the tenderloin for roughly 20 minutes at 400°F, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.

 

Cooking Method: Instant Pot

Pork in an Instant PotPork in an Instant Pot

Are you one of those people who are in LOVE with your Instant Pot? If so, this is for you. Cooking with these straightforward steps will result in some seriously succulent pork roast or flavorful pulled pork. The Instant Pot combines the best of pressure cooking and sautéing to give you tender meat with a lovely sear in a fraction of the time it takes with traditional methods.

Pork Roast

  • Cooking Time: 25 minutes on HIGH pressure per 2 pounds
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Switch your Instant Pot to “sauté” mode and add a bit of oil to coat the bottom. Brown the pork roast on all sides for a rich flavor.
    2. Prep: Place the trivet in the bottom, then pour in 1/4 cup of your chosen liquid (broth, wine, or water works well) to create steam.
    3. Cook: Set to pressure cook on HIGH for 25 minutes, perfect for a 2-pound roast. Let the pressure naturally release for 8-10 minutes before manually releasing any remaining steam. Check that the internal temperature reaches 145°F. Adjust cooking time as necessary for larger cuts, ensuring doneness with a meat thermometer.

Pulled Pork

  • Cooking Time: 40 minutes on HIGH pressure per pound
  • Steps:
    1. Warm Up: Begin by browning the pork shoulder in “sauté” mode after lightly sautéing all sides to enhance flavor and tenderness.
    2. Prep: No trivet needed for this one; just add the pork shoulder directly into the pot along with a flavorful liquid to keep things moist.
    3. Cook: Pressure cook on high for 40 minutes per pound. Allow for a natural release of pressure for 10 minutes for the meat to settle and reabsorb its juices, then manually release. Aim for the meat to easily shred. That’s how you’ll know it’s perfectly cooked for pulling.

 

How To Cook Pork FAQs

What’s the best way to keep my pork chops tender and not dry?

Tenderizing pork chops with a mallet is a great way to keep them tender. Marinating or brining can also add moisture and flavor, especially for leaner cuts of meat.

Can I cook pork from frozen?

Yes, you can cook pork from frozen. Slow cookers or Instant Pots are especially helpful for this, but expect a longer cooking time (up to 50% longer). Though, cooking meat from room temperature is the recommended option, as thawed meat tends to cook more evenly.

How do I make pulled pork?

Pulled pork is best made with a boneless pork shoulder (or butt) roast. Season with your choice of spices and cook slowly until it’s basically falling apart. Using a slow cooker, Instant Pot, or even an oven at a low temperature works best for pulled pork. Be sure to add a liquid like chicken broth or root beer to enhance the flavor and keep it moist and tender.

Any quick and easy pork recipes for weeknights?

Pan-fried bone-in pork chops, thin slices of pork loin for quick stir-fries, or pork tenderloin roasted in a hot oven are all speedy options. Look for recipes that use simple ingredients and straightforward cooking methods, and quick sides like our green beans with browned butter and hazelnuts  or easy steamed microwave carrots

From pan-fried pork chops to the slow-cooked tenderness of pulled pork, we hope this guide helps you tackle any pork recipe with confidence. Whether you’re roasting, frying, or slow cooking, we’ve got your back!  Here’s to the home cooks, the experimenters, the “let’s just see what happens” mad kitchen scientists—may your pork always be falling off the bone and melt-in-your-mouth good.

⭐ Make sure to bookmark this Best Guide For How Long To Cook Pork and come back to it when you need it! 

Check Out Our Popular Pork Recipes Below: 





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