The Common Mistake To Avoid For Crispy Air Fryer Pork Chops

pork chops on black plate
pork chops on black plate - Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

Texture plays a critical role in the enjoyment of food, and there's a certain satisfaction in biting into a pork chop with a crispy outer crust rather than chops that are soggy the whole way through. This isn't just about the contrast in textures. The crispiness of a pork chop is a delightful byproduct of the Maillard reaction, a process where amino acids, sugars, and heat combine to create a flavor-packed sear. This reaction can still occur when you cook pork chops in your air fryer, but be careful not to overcrowd the basket. Doing so could prevent this, leaving you with bland, watery pork chops.

If you're cooking a large batch of pork chops, you might be tempted to load your air fryer to speed up the process. However, overcrowding can cause the meat to steam rather than sear because the natural juices from the cooked pork have nowhere else to go and just get trapped between the pieces of meat. These juices don't get any hotter than 212 degrees Fahrenheit. For the Maillard reaction -- the process that gives the pork chops a delicious crust -- to occur, the cooking temperature must reach at least 280 degrees Fahrenheit.

Read more: 15 Tricks For Making The Most Crispy Chicken Thighs Ever

How To Get Crispy Pork Chops In The Air Fryer

pork chops being cooked in air fryer
pork chops being cooked in air fryer - ltummy/Shutterstock

The best way to ensure your pork chops get crispy when cooked in your air fryer is to cook them in small batches and avoid placing them on top of each other. It's also a good idea to space them out well so they aren't touching. Giving the chops adequate space allows hot air to fully circulate and prevents steaming. This can ensure that each chop is evenly exposed to the heat, promoting a consistent, crispy texture on your pork chops.

When cooking pork chops in multiple batches, it's crucial to preheat your air fryer to a hot enough temperature because the Maillard reaction can only take place at a temperature of 280 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Most pork chop recipes call for a cooking temperature of 375 to 380 degrees Fahrenheit. This step ensures that each batch gets exposed to high, direct heat immediately, which is key for achieving a good sear. If you put pork chops into an air fryer that hasn't fully preheated, they will warm up slowly with the appliance and lose moisture, preventing them from getting as crispy as possible.

What To Do If Your Pork Chops Still Aren't Crispy Enough

cooked pork chops with herbs
cooked pork chops with herbs - Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

If your pork chops still aren't turning out as crispy as you'd like even after cooking them in smaller batches, there are other things you can do to get them even crispier without the risk of burning them or having to resort to pan-frying. Since crispiness is largely influenced by the Maillard reaction, sprinkling a bit of sugar on the meat, or even marinating them in apple juice, can provide more fuel for this reaction, helping form a crispier crust on the outside.

Adding sugar to your pork chops also has the benefit of creating a more balanced flavor by contrasting any saltiness, but if you're not a fan of the idea of adding something sweet to your pork chops, you can also dust them in flour. Much like when you sear meat in flour before putting it in the slow cooker, air frying pork chops that have been floured beforehand increases browning, ultimately creating a crispier crust. This additional step, combined with proper spacing in the air fryer, will prevent you from ending up with soggy pork chops.

Read the original article on Daily Meal