Pork Chops with Apples and Butternut Squash brings all the delicious flavors of fall right to your dinner table. Cooked in just one skillet, this easy Pork Chop Recipe requires simple ingredients like sweet apples, butternut squash, fresh rosemary, apple cider, and juicy bone-in pork chops.
Easy One-Skillet Pork Chops with Apples
If someone asked me for a recipe that is both easy enough to make on a random Wednesday night, yet impressive enough to entertain guests for a special occasion, I would absolutely recommend this pork chop recipe. One of my favorite fall recipes, these pork chops with apples and butternut squash capture the most magical balance between sweet and savory.
But it’s not just the amazing flavor that I love so much about this easy dinner- it’s that it’s actually quite healthy, too!
Low in carbs, high in protein, and completely gluten-free, serve your chops with a side of mashed cauliflower or cauliflower rice for an extra boost of veggies.
A true testament for the awesomeness of these pork chops, however, comes straight from my husband and 4-year old. Both of them couldn’t get enough. Of course, Octavian wouldn’t eat the butternut squash. You’d think we were inflicting bodily harm at the sheer mention of taking a bote, but he did love the pork and apples. As for my husband? Well, I don’t think I have seen him enjoy a pork chop recipe so much in our entire thirteen years together.
My guess? The butter on top. It’s all about the butter.
Just kidding! The whole thing is a winner! From the crisp apples and sweet butternut squash all the way to the garlic and herb pan-seared pork chops.
Ingredients and Frequently Asked Questions
- Pork chops
- Italian seasoning
- Butternut squash
- Yellow onion or Shallots
- Fresh garlic
- Fresh rosemary
- Brown sugar
- Ground cinnamon
- Apple cider
What type of pork chops should I use to cook this recipe?
I recommend purchasing thick-cut pork chops – it’s easy to overcook and dry out leaner cuts of pork. Thicker pork chops, however, are more forgiving to accidental errors in cooking, so try to purchase double-cut pork chops (approximately 1 1/2 inches thick). I have cooked this recipe with both boneless and bone-in chops and find that as long as they’re not overcooked, the taste is about equal.
Learn more about the different cuts of pork in this Garlic Butter Pork Chop Recipe.
Salted or unsalted butter?
I almost always cook with salted butter. It lends the best flavor. If you’re trying to watch your sodium intake, I recommend using unsalted butter and seasoning to taste after cooking.
Can I use apple juice instead of apple cider?
First things first, apple cider is not the same as apple cider vinegar. Apple cider is more like a spiced apple juice. Common spices include cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. If you can’t find apple cider at your local grocery store, apple juice is the best substitute. Other possible substitutions? Vegetable broth or chicken broth. Keep in mind that should you use vegetable or chicken broth, you’ll lose out on some of the spice and sweetness from the juice, so you may need to add an extra teaspoon of brown sugar or maple syrup and an extra pinch of cinnamon.
The apple cider will form the base for the sauce. Although this dish isn’t super “saucy” it does need a little something to help cook the squash and apples. Combined with the brown sugar, you end up with a really wonderful sweet and savory glaze to spoon over your final dish.
What apples should I use?
I always tell people to pick their favorite apple. My favorite is Pink Lady Apples. They’re tart, sweet, and super crisp. Or, try one of these,
- Granny Smith
- Golden Delicious
Why isn’t my butternut squash cooking all the way through?
If your butternut squash isn’t cooked all the way, it simply means that it needs more time to cook. This can be frustrating when you just want dinner done and on the table, right? To avoid this,
- Chop your butternut squash into small cubes (even smaller than those shown in the images)
- If you purchase pre-chopped squash from the market, you will probably have to chop those in half as they can sometimes be quite large
- Cover your skillet and steam until softened
Tips and Tricks
Here are a few tips and tricks to consider before getting started:
- You may use bone-in pork chops or boneless pork chops. I have made this recipe both ways and didn’t see any difference in taste. Visually, however, bone-in pork chops always appear fancier. Or is that just me?
- When possible, pick pork chops that are equal in thickness
- Whenever you use fresh herbs, particularly fresh rosemary, be sure to mince it nice and small
- Allow them to rest at room temperature before cooking. Not for too long, of course, but a little bit of time to take the chill off will help your pork cook evenly
- Keep a digital meat thermometer handy
- If fresh rosemary is not available, substitute with half the amount of dried rosemary
- My apple picks for this recipe include Pink Lady (Cripps Pink), Braeburn, Jonagold, or any other apple that you would use to bake a pie
- Chop your butternut squash into small cubes even in size
How to make Pork Chops with Apples
Much like one-skillet chicken recipes, this recipe starts by cooking the pork before the vegetables. The skillet gets quite crowded and meat does not like to fight for space when cooking.
- Remove your pork chops from the refrigerator and season each side with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Set aside to rest and come to room temperature as you chop the butternut squash and onion.
- Melt half of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat (I love using cast-iron skillets for this recipe). Add the pork chops and cook each side for approximately 5-7 minutes. Time will vary depending on the thickness of your pork chops. Furthermore, if your pork chops are not equal thickness, one pork chop may cook faster than the other. Use your digital meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the thickest part of the pork chop. Remove the pork chops to a clean plate as soon as it reads (or comes close to) 145 degrees F.
- In the same skillet, add one more tablespoon of butter plus the butternut squash. Cook the squash for approximately 5-7 minutes before adding the onion. The squash will not be fully cooked before you add the onion, but it should be starting to soften. Cook the onion with the butternut squash for about 3-5 minutes. At this point, the onion should be turning translucent and the outer edges of the butternut squash should be softening.
- Add the garlic, fresh rosemary, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Mix well to combine (if you prefer things a little sweeter, add one more tablespoon of brown sugar).
- Add the apple cider and apples to the skillet, mixing well to combine. Carefully tuck the pork chops in with the butternut squash and the apples. Allow everything to cook together for 3-5 minutes, or until the pork is heated through and the apples start to soften.
- Top each pork chop with the remaining tablespoon of butter and serve immediately.
How to Serve Pork Chops with Apples and Butternut Squash?
Although there are a lot of awesome things going on in this skillet, you may want to consider adding a couple of extra side dishes – especially if you plan on entertaining a tableful of guests.
Assuming carbs are not an issue, my top pick is creamy mashed potatoes. There is something about the sweetness from the apple cider and the fresh rosemary mixing with the creamy mashed potatoes that is simply magical. If you’re looking for something a little more carb-friendly, simply substitute half the potatoes for cauliflower. Still super creamy and delicious, but with half of the carbs.
Other recommended sides include sautéed Brussels sprouts, honey glazed carrots, roasted asparagus, or green beans.
So, the next time you’re looking for a fresh, delicious, and EASY one-skillet meal the whole family will love, give this Pork Chops with Apples Recipe a try!
If you make this easy pork chop recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
More pork recipes,
Apple Balsamic Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin
Chili Verde Pork Burrito Bowls (Slow Cooker)
Pork Green Chili Verde Meal Prep Bowls
Cambodian Pork and Cucumber Soup
Easy Pork Chops with Blueberry Apple Compote
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Pork Chops with Apples and Butternut Squash
- Cast-Iron Skillet
- 4 thick cut pork chops - (bone-in optional)
- Salt + pepper - to season
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 4 tablespoon butter - divided
- 3 cups butternut squash - chopped into small cubes
- 1 small yellow onion - diced
- 5 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary - minced
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup spiced apple cider - or regular apple cider
- 2 apples - cored and thinly sliced
- Prepare the pork chops. Season pork chops with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning on both sides. Set aside.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter of medium-high heat in a large skillet. Carefully add the pork chops to the skillet and cook, undisturbed, on each side for approximately 5-6 minutes (time will vary depending on thickness). The outside should be golden-brown and the internal temperature should register nearly 145 degrees F with a digital meat thermometer. Transfer pork chops to a plate and set aside.
- To the same skillet, add one more tablespoon of butter and the butternut squash. Stir well to coat the squash. Cook the butternut squash for approximately 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the onion and continue to cook until onion turns soft and translucent approximately 3-5 minutes.
- Once the butternut squash just starts to soften (but isn't quite soft) and the onions are translucent, add the minced garlic, fresh rosemary, brown sugar, and cinnamon to the butternut squash. Mix well to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the spiced apple cider and sliced apples and stir well to mix. Return the pork chops to the skillet, tucking in between the squash and apples. Allow everything to cook together for approximately 3-4 minutes, or until pork registers a final 145 degrees F.
- Top each pork chop with the remaining tablespoon of butter and remove from heat. Serve with mashed potatoes or cauliflower, if desired. Enjoy!
- You may use bone-in pork chops or boneless pork chops. I have made this recipe both ways and didn't see any difference in taste. Visually, however, bone-in pork chops always appear fancier. Or is that just me?
- I do recommend purchasing pork chops that are thick-cut and equal in thickness.
- Keep a digital meat thermometer handy.
- If fresh rosemary is not available, substitute with half the amount of dried rosemary.
- My apple picks for this recipe include Pink Lady (Cripps Pink), Braeburn, Jonagold, or any other apple that you would use to bake a pie.
- Images reflect a half-recipe.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)
My husband and I thought it was delicious. I have never cooked butternut squash & it was delicious. Thanks
This was restaurant quality! Excellent recipe….Amazing!
Is peeling the butternut squash necessary?
Jessica Randhawa says
David Crockett says
I have joined the Iron Age a couple of months ago and I made it again today.: Once with center cut no bone and now with bone in–much better the latter. I used more squash and apples than I should have with 2 nice thick bone in pork chops. But it cam out awesome. A tip: After cooking the pork to about 135 degrees F, I set the chops on plate to rest. I used the skillet cover to cover the chops to keep it war,. I then did the squash and apples as suggested. Added the cider (I used Angry Orchard hard cider) and cooked until the squash hand apples were tender, don’t follow the clock strictly, Let the food tell you. Once pretty close to down I put the pork back into the skillet cooked another couple of minutes covered. Since the cider is a bit sweet I left out the brown sugar. The pork chops were nice and moist. A hit with my wife, my biggest critic.
Jessica Randhawa says
Thanks for the great feedback David 🙂
This was great! Oh pork is from an American Guinea Hog which is a lard breed so I only used half the butter, which turned out just perfect.
Jessica Randhawa says
Thanks for the great feedback Tina 🙂
Seriously IMPRESSIVE and easy recipe!! I couldn’t stop getting more helpings!
Jessica Randhawa says
Thank you for the kind feedback Andromeda 🙂
ray vacca says
I can’t see how the squash will be cooked well enough by the time the rest of the meal items will be ready. What Am I missing? Cooking for 3-5 minutes here and there doesn’t seem correct or long enough
Jessica Randhawa says
Good afternoon Ray,
Please see steps 3 through 6 in the recipe card: https://theforkedspoon.com/apple-cinnamon-pork-chops-with-butternut-squash/#wprm-recipe-container-38054 🙂
Trick for you: I love apple cider but it is only readily available a short window every year. I get a gallon of cider, place in a large pot and slowly reduce until I am left with 2-3 c. of syrup. It will keep for an entire year in a bottle in the refrigerator. I add to sliced apples for apple pie, love with pork chips, use over pancakes and for interesting cocktails, you can use in smoothies, you get the idea.
My grocery store was out of butternut squash. I had never heard of delicata squash, but the internet said I could substitute it. I left the rind on, as recommended. Came out very well. Not quite as nutty. Served it with roast potatoes. Very well received.
Very good! I used a splash of apple cider vinegar instead of cider and added a bit more cinnamon and brown sugar and a pinch of clove and nutmeg. Served with garlic herb mashed potatoes, devoured!
Jessica Randhawa says
Thanks for the great feedback and rating, Kelly 🙂
Very tasty and I love that it’s a one pot meal.
Nice recipe (smelled awesome cookig!) except squash did not cook through by end of process…
I left out the apple cider and brown sugar to keep it low carb for Halloween dinner! Huge hit with everyone! Thank you for sharing.
Will make again.