Chinese Five-Spice Skillet Pork Chops

Chinese Five-Spice Skillet Pork Chops Recipe via Worthy Pause

Growing up, my mom made only one version of pork chops.

This was not it.

Hers was a recipe that I'm sure many of you have had before. It went something like this: cook the shit out of some pork chops and then deglaze the pan with a can of condensed Campbell's soup (instant gravy).

I make fun of these pork chops all the time (sorry mom!), but I also not-so-secretly think they are super delicious.

They are not, however, the only pork chops recipe that one needs in one's life. These five-spice chops are pretty great too.

Chinese Five-Spice Skillet Pork Chops Recipe via Worthy Pause

What is Chinese five-spice powder?

I'm surprised there's nothing five-spice on this blog already, because I actually cook with this magical blend pretty often. 

Five-spice powder (at least the kind you'll find in the U.S.) is typically a blend of star anise, Szechuan peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves and fennel. The flavor is warm and slightly sweet, and it's very well-suited for pork, chicken, duck and beef. It also lends an excellent kick to desserts, like a slightly amped up pumpkin pie spice. 

Chinese Five-Spice Skillet Pork Chops Recipe via Worthy Pause

Chinese Five-Spice Skillet Pork Chops

paleo, whole30-approved, gluten-free recipe | serves 4


  • ~3 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 thick-cut boneless pork chops
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a splash of rice vinegar or water
  • optional: sliced green onions or chopped cilantro, for garnish


  1. Add 1 T olive oil and caramelize the onions in a large skillet on medium to medium-high heat, stirring frequently. In the meantime, there's some other things you can do.
  2. While the onions are cooking, dry the pork chops using paper towels. Sprinkle the chops with the ginger, five-spice and salt.
  3. When the onions look almost done, add the garlic to the skillet and cook until soft. Just a minute or two. Then remove the onions and garlic from the pan and set it aside
  4. Add the rest of the oil to the skillet and cook the pork chops on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes on one side.
  5. Flip them, turn the heat down to medium and cook for another ~5 minutes. 
  6. Turn off the heat. Add the onions and garlic back to the skillet and a splash of rice vinegar or water to deglaze the pan and make a little pan sauce.
  7. Let the pork rest for 3-5 minutes before you dig in. Top with green onions or chopped cilantro if you want.


  • Serve this with baked sweet potatoes, cauliflower rice or stir-fry veggies.
  • Full-disclosure: I know there are only three pork chops in the photos and the recipe calls for four. The other one is in my stomach, sorry!
  • Internal temp for medium-rare should be at least 145 degrees F. I like my pork chops medium or medium-rare, but I know not everyone does. If you want yours without any pink, do 4 minutes on the first side and then 6 minutes on the flip.
  • If your pork chops aren't thick-cut, you'll want to cut down on cook time a minute or two.
  • If you want another layer of flavor, you can add just a little splash of sesame oil in when you're deglazing the pan.
Chinese Five-Spice Skillet Pork Chops Recipe via Worthy Pause

Pork. It's what's for dinner.