Maple-Chipotle Air Fryer Pork Chops

The dry rub has some heat, but the sauce has a just-right hint of sweetness to balance it.

Maple Chipotle Air Fryer Pork Chops
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Ranking; Prop Stylist Julia Bayless
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
Servings:
2

Pork chops can be tricky to cook exactly right, with some recipes and cooking methods yielding dry, tasteless cuts of meat. But with this recipe for Maple-Chipotle Air Fryer Pork Chops, you'll banish all your hesitations about pork chops.

The meat is juicy and tender, the rub is spicy and flavorful, and the sauce is sweet and tangy. Here's everything you need to know about making the air fryer pork chops.

Why Cook Pork Chops in an Air Fryer?

You likely know that air fryers are perfect for cooking crunchy French fries and zucchini chips, as well as crispy hand pies and chicken wings. But the countertop appliance is also perfect for cooking up pork chops that are crisp on the outside and cooked perfectly all the way through, thanks to the intense and speedy heat circulation inside.

Plus, since they are done in under 20 minutes, you'll have plenty of time to let your pork chops rest before cutting into them, which ensures all that flavorful juice doesn't come spilling out of the meat and onto your plate (instead of into your mouth).

What Are the Best Pork Chops for the Air Fryer?

For this recipe, you want bone-in, center-cut pork chops that are at least 1-inch thick, ideally close to 1.5 inches—anything thinner will cook through before the mouthwatering crust has time to form. You can trim the fat if you'd like, but you may miss out on some flavor.

The same goes for boneless chops, which we believe are easier to overcook and don't have as much rich, meaty pork flavor.

Maple-Chipotle Air Fryer Pork Chops Ingredients

In addition to your chops, you'll need ingredients for the spice rub and the maple sauce. Don't skimp on either (even if it seems like a lot), as they are the source of the sweet, spicy, and smoky flavor.

For the spice rub

The pork chops are smothered with chipotle chile powder for heat, paprika for warmth and color, garlic powder and onion powder for pop and body, and salt and black pepper to bring everything together. You also need a bit of vegetable oil to make sure the spice rub sticks to the chops.

For the maple sauce

This simple, barbecue-esque sauce comes together super fast and is the finishing touch that takes these pork chops over the top. Maple syrup provides sweetness, the adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo offers just the right amount of heat, and apple cider vinegar balances things out with a touch of tang.

How to Cook Air Fryer Pork Chops

Cooking pork chops in an air fryer is so fast and easy, you may have found your new favorite weeknight dinner. Use this recipe as a template, then get creative with marinades and dry rubs. Experimenting is encouraged.

Step 1. Preheat and prep

Preheat the air fryer to 375°F. You can cook from cold, but it will take a bit longer on your total cook time.

Then, stir together the dry rub ingredients—chipotle chile powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper.

dry rub for Maple Chipotle Air Fryer Pork Chops
Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Ranking; Prop Stylist Julia Bayless

Grab a paper towel, and cover all sides of the pork chops in a bit of oil. The oily surface will "grip" the dry rub better. It'll also keep the crust of the pork chops moist while cooking.

Finally, sprinkle the dry rub all over the pork chops, and rub it into each piece of meat until well coated.

Maple Chipotle Air Fryer Pork Chops
Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Ranking; Prop Stylist Julia Bayless

Step 2. Cook

If you have a smaller air fryer, you may need to work in batches. But a larger basket should be able to hold both pork chops.

If so, place both pork chops in the air fryer basket, and cook at 375°F for 8 minutes. Flip the pork chops over, and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes more. Use a probe thermometer to make sure the thickest portion of the pork chops are 145°F.

Remove the pork chops from the air fryer basket, and let them rest on a plate for 5 minutes while you prepare the sauce.

pork chops in air fryer basket
Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Ranking; Prop Stylist Julia Bayless

Step 3. Make the sauce

The maple-adobo sauce is basically a quick barbecue sauce. The adobo sauce adds heat that the maple balances beautifully. The apple cider vinegar gives the sauce that barbecue bite, so it's all around the best sauce for this air fryer pork chop recipe.

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce: maple syrup, adobo sauce, and vinegar.

Then, slice the pork chops, and drizzle them with the maple sauce.

unsliced Maple Chipotle Air Fryer Pork Chops
Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Ranking; Prop Stylist Julia Bayless

How to Serve Maple Chipotle Air Fryer Pork Chops

Once your pork chops are cooked and rested, slice them before drizzling the maple sauce over the top to get maximum coverage of the meat. We like to serve these chops with mashed potatoes or crunchy fries and a crisp, fresh salad. And pour a refreshing pint of beer or a glass of cold white wine to finish off your winning meal.

Editorial contributions by Alyssa Sybertz.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. chipotle chile powder

  • 2 tsp. paprika

  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1 tsp. onion powder

  • 1 tsp. table salt

  • ½ tsp. black pepper

  • 2 (12-oz., 1-in.-thick) bone-in center-cut pork chops

  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

  • 1 Tbsp. adobo sauce (from 1 [7 1/2-oz.] can chipotle in adobo sauce)

  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

  • Thinly sliced scallions

Directions

  1. Preheat an air fryer to 375°F for 5 minutes. Stir together chipotle chile powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Dry pork chops with paper towels, and rub all sides evenly with oil. Sprinkle pork chops evenly with chile powder mixture, and rub until well coated.

  2. Working in 2 batches if needed, add pork chops to air fryer basket, and cook for 8 minutes. Turn chops, and continue cooking until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chops registers 145°F, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove chops from air fryer, and let rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, stir together maple syrup, adobo sauce, and vinegar in a small bowl.

  4. Thinly slice pork against the grain, and drizzle with maple sauce. Sprinkle with scallions, and serve immediately.

Updated by
Alyssa Sybertz
Alyssa Sybertz

Alyssa Sybertz is a freelance writer and avid home cook with nearly a decade of experience writing about food, cooking, nutrition, and wellness. She is the author of The OMAD Diet: Intermittent Fasting with One Meal a Day to Burn Fat and Lose Weight, for which she developed over 100 recipes. In addition to writing about food and cooking for Southern Living, she writes about cooking for Allrecipes and Reader's Digest, pregnancy and parenting for Verywell Family, health and fitness for Peloton, and nutrition for First for Women and other outlets.

Alyssa is the food editor for Closer Weekly. She also edits special interest health and nutrition magazines for Centennial Media on topics including intermittent fasting, gut health, and the keto diet. Prior to working as a freelance food and wellness writer, Alyssa was an editor at First for Women magazine, where she contributed to the nutrition, food, and fitness sections.

Related Articles