A juicy grilled pork chop makes for one delicious, healthy, and memorable dinner. And marinating pork chops in our fresh, real-food pork chop marinade is the way to go. This simple marinade is savory and sweet and adds incredible flavor that will leave you wishing you had doubled the recipe. Hey, that’s not a bad idea!
This recipe was created in partnership with our friends and farmers at the MN Pork Board.
A Simple, Delicious, and Whole30 Pork Chop Marinade Recipe
Fire up the grill! It’s time to make a delicious grilled pork chop with the most flavorful pork chop marinade. When summer grilling has provided us with our fill of burgers and brats, we find ourselves craving a juicy and flavorful grilled pork chop.
Served with fresh broccoli slaw, salad, or grilled vegetables, this extremely easy marinated grilled pork chop recipe is a satisfying and nutritionally balanced meal that is going to leave you feeling like a grill master.
We love to use this simple marinade on bone-in or boneless pork chops because pork is an excellent source of protein and the essential nutrients of vitamins B6, B12, iron, zinc, niacin, and thiamine. This abundance of B vitamins and minerals is important for the formation of blood cells, proper digestion, and brain health.
Ingredients to Make Pork Chop Marinade
- Olive oil – can substitute avocado oil
- Coconut aminos – or you can use ¼ cup of low-sodium soy sauce, shoyu, or tamari (gluten-free) mixed with ¼ cup of water; for gluten-free, sodium sensitivity, or Whole30, we do recommend using coconut aminos, however, since it is lower in sodium and made from just two ingredients
- Honey or Deglet Dates – you can use either honey or fresh dates as the ingredient that gives this marinade just the right amount of sweetness. We found that the dates just made for nicer grill marks and a little desirable char on the pork chops, and they also make this marinade recipe Whole30-friendly. We suggest Deglet dates instead of Medjool dates since Deglet dates are a little less sweet, but either will work.
- Apple cider vinegar – or you can use red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
- Dijon mustard – or use any type of mustard, including stone-ground mustard, spicy brown mustard, or yellow mustard
- Garlic – can sub 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Ground cumin – or use ground coriander, paprika, or curry powder
- Black pepper
- Fine salt
How to Make Grilled Pork Chop Marinade in 2 Steps
This fresh, real-food pork chop marinade comes together fast and easily. Decide whether you’ll be making it with honey or dates, and then proceed from there.
Step 1: If you’re using dates, soak the dates in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes.
Step 2: In a food processor combine the drained dates, oil, coconut aminos, vinegar, mustard, garlic, and spices. Blend until smooth.
If you’re using honey instead of dates, you can skip the food processor step and just mix all of the pork chop marinade ingredients together in a bowl.
What’s the Difference Between Bone-In Pork Chops and Boneless Pork Chops?
You can use either bone-in pork chops or boneless pork chops with this quick and easy grilled pork chop marinade. You may be wondering, what’s the difference?
Bone-in pork chops still have the bone and some fat intact and tend to be even juicier. They often cost less than boneless chops but may be harder to find. We also think bone-in chops make a lovely presentation, especially when grilled with this pork chop marinade. And bone-in chops can even be handheld and eaten right off the bone, caveman style (if that’s your thing). Some people don’t like to eat meat off the bone, so they may prefer a boneless chop.
Boneless pork chops are made from the same fresh cut of pork as bone-in chops, but they simply have the bone and most of the excess fat removed. Because of this, boneless chops are leaner than bone-in chops. They’re also easy to find and a nice way to gauge portion size. Boneless chops grill faster than bone-in chops, so be sure to pull them from the grill when they reach 145° on a meat thermometer.
The Right Temperature for Grilled Pork Chops: Grill Pork Chops to 145°
Wondering what temperature you should grill pork chops to achieve ultimate juicy taste AND food safety? It’s a question that we get often. The secret to tender, delicious pork is to not overcook it. A little pink in the middle is okay.
Always use a meat thermometer when grilling pork. When the internal temperature reaches 145° remove the pork from the grill and let it sit for 3 minutes to seal in all the natural flavors.
Remember, for fresh cuts of pork muscle meat (that’s your roasts, chops, pork loin, and tenderloin) the safe internal cooking temperature is 145° F.
How to Store Leftover Grilled Pork Chops
So let’s say that you DID take our advice and you doubled this recipe from the get-go (look at you, smartie!), then you’ll have some delicious leftover marinated grilled pork chops that you can enjoy all week. Store leftovers in a shallow covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Enjoy the grilled pork heated or chilled on top of salads or power bowls or in a wrap.
Other Great Grilled Pork Recipes to Try:
- 4 bone-in pork chops (about 2 lbs) (may substitute boneless pork chops)
For the Marinade:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup coconut aminos*
- 3 tablespoons honey or 5-6 soaked deglet dates (see tip below for soaking)**
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch of fine salt
- If using honey: Mincely chop or press the garlic and combine all of the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk to combine well. Move on to Step 2.
If using soaked dates*: Roughly chop the garlic and combine all of the marinade ingredients in a small food processor or small blender. Blend until smooth. Some small pieces of dates may be present and that’s okay. Tip: If using a food processor, cover the processor with a towel when blending to avoid marinade from splattering.
- Place the pork chops in a large container or zip-top bag. Set aside about 3-4 tablespoons of the marinade (to save for brushing the chops while on the grill) and pour the rest over the chops, flipping the chops to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 4-12 hours.
- When ready to grill, remove the pork chops from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or while the grill is preheating. Preheat the grill to 425-450°F. Remove the chops from the marinade letting excess marinade drip off. Discard the marinade. Place chops on the grill and grill for 8-10 minutes. Brush with the reserved marinade, then flip chops and brush the other side. Grill for another 5-7 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F. Time on the grill will depend on the thickness of the chops and whether or not you’re using bone-in chops or boneless chops (bone-in chops will take a few minutes longer to grill).
- Remove from the grill and let rest for 3 minutes before serving.
*In place of the coconut aminos you can use ¼ cup of low-sodium soy sauce, shoyu, or tamari (gluten-free) mixed with ¼ cup of water; for gluten-free, sodium sensitivity, or Whole30, we do recommend using coconut aminos, however, since it is lower in sodium and made from just two ingredients
**You can use either honey or fresh dates as the ingredient that gives this marinade just the right amount of sweetness. We found that the dates made for nicer grill marks and a little desirable char on the pork chops, and they also make this marinade recipe Whole30-friendly. If using dates, we suggest Deglet dates instead of Medjool dates, since Deglet dates are a little less sweet, but either will work. You will need to soak the dates first.
To soak the dates: Place the dates in a small bowl of very hot water and soak until soft, about 15 minutes.
- Serving Size: 1 marinated pork chop
- Calories: 272
- Sugar: 6 g
- Sodium: 492 mg
- Fat: 12 g
- Saturated Fat: 3 g
- Carbohydrates: 7 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 32 g
- Cholesterol: 94 mg
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This post was made possible by our friends at Minnesota Pork. Although we received compensation for this post, the opinions expressed here are – as always – 100% our own. Thank you for supporting the great companies we work with thereby allowing us to continue creating great recipes and content for you.
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About Jessie Shafer
Jessie is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living near Denver, CO where she splits her time among nearby playgrounds, typing away at her trusty laptop, and heating up her home kitchen with delicious experiments. Her best taste tester is her husband, a Denver firefighter with a well-trained palate. A former magazine editor-in-chief, Jessie has a long career in food publishing and health writing. While she once played centerfield for the Northwestern University softball team, Jessie now prefers her fitness in the way of biking up mountain passes and chasing two busy toddlers (the latter proving to be the more exhausting activity).