For the Juiciest Pork Chops, Reverse Sear Them…in Your Air Fryer

This minimal-effort recipe for air-fryer pork chops uses a few clever techniques to produce a perfectly seared, succulent chop.

Pork chops on a plate with green beans.
Serious Eats / Jen Causey

Made well, pork chops are a juicy, tender cut of meat—but they can just as easily be disappointingly tough and chewy. Because chops come from the loin, a lean cut prone to drying out, it can be difficult to get a good sear without turning the insides into a pile of sawdust. This is even harder to do when you aren’t searing the pork chops on a grill or in a hot pan, and are instead relying on the heat of an oven or air fryer to cook them.

The key to making succulent, flavorful pork chops in an air fryer is to apply a few specific techniques to maximize browning and avoid overcooking. Thanks to its small size and ability to circulate air efficiently, the appliance is a powerhouse that we and many others have come to rely on. To figure out the best way to cook pork chops in the air fryer, we worked with our test kitchen colleague Marianne Williams to methodically test multiple variables until we'd landed on a foolproof method that delivers chops that are juicy and deeply browned. Here are the results.

Pork chops on a plate with green beans.
Serious Eats / Jen Causey

Tips for Preparing Pork Chops in the Air Fryer

For Juicy Pork Chops, Don't Skip the Dry Brine

Dry-brining simply refers to salting and resting your meat before cooking it. As former Serious Eats editor Sasha Marx wrote in his guide to the technique, it is our preferred method for seasoning proteins. Unlike a traditional wet brine—which plumps up the meat with excess water and gets in the way of a good sear—dry-brining results in pork that retains more of its natural juices while browning more quickly and deeply.

Here, we recommend dry-brining your pork chops in a mixture of salt, pepper, dark brown sugar, ground mustard, and smoked paprika for at least an hour, but you can salt them up to 24 hours in advance if you have time to spare. Extra time with the brine won't lead to deeper flavor penetration of most of those spices (you can read more about the science of marination to learn why most flavors don't work their way into the meat), but extra time will allow the salt to penetrate more deeply and will give more time for the surface to dry out, aiding browning in the air fryer. 

Use Bone-in, Thick-Cut Pork Chops

There’s a time and place for thin-cut pork chops, and this is not it. Thin chops can work great with extremely high-heat applications like deep frying and grilling, but an air fryer needs more time to develop that sear and a thin chop will be cardboard by the time that happens.

We want thick, bone-in pork chops instead—look for chops that are at least 1 1/2 inches thick—as they’ll retain their moisture and flavor as they cook. While a boneless cut makes for convenient eating, bone-in pork chops have more fat and connective tissue near the bone, and that fat and connective tissue delivers more juiciness and flavor in the finished chop while insulating the lean loin from being hit with excess heat on all sides. Plus, you wouldn’t want to miss out on gnawing the bone, which is one of the most satisfying parts of eating a pork chop.

Reverse Sear...But in the Air Fryer

Here, we take a page out of Kenji’s reverse-seared technique by starting the pork chops low and slow at 230ºF (110ºC), then finishing them at 400ºF (205ºC) to trigger the Maillard reaction—the chemical reactions that lead to a deeply browned and flavorful exterior. This two-stage cooking process helps first cook the pork chops gently and evenly on the inside while further drying off any surface moisture, setting the stage for a rapid high-heat step that delivers a crisp, brown crust. 

Elevate Your Pork Chops With a Trivet

This is a clever trick Marianne came up with while developing this recipe. She cooks the chops during the initial low-temperature stage without a trivet, giving them more distance from the high heat of the heating element, allowing them to cook more gently. Then, she removes the chops from the air fryer, puts a trivet in the basket, and increases the heat to 400ºF, and adds the pork chops back into the basket. Now elevated, the chops brown more rapidly and evenly due to their proximity to the heating element, as if they were sitting under a broiler.

Set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. In a small bowl, stir together kosher salt, brown sugar, ground mustard, paprika, and black pepper. Place pork chops on a wire rack and, using paper towels, pat dry. Season both sides evenly with the salt mixture. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 1 and up to 24 hours.

Blending seasonings in a bowl and two pork chops on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.
Serious Eats / Jen Causey

Preheat a 6-quart air fryer to 230°F (110ºC). If needed, pat pork chops dry with paper towels. Brush both sides evenly with olive oil. Place in air fryer basket and cook, flipping halfway through, until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°F (43ºC) for medium, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove pork chops from air fryer and place on a plate (pork will not be cooked through).

Placing two pork chops in an air fryer.
Serious Eats / Jen Causey

Place an air fryer trivet in basket of air fryer and preheat to 400°F (205ºC) for 3 minutes. Brush one side and edges of the pork chops with half of the teriyaki sauce. Place pork chops, sauced-side down, on trivet in air fryer. Brush top side and edges of pork chops with remaining teriyaki sauce. Cook, without flipping, until sauce has caramelized and pork chops are nicely browned and register 130ºF (54ºC) for medium, about 7 minutes. Remove pork chops to serving plates and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chives and smoked flaky salt, if desired, and serve.

Placing a trivet into an air fryer basket and glazing pork chops.
Serious Eats / Jen Causey

Special Equipment

Wire rack, rimmed baking sheet, 6-quart air fryer, air fryer trivet, pastry brush, instant read thermometer

Make-Ahead and Storage

Pork chops can be dry brined up to 24 hours in advance.

Cooked pork chops can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 day and reheated in the air fryer or microwave until warmed through. 

Crispy Roasted Broccoli Can Be Yours in Just About 10 Minutes

Air-frying broccoli isn’t complicated, but there are a few tricks that’ll help you make it truly superb. Make perfectly crisp broccoli with our basic recipe—and dress it up with our five easy, delicious variations.

Air-fried broccoli with chili crisp on a blue platter against an orange background.
Serious Eats / Morgan Hunt Glaze

I am a creature of habit: When I find something I love, I stick with it and I put it on repeat. That means rewatching Gilmore Girls, reading the same Joshua Rothman New Yorker essay every time I have an existential crisis, and making air-fryer broccoli three (okay, maybe five) times a week. What can I say? Air-fryer broccoli ticks all the boxes: It’s easy, delicious, nutritious, and quick, taking just three minutes to prep and 10 minutes to cook. Gone are the days when I had to wait for my oven to preheat for at least 20 minutes before roasting broccoli for another 20 minutes, for an interminable total of 40 minutes before I could get it on the table. 

Now, I just press a few buttons, wait a minute or two, and my air fryer is ready to go. There’s a reason why the appliance is such a powerhouse: It’s basically a tiny convection oven that circulates air extremely efficiently, which is why it’s so great at quickly and perfectly roasting broccoli. Though preparing the vegetable in your air fryer isn’t complicated, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you make flavorful broccoli that’s both crisp and tender. Here’s what you need to know.

Tips for Making Excellent Air-Fryer Broccoli

Cut the broccoli into evenly sized florets. Keeping all the florets 1 1/2 to 2 inches in size creates more surface area for crisping, while also allowing for more uniform cooking.

Keep moisture to a minimum. Excess water leftover from washing your broccoli can cause it to steam instead of roast, resulting in soggy vegetables, so be sure to dry your broccoli well before putting it in the air fryer. (I rinse my broccoli florets under cold running water, then dry them on a baking sheet lined with a clean dish towel or paper towels.) Similarly, overcrowding the florets can trap moisture and make it difficult for air to circulate, preventing the broccoli from crisping up, so cook the broccoli in small batches to let the air flow freely.

Start at a high temperature. As Kenji wrote in his easy roasted broccoli recipe, cooking the vegetable at a high temperature triggers the Maillard reaction—a series of chemical reactions that takes place when heat transforms proteins and sugars into complex (and delicious) flavors, aromas, and colors. A high temperature also helps the vegetable caramelize, which produces sweet, nutty flavors as well as a crispness on the outside that contrasts beautifully with the tender interiors of the florets. Starting the broccoli at 400ºF (205ºC) and then reducing the temperature to 340ºF (170ºC) after it’s had a chance to crisp produces florets with just the right amount of char, while ensuring the insides are just soft enough.

Serve the broccoli simply or dress it up. While crispy air-fryer broccoli is fantastic with nothing more than a sprinkle of salt and the olive oil it’s cooked in, there are many great ways to gussy it up, such as tossing the raw florets in a fragrant mixture of soy sauce and ginger before cooking or spooning chili crisp over the cooked broccoli. See the Variations section below the recipe for more ideas on dressing up your air-fryer broccoli. You can also incorporate the cooked broccoli into a quiche or omelet or top your pizza with it.

Personally? I like to pour it all into the bowl and shower it with a generous handful of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, fresh lemon zest, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. But I love air fryer broccoli so much that I’d eat it every day—even on its own.

Air-fried broccoli on a blue platter against an orange background.
Serious Eats / Morgan Hunt Glaze

Preheat a 6-quart air fryer to 400°F (205ºC) for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss broccoli with oil, salt, and pepper and toss to evenly coat. Pour broccoli into air fryer basket and cook until broccoli is still bright green but starting to char around edges, about 5 minutes. Remove basket from air fryer and shake to toss broccoli florets. Return to air fryer and decrease temperature to 340°F (170ºC). Cook until broccoli is crisp-tender, about 3 more minutes. Remove and transfer broccoli to a serving platter or plates.

Air frying broccoli.
Serious Eats / Morgan Hunt Glaze

Variations

  • Chili Crisp: Spoon 2 tablespoons chili crisp over air-fried broccoli, tossing to evenly coat, and serve.
  • “Caesared” Bread Crumbs: In a small nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon (14g) salted butter over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs and, using a flexible spatula, toss to coat. Add 1 teaspoon anchovy paste and 1/2 teaspoon grated garlic (about 1 small clove) to hot bread crumbs and stir constantly until bread crumbs are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle over broccoli and top with 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest and 1 tablespoon Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely shredded on a microplane. 
  • Sesame-Ginger: In a large bowl, toss broccoli florets with 2 tablespoons (30ml) canola oil, 1 tablespoon (15ml) tamari, and 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger. Air fry as directed. Garnish with 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds before serving. 
  • Smoked Almonds and Cheddar: Top air-fried broccoli with 2 tablespoons chopped smoked almonds and 1/2 ounce (14g) extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded on the large holes of a box grater.  
  • Miso-Butter: In a large bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon (14g) melted unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon white miso paste, 2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon (15ml) water until well-combined. Add hot air-fried broccoli and toss to coat.

Special Equipment

6-quart air fryer

Make-Ahead and Storage

Broccoli crowns can be chopped into florets and refrigerated in a zip-top bag or airtight container up to 3 days before cooking.

Air-fried broccoli can be made up to 4 in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container. Reheat in a microwave or air fryer preheated to 340ºF (170ºC) until warm.

This Zesty Lemon Vinaigrette Is the Secret to Better Salads

Brighten your salads with this creamy, invigorating lemon vinaigrette, which gets bold, bracing flavor from both lemon juice and zest. Plus: It takes just about five minutes to whip together.

Lemon vinaigrette in a small bowl next to a plate of greens.
Serious Eats / Jen Causey

Before I left for a three-week vacation this past December, I frantically juiced all my lemons. I had 12 hours until my flight departed. My apartment was a chaotic mess. I still wasn’t completely packed… and somehow, my biggest priority was freezing lemon juice. My logic: They’re expensive and come from far away, and I just couldn’t stomach the thought of it all going to waste.

There are many ingredients I can’t live without, but few are as versatile as the lemon. I rely on their juice to brighten up salads, pastas, and beverages, and they have a starring role in my favorite lemon bars. What I make most with the fruit, however, is salad dressing. There aren’t many vegetables that don’t go well with the citrus, and keeping a jar of this punchy lemon vinaigrette in my fridge means I can easily toss together a salad at a moment’s notice. Plus: It lasts for a full month refrigerated, which means I can make it ahead so it’s always ready for speedy lunches and minimal-effort weeknight dinners.

This dressing is so straightforward it involves just one step—barely a recipe, really. Simply stir together the lemon juice and zest, honey, garlic, shallot, and salt in a large nonreactive bowl, then gradually stream in the olive oil as you whisk constantly to emulsify. The result is a creamy, invigorating vinaigrette that will even brighten up the dreary salad you may have picked up for lunch.

With brightness from both lemon juice and zest, this vinaigrette is a bold, bracing way to dress leafy greens and tender herbs. Because lemon peel contains many fragrant phenolic compounds—water-soluble antioxidant molecules—the resulting dressing is much more aromatic than if you were to use lemon juice alone. A finely chopped shallot and touch of honey bring a subtle sweetness that balances the lemon’s acidity and Dijon mustard’s spicy kick, while grated garlic lends a savory note.

The Importance of Emulsification in a Vinaigrette

Like oil and water, oil and acidic liquids like vinegar and this dressing’s lemon juice don’t come together—or stay combined—easily without a little help from an emulsifier like mustard, mayonnaise, or an egg yolk. 

When you properly emulsify dressing, you end up with a thick, creamy vinaigrette instead of a thin, runny sauce. But improved texture isn't the only advantage of an emulsified vinaigrette: Your dressed salad will last longer too. Kenji discovered as much when he put emulsified versus non-emulsified vinaigrettes to the test and found that greens dressed in plain oil and vinegar wilted faster than those dressed in an emulsified vinaigrette. One of his valuable insights from this test was that it was the oil—and not the vinegar—that wilted the leaves. By thoroughly blending the two into an emulsion, that wilting effect of the oil is lessened.

In the recipe below, Dijon mustard is the emulsifier that helps the vinaigrette stay blended for longer. Even with an emulsifier, though, a vinaigrette will likely separate after sittingfor several hours. Just give it a good whisk or shake before using to bring it all back together, and you’re good to go. As Kenji says, your vinaigrette only needs to stay bound long enough for you to enjoy your salad—and with this dressing recipe in your pocket, you’re likely to love it even if it’s an otherwise sad-desk-lunch salad.

In a large nonreactive bowl, whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, honey, garlic, shallot, and salt. Slowly stream in olive oil, whisking vigorously and constantly, until emulsified and creamy. Alternately, place all ingredients in a jar, seal tightly, and shake until emulsified. If not serving immediately, pour into a small nonreactive container or jar; cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

A series of four photos depicting how to make lemon vinaigrette: pouring oil into mustard, lemon juice, and shallots in a glass bowl and whisking until emulsified.
Serious Eats / Jen Causey

Special Equipment

Large nonreactive bowl, whisk

Make-Ahead and Storage

The vinaigrette can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Whisk or, if storing in a jar, shake well before use.

Don’t Talk to Me Until I’ve Had This Creamy, Nutty Triple-Threat Coffee Smoothie

Made with coffee ice cubes, coffee yogurt, sweetened condensed milk, and almond butter, this smoothie is nutty and creamy, with bold flavor to help you kickstart the day.

Overhead view of two coffee smoothies with glass straws
Serious Eats / Jen Causey

People say the only constant in life is change, but the only constant in my life is the cup of coffee I sit down to each morning. Whether it’s hot or iced varies depending on the season, and sometimes, for a change of caffeinated pace, my coffee might come in smoothie form. It’s a twofer: coffee and breakfast rolled into one.

Unlike some smoothie recipes that are packed full of protein powder or attempt to hide vegetables, this coffee smoothie isn’t trying to be anything more than an enjoyable, delicious way to satiate your hunger and jump-start your nervous system at the same time. In addition to actual coffee, the recipe includes several ingredients that amp up and complement the beans’ natural flavor, and there’s no fruit to cover it up—unless you consider the fact that coffee is technically a type of berry. [Editor's Note: Coffee is really just the seed of the berry and not the fruit itself.]

Side view of coffee smoothies
Serious Eats / Jen Causey

The last time I published a smoothie recipe, our readers gave me flack for it not being healthy enough. At Serious Eats, our primary concern is with how delicious things are—we’re not nutritionists, and if you’re looking to sneak more cauliflower into your diet, you should probably head elsewhere. But if you’re looking for an enjoyable and satisfying smoothie to start your day with, you’re in the right place. 

A coffee smoothie should embrace its complex roasted and bitter flavors while balancing them out. To that end, we experimented with an assortment of sweeteners, creamers, milk, nut butters, and add-ins. Ultimately, we opted for ingredients that are nutty, creamy, and earthy, which enhance and round out the aroma of the beans.

Overhead view of coffee ice cubes in blender
Serious Eats / Jen Causey

We loved the results most when we leaned into the coffee-ness of the smoothie by layering coffee flavor in three forms: ice cubes made from strongly brewed coffee (such as a robust cold brew), coffee yogurt, and chocolate-covered espresso beans as an optional garnish. Blending the coffee ice cubes with the yogurt amps up the flavor of the smoothie and keeps it chilled without watering it down, while also thickening the beverage. Coffee yogurt adds creaminess, underscores the coffee flavor, and provides a pleasant, subtle tang. And garnishing your smoothie with chocolate-covered beans for extra, satisfying crunch isn’t necessary, but it’s a nice touch that will make your weekday morning routine feel a little bit more special. And don’t we all need that from time to time?

As for the non-coffee ingredients, a bit of condensed milk—a nod to Vietnamese iced coffee—adds sweetness and body, while almond butter brings a rich, savory note that complements the nutty tones in coffee and makes this smoothie a filling on-the-go breakfast. Finally, we believe in seasoning everything—even dessert—so adding a tiny pinch of salt helps bring it all together and make the flavors pop. 

So, I guess there is change in my life—this coffee smoothie has joined my caffeine and breakfast rotation.

What's the Best Coffee for a Smoothie?

While we love light and medium roasts when drinking coffee black, we found in our testing that more robust and fuller-bodied medium and dark roast coffees shine here, as their bolder flavors help to offset the sweetness and creaminess of the condensed milk, while those sweet and creamy flavors, in turn, take the bitter edge off those more darkly roasted coffees.

We also found that a strongly brewed coffee carried its flavor through to the finished smoothie most effectively. Cold brew is one great option for making the ice cubes (we've previously found that cold brew is a great choice when making iced coffee with milk), but any strongly brewed iced coffee will work. You could even try freezing leftover hot coffee; once everything’s blended, it won’t make that much of a difference. 

Overhead view of filling ice cube trays
Serious Eats / Jen Causey

Tips for Making the Best Coffee Smoothie

  • You can use store-bought or homemade cold brew, or another strongly brewed coffee that’s been frozen. In a pinch, you can also use ice cubes made from regular brewed coffee, though your smoothie will be less full-flavored. 
  • If you don’t have any sweetened condensed milk on hand, consider making this smoothie with some extra yogurt and your sweetener of choice, like maple syrup, honey, or agave syrup.
  • If you want the flavor of coffee with less of a caffeine punch, feel free to use decaf  coffee instead of regular.

Place 1 ice cube tray (see special equipment section, below) on a small, rimmed baking sheet. Pour cold coffee evenly into ice cube tray and freeze until completely frozen, at least 4 hours.

Overhead view of filling ice cube trays
Serious Eats / Jen Causey

Combine yogurt, condensed milk, almond butter, and salt in a blender. Remove coffee ice cubes from freezer and place in blender. Blend until smooth, 45 to 60 seconds. Pour into 2 chilled glasses or mason jars and garnish with chopped espresso beans. Serve immediately.

Four image collage of coffee smoothie ingredients in a blender, smoothie being poured into a glass and topped with chocolate
Serious Eats / Jen Causey

Special Equipment

1 ice cube tray with fifteen 1.25-inch compartments, blender

Notes

If you make a larger quantity of coffee, you’ll want to weigh out 12 1/2 (354g) of ice cubes for the smoothie.

We generally prefer full-fat yogurt, but low-fat will work well too: We found Dannon low-fat coffee yogurt worked particularly well in our tests comparing different coffee yogurt brands in this recipe.

Make-Ahead and Storage

Coffee ice cubes can be prepared up to 2 weeks in advance. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag.

Variations

Feel free to use this smoothie recipe as a template for coming up with your own perfect beverage. Swap out coffee yogurt for plain, vanilla, coconut or any other flavor you like with coffee, experiment with different kinds of frozen coffee, or substitute with your favorite nut butter. (Gianduja would be delicious, though you may have to reduce the sweetness elsewhere). Heck, even chuck in a banana.