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Cocoa and Chili Rubbed Pork Chops

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I don’t know about other grocery stores across the country, but I feel like ours in Kansas City are always running sales on pork! While it’s not something I’d say I usually crave, I definitely enjoy “the other white meat” every now and then. (I owe this to being the daughter of my dad, who gets ridiculously excited about pork chops!)  So since they were yet again on sale this week, day five of Cheap Eats Week here on the blog is an ode to the chop. :)

I think this may also be my first recipe on the blog featuring my favorite chocolate+chili combination! For those of you who’ve never tried it (and if this is the case, you must before you raise a skeptical eyebrow!), trust me that this doesn’t taste like pork with a Hershey’s bar on top. Rather, the cocoa just adds a subtle, yet delicious depth of flavor beneath the zing of the chili powder. I absolutely love the combination — in chilis, in truffles, cupcakes…you name it!

I ended up using ancho chili powder (subtle heat, but with a nice smokey flavor) for this recipe, but feel free to experiment with regular chili powder, chipotle chili powder, paprika, or whatever other favorites you have on hand. Also, while I made these in a skillet on the stove, I’m sure they would be even better cooked on a grill! Whatever your method, would encourage you to give these a try. Too simple, and way too yummy to pass up. :)

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Cocoa & Chili Rubbed Pork Chops

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  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 pork chops 1x


You’ll love this Cocoa & Chili Rubbed Pork Chops Recipe! So flavorful!


  • 2 boneless pork loin chops
  • 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. ancho chili powder (or regular chili powder)
  • 2 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a bowl, mix the cocoa, brown sugar, and chili powder together until well-blended. Sprinkle a little less than 1 tsp. on the tops of each pork chop, and pat/rub in. Flip over and do the same on the other sides. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes, then sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-heat. Test to see if the oil is ready by dripping a drop or two of water in the skillet. (No sound – pan is too cold. Splatter – too hot. Sizzle – perfect!) Add pork chops and cover for about 5 minutes. (Mine were not super-thick, so only left then in for 4 minutes.) Then uncover and flip, and cook for a few more minutes until thoroughly cooked (between 145-160 degrees). If juices start to form on top of the chops, they’re definitely done!


Recipe adapted from Food and Wine

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23 comments on “Cocoa and Chili Rubbed Pork Chops”

  1. love the top pic. never tried the chili/cocoa combo, but maybe i should!

  2. Wow, great recipe!! I am totally going to try this!! Great blog you have here!

  3. spicy chocolate truffles are something i eat obsessively, so i know i love the combination of cocoa and chili. using it with pork, which i also love, is inspired and looks delicious!

  4. Oh this looks yummy! I can’t wait to try it.

  5. This looks really good. I’m not one who typically craves pork either, but I can see craving this particular dish. Love your blog!

  6. This recipe looks so different from what i usually make with pork chops. I am doing these tomorrow, they look so good!! Thanks for sending it.

  7. Yum… I love the combination of cocoa and chiles… Sounds tasty on pork chops! Love the pictures, too.

  8. Love this! I was looking for a rub (via foodgawker) to put on my pork chops tonight. :-) I’m happy I found your blog. Oh, and I’m a native Leawood-er, transplanted to East Texas.

  9. I just wanted to let you know that I love this recipie. Even my husband and oldest daughter who normaly hate pork chops have ate ever bite of theirs both times I made them like this. This is one going in my file to be made a lot because I love pork chops and now my family will eat them. Thanks

  10. My bf and i jsut made these for supper, and they were soooo tasty! thanks:)

  11. Absolutely delightful! I tried a little cocoa on chops a month back. I could not believe how fabulous it was. I will have to try cocoa and chili now.

  12. This looks absolutely amazing and I’m sure it tastes delicious too!!

  13. I found this on Pinterest and decided to cook it for me and my children. It was a great flavor! Thank you so much for sharing! I posted it on Pinterest and on Facebook ;)

  14. Thank you so much for this recipe. I am thawing pork chops now and I am excited to try this!

  15. Panicked when my hubby grabbed pork loin chops instead of the top sirloin he thought he grabbed (don’t ask!) TG for this recipe! Super easy, had everything on hand, and said hubby loved it! :)

    One note – having worked under professional chefs, I would caution against heating the pan with oil in it, it could burn the oil. Heat your pan, then add the oil. It doesn’t take long for it to get to the proper temperature.

    Thanks again!

  16. I just made these, and they are delicious! Now that I’ve tasted them, I have no idea what to serve them with! What vegetable and starch do you normally choose?

    • Thank you Megan, we’re glad to hear you liked them! We like eating these with risotto or roasted butternut squash/sweet potato and asparagus — we hope that helps! :)

  17. I used this recipe but grilled instead and it came out very smokey flavored. AMAZING! Not sure what it was supposed to taste like since I have never cooked with this combo, but it turned out good either way :)

  18. Tried the pork chops and they are delicious!  I used a dried ancho chili, “baked” for ten minutes at 400 degrees to puff it back up and then ground in my spice/coffee grinder. 

    With the leftover rub, I made ice cream!!!  One avocado, one banana, half cup almond milk and about four teaspoons rub mix. Blended in my nutribullet and frozen for one hour!  

    Heav-en-ly!!!  Thanks for a great rub recipe that’s pretty versatile!

    • We’re so glad you liked these Noelle, and that ice cream sounds brilliant – what a yummy idea! :D

  19. Yummy.. added a 1/4 tsp cayenne 🌶 pepper