Walnut-Crusted Pork Chops With Baked Apples


Some things just belong together!

Simon Le Bon and John Taylor. Black eyeliner and stompy black boots. Sunbutter and 85% dark chocolate. Pork and apples. I’m currently listening to the first, wearing the second, daydreaming about the third, and sharing a shockingly delicious, surprisingly easy (but looks fancy) recipe for the last.

The pork is tender in the middle but tangy and crisp on the outside, thanks to crushed walnuts and mustard — then the roasted apples come along and sweeten the whole deal just a little bit. Match made in heaven.


Walnut-Crusted Pork Chops with Baked Apples

Serves 4 | Prep 40 minutes | Cook 15 minutes | Whole30 compliant

Pork Chops:
  • 1 1/4 cups walnuts

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • pinch ground cayenne pepper

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (check for added sugar, etc.)

  • 4 center-cut pork loin chops

  • 1-2 tablespoons lard, ghee, or extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 Granny Smith apples

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (omit for Whole30; still tastes AWESOME)

  • 2 tablespoons lard, ghee, or coconut oil

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 375F. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. Let cool, then chop finely and place in a shallow bowl. Add the salt and cayenne; mix to combine. Set aside.


Core the apples, then cut each into 8-12 wedges. Place the apple pieces in a 2-quart baking dish. In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, ghee, water, lemon zest, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes, then pour over the apples. Toss to coat. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Bake until the apples are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Stir the apples about halfway through.


While the apples are baking, prepare the pork chops.In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the dijon mustard until combined. Dip each pork chop in the egg, then into the walnuts, coating all sides to form a luscious crust. Set aside.


Heat a large, ovenproof skillet over medium heat and add the ghee. Add the pork chops in a single layer and cook uncovered and undisturbed, about 2-3 minutes. Carefully flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. You want the pork chops to be golden brown on both sides. Place the skillet in the oven with the apples and bake until the chops are firm to the touch, about 10-12 minutes. Keep an eye on the nut crust so it doesn’t burn!


Remove the pork chops from the oven and cover loosely with aluminum foil; allow them to rest 5 minutes before serving. To serve, place on a plate with apple wedges and drizzle both with drippings from the pans. Sprinkle with minced parsley.

You Know How You Could Do That?


Replace walnuts with pecans


Replace apples with pears


Make it all super simple: Brown boneless pork chops, nestle into the pan with the apples, and sprinkle chopped walnuts on top halfway through the baking process.

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  • Susan says:

    Looks delicious as always! I now know what to do with the pork chops in my freezer.

    Just a quick question about step #2, where you say combine coconut sugar with all the other apple ingredients to form the sauce. In the ingredients you have listed maple syrup – does it matter which one I use?

  • Virginia says:

    I am drooling over this one! I am put off a bit by the abundance of alfoil used in this recipe, so I think I will go straight to option C. Love the idea of using pears and pecans as well as substitutes. Who’d think of that? Tomorrow night’s dinner, sorted.

  • Lisa D. says:

    Uh, can I just say how I LOVE LOVE LOVE the layout when I print this from Chrome?! Mel, this.is.fabulous!!

  • Michelle Gaeta Tipton says:

    Good luck with your writing Melissa – i’ve been in the book business for a zillion years on the retail and publishing end (during the day when there were tons of bookstores around) and i know how hard you are working – you are a terrific writer! all your writing reads so naturally with lots of humor and it’s very enjoyable! I love a story with each recipe. I’m now spoiled and can’t stand other straightforward cookbooks. Good luck and thank you for being such an amazing talent. I don’t know how you find the time but you do everything with such finesse! BTW I’ve used broccoli rape in alot of ground meat stir fries and love it! sort of ‘you know how you can do that” Going to be snowed in here in MD and will cook up a storm and knit! Stay warm

    • Thank you so much for this! It means a lot to me that you enjoy the stories with the recipes! When I was writing the first book, I had a few moments of panic about that… thinking about new readers who didn’t know me from my blog, reading the cookbook and being, like, “Who is this nutbar?!” I’m really glad you’ve been enjoying the cookbooks and my site. Thank you for reading! And that’s a great tip about the broccoli rape. So good! Stay safe in the snowstorm!

  • Jacquelyn says:

    I’m making this tonight, but instead of apples I am going to serve the rice pilaf from Well Fed. I think the apricot and raisins will pair well with the pork chops. Love your recipes.

  • Susan says:

    Made this for dinner for the man and it was a hit! The egg whisked with mustard is a brilliant idea and helped layer the flavours well. I may try it with pecans next time just because I prefer them over walnuts and the apples without maple syrup or coconut sugar were certainly delicious. I will definitely be sure to make more apples the next time I make this!

    As a sidebar, it took me longer than 40 minutes to prep – mostly because I am not kitchen goddess like Mel – but I found the meal to be worth the effort and extra time.

  • Ed says:

    Did I miss when to add the salt and cayenne? I just took a guess and added them to the eggs.

  • Kelly says:

    I made this tonight along with the maple kale salad, I thought they went great together! Everything was delicious, we all loved it! Having an apple slicer helped to speed things up too. 😉 my 10 year old said they were his favorite pork chop. Thanks again!

  • Stefanie says:

    Dear Melissa,

    I cooked this recipe last night for dinner and my Family – generally “paloe-scpetics” loved it, too! Thanks for the treats you alwas come up with. Mel!

  • Lauren says:

    Hi there! Plan on making this tonight and cannot wait. Quick question – do you peel the apples as well as core or simply core?

  • Aleta says:

    Made this for the family last night. I chose the super simple method since I have been under the weather lately and really tired. I used pecans because I don’t like walnuts and my husband is sensitive to them. Skipped dipping the chops in the egg/mustard mix. Browned them (boneless pork sirloin chops) and layered them in a casserole dish with the apples on top. Added the chopped pecans half-way through. It was like a pork and apple crisp. Lol! Served some cauliflower on the side. It was delish! Even my 4 yr old cleaned her plate! Thanks so much!

  • Lisa says:

    Made these tonight and used a combination of apples and pears
    Served with a side of green beans
    Absolutely dekicious!