35 Pork Recipes to Cook When You’re in Desperate Need of Dinner Inspiration

·9 min read

Tonight, you have two choices: You could make that same old chicken and rice that you’ve eaten a million times, or you could shake things up with one of these 35 exciting pork recipes. Our list includes everything from Crockpot gems, like slow cooker pulled pork, to unconventional chops (you need to try the cacao-spiced rub recipe), to grilled favorites that are destined for your next barbecue, like sweet-and-sour pork skewers with pineapple. If you ask us, we’d try the road less traveled: It’s way tastier.

RELATED: What to Make with Leftover Pork Chops: 21 Recipes That Taste Totally Gourmet

1. Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours and 10 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, high protein, gluten free, dairy free

This Crockpot gem is the definition of “set it and forget it.” Serve it with coleslaw, cornbread, grilled corn or baked beans.

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2. Herb-Crusted Pork Cutlets

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, high protein, kid-friendly

Despite their crispy exteriors, you won't have to deal with a messy deep fryer to pull these cutlets off.

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3. Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

  • Time Commitment: 7 hours and 15 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, low carb, dairy free

Taco Tuesday just got a million times more exciting. Use low-carb tortillas to keep this main keto-friendly.

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4. Honey-Lime Glazed Pork Tenderloin

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes

  • Why We Love It: dairy free, high protein, low carb, crowd-pleaser

No time to marinate? Brush the pork with a generous coating of glaze and roast it to perfection instead.

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5. Pork Dumplings

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, dairy free, crowd-pleaser

Serve the potstickers with a side of ponzu sauce, or go the extra mile with our zingy sriracha-sweet chile dip.

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6. One-Pan Sausage with Broccoli Rabe and White Beans

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, one pan, high protein

Fennel-laced Italian sausages are affordable, flavorful and a cinch to prepare. Here, they're paired with easy canned beans and greens for a lightning-fast dinner.

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7. Pork Meatballs with Tomato Farrisotto

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour

  • Why We Love It: high protein, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

Save yourself some time at the stove by baking the meatballs instead of pan-searing them.

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8. Warm Ginger-Scallion Pork and Kale Salad

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: dairy free, gluten free, high protein, Paleo-friendly

Kale is nutritious and tasty, but it can be a bit of a chore to eat raw. A little TLC (meaning heat and a tenderizing vinegar dressing) can change that.

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9. Crispy Cast Iron Skillet Pizza with Fennel, Sausage and Garlic

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, one pan

You don't need a fancy pizza stone to achieve an impeccably crispy crust. It turns out your cast iron skillet (and rendered pork fat) can get the job done just fine.

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10. Pork Milanese with Cucumber Yogurt

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour

  • Why We Love It: high protein, special occasion-worthy

Make sure to use all of the dill, chives and spring onions—the herbs' stems contain a ton of flavor, and they'll make the yogurt dip that much tastier.

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11. Pistachio-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Apple and Escarole Salad

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, dairy free, special occasion-worthy

You only *think* pork tenderloin is dry. This recipe will turn out delicate and downright buttery if you tent the meat with foil and let it rest once it's cooked.

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12. Keto Instant Pot Sausage-Kale Soup

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, dairy free, Instant Pot recipe

Fifteen-minute soup from scratch? Chalk it up to the time-hacking pressure cooker (and cauliflower rice).

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13. Lemongrass Pork Chops with Carb-Free Yakisoba

  • Time Commitment: 8 hours and 25 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, dairy free, special occasion-worthy

Letting the pork sit in a citrusy marinade overnight is bound to make it beyond tender. It's just the match for low-carb yakisoba made with shirataki noodles.

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14. Sweet-and-Sour Pork Skewers with Pineapple

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 20 minutes

  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, dairy free, high protein, crowd-pleaser

Even your picky kids are no match for the sticky glaze and hunks of charred pineapple.

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15. Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Sausage, Peppers and Onions

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, high protein

Bye, hulking pot of boiling water. Here, the gnocchi cook just right (crispy on the outside, doughy on the inside) on your trusty baking sheet.

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16. Pork Scallopini with Lemon, Capers and Radicchio

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, high protein, one pan

It's your pantry's time to shine. We're betting you have nearly all the ingredients you need already on hand.

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17. Sausage and Fennel Pasta

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, dairy free, crowd-pleaser

Our favorite thing about Italian sausage? It has a ton of flavor and seasoning already built in (although a generous flourish of grated Parmesan cheese sounds like a good idea to us).

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18. Cast Iron Pork Chops with Cacao-Spiced Rub

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour

  • Why We Love It: low carb, keto-friendly, high protein

The trick to these melt-in-your-mouth chops is salting them 45 minutes ahead of cooking and letting them come to room temperature before they hit the skillet.

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19. Sausage, Corn and Poblano Chowder

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, one pot

Let us guess: The only chowder you've ever had is New England clam. Try this sweet-and-spicy corn alternative on for size that's loaded with cream, potatoes and fresh herbs.

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20. Spicy Sausage Pizza with Burrata

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, high protein, crowd-pleaser

This pizza is so nuanced and fancy-looking that your guests will never know it started with pre-baked flatbread.

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21. Sticky Asian Meatballs with Udon Noodles

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: dairy free, high protein, kid-friendly

Complete with carrot furls, thin-sliced scallions and sesame seeds. Not only is there sriracha, soy sauce and ginger in the pork, but the meatballs are also coated in a sweet, nutty sauce before they hit the table.

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22. Spicy Orange-Honey Glazed Ham

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 20 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, special occasion-worthy

Bookmark it now to cook for Easter later. (P.S.: Baste the ham with the citrusy glaze every 15 minutes to ensure it's sticky-sweet by the time it's finished.)

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23. 20-Minute Paleo Egg Roll in a Bowl

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, high protein, Paleo-friendly, low carb, keto-friendly

All the flavor of your favorite takeout handheld, minus the outer shell. Use tamari instead of soy sauce to make the bowls gluten free to boot.

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24. Perfect Meatballs with Cherry Tomato Sauce

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 10 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, high protein, special occasion-worthy

Beef sirloin and ground pork unite to create the juiciest, most flavorful meatballs of all time. Don't even get us started on the from-scratch sauce.

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25. 30-Minute Pork Scallopini with Lemon and Capers

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, special occasion-worthy

This gorgeousness could be yours in just half an hour. Serve it with pasta, rice, soup or arugula salad.

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26. 20-Minute Moo Shu Pork

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, dairy free

It'll be ready faster than you can say "for delivery, please." Might we suggest serving it in lettuce cups for a low-carb spin?

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27. Maple Peach Pork Chops

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 15 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, special occasion-worthy, gluten free

Equal parts sweet, sticky and savory, this fruity beauty was made for an alfresco summer dinner. Did we mention that the glaze calls for bourbon?

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28. Slow Cooker Honey-Lime Ginger Pork

  • Time Commitment: 8 hours and 10 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, dairy free, high protein, crowd-pleaser

Considering this dish requires just ten minutes of prep, it practically makes itself. All you need to do is sear the pork, whisk together the marinade and plop it all in the Crockpot.

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29. Cuban Sandwich

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients

This classic sammy has double the pork (ham and mojo-marinated) for double the deliciousness.

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30. Easy Pulled Pork Pizza

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, kid-friendly, high protein

Aka our favorite way to use up leftover pulled pork. Feel free to substitute shredded rotisserie chicken if you don't have any pork on hand.

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31. Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser, high protein, kid-friendly, dairy free

Serve the meat over rice, wrap it in burritos, pile it onto nachos or use it in taco bowls.

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32. Ranch Pork Chops and Veggies

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, one pan, high protein

Premixed ranch seasoning FTW. Even better? There will only be one dirty dish to clean after dinner.

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33. Slow Cooker Lo Mein

  • Time Commitment: 8 hours and 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, dairy free, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

Want to save time? Make it on the stovetop instead and use quick-cooking ground pork instead of boneless pork shoulder.

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34. Balsamic-Fig Glazed Pork with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes and Creamy Gorgonzola Polenta

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: special occasion-worthy, high protein, crowd-pleaser

File this one away for the holidays. (TBH, none of your guests will complain about this main taking over for humdrum turkey.)

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35. Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, high protein, special occasion-worthy

Because the only thing that can make garlic-and-herb pork more appetizing is a crackly layer of thin-sliced pancetta on top.

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RELATED: 26 Delicious Ground Pork Recipes

For even more great recipes, check out our first cookbook, Only the Good Stuff.

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