Classic Rack of Lamb

I live for lamb chops. Juicy, tender, rare (please please give me rare), deep reddish pink, browned, crusty, herbed, fatty goodness. So when my father sent me on a mission to make rack of lamb (what? 8 lamb chops in a row?) I was all over it.

My version (with guidance from Mike the butcher at Corti Brothers) uses a simple rub with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, fresh chopped rosemary and thyme. The trick is to not go overboard with the herbs. The lamb tastes so good on its own, the seasoning should complement the lamb, not dominate it.

Beneath the recipe I’ve included links to rack of lamb recipes from other food bloggers, and a recipe for a breaded herb crusted version from chef Gordon Ramsay that my father likes. Do you have a favorite version? Please let us know about it in the comments.

Rack of Lamb

Classic Rack of Lamb Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Marinating time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 1 rack serves 2 to 3 people

The cooking time depends on how big your rack of lamb is, and how rare you want it cooked. Rack of lamb should be cooked rare, or at most medium rare. The instructions are for a rack 1 1/4 to 2 pounds big. If you are cooking multiple racks (unless you are doing a crown roast which is a different matter), lay them out separately on the pan, and you may need to increase the cooking time.

Use a meat thermometer! Many factors can affect cooking time like the shape of the roast, the fat marbling, and your individual oven characteristics. This is too lovely and tender a roast to risk overcooking.

Make sure to allow enough time for your rack of lamb to come close to room temperature before cooking. Otherwise the inside will still be raw while the outside is cooked.



  • 1 or more Frenched* lamb rib racks with 7 to 8 ribs each (1 1/4 to 2 pounds for each rack, figure each rack feeds 2-3 people)

For each rib rack:

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

*Typically you will buy a rack of lamb already "Frenched", or cut so that the rib bones are exposed. You can also ask your butcher to french them for you. For directions on how to French them yourself, see How to French a Rack of Lamb.


1 Rub rib rack(s) all over with mixture of rosemary, thyme, and garlic. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Place in a thick plastic bag with olive oil. Spread oil around so that it coats the lamb rack(s) all over. Squeeze out as much air as you can from the bag and seal. Place in a container so that if the bag leaks, the container catches the leak. If you want, place in the refrigerator overnight. Or, if you are not marinating overnight, let lamb rack(s) sit in the rub marinade as it comes to room temperature before cooking.

2 Remove lamb rack from refrigerator to 1 1/2 to 2 hours before you cook it so that it comes to room temp. (If the meat is not at room temperature it will be hard for it to cook evenly.)

3 Preheat oven to 450°F, arrange the oven rack so that the lamb will be in the middle of the oven. Score the fat, by making sharp shallow cuts through the fat, spaced about an inch apart.


Sprinkle the rack all over with salt and pepper. Place the lamb rack bone side down (fat side up) on the pan. Wrap the exposed ribs in a little foil so that they don't burn.


4 Place the roast in the oven roast at 450°F for 10 minutes, or until the surface of the roast is nicely browned, then lower the heat to 300°F. Cook for 10-20 minutes longer (depending on the size of the lamb rack, and how rare or well done you want your lamb), until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat 125°F on a for rare or 135°F for medium rare. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.

Cut lamb chops away from the rack by slicing between the bones. Serve 2-3 chops per person.

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Greek Style Rack of Lamb from Peter of Souvlaki for the Soul

Pesto Rack of Lamb from Not Quite Nigella

Rack of Lamb with Port and Cranberry Jus from Ambrosia and Nectar

Moroccan Spiced Rack of Lamb from Jane Spice

Exotic Rack of Lamb with cardamom, cumin, coriander, anise, chile, allspice and cinnamon from A Mingling of Tastes

Chef Gordon Ramsay's herb crusted, breaded version video

Showing 4 of 30 Comments

  • rebecca h.

    Mouth watering. Rosemary and thyme really are my favorite seasonings for lamb but I do rotate with two other versions.
    Second most common for us is very, very finely chopped green olive, Worcestershire sauce and thyme as the rub seasonings, and the other is oregano, balsamic vinegar and lemon zest…all used sparingly of course!

  • Allan Rosenberg

    I am 84 and never cooked until shortly after my wife died bout 5 years ago. Now I enjoy it thoroughly and get many of my recipes from your blog, which is part of my home page on Google. I am going to try the lamb tonight and thought I might give you my favorite lamb chop recipe.

    Large chops or rack of lamb
    garlic clove
    dijon mustard
    prepared horse radish
    bread crumbs
    parmesan cheese

    Preheat oven to 425

    Rub all sides of the lamb with the garlic clove.
    Spread the mustard over the lamb and similarly with the horse radish. Cover all sides with bread crumbs and press down by hand. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and parsley.

    I find it easier to completely prepare one side and then turn it over and go on to the next.

    Place on a pan and bake for 25 to 45 minutes depending on size, but do not overcook. Let rest for a few minutes.

    Small chops may only require 15 to 20 minutes baking time.

    Thank you Allan for sharing your approach to lamb chops and rack of lamb with us. I’m so delighted that you are finding the site useful. ~Elise

  • Audrey

    Seems a pity to scrape all the tasty stuff off the bones. I always enjoy nibbling on them.

    You can grind those bits for a ground lamb dish, or freeze them to use them later in a stew. ~Elise

  • Janet

    I love lamb!!!!! I create something very similar to Gordon Ramsay’s recipe, but I don’t grind my herbs into the breadcrumbs. My crust contains, finely grind breadcrumbs, finely chopped parsley, thyme, basil and a little salt/pepper.
    I salt & pepper my rack, brown them and pop them into the oven for about 8 minutes. Remove, brush on Dijon mustard (not the yellow hot dog kind), roll and pat on the breadcrumbs. Back into the oven to finish. I like my lamb rare to medium. And yes, we’re having lamb for Easter. Yum!

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