Classic Rack of Lamb

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.

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


  • 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 tablespoons extra virgin 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.

Special equipment:

  • Meat thermometer


1 Marinate lamb in rub: 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 Bring lamb to room temp: 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.

4 Score the fat, sprinkle with salt and pepper, wrap bones in foil, place in pan fat side up: 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 a roasting pan lined with foil. Wrap the exposed ribs in a little foil so that they don't burn.


5 Roast first at high heat to brown, then reduce heat to finish: Place the roast in the oven roast at 450°F for 10 minutes (longer if roasting more than one rack), 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, if you are roasting more than one 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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  • Ray

    Tried it for dinner ……first time cooking rack of lamb….the recipe was perfect…so proud….

  • Seleste

    My husband and I love ❤️ this recipe. I have made several times, and follow the recipe to the letter. I have even taken it to a potluck thanksgiving and had rave reviews!! It’s my go to since we eat lamb a lot.


  • Danielle

    Fantastic!! DanielleMy family loved it!!


    • Tina Ferro

      I substituted avacado oil and a bit of coconut oil as a base for my oils. But this is so easy. It only seemed to be intimidating.

  • Kevin

    I used the cooking technique with my own seasoning (olive oil, salt, pepper, herbes de Provence and crushed garlic). I removed most of the fat cap and the silver skin on the underside of the rack, applied the oil and seasonings directly to the meat and let it sit for about an hour.

    Followed the cook times – 450 f for 10 minutes and 300f for another 10. Temperature was 134 f. Perfect medium rare after resting for 15 minutes.


  • Mary

    I’m a little confused with the roasting technique? One person mentioned placing the rack of lamb on a rack in the oven? Would a cookie sheet work with small metal racks on top of it?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Mary, cookie sheets tend to warp at high temperatures, that’s why it’s best to use a sturdy roasting pan. Often roasting pans are sold with racks to go inside of them. You can also put the rack of lamb directly on the oven rack with a roasting pan on the oven rack beneath to catch the drippings. This set-up mimics a convection oven and allows the hot air to flow more across the whole roast. All that said, we typically just do as the directions indicate, put the rack of lamb on a foil lined roasting pan.

  • Stan

    First time making Rack of Lamb. I mostly followed the recipe in terms of ingredients, but did not double-pepper (it calls for pepper while marinading and when prepping for the oven). Since only one other reviewer mentioned it, I will mention that I found the times to be way off. I used 15 min at 450 and almost 30 minutes at 300 to get it to 133 internal temp. I had a 8-rib rack and let it sit outside the fridge for over 2 hours. However, I am certain this was not long enough since when I stuck a meat thermometer 1/3 into the length of the rack after 10 min at 450, it only read 66 deg! Not sure I am a fan of ROL though due to the fat cap, which I did not eat so it meant loss of the herbs and the value of the cut at $19/lb for mostly bones and fat. My guests raved about it though!


  • Joan

    Made this for the first time tonight for family Christmas eve dinner. I used thyme as my herb instead and a bit of (1/2 tbsp) soy sauce to help brown the top. Definitely slit the fatty area and then applied the soy sauce. Turned out beautifully on the outisde pieces but had to put it back in for the middle peices. Went with the high for 450 d at 10 min. and 300 d. for 20 min. Most of family likes it med rare but the flavor was wonderful. Will make again with the rosemary next time and my husband can’t wait.


  • Dawn

    This is the absolute easiest recipe for rack of lamb. Me personally, I don’t like it. My fiancé, well that’s a whole different ball game. He LOVES rack of lamb. Especially when I use this recipe. ELISE, thank you!


  • Rod V

    Our favorite lamb rub:
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp grated onion
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1/4 tsp bay leaf (crushed)
    1/4 tsp ginger
    1/4 tsp thyme
    1/4 tsp sage
    1 tbsp oil

    My mother found it about 60 years ago – have tasted few better

  • Margaret

    Made this tonight for dinner have never tasted lamb like it . Next time I would cook it less than I did but I am blaming my new cooker for this anyway it was delicious so there’s no more excuses from me .


  • Jenn Jones

    I followed this recipe the first time I attempted rack of lamb, and have used it every time since! Cooking for one with a busy career often meant sandwiches for dinner, but I’ve discovered that I can actually cook well with this kind of assistance! Rather than marinate, I score the fat and rub in the oil with spices (or sometimes just salt/pepper and fresh crushed garlic) when I take the rack out to warm to room temperature. Tonight I used garlic and fresh cilantro… definitely will do it again! Thanks for helping me expand my repertoire! I’m less afraid to have ppl over for dinner!! (Rack of lamb with pesto porcini mushroom penne is a favorite go-to!)


  • Sue Punian

    I have made this several times. I love the scoring idea, but agree with your previous reviewer that scoring first and rubbing in the herbs really gets the flavor into the meat. I also added fresh mint and oregano to the herb mixture. Fantastic! I have done this recipe in the oven, on a gas grill and on a pellet grill. You may have to adjust the time to get the results you want but that is what meat thermometers are for.


  • scott kurman

    i scored the lamb before rubbing with herbs. i made sure that some of the rub went into the scores. the herb flavors really penetrated the lamb. i also used 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon hot chili oil instead of olive oil only. i compromised by marinating in the frig for 2 hours, then on the kitchen counter. for 2 hours. otherwise, followed the recipe exactly.


  • Damian

    I doubt that photo of browned meat was produced following these instructions. We did, and our lamb was insipid and undercooked looking on the outside. Good on the inside. But we had to crank it up and add 10 more minutes bring ours to life, if only slightly. Potato was not well cooked. Went in par boiled, so sure, they were soft inside, but pale and weak on the outside.

    The seasoning was good, but unless you eat the fat or chew the bones, you don’t actually taste it with the meat.

    I’d recommend cutting the rack into sections of 3 chops and seasoning all surfaces of each section, then slicing and serving off each of those.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Damian, I assure you the lamb photo’ed is the one I made using these instructions. Every oven works a little differently though, and perhaps your oven just requires a higher heat setting. When my mother upgraded her oven she had to completely redo her recipes to work in it. All of her recipes required a higher heat on her new oven than the original recipe called for. Finally, I don’t understand your comment about potatoes as there are no potatoes mentioned in the introduction or the recipe.

  • florence poor

    Once I found a pan that could be put into the oven, then found a rack to place the lamb onto, I put all the ingredients together and brushed this onto the rack. The whole house smelled delicious. The lamb was delicious. This recipe is perfect for me; an uninspired cook.
    My mother wouldn’t let me into the kitchen with the exception of washing the dinner dishes. Thank you very much.


  • Jeannie

    Great, easy recipe, and it was delicious thank you!


  • Debi

    I have made several rack of recipes from the internet. This was definitely the easiest and equally as tasty as the others!


  • chick

    Mine completely burned :( I think it was done after the first 10 minutes at 450 but decided to do the second 300F part too because I am not a great chef and recipes are mostly right. After another 6 minutes at 300 the meat had completely hardened and smelled like crap. Bought pizza as a comfort food but still a bit sad inside lol.


  • Pooja

    Just made this. My husband loves lamb but I’ve never made it because I am a vegetarian. I decided I try making this to surprise him. It turned out perfectly! Perfect directions easy enough for a clueless vegetarian to follow! My husband licked the bones clean. Thank you so much!!!


  • Richard

    Followed recipe exactly and marinated overnight. It is an awesome meal!


  • Tania M

    I made this for dinner tonite.. It was delicious! Lamb is not my husbands favorite and he thoroughly enjoyed it. The spices were perfect….I will be making this recipe again.


  • Mark Silvers

    I made in the BBQ carefully monitoring the temperature. I also added a squeeze of lemon to brighten the flavors. Kudos! Tasted great


  • Modeknit

    I just made this recipe this evening – my first time cooking lamb EVER!
    (My father never liked it, so we never had it, and I just never tried cooking it before.)

    It was AMAZING! I followed your recipe, because of an oven glitch it ended up marinating in a bag in the refrigerator overnight, but it was DELICIOUS. I feel like a chef, it was so good! My husband and son loved it, and we ate every last bit with relish!

    Thank you for a simple recipe with easy to follow images! Now I can’t wait to try your Leg of Lamb recipe!


  • Stuart

    Using both oven and meat thermometers these directions alas fell short of the mark. I like lamb on the rare side, but these time left the interior raw. I cook all the time and I am not used to problems in the kitchen. My girlfriend, a card carrying chef, came to the rescue. In order to have the lamb płated with the sides, she decided to finish the rack in the microwave, an extreme an unorthodox measure by any standards.

  • Jane

    Made this for dinner tonight with a baked sweet potato with cinnamon butter and some mint jelly…Deelish!


    • Elise Bauer

      I’m so glad you liked it Jane! Love the idea of serving with baked sweet potato. Yum.

  • Ashley

    My husband and I roasted our first rack of lamb tonight. We used this recipe, roasting it at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then 300 degrees for 10 minutes. We let it rest for 5 minutes on a room temperature plate. It was so tender and the flavor was amazing. It was the best lamb we’ve ever had! We took some to my father in law (he lives next door) and he said it was the best he’s ever had! Great recipe!! Thank you!!

  • Jennifer

    I liked the recipe for its simplicity, but my family needs them to be well done.

  • Lyn Spencer

    I always though you braised the fat side to make it crisp

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Lyn, braising, or cooking in liquid, will not make anything crisp.

  • lisa switzer

    Folks LOVE my lamb…I use the typical ingredients but a little sweet red wine & secret ingredient (sesame oil) makes it a show stopper!!!!

  • Leslie Dahan

    I can’t see where the recipe tells me what the “pan” is. Is that a roasting pan? The photo seems to show foil under the cooked lamb. Should the “pan” be lined with foil?

    • Elise Bauer

      Yes to both questions! I’ve made the clarification in the recipe, thank you.

  • Flo

    This receipe is Great, this is my 2nd time. Husband is crazy for it as I am…….Lamb on sale I buy and make this…..WONDERFUL

  • Vinyljunkee

    Hi – I love this simple and delicious preparation. However, I would HIGHLY recommend the readers to simply ignore the cooking times noted and cook only to temp. Utilize some sort of probe…..and then double check with an instant-read thermometer (Thermopen). You will badly overcook the typical rack of lamb we commonly find in our markets, and especially the Costco version mentioned (which is actually very good).

    I have prepared this in my BGE and in the oven and love it both ways. I also sprinkle on a little finishing salt (Maldon) after slicing.

  • Kristine

    Cooked a Costco Australian Rack of Lamb – 1 1/2 Ilbs. Followed directions to the letter. It was cooked perfectly med rare and had a fantastic taste. I like lamb that is not overwhelmed with other flavors. This is definitely my recipe to use from now on.

  • Terry violette

    I have cooked many racks of lamb in my time. Usually all recipes are overly complicated with ingredients. This one look so clean and simple. Will give this a shot tonight and serve with spinach Stamppot ( mashed spinach and turnip ) and roasted tomatoes.

  • Yuliya

    This is the best lamb I’ve ever tasted! Thank you so much!
    I shared your page with this recipe on fb. Hope you don’t mind.
    BTW your prime reab recipe is already our spesial family recipe. And now this one!
    Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Yuliya, I’m so glad you liked it! And thank you for telling your FB friends about it too.

  • Rosario Martinez

    I have tried this recipe so many times and just wanted to say it’s just delicious. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Mag spamano

    I love lamb. My wife hasn’t really eaten a lot of it over ther years. However she does love molasses ( darn Canadians) so I marinated a rack using molasses, garlic powder, salt and pepper an a bit of lemon. In the Frig overnite. She loved them.

  • Larry

    I used this recipe with balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard with lemon … Unbelievable, Best Lamb Ever!

  • David

    Lamb medium rare temperature should be 145 F not 135 F. (generally accepted temperatures).

    • Jim Price

      David — You’re both right. Sort of.

      135 is the correct temperature for removing from the heat source. After removing from heat, tent loosely with foil and rest the meat to drive juices back into the center. During this time, the temperature will continue to rise to the target.

  • Shani

    I was searching for a simple lamb recipe and this was PERFECT! My first rack ever and I wanted to cry because it tasted just like my gram’s. I used a cast iron skillet to sear, then popped skillet in the oven to finish. My uber picky 13 yo loved it (via text, lol).

  • Mary

    Elise: Yummmmm! Thank you for a fabulous recipe!

  • Vickie

    Congratulations to myself. Followed the cooking instructions to a tee and lamb cooked to perfection. Added red wine, lemon juice and dash of cayenne pepper to marinade and seasoning was wonderful. I will definitely prepare again as I received great raves from all.

  • Sue

    If I decide to Sear the lamb first, do I have to change the cooking temperature or time? Thank you!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sue, if you sear first, then you would skip the initial 10 minutes or so of high temperature roasting and go straight to the 300°F roasting temp.

  • Lee

    I’m a newlywed; I nervously made rack of lamb for the first time ever last night & my husband said if he didn’t know better he’d think I was trying to get him to propose! lol
    I’ve been fantasizing about last night’s supper all day today, wondering if it was just a dream because it was absolutely PERFECT. Needless to say, it was a HUGE hit in our house & the hubs has already asked me when we’ll have it again.
    I am so happy to have found your site. I’m hoping that you’ll completely ruin going out to eat with more knock-out dishes like these! Most importantly, THANK YOU for making me look like a Culinary Goddess in my groom’s eyes! ;)

  • Jeanne

    My husband and I like all out meat medium well. Can the lamb racks be cooked to medium or medium well without ruining the flavor?

    If so, how long do I cook one rack for? what temp would I be aiming for to get it medium well?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jeanne, In my opinion you ruin lamb if you cook it beyond medium rare, but that’s my preference. You do risk drying the meat out if you cook it to well, but if you want medium well then shoot for 140°F to 155°F internal temp.

  • Don

    For a change try marinating your lamb racks for a couple of hours in a mixture of roasted garlic ,balsamic vinegar,rosemary and a little olive oil —roast 4-5 heads of garlic–smear liberally put in marinating pouch with a liberal amount of decent balsamic, some chopped rosemary, and a pour of olive oil— sear and roast as normal–good eating

    • Rodney Paul

      Dan – – think you pinched my récipe! Just enjoyed a Sunday lunch with this version
      I trim the small bonés off horizontially (after cooking) creating the appearance of a fillet – then spoon madeira sauce over to serve with minted baby potatoes and green beans. What a life!

  • barbara halliwell

    What are some side dishes to serve with leg of lamb?

    • Elise Bauer

      Puréed mashed celery root or parsnips. Asparagus, watercress.

    • Jay

      Personally I pick a veggie and a starch.
      veggie ideas: Yellow crookneck squash (steamed), whole artichoke (leaf tips trimmed then boiled for 45-60 min), asparagus (with hollandaise sauce), brussels sprouts
      starch ideas: baked potato, mashed potatoes, potatoes au gratin, sweet potato, wild rice

  • Paul Villeneuve

    This recipe is great, but much better with two important missing elements, which I have been adding for years, e.g.:
    In addition to the Olive Oil, Garlic, Rosemary, Thyme, Freshly Ground Black Pepper and Fleur de Sel, I add 1 tspn of Keen’s Hot Mustard, and 1 tspn of Soya Sauce. Try it – I think you’ll love it !

    • HalcionDaze

      I myself use the mustard also, both hot and wholegrain with a Tsp of honey and it’s delicious!

  • Aramis

    So a question to the lamb experts:
    I am trying to prepare 3 racks of lamb (aprx 1.5 lbs each). Normally for one rack, I sear it for about 2-3 minutes and then stick it in the oven for 10-15 minutes @ 450F. SO, how do I gauge the timing for all three racks?! Any ideas? Please help! :)


  • Rick B

    I’ve used seedless Calamata Olives chopped up with garlic, finely chopped onions, parsley and the juice from the Olives.
    Pack the mixture above on the lamb while it comes to room temp.
    Chop some green pepper and onion chunks. Hold for later.
    Grill on very high until the outside chars on both sides. 2-3 minutes per side.
    Put a char on the peppers and onions also.
    (You can pre-cook this way.)
    Put the peppers and onions on a bed of fresh pita bread in a covered bowl.(Dirty bread!)
    Let the meat rest on this, covered.
    When the time comes, insert a meat thermometer and bake or broil until 125 Deg.
    Finish and serve.

  • Nataliya

    Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe. Rack of lamb is my favorite dish nowadays and I cook it every week. Previously I’ve used the recipe with bread crumbs and Dijon mustard, which can be found at allrecipes website. Yesterday I’ve tried to change things up and used your recipe – it’s also unbelievably delicious and very easy to follow!

  • Brittany Josewski

    I remember when I was little this was my absolute favorite dish. I never got to have it that much because not that many people like lamb apparently. However, now that I’m an adult I make this dish all the time. This one is a recipe from Bon Appetit, it’s a dijon crusted rack of lamb with a red wine vinegar mint sauce.

  • Anne

    Hi Elise,

    I am a first time roaster and plan on making this for my guests on Friday night. I have a pan with a rack – this probably sounds silly, but do I place the lamb on the rack or straight on the pan? The pan is nonstick, should I line it with foil before roasting?

    Hi Anne, you do not need to put the rack of lamb on a pan rack. And give that your pan is non-stick, lining the pan with foil would be redundant. ~Elise

  • Linda Madden

    My husband just made this for New Year’s night dinner, and it was quite lovely. Simple, served with fresh green beans – and some red wine of course – dinner to be remembered.

  • Holly

    First: Wash the lamb with lemon and water to remove dried blood and neutralize the possible gaminess.
    Marinate in sweet vermouth, ample rosemary, fresh ground pepper and a little sale. Before you put it in the over to roast, wipe it dry, which will leave most of the rosemary in tact.
    Rub the outside with olive oil which seals in the juices. Roast, fat side up. YES, leave the fat.
    Periodically, pour a little vermouth over it while it’s roasting.
    I put a few little slices on it to catch the vermouth.
    Serve with Chutney, not mint :)

  • Pat Orr

    I have an allergy to Rosemary and am wondering whether anyone knows of a tasty substitute. Thanks.

  • Mark

    Rack of Lamb is my favorite dish. I’m learning to BBQ it. The first time I did was two racks with a garlic paste cooked over natural charcoal and oak from wine barrels. WOW!!!!

  • ben

    In Ireland, the best lamb comes from Wicklow, or the Connemara region of Galway, and it’s best at exactly this time of year.

    Sear a rack of lamb quickly on both sides in hot oil. Spread your favourite mustard on the bone side, and pack in breadcrumbs made from day-old white yeast bread and fresh rosemary. Roast in a hot oven for about 15-20 minutes or until it’s done the way you like it.

    Small new potatoes, and fresh spinach (and/or asparagus or squash or what have you).

  • Ms J

    Thank you Elise for posting this! Oh lamb, how I love thee! An expat Australian now living in Japan, readily affordable and available lamb is one of the culinary things I miss most! This recipe kills me! Sigh… For curious readers, worthwhile accompaniments include mint sauce, marinated feta cheese or beetroot (beet?) chutney (NB: not necessarily at the same time!)

  • Chez Us - Denise

    Elise, great post and I am there with you on loving lamb. I, too, like it a little rare with a nice crispy outside. I normally keep it simple as you did with fresh herbs but sometimes I will a little garlic and the zest from either a lemon or orange, it really gives it a great flavor. Although, we just made a lamb roast and served it with an outstanding mint sauce (no mint jelly here).

  • Erin @ FarmhouseFoodie

    The herb rub I use on my racks of lamb is very similar but I usually sear mine in a cast iron skillet before tossing the whole thing in the oven until they’re cooked to temp.

    I’ve also found that I prefer a 3/4 lb to 1 lb rack of lamb more than a larger rack because the layer of fat is thinner (though the ratio of fat to meat is the same).

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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!