Tender, succulent and flavorful, this easy rack of lamb recipe comes out reliably perfect every time. High-heat oven roasting produces crispy fat and juicy meat, and the seasoning - olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and thyme - is wonderful.
This recipe is so easy, yet so elegant. It's the perfect entree for a holiday or for entertaining because it's so delicious and impressive, yet so very simple to make. I love bringing it out to the table in all its glory, then taking it back to the kitchen to carve.
Tender, succulent and flavorful, lamb is my favorite meat, and this simple rack of lamb recipe beautifully highlights its rich, bold flavor. I enjoy all lamb cuts, but this cut is especially delicious, with its tender meat and hot, crispy fat.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty main dish. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Rack of lamb: I get it either at the supermarket or at Whole Foods. I never had trouble finding it in either of these places.
Olive oil spray: By far my favorite oil to cook with, and it goes really well with lamb. However, if you'd rather use an oil with a higher smoke point, avocado oil is another good option.
To season: In addition to salt and pepper, I like to use garlic powder, dried rosemary, and dried thyme. I prefer garlic powder to fresh minced garlic in this recipe because I feel it better coats the meat.
How to cook a rack of lamb
I love roasting it in a hot oven. It's easy and delicious. Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. An hour before you start cooking, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray it with olive oil spray.
2. Place the meat on the prepared baking sheet, fat side up. Score the fat by making small shallow slits in the fat.
3. Liberally spray both sides of the lamb with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary, and thyme. Allow the meat to come to room temperature.
4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Roast the lamb in the preheated oven until an instant-read thermometer reads 135 degrees F (medium-rare), about 25 minutes.
5. Transfer the meat to a cutting board. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
6. Using a sharp chef's knife, cut the rack into individual ribs by slicing between the bones.
Frequently asked questions
Simply turn the rack upside down, locate where the bones are, and carefully cut between them using a sharp chef's knife. As long as your knife is freshly sharpened, this should be easy enough to do.
This term simply means that the rack is cut so that the rib bones are exposed. This is achieved by the butcher cutting off the fat and meat that covers the bones.
There's no need to. While searing would nicely brown the meat, and especially the fat, the same result is achieved when cooking the meat in a hot oven. The fat comes out wonderfully browned and crispy.
According to the USDA, it should be cooked to medium - an internal temperature of 145 ºF with a 3-minute rest period. I prefer it medium-rare, but that's a personal choice.
Expert tip: let the meat rest
As with most cuts of meat, it's very important to let the meat rest for 10-15 minutes after you pull it out of the oven. This rest time allows the juices to settle and redistribute and prevents them from gushing out as soon as you cut into the meat.
Variations and substitutions
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- Instead of spraying the lamb with olive oil, you can brush it with melted butter or ghee.
- You can vary the spices you use. Good options include onion powder, cumin, and paprika.
Recommended side dishes
Truly anything goes with this recipe. It's a very versatile main course. But since I roast the meat in a 425°F oven, I do like to serve it with side dishes that I can cook in the same oven. So I often serve it with any of the following sides:
If you have leftovers, you can keep them in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them very gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power to avoid drying them out.
You can also freeze the leftovers in freezer bags. In fact, leftovers keep so well, that I often double the recipe and make two of them - one for serving right away, the other for tasty lunches during the week. 😋
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Roasted Rack of Lamb
- 1 rack of lamb Frenched (cut so that the rib bones are exposed), 1 ½ lb, 8 ribs
- Olive oil spray
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- An hour before you start roasting the lamb, line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray it with olive oil spray.
- Place the rack of lamb on the prepared baking sheet, fat side up. Score the fat by making small shallow slits, 1 inch apart.
- Liberally spray both sides of the lamb with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary, and thyme. Allow the meat to rest on the counter for about an hour and come to room temperature.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
- Roast the meat in the preheated oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part (and not touching the bone) reads 135 degrees F (medium-rare), about 25 minutes.
- Remove the lamb from the oven. Transfer it to a cutting board. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- To cut the rack into individual ribs, turn it upside down, locate where the bones are, and carefully cut between them using a sharp chef's knife. Serve immediately.