Make it a fancy family or holiday dinner with this easy Roasted Rack of Lamb recipe, perfect for an Easter feast. By choosing high-quality ingredients such as a prime cut of lamb, fresh herbs, and rich olive oil, you can create a simple yet stunning meal that’s sure to impress.
This roasted rack of lamb recipe defines the essence of Easter lunch in every bite, and, believe it or not, it’s quite easy to prepare. You won’t need to spend your entire day in the kitchen, meaning more time for family and less time cooking. The recipe blends fresh herbs, spices, and olive oil to create a flavorful marinade that perfectly complements the rich taste of the lamb. The use of fresh herbs is key, bringing brightness and depth to the dish, while the olive oil helps to tenderize the meat.
Rack of Lamb Ingredients
The ingredients in this dish are simple. We start with a rack of lamb and then mix up all of the best fresh herbs with garlic and olive oil. You’ll find a detailed ingredient list and step-by-step instructions in the recipe card further down the page.
- Frenched lamb rib rack: If possible, ask your butcher to trim and french the rack of lamb – which means removing any extra meat, fat, and cartilage – to save you the hassle of doing it yourself at home.
- Seasonings: salt, fresh ground black pepper, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, and fresh parsley.
- Olive Oil: For the marinade.
- Garlic: Adds a pungent, aromatic depth to the marinade. Shallots can be a milder substitute.
Cooking Temperature For Lamb
- For a rare lamb chop, the internal temperature should register at 125˚F to 130˚F on an Instant Read Thermometer.
- If your goal is medium-rare, look for an internal temperature of 135˚F. I don’t recommend cooking your lamb past medium-rare as it will become dry and tough.
- If you prefer medium-well, ensure the meat reaches at least 140˚F when checked with an instant-read thermometer in the middle and for well done, the thermometer should show a minimum of 150˚F.
- Keep in mind that the lamb will rest after roasting, and in that time, the temperature can continue to rise another 5 or so degrees.
How to Roast A Rack of Lamb
This traditional rack of lamb recipe starts with a couple of hours of marinating, followed by oven-roasting until it reaches your preferred level of doneness. (Hint: medium-rare is often considered the ideal choice).
- Prep: Pat the lamb rack dry with paper towels. Season it with salt and pepper and set it aside. In a small food processor, combine the olive oil, parsley, garlic, rosemary, and thyme leaves and pulse until everything is thoroughly mixed.
- Rub and Marinate: Using a sharp knife, score the fat layer on the lamb by making several cuts through the fat. Rub the garlic-herb mixture all over the rack of lamb. Place the rack of lamb in a zip-top bag and leave it at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. You can also marinate it overnight in the refrigerator; just bring it to room temperature before cooking.
- Roast: Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Place the lamb on a baking pan, fat side up. Cover the exposed ribs with foil and roast the rack of lamb for 25 minutes or until the internal temperature registers at 125˚F for rare or 135˚F for medium-rare. Use an Instant Read Thermometer for the most accurate results.
- Rest and Serve: Remove the lamb from the oven. Loosely cover it with foil and let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting.
- Wrapping the Bones in Foil: This step is optional, but wrapping the bones in foil prevents them from browning, making your dish look more appetizing.
- Use of Herbs and Olive Oil: Fresh herbs are crucial in this recipe, as dried herbs won’t deliver the same flavor. Also, choosing a high-quality olive oil is essential for the best taste.
- Marinating the Lamb: If you plan to marinate the lamb for over 2 hours, make sure to store it in the refrigerator.
- Monitoring the Temperature: Keep in mind that the lamb’s temperature will rise by about 5 degrees as it rests. It’s best to remove it from the oven when it’s slightly below your target temperature.
- Resting the Meat: Allow the lamb to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Resting is crucial because it allows the juices, which are driven out of the muscle fibers during cooking, to redistribute. If you slice the meat right out of the oven, these flavorful juices will end up on the cutting board instead of in the meat.
Lamb meat has a rich flavor, so I prefer pairing it with lighter sides. I love a side of mushroom orzo pilaf or lemon parmesan risotto to complement this dish. Other great options include roasted artichokes, freezer mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, or sauteed garlic broccolini. A large, family-style spring vegetable potato salad is always a safe bet too. For something equally fabulous, try my oven roasted potatoes or Mashed cauliflower.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- If you have leftover lamb, place it in an airtight container and keep it in your fridge for 2 to 3 days, or freeze it for up to 2 months. Thaw it before reheating.
- To reheat it, place it in your oven and heat at 350˚F until it is warm throughout.
Other Lamb Recipes
- Balsamic Braised Lamb Shanks
- Garlic Herb Roast Leg of Lamb
- Oven Baked Risotto with Lamb Chops
- Wine Braised Lamb Shanks
Roasted Rack of Lamb
- 1 (about 1.5 pounds, total) Frenched lamb rib rack with 8 ribs
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, cut in half
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
- ½ tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- chopped fresh parsley, for serving
- Pat dry the lamb rack with paper towels. Season it with salt and pepper all around and set it aside.
- In a small food processor, combine the olive oil, parsley, garlic, rosemary, and thyme leaves; pulse until thoroughly combined.
- Using a sharp knife, score the fat layer on the lamb by making several cuts through the fat, then rub the garlic-herb mixture all over the rack of lamb.
- Place the lamb in a resealable bag; seal the bag and marinate the lamb at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. You can also marinate it overnight in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 450˚F.
- Take the lamb out of the bag and place it on a baking pan, fat side up. Cover the exposed ribs with foil so they don't burn while roasting.
- Roast the lamb for 25 minutes or until internal temperature registers at 125˚F for rare or 135˚F for medium-rare. Use an Instant Read Thermometer for accurate results.
- Remove the lamb from the oven; loosely cover it with foil and let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting.
- To cut, slice the lamb into individual cutlets, garnish with parsley, and serve.
- Lamb Rack Selection – Choose a frenched lamb rack with 8 ribs.
- Marinating – If marinating the lamb exceeds 2 hours, refrigerate it.
- Internal Cooked Temperature – The lamb’s internal temperature will increase by approximately 5 degrees during resting. Therefore, take it out of the oven a bit before reaching your desired doneness.
- Resting – Let the lamb rest for 10 to 15 minutes prior to serving. This step is vital to let the juices reabsorb back into the meat.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.