Lamb is an incredible, flavorful meat to cook and I love using it in my recipes! Lamb can seem like an intimidating meat to cook, but it doesn't have to be! People often think of it as a high-end or special occasion dish, but this version is easily accessible to make at home.
This Garlic and Herb Rack of Lamb is a tried and true classic dish, featuring locally sourced American lamb.
This recipe is part of an ongoing partnership with the American Lamb Board, my go-to resource for education and expertise on American lamb. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Why You Should Make this Recipe
If you’re looking to try a dish with American lamb, this is a great place to start because it’s so easy, quick, and if you make sure to use a meat thermometer, it comes out perfectly every time.
This recipe is versatile because it works for both lamb chops and rack of lamb, so you can choose whichever is your favorite and work with that. You can just adjust the cook time accordingly with the cut you choose.
Personally, I like to cook the lamb in double chops, which means I cut them into pairs of two. I do this because it helps you get just the right amount of surface area to have a ton of flavor on the meat surface, while still maintaining enough thickness to keep it incredibly juicy and cooked perfectly medium-rare.
This recipe is also excellent to introduce as part of a proportional diet. I try to have a higher ratio of vegetables to meat in my diet, and one of the reasons I do this is so that when I do buy and cook meat like lamb, I can put the time and effort into prioritizing locally sourced, high-quality meat. I want to be able to enjoy the best quality meat that I can and reducing the frequency that I eat it and portion size allows me to do that.
Cooking with American Lamb
I love to source local ingredients for my recipes, as I think it’s important to support local farmers and businesses as well as choose products that have sustainability in mind. I like to cook with American lamb because the small-scale production means that more attention is paid to good treatment of the animals, and maintaining the nutrient integrity of the pastures where they graze.
Being able to maintain pastures and rangelands is a huge part of sustainable sheep farming; allowing animals to overgraze actually harms the landscape and kills plant species in the long run. Local American lamb production also supports over 80,000 family farmers, so I like to do my bit to support these communities!
What You Need to Make this Recipe
lamb cut - you can use either rack or chops in this recipe.
herbes de Provence - a spice blend that usually contains Provence spices like thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon, savory, marjoram, oregano and often a touch of lavender. If you cannot find it at your local store and are looking for a simple substitution, dried rosemary works great in this recipe.
garlic - if you don’t have fresh garlic handy, you can substitute with ¾ teaspoon powdered garlic and apply it directly to the lamb after the herbes de Provence. If using garlic salt, you will need 1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt and make sure to not add any additional salt to the recipe.
How to Cook Garlic and Herb Rack of Lamb
First, slice the lamb chops into pairs of two, lay out the lamb, and sprinkle each side with the Herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper. This double-chop thickness is just right for this recipe.
Note: The thinner the meat, the worse chance you have of achieving the perfect medium-rare cook. This is because, as you heat the meat, the heat penetrates towards the center so a thinner piece cooks all the way through much more quickly.
Next, blend, whisk, or mix in a food processor the garlic, dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar together to make the dressing. Spoon the vinaigrette dressing on just one side of the lamb.
Broil the lamb in the oven on high, until the top side is browned. This should take about 5 minutes. Then, flip the lamb over, and spoon the vinaigrette dressing on the other side of the lamb. Broil on the second side for 5 more minutes. Then turn the oven temperature to 350F and roast until the lamb’s internal temperature reads 135F. Pull from oven and let rest until internal temp reaches 145F (medium-rare). See note below for USDA internal temperature guidelines.
Note: The USDA recommends 145F minimum internal temperature for lamb with a 3-minute rest, 145F (medium-rare) or 160F (medium). I take the lamb out of the oven around 135F and rest it for up to 10 minutes to get up to USDA’s end temperature of 145F because I prefer it more rare. It does continue to cook slightly once removed from the oven.
Let the lamb rest an additional 5 minutes before serving.
What to Serve with Rack of Lamb
In terms of flavor, the herbs en Provence seasons the lamb beautifully, with the savory flavor of the meat complementing the sweetness from the honey and the tart flavor from the balsamic vinegar. The sauce works double duty, as it seasons the lamb initially and then I like to serve it after cooking as a sauce to drizzle over the lamb. This roast rack of lamb pairs well with practically any side; serve with grains, roasted veggies, mashed potatoes, salad...it’s up to you!
Rack of Lamb FAQs
Depending on the size of the rack, a rack of lamb can serve anywhere from 2-4 people. The average weight is 1.6-2.2 pounds, but you can find them anywhere from 1-3 lbs.
We serve 3-4 chops per person with generous side dishes.
Yes, trim most of the fat. The fat adds a great flavor, but if you leave it all it won't render down properly and you will be left with an unpleasant fat layer. Further, if you are cooking it over fire or under a broiler, it can catch fire.
The chops are cut either from the racks, loin, or the shoulder. The racks are always from the rib section of the lamb.
Fan of Lamb?
Peruse all my lamb recipes, or check out my personal favorites:
If you love American Lamb, or this recipe has piqued your curiosity, you should check them out on Instagram and Facebook at @fanoflamb for more inspiration! They’re currently running the #TheLambChallenge - Holiday Edition, so be sure to comment with a lamb recipe you’ll enjoy for the holidays and you’ll be entered to win a great prize package.
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Garlic & Herb Lamb
- 3 lbs racks of lamb cut into double chops
- 2 tsp Herbes de Provence
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
- Sprinkle the lamb with Herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper.
- Blend or food process the garlic, dijon, honey, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
- Spoon the vinaigrette on one side of the lamb.
- Broil the lamb in the oven on high, until the top side is browned, ~5 minutes.
- Flip the lamb. Spoon the vinaigrette on the other side of the lamb.
- Broil on the second side for 5 more minutes. Then turn the oven temperature to 350F and roast until the lamb’s internal temperature reads 135F. Pull from oven and let rest until internal temp reaches 145F (medium-rare)*.
- Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
This post was originally published in January of 2017 but was republished with new photos, step by step instructions, and tips in November of 2020.