This Roasted Rack of Lamb is much easier to make than you might think and it’s an impressive and amazing main dish.
One of my favorite things to eat is roasted rack of lamb. When I first made this recipe, I was looking for something impressive to serve to guests at a dinner party, but after that first time, I started making it regularly, even for weeknight dinners, because it’s so addictive!
If you haven’t tried making a rack of lamb before, you should definitely give this recipe a try. You’ll see how easy it is to make, and once you taste the amazing dry rub you’ll never go back.
It’s like these amazing oven-roasted baby back ribs. You might think this is going to be a difficult process, but it’s not. Give it a try and you’ll be surprised.
The only difficulty with rack of lamb is finding and buying the right thing. In most cases, you’ll be able to purchase a French cut or trimmed rack of lamb at the grocery with no problem. However, sometimes it isn’t trimmed yet.
What is French Trimmed Lamb?
Rack of lamb is often French trimmed (also known as Frenching in the US), This is when the rib bones are exposed by cutting off the fat and meat that covers them.
It gives each rib a sort of built-in handle and makes each rib look a bit like a lollipop when you pick it up.
It’s not necessary to french trim the rack of lamb, but it does make it fancier, and somewhat easier to eat.
Preparing the Lamb
I’ve seen so many recipes for Rack of Lamb that require a long marinating of the lamb – often overnight. That’s just not necessary. In fact, I caution against it for this preparation. I’ll tell you why in a minute.
The lamb meat itself is so wonderfully tender and delicious that there’s no reason to marinate it. So skip that step.
The one thing you do need to do to prepare the lamb is to take the thick fat cap off the meat, if it was left on by the butcher. You’ll know it right away, if it has fat covering the top of the meat.
Cut most of that fat off the meat. At first I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to try to render that fat and keep it on the meat for flavor/juiciness, but I quickly learned that wasn’t really viable. It takes quite a bit of time to properly render that much fat, and you may end up overcooking the lamb if you try. So now, I recommend cutting most of it off. Some fat remaining will add that flavor.
Dry Rub for Lamb
I highly recommend the dry rub in this recipe. It adds a tremendous amount of flavor because it forms a good crust on the lamb as it cooks. Skipping the rub would be a huge shame.
However, don’t add the rub before searing the meat. The rub tends to burn when searing, and you don’t want that. To prevent this, just sprinkle on some salt and pepper before searing, then let the rack cool slightly and add the rub right before putting in the oven.
It might seem like there is a lot of salt in this rub, but believe me, it’s one of the keys to amazing flavor. I wouldn’t reduce it unless you need to, or don’t like salt.
How to Roast Rack of Lamb
It’s important to bring the lamb to room temperature before cooking. This will ensure the center reaches the right temperature without overcooking the outside. Don’t skip this step.
Trim any fat from the top of the lamb rack. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. You’ll need a baking sheet or roasting pan. Line it with with foil and a wire rack. The lamb will sit on top of the rack while cooking.
Sear the Lamb
Sear the lamb in a hot pan on both sides. It takes just a few minutes per side to sear. You don’t have to sear the ends. Searing first locks in flavor and start forming a good crust. Remove it from the pan and allow it to cool slightly.
Add the Rub
When the lamb has cooled enough to touch it, coat the whole rack generously with the rub. I usually have just a small bit of rub leftover.
Roast the Lamb
Place the lamb on the wire rack, meat facing up. Insert a remove oven thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, not touching bone. The meat thermometer is important to ensure you hit the right temperature without over cooking.
I prefer medium rare for rack of lamb. I think that’s when the meat is at its best. For medium rare, the meat thermometer to between 125 and 130 degrees F. If you prefer it medium, set it to 130 or 135.
Roast the lamb until the meat thermometer alarm goes off, about 15 to 25 minutes, depending on your desired doneness. If you don’t have an oven thermometer, check the meat temperature after 10 minutes and every 5 minutes after that to avoid overcooking.
Let it Rest
Resting the meat after removing it from the oven is a very important part of the process.
When meat cooks, the proteins and fibers seize up and release moisture. The resting time allows those fibers to relax, reabsorbing the moisture they expelled during the cooking process. If you cut into your lamb straight away, those juices would spill out onto the cutting board instead.
The meat will also continue to cook during this resting time, which will bring the internal temperature up to spot on. So remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
Cut each ribs apart with a large very sharp knife to serve. A serving size is typically between 2 and 4 ribs, depending on your appetite.
What to Serve it With
Rack of lamb is a very versatile main dish, so it can be served with just about whatever you fancy. We love serving it with crispy roast potatoes, roast asparagus salad, roasted twice baked potatoes or a simple wedge salad.
Side Dishes to Try
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Rack of Lamb
- 1 rack of lamb French cut (roughly 1 ½ pounds)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
For the rub
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp seasoning salt
- 1/4 tsp dill
- 1/4 tsp celery salt
- 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Bring the lamb to room temperature before cooking. Trim any fat from the top of the lamb rack. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet or roasting pan with foil and a wire rack.
- Sear the lamb in a hot pan on both sides. Remove from the pan and allow to cool slightly. Coat generously with the rub. Place the lamb on the wire rack, meat facing up. Insert an oven thermometer set to 125 degrees F for medium rare (or your preferred doneness).
- Roast the lamb until the meat thermometer alarm goes off, about 15 minutes. If you don’t have an oven thermometer, check the meat temperature after 10 minutes to avoid overcooking.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting. The internal temperature will continue to rise, bringing the meat to the perfect temperature for medium rare.
- Cut the ribs apart and serve.