Cook lamb the easy way with this hearty recipe for juicy, herb-crusted Rack of Lamb! Each tender bite is coated in Dijon mustard and a rich breadcrumb crust, making this elegant main course a real crowd-pleaser.
Easy Rack of Lamb with a Crunchy Crumb Crust
If you’re looking for the perfect dinner recipe for a special occasion, this might just be the exact recipe you need. Tender, juicy lamb, cooked to pink perfection, surrounded by an herbed crunchy crust – what could be better?
Roasted quickly in a hot oven, this dish is also easy to pull off, even for cooks who haven’t had much experience making lamb. A meat thermometer makes it easy to get the timing just right, so the whole dish is practically foolproof. And the robust gourmet taste is out of this world. 👌
What Cut of Meat Is Rack of Lamb?
A rack of lamb is essentially a row of rib chops that are still attached, sort of like a beef rib roast, but it’s lamb. This meat is very tender and finely flavored, best served rare or medium-rare. It’s a luxurious option that’s also easy to cook. Win-win!
The Ingredients You’ll Need
To make this classic recipe, you need surprisingly few ingredients! Each one plays an important role in creating the complex, enjoyable flavors in this recipe. Here’s the full list, in detail:
For the Crust
- Bread Crumbs: You can use regular bread crumbs, panko crumbs, or pork rind crumbs.
- Herbs: Crushed dried rosemary and thyme add a beautiful taste and fragrance.
- Garlic Powder: Intense and savory.
- Olive Oil: Or substitute your favorite neutral oil.
For the Rack of Lamb
- Lamb Rack: This recipe is for one 8-to-10 bone rack of lamb (about 1.5 to 2 pounds), trimmed and frenched. Double the recipe if desired.
- Salt and Pepper
- Olive Oil: For searing.
- Garlic: No need to mince, just crush.
- Mustard: I adore dijon mustard here, but use whatever you have on hand.
How to Make It, Step by Step
All right, let’s get to the most important (and fun) part: cooking! Because the lamb cooks so quickly, keep in mind that your side dishes should preferably be made in advance, or started before you begin making the lamb rack.
- Prep the Oven, Crust Mixture, and Lamb Rack. First, make sure you preheat the oven to 450˚F and set the oven rack in the center position. Next, mix the bread crumbs, herbs, seasonings, and a little olive oil together in a bowl. Finally, pat the lamb rack dry with paper towels, and season it with salt and pepper all around.
- Sear the Meat. Now, to seal in the juices and give the lamb a gorgeous color, heat some olive oil in a large, oven-safe skillet set over high heat. Once the oil is hot, stir in the crushed garlic, and then lay the rack of lamb in the oil to sear for about 1 to 2 minutes per side.
- Prepare to Roast. Take the skillet off the heat, and carefully remove the lamb from the skillet. Brush it with dijon mustard, and roll it in the bread crumb mixture to coat. Finally, return the lamb to the skillet and cover the ribs with foil to prevent burning.
- Roast. Roast the rack of lamb for 15 to 22 minutes, or until the internal temperature registers at 125˚F (that’s for rare lamb. Cook to 135˚F for medium-rare). I can’t stress this part enough: Please use an Instant Read Thermometer for accurate cooking results!
- Rest. Remove the lamb from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, and loosely cover with foil. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before cutting so that the juices can redistribute through the meat.
- Enjoy! Cut in between the ribs, garnish with parsley, and serve!
Should I Cut the Rack of Lamb Before Cooking?
It depends! If your lamb came un-frenched, you may want to tackle that yourself before cooking, or just leave it as-is (see the Tips section below for more on frenched lamb rack). You will also want to cut away the excess white fat from the top of the rack, and any silver skin that you see. But, it is not necessary or advised that you portion out the rack into chops before cooking! I recommend cooking the rack as a whole, and then carving it into chops afterward.
- Choosing a Good Lamb Rack: To avoid tough lamb with an inferior flavor, look for a lamb rack that’s rosy-red or even pinkish in color. Avoid dark red lamb; it’s not as fresh, and will not have as good a flavor or texture. Another good sign of fresh, tender lamb is pure white fat with a fine grain, without discoloration or a rough, grainy appearance.
- Is Frenched Lamb Rack Better? Most recipes for rack of lamb require that the lamb is “frenched,” meaning that the layer of fat and meat attached to each rib is removed. This leaves the tender eye of the chop attached to clean bone, which is a classic presentation that looks beautiful (and provides a handy handle for diners!). However, frenching the lamb is not technically necessary, and in fact, some people love the flavorful, chewy rib meat and fat. So it’s really up to you!
- Serving Sizes: If you are not familiar with cooking lamb, it’s important to know that compared to beef or even pork, lamb chops and rack of lamb can seem quite tiny! You’ll need to plan on 2 to 3 chops per person. If you’re serving more than three or four people, you will probably need two racks of lamb.
To serve a rack of lamb, just whip up a favorite side dish or two – you really don’t need anything fancy, because the lamb is the star of the show! Here are some tried-and-true favorites that will complement this classic main course.
- Carrots: Roasted carrots are a must-have with lamb and beef, in my book! These shiny, ultra-flavorful Honey Balsamic Roasted Carrots are especially gorgeous.
- Potatoes: Potatoes are so versatile, you can’t go wrong! Tender baked potatoes, crispy roasted potatoes, or Classic Creamy Mashed Potatoes are all sure to please.
- Veggie Medley: Boost the color (and the nutrition!) in your menu with these mouthwatering Grilled Vegetables with Lemon Dressing. They’re super-refreshing and perfect with savory lamb.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Lamb
- You can store leftover lamb in the fridge for up to 3 days, wrapped in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container.
- Serve the lamb at room temp, or reheat gently over medium heat in a covered skillet, adding a little water if it seems dry. Be careful not to overcook the lamb.
Can I Freeze This?
- Yes, you can! For best results, I recommend wrapping each individual lamb chop tightly in plastic wrap, and then in foil, for extra protection against freezer burn. Mark with the date, and freeze for up to 2 months.
- Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving or reheating.
Classic Rack of Lamb
FOR THE CRUST
- Preheat oven to 450˚F and set oven rack in the center position.
- In a square or rectangular baking dish combine the bread crumbs, dried rosemary, thyme, and garlic powder; add 2 tablespoons olive oil and stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside.You can use a mixing bowl for this, but it's much easier to coat the lamb if it's in a square or rectangular shaped dish.
- Pat dry lamb rack with paper towels, then season it with salt and pepper all around.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large oven safe skillet set over high heat.
- When oil is hot, stir in the crushed garlic and sear the rack of lamb for about 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until just browned.
- Remove skillet from heat; remove lamb from the skillet.
- Brush the lamb with dijon mustard and roll it in the bread crumb mixture to coat.
- Return lamb to the skillet and cover the exposed ribs with foil so they do not burn while roasting.
- Roast for 15 to 22 minutes, or until internal temperature registers at 125˚F for RARE, or 135˚F for medium-rare. Please use an Instant Read Meat Thermometer for accurate results, and start checking around the 15-minute mark.
- Remove lamb from oven; transfer to a cutting board and loosely cover with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
- Cut in between the ribs, garnish with parsley, and serve.