This roast rack of lamb recipe is incredibly easy to make, delicious, and versatile enough to be served for a weeknight dinner or entertaining guests. In fact, I love including this roast rack of lamb on my holiday table when I have Christmas parties.
Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb
The best part about oven roasted rack of lamb is that you can prep the dish ahead of time and simply pop the lamb into the oven before you’re ready to enjoy it.
If you have a large toaster oven, you can also stick a small to medium rack in the toaster oven too to free up space in a bigger oven for other dishes.
When you’re choosing a rack of lamb, it’s important to know the source of your lamb and choose a high quality source. In France, I have a local butcher on Rue Cler that I visit for my lamb (carré d’agneau). In California, I tend to pick up a Frenched rack of lamb from Costco.
They’re sourced from Australian lamb and don’t have that super game-y flavor lamb in the States can sometimes have.
How to Roast Rack of Lamb
After you’ve got your lamb, you’re going to create the marinade. This is what is going to give the lamb it’s incredible flavor.
All you need is a little bit of garlic, fresh rosemary, dijon mustard, salt, and a splash of baslamic (or white wine vinegar). They get puréed together in a food processor or simply mixed together in a bowl, and spread over the lamb meat.
At that point, you’ll want to let the marinated lamb rest for at least 30 minutes, or stick it in the fridge overnight. When you’re ready to bake it, just bring the lamb out of the fridge when you start pre-heating the oven so that it’s not super cold from the fridge.
Do you cover lamb when roasting?
I never cover the lamb when it’s roasting. Instead, I cover the lamb after it’s come out of the oven, which helps cook the rack slightly more without the risk of overcooking it.
How do you keep lamb moist when roasting?
One of the ways you keep lamb moist when you’re roasting it is to pull the lamb out a little bit sooner than you think it’s ready, and instead finish cooking it outside the oven by immediately covering it with foil.
This way, it’s own heat trapped under the foil gently continues cooking the lamb instead of having the meat subjected to more of the intense heat of the oven.
How long to roast rack of lamb?
Technically, the “safe” temperature to eat rack of lamb at is 145°F. But tastes vary and some people like their lamb more rare, which is closer to 130°F – 140°F. I mention this because how cooked you like your lamb will determine how long you cook it.
Also, every oven is different, and depending on how long you let your lamb rest on the counter after you took it out of the fridge, will all affect cooking time. As a general guideline, I like to say you should check on your lamb at the 15 minute mark using a food thermometer.
If the thermometer reads 130°F and you want your lamb really pink, I usually take the lamb out of the oven, place it on the counter, and cover it with foil for 5 minutes or so, until the temperature rises up closer to 140°F.
If you like it more of a soft pink (medium), then you’ll want to cook it closer to 140°F, pull it out of the oven, then let it rest with the foil over it for 5 to 10 minutes.
If you find that you’ve initially cooked your lamb to a higher temperature by accident, don’t fret. Instead, don’t cover it with foil or let it rest any further. Simply cut up and serve immediately.
To serve roast rack of lamb
To serve your roast rack of lamb, you’ll want to take a sharp knife and simply cut between each bone. I usually serve 2-3 lamb chops per person, depending on the size of each chop.
- 2 Frenched racks of lamb
- 4 medium cloves garlic
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 2-3 tsp table salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup dijon mustard
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- To a food processor, add the garlic cloves, the leaves from the sprigs of rosemary, and the salt. Pulse to finely chop these ingredients before adding in the mustard and balsamic vinegar. Blend again to mix everything together. If you're not using a food processor, you can finely mince the cloves and rosemary with a sharp knife, then combine everything in a small bowl. Taste test to add more salt, if needed.
- Place the rack of lamb on a meat board, with the rib bones curving down so that the fatty layer on the lamb is facing on top. Spread the rosemary-mustard marinade all over the top of the lamb meat. Let the lamb rest for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour. You can also place the lamb covered in marinade in the fridge overnight, but be sure to let it sit on the counter for a bit the next day before putting it in the oven. (Best to do this before preheating, or just as you are about to preheat, the oven).
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Transfer the rack of lamb to a baking sheet lined with foil. Then place the lamb in the middle rack of the oven to cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until the lamb reaches 140°F to 145°F when measured with a food thermometer. You'll then cover the lamb with foil and let it rest for about 5 to 10 more minutes. This will produce a medium lamb. If you want a more pink or rare lamb, check on the lamb before 20 minutes (about 15 to 18 minutes in) and check for a temperature of 130°F. Then pull the lamb out of the oven, cover with foil and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. If you overcook your lamb in the oven, be sure not to let the lamb rest for more than a minute or so outside the oven. Covering the lamb with foil and letting it rest on the baking sheet outside the oven allows for the lamb to continue cooking, so if you've already overcooked the lamb, you don't want to cook it any further.
- Separate the lamb pieces by using a sharp knife to cut in between the bones. Serve with your choice of sides.
adapted from Barefoot Contessa