This Rosemary & Garlic Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb is a perfect centerpiece for an elegant holiday dinner without requiring any fussy or difficult skills! Juicy, tender, and perfectly cooked to a medium-rare with a crusty exterior made with garlic, herbs, and lemon zest, this is one of the best cuts of lamb and makes an easy and impressive main dish for entertaining!

Rosemary & Garlic Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb on a white plate with one chop sliced and turned sideways to reveal meat grain and juiciness.
Table of Contents
  1. Roasted Rack of Lamb is Perfect for Holidays & Entertaining!
  2. What is Frenched Rack of Lamb?
  3. Rack of Lamb Marinade
  4. How to Cook Rack of Lamb
  5. Temperature & Time for Oven Roasted Lamb Rack
  6. Roasted Rack of Lamb Tips
  7. What to serve with Frenched Rack of Lamb
  8. Storing Roasted Lamb Rack
  9. Rack of Lamb Recipe FAQs
  10. More Lamb Recipes
  11. More Special Occasion Recipes
  12. Oven Roasted Lamb Rack Recipe

A perfectly cooked, medium-rare oven roasted rack of lamb is mouth-wateringly delicious. The individually carved lamb chops are juicy, rosy and so rich and tender. They present beautifully, either plated individually and served to guests or delivered up family style on a carving board or serving platter at the table.

An important thing to remember with lamb is that the flavor of the meat itself is so good that you don't want to go overboard with the seasonings and herbs. They are intended to complement and highlight the flavor of the lamb, rather than overpower and dominate it.

Frenched rack of lamb, ready to be seasoned, then roasted in the oven to medium-rare perfection.

Roasted Rack of Lamb is Perfect for Holidays & Entertaining!

Carved into individual chops, one rack of lamb perfectly portions itself into two chops per person so it's just right for four people. If you have more people at your table, you can easily roast multiple racks of lamb at the same time, then stand them against each other with the ribs crossing for an even more impressive display.

Roasted rack of lamb is a great alternative for Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day or Easter dinner. Honestly, it's probably easier than most of the more traditional alternatives! 

Cooked rosemary garlic rack of lamb on white plate with fork.

And really, why wait for a holiday when rack of lamb is easy enough to be prepared any night of the week? Lamb isn't nearly as popular in the United States as other meat options, but it really should be! It is generally quick and easy to prepare and really versatile! 

If you haven't cooked lamb at home before, give this a try and let me know what you think!

Sliced roasted lamb on a square white plate.

What is Frenched Rack of Lamb?

A rack of lamb is one of the best cuts of lamb that comes from the ribs. It's such a wonderful cut of meat that it makes serving a restaurant quality meal at home almost entirely effortless, especially if you buy your rack of lamb already frenched for you.

Frenching is a technique where the rib bones are exposed by cutting away the fat and sinew covering them, and most of the lamb that you will find in many American grocery stores will already come frenched, or you can ask a butcher to do it for you. 

But if you want to French a rack of lamb yourself, this tutorial from Simply Recipes has great step-by-step photos to explain the process.

Raw rack of lamb sitting on a cutting board with other ingredients like lemon zest, garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs and ready to be prepared for roasting in the oven by first marinating.

Rack of Lamb Marinade

  • Oil - This is the base of the marinade. I like to use olive oil, but you can use your favorite kind.
  • Rosemary, Thyme & Garlic - Fresh rosemary, fresh thyme leaves, and fresh garlic cloves are best here for the best results when roasting.
  • Lemon - We'll need the zest from 1 lemon, but not the lemon juice.
  • Salt & Black Pepper - Use coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper for the best flavor.

Make the herb seasoning ahead of time and marinate the lamb overnight if you would like, or just spread it over the meaty portion of the lamb and let it sit while the lamb comes to room temperature for an hour before roasting.

I like to keep it simple with just olive oil, fresh rosemary and thyme, some cloves of garlic, and the zest of one lemon.

Ingredients in a food processor ready to be blended into a rack of lamb marinade consisting of olive oil, garlic cloves, fresh rosemary and thyme, and the zest of one lemon.
Rack of lamb fat side up with a marinade of olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, rosemary and thyme ready to be rubbed on it.

How to Cook Rack of Lamb

  1. Prepare and season. Remove the rack of lamb from the refrigerator and place it in a baking dish. Season both sides of the lamb generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Make the marinade. In the bowl of a food processor (affiliate link), combine the olive oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic cloves, and lemon zest and pulse until finely chopped. This can be done by hand by finely chopping the garlic and herbs, then stirring into the oil in a small bowl if you do not have a food processor (affiliate link).
  3. Marinate the lamb. Rub the marinade over the seasoned lamb and allow it to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting. Alternatively, you can seal the lamb with the marinade on it, in a Ziploc bag or an airtight container, and return it to the fridge to marinate for up to a day. If refrigerating, be sure to allow the lamb to sit outside of the fridge for an hour to come up to room temperature before roasting.
  4. Prepare oven and pan. Heat your oven to 450°F. Place the lamb with the fat side up in the roasting pan and roast it for 15 minutes. Rotate the roasting pan to ensure even cooking. Roast it for another 10 minutes for medium-rare meat or 15 minutes for medium doneness.
  5. Rest, slice, and serve. Transfer the oven roasted rack of lamb to a cutting board. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes so the juices can redistribute, before slicing it into individual chops for serving. Use a sharp knife to slice between the bones, then serve immediately.

Temperature & Time for Oven Roasted Lamb Rack

We enjoy lamb cooked to a perfect medium-rare. For the record, I think rack of lamb is one of the easiest cuts of meat to cook without using a thermometer to check it's temperature just by making sure the oven is properly preheated and cooking according to the times in the recipe below.

But you certainly can use a digital meat thermometer (affiliate link) to gauge where your lamb is a temperature scale to determine doneness.

For those who may want their lamb cooked to a different degree of doneness than medium-rare, here is a temperature chart that you will hopefully find helpful:

  • Rare: 120-130 degrees F (very red inside still)
  • Medium-Rare: 130-140 degrees F (bright pink inside)
  • Medium: 140-145 degrees F (light pink inside)
  • Medium-Well: 145-150 degrees F (barely any pink left)
  • Well-Done: 150-160 degrees F (no pink at all)

Remember that the rack of lamb will need to rest for 10 minutes after you pull it out of the oven so the juices can redistribute. During this time the temperature can continue to rise another 5 degrees or so.

So for example, if I was targeting a final temperature of 130 degrees F for a perfect medium-rare, I would take the lamb out of the oven when it reached 125 degrees F and let it rise the final 5 degrees on it's own before slicing.

Roasted Rack of Lamb Tips

  • Rack of lamb weight. The weight of a rack of lamb that is frenched is up to 25-30% less than a rack of lamb that is not. Be mindful of this when buying your rack of lamb.
  • Marinate overnight. Make the herb seasoning ahead of time and marinate the lamb overnight for a more intense flavor.
  • Frenching the rack of lamb. If you want to French a rack of lamb yourself, this tutorial from Simply Recipes has great step-by-step photos to explain the process.
Marinated rack of lamb resting on a baking sheet and ready for roasting in the oven, covered in an olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, rosemary and thyme paste and seasoned with salt and pepper.

What to serve with Frenched Rack of Lamb

When planning what to serve with rack of lamb, keep in mind that the main dish itself is rich on its own. Because of that, I like to serve it with vegetables like oven roasted asparagus, baked butternut squash, or the honey steamed broccolini from this post.

It's also great with a perfect salt crusted baked potato and a side salad like this wonderful persimmon, pomegranate, and spinach salad.

Storing Roasted Lamb Rack

If you have any leftovers, let them cool completely, then store them in an airtight container or Ziploc bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Rack of Lamb Recipe FAQs

Should I sear rack of lamb before roasting?

I don't recommend searing your rack of lamb before roasting it in this case. The high oven temperature will actually do the job for you of creating a nice crust around the outside of the lamb and because a rack of lamb has a curved shape it's difficult to get a good sear anyway.

Do you remove the fat from a rack of lamb?

If there is a thick layer of fat on top of your rack of lamb, yes I would recommend trimming it to no more than ¼" thick or it won't render very well. Typically the excess fat will already be trimmed away if your rack of lamb is frenched for you, which is typical for many lamb racks from the store.

Do you cut rack of lamb before cooking?

No, other than frenching the rack of lamb to clear away some of the fat and gristle that won't be eaten around the bones, you don't want to cut the rack of lamb apart before cooking it for this particular recipe.

What temperature does rack of lamb need to be cooked to?

This answer depends on how you like your lamb done, but a medium-rare rack of lamb (our preferred degree of doneness) should be cooked to between 130-140 degrees F.

Is rack of lamb a tough cut?

Not at all! The finished rack of lamb cuts like a buttery steak with a steak knife. It should be very tender and not tough at all.

Do you cover lamb when roasting?

I do not cover the lamb when roasting because exposing the rack of lamb to the high heat from the oven will help sear the outside and get a nice crust. However, if it looks like it is getting too dark on the outside and the internal temperature isn't where you want it yet, you can tent the lamb with a piece of foil to protect it while roasting the rest of the way.

Overhead shot of a square white plate with a roasted rack of lamb on it, crusted in herbs and garlic with two lamb chops sliced off.

More Lamb Recipes

More Special Occasion Recipes

Looking for the perfect main dish for a special occasion? My Garlic Herb Butter Beef Tenderloin Roast or a Prime Rib Roast with Horseradish Sauce is perfect for a holiday feast or celebratory dinner. For a smaller group, Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin is always a hit. And you can't go wrong with my mom's Slow Roasted Oven BBQ Beef Brisket or Chicken Cordon Bleu.

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

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Oven Roasted Lamb Rack

4.96 from 21 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Delicious Rosemary & Garlic Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb is made with a simple marinade of aromatic garlic, fresh herbs, and citrusy lemon zest!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 rack of lamb typically 8 to 9 ribs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 6-8 garlic cloves
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Remove the rack of lamb from the refrigerator and place it in a baking dish. Season both sides of the lamb generously with salt and pepper.
  • In a food processor, combine the olive oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic cloves, and lemon zest and pulse until finely chopped. This can be done by hand by finely chopping the garlic and herbs, then stirring into the oil in a small bowl if you do not have a food processor.
  • Rub the marinade over the seasoned lamb and allow it to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting so that it will cook evenly. [See Recipe Notes]
  • Heat oven to 450°F. Place the lamb with the fat side up on the baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes before rotating the baking sheet to ensure even cooking and roasting for another 10 minutes for medium-rare meat or 15 minutes for medium doneness (although in my opinion, lamb should is best-served medium-rare).
  • Transfer the roasted rack of lamb to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 10 minutes so the juices can redistribute before slicing it into individual chops for serving. Use a sharp knife to slice between the bones, then serve immediately.

Video

Notes

Oven Thermometer: When roasting meat in the oven, it's very important that the temperature be correct to help gauge cooking times. If the oven is too warm or too cool, it can make a big difference in the doneness of the meat. A simple oven thermometer can help you check to be sure your oven temperature is running true.
  • Storage: Let the meat cool, then store it in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 590kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 70mg | Potassium: 253mg | Vitamin A: 75IU | Vitamin C: 3.2mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2.1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Attempted rack of lamb for the first time today....using your recipe....and it turned out great!
    My husband and son loved it....and one rack was enough for the three of us...Lol! So will be doing 2 racks going forward...Thank you so much for taking out the time to share this simple and delicious recipe and help bring more flavor to our lives...:-))

  2. 5 stars
    I made this recipe yesterday for definite roast lamb lovers and it was definitely outstanding… wonderful flavor.

  3. Can rack be cut into individual ribs before marinating and roasting? Should it be cooked the same way and how long for medium?

    1. No, this recipe won't work out the same way if you cut the ribs before roasting. You will still get loads of flavor just from seasoning the outside.

  4. 5 stars
    I make this atleast once a month for my boyfriend. He is absolutely in love with the recipe. I was always so intimadaded to cook lamb, but this recipe makes it so easy! I share it with all of my friends. Thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    Recipe looks super. . All the goodies for a good and proper rack are there .. Bravo
    But here in RI state it’s impossible to find a rack with an’ eye ‘ any larger than a quarter !!
    You don’t have that issue ?

    1. It just depends! Sometimes I have to go to a particular butcher to find the right cut of lamb and to find what I want!