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!

Looking for the perfect main dish for a special occasion? You might also like my Garlic Herb Butter Beef Tenderloin RoastBacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, Prime Rib Roast with Horseradish Sauce, or Slow Roasted Oven BBQ Beef Brisket.

Rosemary & Garlic Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb on a white plate with one chop sliced and turned sideways to reveal meat grain and juiciness

Rosemary & Garlic Oven-Roasted Rack of Lamb

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.

Rosemary & Garlic Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb is Perfect for Special Occasions, Holidays, and 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 lamb on a square white plate

What is 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

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.

Cooking Temperature for Lamb

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.

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 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.

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

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Rosemary & Garlic Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb

4.95 from 19 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
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!

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 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 to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting so that it will cook evenly. [See Recipe Notes]
  • Heat oven to 450 degrees 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 to rest for 10 minutes so the juices can redistribute before slicing into individual chops for serving.  Use a sharp knife to slice between the bones, then serve immediately.

Video

Notes

Alternatively, you can seal in a ziploc bag and return 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.
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.

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
    What a beautiful Christmas dinner this would make! I've never had lamb, it's just not popular in my region and it's difficult to find in stores.

      1. I just wanted to thank you I literally use your recipe every other Sunday! It’s amazing. So delicate, juicy, actually mouth watering. If anyone wanted to know it’s about a extra 5/10 minutes for well done as my other half eats a whole rack well Done as I eat a whole rack medium! I’ve gotten so many compliments from family they demanded I make a few racks for tomorrow on Easter! With this recipe you can not just eat one piece that’s for sure!! You’re amazing !

  2. 5 stars
    Nothing says festive like a good rack of lamb. I love read meat on holidays and this would make a great Christmas lunch. YUM!

  3. 5 stars
    I think lamb gets a bad rap because most people don't know how to cook it and often it's so overcooked. I don't often order it out at restaurants for this reason, because lamb is costly. But I love it at home and cook it with similar flavours as we have such great lamb in Canada.

  4. This sounds amazing, and a great show stopper for any meal, but especially for the holidays! I love all the flavors you have on here, makes it sound so juicy and delicious! What a great meal!

  5. 5 stars
    My husband loves lamb.. so does my mom. I had no idea it was this simple to cook!! And it really is a gorgeous centerpiece!

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve been making this recipe, minus the lemon, for years. It’s absolutely delicious. We stopped ordering lamb at restaurants because it’s always disappointing after using this recipe at home! My husband loves this dish and requests it often.

  7. 5 stars
    What a gorgeous, perfectly cooked rack of lamb! I love that garlic and herb crust. It must give such great flavor to the meat, and it's pretty too! It's been far too long since I've cooked lamb. I think I'm going to have to make a special weekend dinner with this!

    1. I can't say how long because personally, I would never cook my lamb to well done so I haven't tried. But if you have a meat thermometer, you would want to cook the rack of lamb to 170 degrees for well done.

  8. 5 stars
    This was terrific! the seasoning mixture blended so well - that all you tasted was lamb - there isn't another way to describe it - I marinated it overnight and let it sit out 90 minutes before roasting --- perfection!!

  9. 5 stars
    I tried this tonight with a young mutton rib roast and it was very delicious, tender and moist. I applied the herb lemon garlic mixture the night before. Will definitely do again.

    1. 5 stars
      Nope!
      The cooking time is perfect
      Nate, check your oven temp to see if you are really up to 450 degrees

      Great recipe, we really enjoyed it and will make it again

  10. My recipe is similar but your timing and seasoning are perfect! I followed it to the letter and it was the best rack of lamb I ever made! I also scored the fat before I put it in and rotated the baking dish but I do not rotate the rack as some people do, thank you for the simple delicious recipe.

  11. 5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe! I’m enjoying fresh cocked delicious lamb right now! Very easy to cook and the result is best!

  12. 5 stars
    this is one of my all time favorites.. simple to love and i like to serve with mint jelly on the side. suggestions for side dishes perfect.

  13. When you say rotate the lamb do you mean rotate the baking sheet or flip the lamb to cook the underside the remaining time? Also do I just put it directly on a oiled baking sheet or does it have to be in a rack?

  14. I made this this evening...delish! It’s my go to lamb recipe. It would be helpful to list the degree of doneness on your recipe. It would give us, not so seasoned cooks, an idea of our desired doneness preference. Thank you for a scrumptious recipe!

  15. 5 stars
    Hands down the best rack of lamb recipe I've tried. Spot on flavor and cooking time. I will never cook rack of lamb any other way. Thank you so much!

  16. This was exquisite. We had it yesterday for Easter. The only thing I did a bit differently with regard to the cooking, was to take it out five minutes early and check the temp. It showed up as MediumRare so we didn’t put it back in the oven.
    A wonderful recipe - thanks so much!

  17. Thank you for posting this recipe because I was looking for a simple yet flavorful way to make a rack of lamb and now made my rack of lamb about four times I've used this recipe each time and I swear to God my lamb tasted more juicy and more flavorful than the one I got at a gourmet five star restaurant. So delicious!

  18. I cooked this for my family and they are still talking about it many months later. I had to roast it a little bit longer since my folks like meat fully cooked but other than that this dish has become something people are remembering my cooking with!!! Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Hi! If you wouldn’t mind sharing around how much longer you cooked the rack of lamb to perfect well-done (without overcooking) that would be great! I have a crowd of people who prefer meat well done coming for Christmas tomorrow but don’t want to overcook! Many thanks!

      1. Sure, Tiffany! If you want well-done lamb, the internal temperature you are shooting for is in the 150-160 degree F range when you stick a digital meat thermometer into the thickest part of the lamb without touching bone. I will say though, that cooking lamb to a well-done temperature IS overcooking the lamb. Maybe they would still enjoy it cooked to medium or medium-well? I added a helpful temperature chart to the post and recipe notes to give you a better idea of cooking temperatures and how they affect the doneness of the lamb.

  19. It's a WONDERFUL recipe. Thanks! We've used it over the past two years. We get a lovely Australian lamb rack from our local Costco, freeze it until needed, 2 days thawing in the fridge, then MAGIC! It's been perfect multiple times.

  20. I made this for a group of friends on our cabin getaway and they couldn't stop raving about it. Many said it was the first time they had lamb that didn't taste so "gamey". It was the star meal of the trip and made a lot of people full and happy. Thanks again forthis simple recipe and the instructions on how to cook to medium-rare perfection!

  21. I have cooked Lamb chops for decades with rave results every times from all the experts. My recipe is much more simple and will please any Lamb chop sampler or the best experts.

    Remove the rack from the refrigerator and proceed with the following...

    First is to remove the fat from the rack as the fat creates the game taste most people do not prefer. This way you don't have to try to season the rack to cover this up.

    Mix and wipe up a blend of olive oil and Lea & Perrins until nice and brown, I do mine with a fork.

    Bath or brush the complete rack with this, then shake a nice coating of garlic powder followed with Lawry's season salt over the complete rack (both sides) until it has a matte coating. Add a nice sprinkle of black pepper on the meat side of the rack. Now you are ready to cook.

    I prefer grilling as there is nothing like it, but you can do this in the oven broiler as well, Grille #1 though.

    Start with high temperature, 450+

    Once your Grille is of temperature, place rack bone down on the grille and cook for 5 minutes, grille charing nicely. The meat will begin to plump, this is the time to turn the rack and char the meat side for 5 minutes.

    Turn the rack once more (bone side down) and you should see a nice golden char on the rack. Check temperature to confirm the rack it 135 degrees. Once you confirm temperature, remove rack and rest for 5-10 minutes, then slice the rack and serve. Bon Appetit

  22. I was always intimidated by cooking rack of lamb, I did follow this recipe and it was perfect! I added 5 minutes , Because I don't like bloody lamb,  I served it with of course garlic mash potatoes .
     It was delicious,
    Thank you

  23. I made this for the first time on New Years Eve...just for me as my husband doesn't like lamb. I followed your instructions and it came out perfect. I'm still drooling. To accompany it, I made baby potatoes with EVO, a little butter, garlic, rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. I also posted my review (and your recipe) on Facebook. Thanks so much for sharing. Happy New Year!

  24. Hubby and I loved this. I can't wait to make it again for the family. A simple recipe with loads of flavour and the herbs and lemon really cut through the richness of the lamb and garlic. Perfection!

  25. As a day after Valentine's celebration, I splurged on a rack of lamb from Australia at the store and then found your recipe. Having never made lamb on my own before I followed the marinade to the letter and roasted using a meat thermometer to get the meat to 135 in a 450 oven. Aside from the smoke alarm going off one time after rotating the meat (likely more about what was in the dregs of my oven than the recipe, this was an AMAZING meal. I served it with yukon gold mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts and a california red. Thanks!

  26. I like all meat cooked to medium well. No pink. I cooked this to 160 degrees and it was perfect. Not dry at all. Very flavorful. 

    1. It will take the same amount of time as long as they have some space between them whether you are cooking 1 rack or 4!

  27. I've made this recipe twice and on both occasions my friends and family love it. The flavors are so complex and come together really well. The timing and the temperature of the oven are spot on which gave a nice crust to the lamb but leaves the center juicy and medium rare. Thank you!

  28. We absolutely love this recipe we’ve cooked it four different times and it always comes out perfect !!

  29. What on earth is wrong with you? Have you ever seen a lamb before? Have you ever heard of the fact that these days we do not need to eat meat, it is unnecessary and barbaric. Have you ever met a lamb? Would you murder a child? Because that is what it is like. You are either completely sick or incredibly foolish. 

    1. That got dark fast! I actually HAVE met numerous lambs, but no, I would not murder a child. For you to make that comparison it sounds like maybe you have experience with both? Sorry you don't agree with our lifestyle, Francesca. Maybe some of these meatless options would work better for you.

    2. Francesca, there is no need to search for recipes that use meat to rise awareness in such violent way. Keep it cool, everyone here respects your meatless and vegan regime. Calm down and follow Amy's recommendation for meatless recipes. Once you are ready to eat meat again, you can come back and try this recipe. I'll do it tonight! : )

    3. If it matters so much to you, I suggest you avoid recipes featuring lamb. And avoid commenting on them.

  30. Great recipe, the resulting roast was delicious and impressive! But your blog entry is too wordy and sprinkled throughout with annoying advertising. It needs a SKIP TO RECIPE button.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe! I do have a "jump to recipe" button, right at the top of every page, for the next time you visit.

  31. I am from New Zealand, so 'say no more'! I actually prefer sheep meat 'older than' lamb. I asked a local farmer/butcher if they had any 'two-tooth' hogett and he had no idea what I was talking about LOL. Just a little tastier than lamb. I have raised an orphaned lamb and she was my pet... named Eunice.. and no I would never have put her on my plate! 😉