Cooking it Right: Lamb Racks & Roasts

Last Updated on March 5, 2024

Cooking lamb for the first time can be daunting –I get it.

This blog post will help you prepare your holiday lamb — whether rack or roast — to perfection without any of the fuss or complexity brought on by hard-to-find ingredients and experimental cooking techniques. Want to skip straight to the recipes? Check out our simple and easy recipes for Slow-Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb and Pan-Seared Rack of Lamb.



Chances are you’ve had lamb before and you’re hoping to achieve that signature earthy flavor. Perfect! This recipe focuses on tradition and simplicity. Keep it simple with a classic flavor blend made of garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper to cure your lamb nostalgia – or future nostalgia.

Uncertain about whether dried or fresh herbs are better? Use both! Dried herbs tend to be more concentrated and potent in flavor while fresh herbs contribute additional flavor and enhance the overall look of your plated dish. Rub this mixture (the classic flavor blend using both fresh and dried herbs) all over the lamb, ensuring it’s evenly coated, and let it rest.



We typically talk about resting (to retain as much juice as possible) at the end of the cooking process – and we will — but have you considered resting before cooking? After seasoning, rest the lamb in your fridge uncovered on a sheet pan fitted with a wire rack.

For the best results, let your seasoned lamb rest in the fridge overnight. Pressed for time? Season your lamb and let it rest at room temp for 45 minutes – 2 hours. This will enhance the infusion of flavors from the classic flavor blend and aid in drying the lamb’s exterior resulting in a beautifully browned sear.


Boneless Leg of Lamb

Fast or Slow? It all depends on who you’d like your lamb cooked.

If you’d like your lamb more done on the outside and pink in the middle, aim for high and fast. Cook your lamb for 15-20 minutes on a sheet pan fitted with a wire rack in an oven preheated to 400ºF until it reaches your desired temperature (120ºF rare | 140º medium | 160º well-done).

If you prefer your lamb cooked evenly (one color) throughout, roast it low and slow. Cook your lamb in an oven preheated to 200ºF until it’s about 10 degrees away from your desired temp. Then crank up the heat (or use the broil feature) for 10 minutes to crisp the exterior right before serving.

To serve, place the lamb on a cutting board with the fat side facing up and take note of the direction of the muscle fibers (grain) in the meat. When slicing, cut perpendicular to the direction of the muscle fibers (against the grain) to ensure each slice is tender and easy to chew. Start from the shank end (thinner end) and work your way towards the thicker end, making horizontal slices across the lamb. Aim for slices that are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.


Rack of Lamb

For best results, treat a rack of lamb like you would a steak. Dry it sufficiently before seasoning, and cook it in your favorite cast iron pan.

Whether you’re finishing your lamb in the oven or atop the stove in your cast iron pan, be sure to cook the meat until it reaches your desired internal temperature (120ºF rare | 140ºF medium | 160ºF well-done). The lamb will continue to rise in temperature once removed from the heat, so remove it about 10º sooner and let it come to temperature while it rests. Tent the lamb with a piece of foil while resting to speed up the process.

While the lamb is resting, you can deglaze the pan with some red wine or chicken broth to make a simple pan sauce. Add a splash of wine or broth to the hot pan, scraping up any browned bits. Let it reduce slightly, then finish with a knob of butter and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, carve the rack of lamb between the bones into individual chops. Arrange them on a platter and garnish with fresh herbs like chopped parsley or a sprig of rosemary. Serve with your favorite sides, such as roasted potatoes, steamed vegetables, or a fresh salad.


Kinesha is an Executive Producer at ButcherBox with experience as a food truck owner, bartender, and content creator.