Herb Encrusted Lamb Chops
This herb-encrusted lamb chops recipe is easy to make yet so special! With a crunchy, flavorful outside edge & perfectly juicy, tender meat.
Do you ever make them? Admittedly, it doesn’t happen often around my house. But when I do, everyone loves them so much it makes me think I should do it more often!
I don’t know why I don’t! Not only does everyone go crazy for them, but they’re so easy to make!
This herb-encrusted lamb chops recipe is prepped in just 20 minutes, and they cook up so tender, moist, and flavorful!
Table of Contents
- What are lamb chops?
- What’s great about this lamb chops recipe
- Special equipment
- How to cook lamb chops
- How to serve lamb chops
- Expert tips
- Frequently asked questions
- How to store
- A few more of my favorite savory recipes
What are lamb chops?
Lamb chops are a cut of meat from a young sheep. They’re taken from around the rib area.
They’re often cooked with the bone in, which really provides a richer, meatier, more satisfying flavor.
The taste of lamb is not quite like any other kind of meat. It’s red meat (like beef), but it often has a richer, heartier flavor.
It pairs really well with bold flavors like mustard, garlic, and black pepper, and also with woodsier herbs and fresh mint. These stronger flavors stand up to the earthier, slightly gamey taste of the lamb and balance it in a really delicious way.
What’s great about this lamb chops recipe
- Tastes amazing: This recipe includes all of lamb’s besties, like garlic, herbs, and Dijon mustard.
- Incredible texture: The meat roasts up so juicy and tender, and the crunch of the herb crust is the perfect counterpoint.
- Few ingredients: Besides the lamb chops, you only need some seasonings plus 4 other ingredients.
- Easy to make: It all comes together in a snap.
- Special: Lamb is probably not an everyday kind of dish for most of us, so it can really help to mark an occasion, or just make a typical day feel a little more special!
Here is what you’ll need to make this lamb chops recipe.
Lamb chops come from around the rib area of the animal.
Sometimes you see them individually cut, like a little T-bone steak, and sometimes they’re sold in a whole rack. Either kind will work here!
My local store had the rack so that’s what I’ve used.
After it’s done roasting and resting, slip your knife in between the bones to cut it into individual chops.
I season most everything with kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
I like kosher salt best because it doesn’t have any additives (table salt usually contains iodine and that can leave a bitter taste), so the flavor is pure. It’s also inexpensive and easy to find in a regular grocery store.
You can use the amounts noted in the recipe card below, or season to your own taste.
Dijon gets brushed over the meat to give the herb crust something to stick to.
It also gives added flavor to the lamb. Dijon mustard and lamb are a classic combination!
Dijon is made with ground mustard seeds that have been blended with white wine. Other types of mustard often have vinegar instead. The white wine gives a more refined taste.
I like to use panko breadcrumbs for this because they are so much lighter and crunchier!
That said, regular, unseasoned bread crumbs will work too.
My go-to herbs for lamb are mint, rosemary, and thyme.
But you could also use chives, tarragon, or basil as well!
Extra-virgin olive oil adds a rich flavor and helps the breadcrumbs to brown and toast in the oven.
You only need a few basic tools to make lamb chop recipes.
- Wire rack: This allows air to circulate all around the lamb chops, so the crust doesn’t get soggy.
- Baking sheet: To catch any drips.
- Basting brush: For applying the Dijon. If you don’t have one, you can just use the back of a spoon.
- Knife & cutting board: For chopping the herbs.
- Shallow dish: In which to mix up the breadcrumb coating.
- Digital thermometer: To check for doneness.
How to cook lamb chops
This recipe comes together in just 5 simple steps.
Step 1: Season the meat
Season the lamb with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Sprinkle the seasoning all over the meat, and don’t be afraid to be generous! It’s a thick cut so you may need more seasoning than you think in order to penetrate it.
Step 2: Brush it with Dijon
Coat the meat thinly with a layer of Dijon mustard.
I typically use a brush for this step, but you could also use the back of a spoon. Just go all over the front, back, and sides, to give the herbed breadcrumbs something to stick to.
Step 3: Make the herbed bread crumbs
Place your breadcrumbs in a shallow dish.
Then add in the finely minced herbs and the olive oil.
And stir it all together so it’s evenly mixed. You want to try to make it so that every crumb is coated with a little bit of oil.
Step 4: Coat the lamb in herbed bread crumbs
Next just sit the lamb in the breadcrumb mixture, and use your hands to press the coating all over the surface of the lamb.
Step 5: Roast
Place the breaded lamb on a wire rack set over a baking sheet.
And roast it in the oven until it reaches your desired doneness.
I like my lamb chops cooked medium-rare. They come out browned and crusty on the outside, but still plenty juicy and pink towards the middle.
Here’s a little guide to what temperatures to aim for:
|Rare||135 degrees F|
|Medium-rare||140 degrees F|
|Medium||150 to 155 degrees F|
|Medium-well||160 degrees F|
|Well done||165 degrees F|
How to serve lamb chops
Sometimes lamb chops are served as an appetizer, just all by themselves. They’re great like this because you can just pick one up by the bone and take a bite. Finger food!
But I like to serve them as a main course.
For what you see here, I paired my lamb chops with little new potatoes that were tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasted on a baking sheet for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F. I also steamed up some fresh asparagus to go with.
Use a rack of lamb OR individual chops
Either cut of meat will work!
If your store only has individual chops, that’s totally fine.
Just season, brush with Dijon, and coat them on all sides before roasting. Or just do the edges. It’s totally up to you!
If you can get the whole rack like I did, allow the meat to rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes after you take it out of the oven, then slip your knife in between the bones to cut it into individual chops.
The lamb rack is very thick and meaty. It can take a very generous amount of seasoning to really penetrate all the way down into the meat, so don’t be shy!
Mince the herbs finely
Nobody likes to bite down on a big, woody piece of rosemary. It overwhelms the palate with a soapy, resin-y taste that can really be far too much at once.
Take your time to really mince those herbs finely, so their flavor is evenly dispersed throughout the breading.
Overcooked lamb can be tough, chewy, and dry. Pass!
Never forget about “carry-over cooking.” This is the idea that the temperature of foods will continue to increase for several minutes after they’ve been removed from the heat source.
It’s best to take the lamb out of the oven a little more rare than you’d like. It will continue to cook and become as much as 5 or 10 degrees hotter as it rests.
Allow the meat to rest
Resting the lamb chops for 5 to 10 minutes allows the juices to go back into the meat.
If you skip this resting period, all the juice will run out and onto your cutting board when you cut into it.
I’d rather have it in the meat, so I can savor it with every bite!
Frequently asked questions
What are lamb chops?
Lamb chops are a cut of red meat, taken from around the rib area of a young sheep. They have a hearty, robust flavor that many people describe as slightly gamey.
How do you know when lamb chops are done?
The most accurate way to know if something has been cooked properly is to use a digital thermometer. I’ve given a temperature guide above, under the heading “How to cook lamb chops.”
If you don’t have a thermometer, another option is to cut a little slice into the thickest part and peek in. You should be able to tell how well it’s cooked by the color. Pink or red indicates rarer meat, while brown or grayish is more well-done.
Why are my lamb chops tough?
This is usually the result of overcooking.
As meat is exposed to high heat, the proteins tend to “tense up.” It’s best to check for doneness about 5 minutes sooner than you’d expect.
Which wine with lamb chops?
Lamb has a very robust flavor, so it’s nice to pair it with something that can “stand up” to that and not be overwhelmed by it.
I’d recommend a full-bodied red wine to compliment these rich flavors. Something like a cabernet, zinfandel, or malbec would be perfect.
If you only like white wines, then I’d go with the most dry, oaky, buttery chardonnay you can get your hands on.
Can lamb chops be pink in the middle?
Because the majority of harmful bacteria lives on the outside of the meat, it’s ok to eat lamb chops on the rarer side.
As long as they are seared and crusty-brown on the outside, they’re most likely very safe to eat this way.
And in fact much more tender and juicy!
How to store
It’s best to serve this lamb chop recipe fresh from the oven. This is when the meat will be at its most delicious!
If you want to make it ahead, I’d recommend seasoning the lamb, brushing it with Dijon, and applying the herb crust a few hours ahead and keeping it chilled on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Then let it come up to room temp about an hour before you plan to serve it.
If you have any leftovers, wrap them up tightly and keep them refrigerated or freeze them. They should keep for 3 to 4 days in the fridge; about 3 months in the freezer.
Thaw them in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or in a 170 degree F oven (wrapped in foil) until heated through.
A few more of my favorite savory recipes
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Herb Encrusted Lamb Chops Recipe
- 2 pounds (907.18 g) lamb chops, individual or in a rack
- 2 teaspoons (12 g) kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (4.5 g) garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) Dijon mustard
- 1 cup (60 g) panko bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons (42 g) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch (57 g) fresh herbs, such as mint, rosemary, and thyme, finely minced
- Season the lamb liberally with salt, garlic powder, and pepper.
- Brush the outside with Dijon mustard.
- Place the bread crumbs, herbs, and olive oil in a shallow dish and stir together until combined.
- Coat the meat with the bread crumb mixture.
- Roast in the oven until the lamb reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees F for medium-rare (approx. 20 to 30 minutes).
- Rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.