Spring Lamb with Rosemary

For this spring lamb recipe, an 8-rib rack is slathered with olive oil, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper and then roasted to a perfect medium-rare. The perfect centerpiece to usher in warmer weather.

Cutting board with a sliced rack of spring lamb with rosemary, knife, bowl of salad

In Spain and Italy, tender, milk-fed baby lamb is well-known and appreciated, and the best French butchers carry tiny agneau du lait from the Pyrenees. Here in the States, lamb that small is hard to find, but some small farms now market midsize spring lamb. Ask your butcher for the smallest racks he has. The rack is the tenderest cut of the beast and the easiest to cook. Originally published April 18, 2011.David Tanis

What Is A Frenched Rack Of Lamb?

When you request racks of lamb from your butcher, ask him nicely to also “french” them for you. The term refers to trimming the the bones of their unsightly gristle and membranes and other such unpleasantness, making them far more palatable, even a little elegant. All that remains for you to do is rub the racks with a simple herb paste, toss them in the oven, slice them into diminutive little chops, and gracefully accept the accolades.

Spring Lamb with Rosemary

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • Serves 4 to 6
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Season the racks liberally with salt and pepper. Using your hands, rub each rack with the garlic, the chopped rosemary, and a drizzle of olive oil. Place the racks, fatty side up, in a roasting pan and leave them at room temperature for an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (204° C).

Roast the racks for about 20 minutes, until they’re nicely browned and have an interior temperature of 125°F (51°C) on an instant-read thermometer for medium-rare. Remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for about 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and place a serving platter in the oven to warm.

Transfer the racks to a cutting board. To carve the lamb, simply slice between the bones. Arrange the lamb chops on the warm platter and serve.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

I cannot believe that I would ever get so hooked on a recipe. This spring lamb with rosemary is easily one of the best recipes for lamb I have ever had! It works perfectly as laid out, yielding medium-rare to rare cuts every time. This recipe is easily scalable up or down (I equate “a few” sprigs rosemary to four). The rosemary and garlic really marry well into the rich flavor of the lamb. You could take this preparation a bit further by sautéeing it in a hot cast iron skillet or other heavy pan for just over a minute per side before sliding it into the oven, and you can then reduce the remaining time by about 5 minutes, for a total of 15 to 17 minutes. The racks get a little extra colour and crispness to them. You could also grill the racks for a minute or two per side (you’d want to have the grill on for other things, though), then finish them in the oven as above. Either way, the racks then get an extra browned crispiness to them, but still turn out rare or medium-rare as desired. With the variety of lamb recipes out there, I will move on… but not today!

I had a huge smile on my face when reading this recipe—this is exactly how my mother used to make spring lamb. I hadn’t made it in a while, so I jumped into the opportunity to do it again. I love, love, love it. It’s absolutely one of my favorite recipes. The flavors are intense yet don’t take away from the lamb. The lamb is done to perfect, lightly browned on the outside and rare on the inside. We served it with homemade garlic and cream mashed potatoes. A must-try!


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  1. Delicious stuff, but my local grocer where I work…and get a discount…would sell me a rack of lamb for about $75. And two racks would be $150. While its possible that our local Costco might have these at less than $21/lb, all I have to say is…maybe a hamburger recipe would be more in line? Not many of us are the 1%, baby!

    1. P.S. I just called the Costco in Richmond, CA. Rack of lamb comes in at $10.79 a pound. Considering an average rack is 1 1/2 pounds, that would be a total of about $32.00–$5 to $7 a serving. I think we’re now talking the 99%.

    2. Hi dontcallmechef, yes I agree–lamb can be a luxury. But this recipe makes it worth your time to shop around for the best pricing. Costco does carry racks and they usually run around $12 a pound for a 2 pound rack. I’ve also found good pricing at Publix and in the frozen meat section of some stores. A bit of shopping savvy and we can all be in the 1%!

    3. dontctallmechef, I think you’re being unfair and a little too narrow-minded for my tastes. We have 20 hamburger recipes. We have 242 recipes that use five or fewer ingredients, most of them don’t hit the wallet hard at the checkout. We have 138 Arsenal recipes, what we consider the building blocks of cooking–recipes worth mastering. Again, most are quite reasonable in the cost area. The site is filled with recipes that are inexpensive to make. If you’re judging the basis of what we do on one recipe, then you’ve clearly missed the bigger picture and what we stand for.

      If it’s cheap recipes you want, there are plenty of sites out there, many not carefully curated filled with tons of untested or poorly tested recipes.

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