This Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb tastes like you’ve slaved away all day in the kitchen. Elegant, impressive, and served with parsley pesto, it’s gourmet food you can make at home!

This Rack of Lamb Recipe is easy to make, plus it’s the perfect entree for Easter or any time you can find delicious spring lamb in the market.

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb slices on a white plate with carrot coins.

Why You Must Make

  • Lamb is a traditional Easter entree. 
  • It’s a nice change of pace from ham for Easter.
  • The marinade is from Julia Child, so you know it’s excellent. The pesto sauce is easy and elevates this to a gourmet dish! But you can always serve it with mint jelly like my parents did.

When I spotted New Zealand rack of lamb at Trader Joe’s for a reasonable price, I knew it would be our Easter entree. Paired with an easy parsley pesto made it seem very special despite little hands-on time for the cook.

When I mentioned my plan to Bill, AKA the picky hubby, he was game. But when I revealed that the lamb was to be served with pesto parsley, I got that look. I imagine something like, “What sort of cockamamie idea is that? You’re going to ruin perfectly good lamb with pesto?” was running through his mind. But the smart man kept those words to himself.

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb on a white dinner plate with a bowl of parsley pesto.

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Garlic cloves, Kosher Salt, Freshly Ground Black Pepper, Dried Oregano
  • Fresh Rosemary – Leaves only, chopped
  • Rack of Lamb – About 2 pounds, bones frenched. See frequently asked questions about how to french the bones if not done by your butcher.

Recipe Tips

  • PRO-Tip: Add the rub to your rack of lamb the day before you plan to roast it to allow the flavors to flavor the meat. 
  • Making lamb in the spring, when young, tender lamb cuts are available, helps ensure your meat will be tender.
  • PRO-Tip: Let your rack of lamb sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before roasting. This will help the lamb cook more evenly.
  • Use a meat thermometer to cook your lamb to your taste. Good lamb is pricy and you don’t want to overcook it.
  • Cooking your lamb on a rack helps air to circulate under the rack making it cook more evenly.
Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb marinating on a wire rack.

How to Cook a Rack of Lamb

I like roasting a rack of lamb, though grilling would be scrumptious, too. Rosemary is terrific with lamb, which is used in this rack of lamb recipe as well as my favorite grilled lamb chop recipe. Marinating with a flavorful combination of complementary ingredients is key to making a delicious rack of lamb in the oven.

  • PRO-Tip: Like beef, lamb can marinate from 6 hours to overnight. I smear the mixture of herbs, garlic, and olive oil all over the surface of the rack of lamb.
  • Loosely cover and refrigerate. Take the meat out of the fridge about a half hour before roasting to take the chill off. This allows the lamb to roast more evenly.
  • I grew up with both my parents loving their lamb with mint jelly. I like the easy, more sophisticated pesto parsley as an accompaniment. Bill and the kids also enjoyed it. A small victory for the cook!
  • Roast two racks at 450° for 25 minutes, and allow them to rest, covered with aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute in the meat.
  • PRO-Tip: Use a meat thermometer as it’s the best way to monitor the rack of lamb temperature while roasting.
  • PRO-Tip: The meat will continue to cook after it’s removed from the oven. This is called carryover cooking time and can bring the internal temperature up by 10°.
  • The resulting lamb was cooked to a perfect medium rare, 135° to 140°. If you prefer your lamb less pink, add 5 minutes to the cooking time.
  • Slice between the bones to make individual chops, allotting two, or possibly 3 per person, depending on appetites.

If you make this herb-crusted rack of lamb for Easter and want to do a full-on lamb theme, how about this Fudge Lamb for dessert?

Frequently Asked Questions

When Is Lamb Season?

Springtime is when lamb is most tender and sweet, primarily in May and June. But it’s a terrific Easter entree in April as well, especially if the lamb is at least 4 months old. The flavor of lamb changes through the seasons, and autumnal lamb has a more complex, developed flavor. FYI: Lamb refers to sheep that are under a year old. Note that spring lamb is usually 3-5 months old.

What’s the difference between a rack of lamb and lamb chops?

Rack of lamb comes from the rib section of the lamb, usually with 8 ribs, according to my Food Lover’s Companion. It can be cut into one-rib sections which are called lamb chops.

What is the safe internal temperature for roasting lamb?

According to the USDA, lamb should be cooked to 145°. We prefer it medium rare so remove it from the oven at 125°, cover and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes. The internal temperature will rise during the resting time bringing the temperature up 10° to 135°. If you’re serving lamb to the very young, elderly or immune suppressed, it’s important to follow the USDA’s guidelines.

How Do You French the Bones?

First, ask your butcher to do it for you. If you don’t have that option, just cut the meat away from the very end of each rib, exposing the bone. It’s more of an esthetic step, as your lamb chops will still be delicious without frenching.

More Roast Recipes

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Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with carrots and parsley pesto on a white dinner plate

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Parsley Pesto

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Yield 6 servings

Perfectly roasted rack of lamb marinated with a rosemary, oregano and garlic paste.


  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, leaves only
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds rack of lamb, bones frenched

Parsley Pesto:

  • 2 cups fresh parsley
  • ¾ cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Put the rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor and process until minced. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and process until a paste forms.
  2. Place the lamb chops on a baking sheet and smear the herb paste over the surface. Loosely cover and refrigerate for 6 hours to overnight.
  3. Before roasting, bring the meat out of the oven for about 30 minutes to get the chill off.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Roast for 25 minutes for medium-rare or 30 minutes for medium or until your desired temperature is reached. Remove from the oven and cover well with foil and allow the lamb to rest for 15 minutes.
    Slice between the bones to serve.
  5. To make pesto, process the parsley, Pecorino, and garlic in a food processor. Slowly drizzle in oil with the processor running until combined. Season with pepper if desired.
  6. Mix in a tablespoon or so of water if your pesto seems too thick and process until combined. Serve each chop with a spoonful of pesto.


Lamb recipe adapted from Ina Garten.

Pesto recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 596Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 984mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 47g


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