This Dijon herb crusted rack of lamb is an easy, yet impressive dinner for two. Roasted to succulent, juicy perfection, this restaurant quality rack of lamb is perfect for a special dinner date night.
Rack of lamb is a sophisticated cut of meat that's ideal for a fancy dinner at home. If you typically cook beef or steak for special occasions, switch it up and try lamb instead. It has a mild, slightly minerally flavor that's tamed by the herbed breadcrumbs and tangy Dijon mustard.
This recipe is not only easy to make, it's also really elegant and impressive to serve. It produces thick, meaty lamb chops that are incredibly juicy and flavorful thanks to a crunchy Dijon herb crust.
Serve this Dijon Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb for an anniversary, birthday, Valentine's Day, Christmas or Easter!
Why this recipe works
- Serves 2 so it's perfect for date night, but can be scaled up to serve more.
- Roasting whole keeps it succulent, tender and juicy.
- Relies on temperature - not time - to cook to perfection.
- The lamb is seared first to add flavor and lock in moisture.
- Dijon mustard and fresh rosemary are the perfect compliments to the meaty lamb.
- Rack of Lamb - Purchase a small, high quality rack of lamb about 1 ½ - 2 pounds in size. Smaller racks of lamb tend to be more tender and less gamey. Look for lamb that's well marbled and has been "Frenched" (or ask your butcher to do it), which means that the meat, fat and gristle have been scraped away from the top rib bones. Look for USDA choice, Prime or Australian lamb.
- Panko Breadcrumbs - It's important to use Panko bread crumbs and not regular bread crumbs, as they are much lighter and will produce a crispier crust.
- Dijon Mustard - Use a high quality Dijon mustard such as Grey Poupon or Maille. Avoid generic or store brand mustards as they tend to be lower quality and lack in flavor.
- Herbs and Seasonings - These lamb chops are seasoned with a combination of fresh rosemary, fresh mint and fresh flat leaf parsley as well as lemon zest and black pepper. You can use any combination of those herbs, but avoid using dry herbs. You can also add a few minced garlic cloves, parmesan cheese or any other seasonings you like.
- Meat Probe Instant-Read Thermometer - A good quality probe thermometer is essential for roasting a whole rack of lamb and one of my most valued kitchen gadgets. It tells you exactly when your meat is at the perfect temperature, eliminating any and all guess work. All you have to do is stick it in the meat, set the temperature, throw it in the oven and wait for it to beep.
Step by step instructions
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Trim the majority of the fat cap off the top of the lamb, then season generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then sear the lamb until browned on all sides.
- In the meantime, combine breadcrumbs, lemon zest, mint, parsley, rosemary, salt, pepper and olive oil in a small bowl, then mix until well combined.
- When the lamb is browned, remove it from the skillet and set on a roasting pan or baking sheet.
- Spread the Dijon mustard over the top of the lamb in an even coating, then press the breadcrumb mixture on top.
- Gently pat the breadcrumbs down so that they stick and form a crust. Let sit for about 10 minutes to help the breadcrumbs adhere.
- Roast on the top rack of the oven until the lamb reaches your desired internal temperature - use an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat. 130 degrees F is perfect for medium-rare.
- Remove from the oven and allow the lamb to rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Carefully slice into double chops - you will lose some breadcrumbs in the process but that's okay.
- Arrange on plates and top with any remaining breadcrumbs.
Use these temperatures as a guideline for cooking a rack of lamb.
- Rare: 120 degrees F
- Medium-Rare: 130 degrees F (recommended)
- Medium: 140 degrees F
- Medium-Well to Well-Done: 145-150 degrees F - don't go any higher than this.
Tips for success
- Remove the rack of lamb from the refrigerator about 30 minutes prior to cooking so it can come to room temperature. This helps it cook evenly.
- If using a larger rack of lamb or making more than one at a time, double the mustard and herb Panko breadcrumb mixture.
- Be sure to remove the fat cap on the top of the lamb of that there's not a thick layer of fat between the meat and crust.
- Allow the lamb to sit for at least 10 minutes before roasting to help the crust adhere.
- If the breadcrumbs are not browned by the time the meat is done, you can broil it until they turn golden. But watch closely - it can easily burn.
- It's imperative to let the lamb rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing so that it stays juicy.
- While the lamb is resting, you can tent it with aluminum foil to keep it warm, but avoid creating a tight seal or it will steam and cause the breadcrumbs to get mushy.
- I prefer cutting the lamb into double chops rather than single. It's easier, keeps the meat juicier and more of the crust intact.
This succulent rack of lamb will be delicious with the following sides:
- Spinach with Butter and Parmesan
- Crispy Oven Roasted Potatoes with Onions
- Classic Potato Gratin
- Warm Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Pancetta Vinaigrette
- Crispy roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Easy Cheesy Baked Cauliflower Gratin
Faq about Dijon Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb
A rack of lamb will take about 20-25 minutes to cook, depending on its size and the temperature you prefer. It's best to use a thermometer to determine the doneness rather than time since it leaves no room for error.
Yes. You can sear the rack of lamb, rub it with mustard and top it with the herbed breadcrumbs, then store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before roasting. Allow it to come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
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