How to Cook Lamb Chops

Acabonac Farms |

Thanks to their rich flavor and impressive versatility, lamb chops have become a favorite worldwide - enjoyed everywhere from home kitchens to fine dining restaurants. Whether grilled, pan-seared, or roasted, each cooking method offers a unique way to enjoy this cut of lamb. Grilling brings out a delightful smoky aroma and creates a delicious char, pan-searing provides a beautiful golden crispy exterior with a tender and juicy inside, and roasting allows for a more even cook, enhancing the chops with the deep flavors. You can see why they’re so popular - no need to be sheepish, pick your favorite method and get cooking! 

For those seeking the highest quality pasture raised lamb, Acabonac Farms is an excellent source. Specializing in pastured grass-fed lamb chops, Acabonac ensures your meat is not only the top of the line, but also raised using sustainable, regenerative farming practices, aligning quality with environmental stewardship. 

Key Takeaways

  • Lamb chops adapt beautifully to various cooking methods, making them a convenient choice for experimenting with different techniques.
  • Selecting the right cut and ensuring the highest quality of lamb is crucial, as it impacts the tenderness, taste, and overall success of your dish.
  • Grill lamb chops for a smoky char, broil for intense flavor, or pan-fry for a crispy exterior.
  • Proper seasoning and marinating improves the texture of lamb chops and makes them juicier and more delicious.
how to cook lamb chops

What Are Lamb Chops?

Lamb chops are cuts of lamb meat primarily taken from the most tender parts of the animal, including the shoulder, loin, rib, and sirloin. These areas of the lamb contain low amounts of connective tissue, making them ideal in terms of texture and allows for these cuts to be prepared in a variety of ways. Each type of chop offers unique advantages and this variety makes it a versatile ingredient in the kitchen.

How To Choose The Best Lamb Chops

It can be confusing to pick the right lamb chops, especially because, as mentioned above, they can come from different parts of the animal. With the variety of cuts available you should consider your personal tastes and intended cooking methods when choosing. Let’s first look at what to expect from each different lamb chop cut, then at key indicators of quality.

Different Cuts of Lamb Chops

raw lamb rib chops

Rib Chops: These are often considered the most tender cut of lamb chop, identifiable by their long, slender bone and generous marbling. They are excellent for quick, high-heat cooking methods like grilling or broiling.

raw pasture-raised lamb loin chops

Loin Chops: Resembling a mini T-bone steak, loin chops contain both the loin and tenderloin. They offer a good balance of flavor and tenderness, suitable for frying or grilling.

Shoulder Chops: These are larger and have relatively more connective tissue, making them less tender but more savory. They're ideal for slower cooking methods like braising.

What to Look for When Buying Lamb Chops

Now that you’ve narrowed which cut you’re looking for, you still want to ensure you’re getting high quality meat. When shopping for lamb chops, there are several key factors to consider. First, look for lamb chops with a soft red or pink color; they should not appear brown or gray. The freshness is also indicated by a clean smell that isn't overly gamey. Another important quality indicator is the marbling of the meat. Good quality lamb chops will display even marbling of fat throughout, which helps keep the chops moist during cooking and amplifies the taste.

For the best quality lamb chops, purchasing from local farms like Acabonac Farms is highly recommended. These farms raise their lamb on pasture, utilizing regenerative farming practices that not only support sustainable agriculture but also produce meat that is more delicious and nutritious. High end restaurants often utilize pastured lamb chops due to their uniquely complex and regionally influenced flavors.

This is due to the lambs' natural diet and healthier living conditions, which stand in stark contrast to the more confined conditions typical of conventional livestock farming. Conventional store-bought lamb often lacks the depth of flavor of pasture-raised lamb and may not be as ethically or environmentally sound.

Choose Locally Sourced Grass-fed Lamb Chops over Store-Bought

Why not just grab some lamb chops from the grocery store? Here’s a few reasons:

  • Flavor and Texture: Lamb from conventional sources can lack the depth of flavor found in pasture-raised lamb, due to differences in diet and breeding. This can result in a cut of meat that may be large, but is one-note in terms of taste. 
  • Ethical/Environmental Concerns: Large-scale commercial farming often prioritizes efficiency over animal welfare, which can lead to less ethical treatment of animals. Conventional farming methods also have a greater negative impact on the environment, including higher carbon footprints and less sustainable land use.
  • Unwanted Additives: Large scale producers of lamb chops oftentimes use hormones, fillers, and antibiotics during the animal growing process. Even some large scale grass-fed suppliers may use herbicide on their crops, which ends up in the diet of their animals. That’s why sources like Acabonac Farms, that utilize 100% natural processes, are the premiere option.

Preparing Lamb Chops for Cooking

Before you start cooking, properly preparing your lamb chops can make a significant difference in the final taste and texture of your dish. Here’s how to get your lamb chops ready for the kitchen:

Thawing: If your lamb chops are frozen, it's important to thaw them correctly to ensure even cooking. Place the chops in the refrigerator a day before you plan to cook them to thaw slowly and safely. Avoid thawing lamb chops at room temperature or using a microwave, as these methods can lead to uneven thawing and affect the texture of the meat.

Trimming: Once thawed, you may need to trim excess fat from the lamb chops. While some fat is desirable, too much can cause flare-ups during cooking, leading to a burnt taste. Trim the fat so that it’s just a thin layer, which will render down and enhance taste without overpowering the meat.

Seasoning: Seasoning lamb chops is crucial for bringing out their natural flavors. Basic seasonings include salt and pepper, but lamb also pairs beautifully with garlic, rosemary, thyme, or mint. For a simple yet effective preparation, rub the chops with olive oil and your chosen herbs and spices.

Marinating: Marinating lamb chops can add depth and complexity to each bite. Suitable marinades might include combinations of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs or more robust mixtures with yogurt and spices like cumin and coriander. The acidity in marinades also helps to tenderize the meat. 

For the best results, marinate lamb chops for at least 1 hour, though for more intense flavor, leaving them to marinate in the refrigerator overnight is ideal. However, if using citrus or vinegar-based marinades, limit the marinating time to a few hours to prevent the acid from starting to cook the meat.

How to Cook Lamb Chops

Cooking lamb chops to perfection involves understanding the ideal internal temperatures for different levels of doneness and selecting the best cooking method based on your taste preference. Here's a detailed guide to help you achieve the perfect lamb chops every time.

Doneness Levels and Internal Temperatures

Cooking times will vary based on the thickness of the chop and the cooking method, but generally, lamb chops should be cooked for about 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare on high heat. Always let the chops rest for a few minutes after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute. Here’s a more detailed table showing the target internal temperatures for your desired doneness level:

Doneness Level

Internal Temperature


115-120°F (46-49°C)

Medium Rare

125-130°F (52-54°C)


135-140°F (57-60°C)

Medium Well

145-150°F (63-66°C)

Well Done

155°F+ (68°C+)

Grilling Lamb Chops

  1. Preheat your grill to a high temperature (about 400°F or 204°C).
  2. Season your lamb chops as desired and let them come to room temperature.
  3. Place lamb chops on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side for medium-rare.
  4. Monitor the grill temperature to avoid flare-ups. Adjust the heat as needed.
  5. Once off the grill, let your chops rest before serving or cutting. Cutting into the meat when it’s fresh off the grill will result in the delicious juices leaking out.
  6. Serve grilled lamb chops with a side of grilled vegetables or a fresh salad.

Pan-Searing Lamb Chops

  1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Use an oil with a high smoke point, such as canola or general vegetable oil, and a touch of butter for flavor.
  2. Once hot, add the lamb chops and sear each side until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare.
  3. If needed, finish cooking the chops in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for a few minutes to reach desired doneness.
  4. Rest the chops before serving to ensure juiciness.

Roasting Lamb Chops

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Season the lamb chops and sear them on both sides in a hot skillet with oil.
  3. Transfer the chops to a roasting pan and roast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness and desired doneness.
  4. Pair roasted lamb chops with side dishes like roasted potatoes or a medley of vegetables.

Broiling Lamb Chops

  1. Preheat your broiler and position a rack so that the top of the lamb chops will be a few inches from the heat source.
  2. Season the lamb chops and place them on a broiler pan.
  3. Broil for about 3-5 minutes per side, watching closely to prevent burning.
  4. Flip the chops halfway through to ensure even cooking and desired doneness.

How Are Lamb Chops Best Served?

They’re best served medium rare to highlight their natural tenderness and juiciness. For this level of doneness, aim for an internal temperature of 125-130°F (52-54°C). Using a meat thermometer to accurately measure the temperature at the thickest part of the chop ensures you achieve the perfect medium rare every time. Here are a couple of other tips to ensure the most tender mouthwatering bite:

  • Rest Your Lamb Chops: Don’t cut into it right away! It's crucial to let your meat rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. This pause allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, which helps maintain the moisture and flavor inside, rather than spilled out onto your plate.
  • Cutting Lamb Chops: To maximize tenderness, cut against the grain. This means slicing perpendicular to the direction of the muscle fibers in the meat, which shortens the fibers and makes each bite more tender. 

What is Best to Serve with Lamb Chops?

Lamb chops pair wonderfully with a variety of side dishes that complement their deep flavor. Here are some excellent options:

Roasted Vegetables: Try roasting root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, or potatoes. Their earthy sweetness contrasts nicely with the savory depth of lamb.

Mint Sauce or Tzatziki: These refreshing sauces offer a cool, creamy contrast to the warm spices often used with lamb.

Couscous or Quinoa Salad: Light and fluffy, these grains make a great base for adding herbs, nuts, and dried fruits, creating a side that's complementary, not overpowering.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes: The creamy texture and rich notes of garlic make these potatoes a hearty companion to lamb chops.

Lamb Chop Recipe Ideas

Here are a few simple recipes to get you started with cooking lamb chops, each offering a distinct flavor profile without the need for overly complex ingredients. Each recipe serves two:

Lamb loin chops cooked

1. Herb-Marinated Grilled Lamb Chops


  • 4 lamb chops (rib or loin)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges, for serving



  1. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  2. Rub the mixture evenly over the lamb chops and let them marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or overnight for deeper flavor.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  4. Grill the chops for about 3-4 minutes on each side for medium rare.
  5. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Cooked lamb chops


2. Pan-Seared Lamb Chops with Garlic Butter


  • 4 lamb chops (rib or loin)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Season the lamb chops with salt, pepper, and dried rosemary.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add lamb chops and sear until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
  4. Add butter and garlic to the skillet, spooning the butter over the chops until well-coated and fragrant.
  5. Transfer the chops to a plate and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.

3. Roasted Lamb Chops with Mint Pesto


  • 4 lamb chops (rib, loin, or shoulder)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the mint pesto:

  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Season lamb chops with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  3. Roast in the preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes for medium rare.
  4. While the chops are roasting, blend mint, almonds, garlic, Parmesan, and olive oil in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve the roasted lamb chops topped with a dollop of mint pesto.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking Lamb Chops

Cooking lamb chops perfectly requires attention to two common pitfalls: overcooking and underseasoning. To prevent overcooking, which can lead to dry and tough meat, closely monitor the internal temperature with a meat thermometer and remove the chops from heat when they are slightly below your desired doneness (follow the table shown earlier in the article). 

Seasonings should be used as flavor enhancers, not to transform the taste of the meat. But while lamb chops are inherently delicious, they require adequate seasoning to leave a real impression. Ensure that you season the chops generously on both sides. Salt, pepper, and herbs are great choices as they aren’t overpowering and highlight the meat’s natural notes. 

Where to Buy Lamb Chops Online

If you're inspired to try cooking lamb chops with the various methods and recipes we've explored, from grilling to roasting, you’re going to want the best quality meat. For the highest-quality and healthiest option, consider ordering pasture-raised lamb chops online from Acabonac Farms. We specialize in pasture-raised lamb, where animals graze naturally and freely, resulting in meat that is more flavorful and more nutrient-rich. Plus, you know you’re getting meat from animals raised ethically, on farms working with nature - not against it.

Choosing Acabonac Farms means choosing a product you can trust for its quality and integrity. Visit our website to explore our wide selection, including our signature Hold the Pork bundle to get the country’s best meats delivered right to your front door on your schedule!

Fresh pasture-raised lamb chops

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