Quick Steps Overview: How To Cook Lamb Chops?
- Set up the cooking stations
- Season the lamb
- Cook the lamb
- Turn the lamb
- Transfer to a plate
- Cook shallots, garlic, and thyme
- Deglaze the pan
- Finish the sauce
- What Are Lamb Chops?
- How To Pick Lamb Chops For Cooking?
- Temperature Guide For Lamb Chops
- Recipe: Lamb Chops
- What To Serve With Lamb Chops?
- Leftover Lamb Chops Storage Tips
- Tools Required To Cook Lamb Chops
- Frequently Asked Questions
Does cooking lamb chops seem like an intimidating, time-consuming task to you? Well, then you’re living in a bubble, and I’m here to burst that. While lamb chops are fancy enough for a dinner party, this easy and quick recipe will also help add variety to your weeknight meals.
I love oven-roasted or grilled lamb chops but cooking them in a screaming hot skillet on the stovetop is a true winner for me. Today, I’m going to share an easy lamb chops recipe where the meat is rubbed with fresh thyme, seared in a hot skillet, and topped with some oh-so-simple pan sauce that is flavored with dry white wine, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a knob of butter.
Now without any further adieu, let’s get started with cooking the perfect lamb chops!
1. What Are Lamb Chops?
To put it simply, “lamb chop” is a term that refers to several different cuts of lamb meat. Cooking lamb is very easy, but if you are new to cooking, it can seem intimidating. What you need to know is that it is very important to know which cut you’re cooking. The most popular kinds are rib chops and loin chops. However, sometimes you will also see the shoulder, sirloin, and leg chops at your local butcher’s shop.
Rib chops are cut from the rack and are the primal cut from the upper part of the spine, below the shoulder. A single rib is shaped like a lollipop and comes with a long rib bone attached to the round chop. Often, rib chops are sold “frenched” which means that the bone has been thoroughly stripped of tissue, leaving a clean white handle. These chops are extremely tender and fall under the most expensive cut of meat. Pan-searing these ribs for a few minutes will render the best results.
Loin chops are like rib chops, but they are cut from the “saddle” part of the loin that is farther down the spine. These look like miniature T-bone steaks. Just like rib chops, these are also very tender. Loin chops can withstand more direct heat because they’re thicker than rib chops and have a bone running through the center. They make perfect candidates for grilling, broiling, or roasting.
Shoulder chops, also known as blade chops are usually less expensive than rib and loin chops. Although shoulder meat is delicious, the muscles there do more work and therefore are not very tender. The lamb cut is ideal for braising or slow roasting as these processes allow the fat and connective tissues to soften.
- Lastly, you have sirloin and leg chops also called leg steaks. In terms of tenderness, these cuts are somewhere between shoulder chops and rib chops. They also hold up well on the grill.
2. How To Pick Lamb Chops For Cooking?
You find lamb chops for your meal at your local grocery store. The chop you choose should have nice, light red, shiny textured meat with smooth, white fat. To be honest, marbling is not as important with lamb as it is with beef, but the fat on your chops should be evenly distributed. The chops should also be a little bit more than an inch thick.
If you are serving guests who say they don’t like the flavor of lamb, you can serve them American lamb as it has a milder flavor. In this case, you would want to steer away from the packets labeled “grass-fed” as they have a stronger flavor.
3. Temperature Guide For Lamb Chops
Cooking lamb is pretty simple, however, it is important to know the optimal internal temperatures for different cuts as the tenderness of the meat is heavily dependent on that.
Rib Chops: 180 degrees F
Loin Chops: 135-140 degrees F
Leg Chops: 140-145 degrees F
Sirloin Chops: 140-145 degrees F
Shoulder Chops: 140-145 degrees F
For best results, allow the chops to come to room temperature before cooking, and always use a quality, instant-read meat thermometer to make sure the chop hits the precise internal temperature.
4. Recipe: Lamb Chops
Prep Time: 8 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins
Total: 20 mins
- 8 Lamb Loin or Rib Chops (1-inch thick)
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves (chopped)
- 1 Large sprig of Thyme
- ¾ teaspoon Kosher Salt (divided)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
- 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter (divided)
- 1 small Shallot (finely chopped)
- 1 large clove Garlic (smashed)
- ½ cup Dry White Wine (or low-sodium chicken broth)
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
- 1 tablespoon finely grated Lemon Zest
- You can replace the fresh thyme for fresh rosemary.
- You can use olive oil instead of butter.
- Set up the cooking stations. Gather all the ingredients listed above before you start cooking the chops.
- Season the lamb. Remove the lamb chops from the refrigerator. Massage the chopped thyme into the lamb. Season with salt and pepper. Set the lamb chops aside at room temperature for 5 minutes.
- Cook the lamb. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a thick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lamb chops. Cook until a rich, brown crust forms at the bottom. This should take 4-6 minutes. Note: If you’re using thicker chops, it could take about 10 minutes.
- Turn the lamb. Flip the lamb chops and continue to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Note: Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat for accurate temperature.
- Transfer to a plate. Transfer the lamb chops to a plate. Cover it with aluminum foil. Pour off all BUT 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat.
- Cook shallots, garlic, and thyme. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the shallot, thyme, and garlic and cook. Cook until the shallots soften and begin to brown. This should take 1-2 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan. Deglaze the pan with the wine or broth and lemon juice. Scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Finish the sauce. Cook until reduced by half (1-2 minutes). Stir in the lemon zest, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons butter. Cook until the butter melts and the sauce thickens slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning. Pour the pan sauce over the lamb chops and serve immediately.
5. What To Serve With Lamb Chops?
Lamb chops taste delicious by themselves, but when paired with the right side dish, they can take your meal to a whole other level. Here are some of my favorites sides that go well with this:
- Hasselback potatoes
- Carrot souffle
- Steamed veggies like broccoli or asparagus
- Lemon-Pea salad
- Glazed carrots
- Spinach salad with brown butter dressing
- Red cabbage slaw with hazelnuts and lemon
Here are a few tips on how to serve lamb chops in a way that will make the dish look even more ravishing.
- Use an elongated platter of light colors. This will make sure that the lamb chops and side dishes stand out on the table.
- Serve the lamb chops with a few sauces of different flavor profiles. You can also serve a dressing for the side dish.
- Make sure you don’t overcook the lamb as that could make the lamb chops tough.
6. Leftover Lamb Chops Storage Tips
To maximize the shelf life of cooked lamb chops, refrigerate the lamb chops in shallow airtight containers or wrap them tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Properly stored, cooked lamb chops can last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
To further extend the shelf life of cooked lamb chops, freeze them in covered, airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. You can also wrap it tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer wrap. Properly stored, they will maintain the best quality for 2-3 months.
Frozen lamb chops need to be thawed in the fridge. It can be kept for an additional 3-4 days in the refrigerator before cooking.
Lamb chops that are thawed in the microwave or cold water should be eaten immediately.
7. Tools Required To Cook Lamb Chops
This knife has proven to be an essential workhorse for any chef who takes his craft seriously. From the heat of a professional kitchen to a simple meal prep for one, this blade works tirelessly by your side.
- The precision-forged blade is ultra-sharp, wear-resistant, and is crafted from single-piece, high carbon German ThyssenKrupp Steel with a Rockwell hardness level of 56+.
- The tall blade height gives knuckle clearance to assist with food prep and other chopping activities.
- The knife is designed with an ergonomic handle for maximum comfort, grip, and maneuverability.
- The 10” blade can seem intimidating for new chefs. If that’s the case you can take a look at some shorter blades here.
- The look and design of this blade might seem too basic for someone with a bold sense of style.
This piece of cookware is the epitome of stunning design and high performance and is the perfect skillet to sear your lamb chops. Not only will this skillet help cook food with precision but is also built to last a lifetime.
- The skillet boasts excellent conductivity and is known to quickly heat and evenly cook anything you place inside it.
- This professional piece of cookware is perfect for searing, browning, sauteing, deep-frying, quick boiling and even making sauce and jams.
- This skillet is oven and broiler safe up to 600 degrees F. It is also freezer, dishwasher, and refrigerator safe.
- This skillet comes with a big price tag. If you are looking for a more pocket-friendly skillet, you can find them here.
- The skillet comes with an all-steel lid that makes it difficult to keep an eye on what’s going on inside. This might not make the pan everyone’s first choice.
Made with Tropical Teak wood, this board functions as your all-purpose chopping, slicing, and serving board. This makes it perfect for plating and serving lamb chops.
- The end-grain fabrication of this board prevents gouging in the board by allowing the wood fibers to spring back easily.
- This tight-wood grain makes the board a hygienic cooking surface.
- The board comes with 2 side handles that make it easy to lift the board for serving or transferring from the kitchen to the table.
- This chopping board can be difficult to store in a compact kitchen. If that’s the case, you can take a look at the other boards here.
- The end-grain fabrication might not be everyone’s preferred choice. In that case, you can check out our other cutting boards here.
Here’s an apron that will not only shield you from unwanted kitchen messes but will also act as a trusted partner when you need assistance in the kitchen. This functional apron is designed to hold all those things that you might need in the kitchen.
- The apron is made of extra strength waxed canvas that is waterproof, dirt-resistant, comfortable, and built to outlast you in the heat of the kitchen.
- The apron also comes with an adjustable genuine-leather cross back harness that is built to evenly distribute weight across your shoulders to maximize comfort and prevent neck strain.
- It is equipped with 2 chest pockets, 3 front pockets, and 2 towel and tong loops. It also comes with an interior stash pocket that is ideal to store your personal belongings.
- If you don’t cook as often, you might not need so much storage space. In that case, you take a look at the other aprons and find one that suits your kitchen needs.
- The all-black design of this apron might be a little plain for some. For those who like prints or more pops of color, you can check out more of our aprons here.
8. Frequently Asked Questions
How should lamb chops be cooked?
Pork chops, lamb chops, and steaks should be cooked over high heat, quickly, and can be quick-roasted, depending on how thick they are. Barbecuing, griddling, pan-frying and grilling are all methods that suit chops.
What is the best method of cooking lamb?
Heat a large 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, once hot, add in the lamb chops. Sear until the surface is browned. Flip and cook until meat reaches an internal temperature of 125 degrees F for medium rare or 135 degrees F for medium.
How do you know when a lamb chop is done?
The internal temperature of the meat should reach 160 degrees F. The interior of the meat will be gray-brown throughout. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.