The best Pan-Seared Lamb Chops Recipe marinated in a mouthwatering combination of garlic, fresh herbs, and olive oil for a restaurant-quality dinner that’s ready in just 15 minutes! Perfect for holidays, special occasions, or busy weeknights.
The Best Lamb Chops You’ll Ever Make
Lamb chops are delicious – but cooking them at home? A little intimidating, right? I mean, when I imagine lamb for dinner, I imagine white tablecloths, twinkling lights, and three too many forks to choose from.
If you share similar thoughts, then I have some good news for you!
Lamb is not fancy. Unless you want it to be, and this recipe is proof of that.
One of the easiest meats to pan-cook, the lamb chops are marinated first, then pan-seared for an irresistible garlic and herb crust with tender and juicy centers. The flavor can’t be beat; you’ll love it.
Different Cuts of Lamb Chops
There are three different cuts of lamb chops-
- Rib Chop – Recognized by a long, thin rib bone extending from the rich and tender lollipop of meat. They are best when cooked to medium-rare, or 130 degrees F. Rib chops are great for entertaining or as an appetizer, as they don’t provide much meat and can be expensive.
- Loin Chop (shown in this recipe) – The lamb equivalent to a porterhouse or T-bone steak, lamb loin chops are pretty adorable. Loin chops come with more meat than rib chops and are less expensive. Some claim they are less flavorful, but I’m not convinced. Also, best-served medium rare (130 degrees F), they should be allowed to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
- Shoulder Chop – A hard-working and fatty area of the lamb, it makes sense that shoulder chops are the least tender but most flavorful (remember those branched-chain fatty acids?) Given its tougher meat, shoulder chops prefer to be cooked longer and at a lower temperature with a long 10-minute rest before serving. They also benefit from brine, marinade, or rub.
Ingredients in Garlic Herb Lamb Chops
The ingredients needed to make this lamb chops recipe include:
- Lamb Chops – read about the different types of lamb chops available (or ask your local butcher) and decide which cut is right for you. For this particular recipe, the whole family (even my picky 5-year-old) loved the tender, buttery loin chop.
- Salt + Black Pepper – I like to generously salt and pepper my chops before adding the marinade. The salt adds flavor, of course, but it also acts as a no-fuss brine, tenderizing the meat as it marinates.
- Olive Oil – You’ll need olive oil for the marinade and your skillet. Any type of olive oil will work.
- Fresh Herbs – I added fresh rosemary and parsley because that’s what I had on hand, but feel free to add other tasty herbs, such as thyme or oregano.
- Garlic – Fresh sizzling garlic with fresh herbs, olive oil, and butter? Your house is going to smell amazing. Trust me.
- Butter – I like to add 1-2 tablespoons of butter in the final few minutes of cooking for extra flavor. If you prefer to keep this recipe dairy-free, feel free to skip it.
How to Cook Lamb Chops
1. Season first: Generously season both sides of your lamb chops with salt and black pepper.
2. Prepare the garlic and herb marinade: In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, minced garlic, and fresh herbs. Use a pastry brush to brush both sides of the lamb chops until completely coated with the marinade. Discard any remaining marinade and allow the chops to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
3. Cook: Heat a large cast-iron skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the surface of the pan. When the olive oil just starts to smoke, add the lamb chops to the skillet. Cook until lightly browned, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add the butter to the skillet, flip each lamb chop over, and continue to cook until they register 125-130°F for medium-rare using a digital meat thermometer, approximately 4-5 minutes more.
4. Rest: Remove the lamb chops from the skillet and allow them to rest for at least 5 minutes.
5. Serve: Serve lamb chops with homemade mint chutney or other favorite dipping sauce.
What Do Lamb Chops Taste Like?
What does lamb taste like? Earthy and perhaps a little “gamey” (although I typically don’t experience the gamey taste so much with lamb chops). This “gamey” taste is due to a specific type of fatty acid called branched-chain fatty acid. This type of fatty acid is not found in beef, which is why we can’t taste it there.
The primary factor contributing to the strength of these branched-chain fatty acids is the diet that particular lamb was raised on. A lamb raised only on grass will have a stronger lamb ‘flavor’ when compared to one that is grass-raised but finished on grain for the last 30 days of its life. This change of diet in its final days will change the fat composition of that lamb and, therefore, the flavor of its meat.
In either case, I find that lamb chops (especially those trimmed of excess fat), while incredibly flavorful, are less “gamey” when compared to other fattier cuts of lamb.
Guide to Internal Temperatures for Lamb
Here is a guide to the internal temperatures for lamb chops based on the desired doneness. For best results, always use a reliable Instant-Read Thermometer to check the internal temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chop, avoiding bone and fat.
1. Rare: 115°F to 120°F, bright red center that’s super soft to the touch.
2. Medium Rare: 120°F t0 125°F, warm red center that’s still quite soft to the touch.
3. Medium: 130°F-135°F, pink throughout and starting to firm up.
4. Medium Well: 140°F-145°F, light pink center with a firmer texture.
5. Well Done: 150°F and above, little to no pink and quite firm.
Remember, the meat will continue to cook a little after it has been removed from the heat. This is known as “carryover cooking.” Therefore, if you’re aiming for medium-cooked lamb chops, it’s a good idea to remove them from the heat when they’re 5°F below the target temperature.
Tips and Tricks
- Allow your lamb chops to come to room temperature before cooking for best results. This will help ensure even cooking.
- Cover your lamb chops and transfer them to the refrigerator if you are marinating for more than 30-60 minutes. While we want them to reach room temperature, we do not want them to sit out at room temperature for long periods of time.
- Although marinating isn’t required, it will help tenderize the muscle fibers of the meat, making the lamb softer and more tender even after it has been cooked. This is especially true if you choose to cook shoulder chops.
- Ask for thick-cup chops – approximately 1 inch to 1 1/4 inches. This helps prevent them from being overcooked.
- Always rest your chops. If you’re cooking loin or shoulder chops, wait to cut into them for at least 5 minutes. This helps maximize their juiciness and allows them to slowly finish cooking.
What to Serve with Garlic Herb Lamb Chops
Lamb chops are super versatile – serve them with any of your favorite side dishes. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
- Potatoes: Baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, garlic roasted potatoes
- Veggies: Honey-glazed carrots, Brussels sprouts, beets or roasted asparagus
- Sauce: Garlic butter sauce, garlic aioli, or homemade mint chutney
More Lamb Recipes
- Slow Cooker Harissa Lamb Tacos
- Middle Eastern Curried Lamb Meatballs
- Grilled Lamb Kebab Platter
- Biryani Recipe – How to Make Chicken and Lamb Biryani
If you try making this amazing Pan-Seared Lamb Chops Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
Lamb Chops Recipe
For the Lamb Chops
- Season. Generously season both sides of your lamb chops with salt and pepper.
- Prepare the garlic herb marinade. In a small bowl mix together the olive oil with the freshly minced garlic and fresh herbs. Use a pastry brush to brush both sides of the lamb chops. Discard any remaining marinade and allow chops to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes (see notes).
- Cook. When ready to cook heat a large cast-iron skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. When the olive oil just starts to smoke, start adding the lamb chops to the skillet. Cook until lightly browned, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add the butter to the skillet, flip each lamb chop, and continue to cook until they register 125°F for medium-rare or 135°F for medium using a digital meat thermometer, approximately 4-5 minutes more.
- Rest. Remove lamb chops from the skillet and allow them to rest for at least 5 minutes.
- Serve. Serve lamb chops with homemade mint chutney (recipe below) or other favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy!
- If you are marinating for more than 30 minutes, cover your lamb chops and transfer them to the refrigerator. For even cooking, allow lamb chops to come to room temperature before cooking.
- You may marinate the lamb for up to 24 hours.
- Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)