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Lamb rack in parmesan crust

Updated: Tue, 12 March, 2024

Lamb rack roasted with a herb and Parmesan crust, medium pink in the middle, is deliciously juicy meat encased in crispy topping with an umami and herb flavour.

lamb rack in parmesan crust

What is ‘French trimmed’ rack of lamb?

A rack of lamb is a lean and tender loin attached to eight ribs, usually sufficient to feed two or three people. As it is effectively a side of the animal, the ribs intersperse muscle tissue, fat and tendons.

Unlike pork baby ribs for instance, lamb ribs are generally sniffed at and so for presentation and ease of carving, butchers will trim all the meat and sinew from between the ribs.

What we get in the shops is a preternaturally clean, bony joint, like a partly ossified palaeontological find. Old school trend had the sticking out ribs adorned with paper frills. Thankfully that has long gone out of fashion.

roast rack of lamb in herb crust

Does lamb rack have to be Frenched?

I used to believe Frenching enhanced the lamb rack experience, plus if you paid for an expensive cut, you wanted it to be presented in the best form.

The French trim superiority myth was shattered rather spectacularly one day when The Weather Man was dispatched to the butcher’s.

As the tale goes, when asked if the rack is to be French trimmed, he hesitantly said ‘no’, sensibly thinking he was going to be short-changed on an expensive meat cut if it gets trimmed. Coming back home triumphantly, he was met with scorn and scolding for his supposed error of judgement.

And guess what? Lamb ribs are unfairly disdained: the otherwise French trimmed bits off the bone are quite the delicious morsels. So back then I had to humbly renounce and apologise. Admittedly though, it was serendipity rather than wisdom.

So I do now try to buy untrimmed rack, with the exception of when the lamb is getting late in the season, i.e.: fatty. But it’s entirely the matter of taste and I’ll understand most people like to have it neat and easily carveable. Hence the recipe below features a trimmed rack after all.

french trimmed rack of lamb

How to prepare the lamb rack

You need to make the crust stick to the meat, awkward as it is, with the bones sticking out. In order to facilitate it, score the top surface with a sharp knife, through the fat but not down to the meat.

Next step is to smear a mixture of honey and mustard all over the meat, on both sides. That’s for the flavour as well as for the cling factor.

How to make the herby crust topping

I love the combination of rosemary and lemon zest, with an umami boost from Parmesan. To get the best of fresh rosemary and avoid the need to spit out needles, pick them off the sprigs and chop them with a sharp knife, as finely as you can.

Another way is to put them briefly through a spice (or a disused coffee) grinder with a handful of salt, in which case obviously adjust the overall salt content.

The rosemary powder will now be mixed with dried breadcrumbs, Panko or homemade, Parmesan and zest grated from a lemon. You can mix it all with your fingers or in a mini blender.

Pour it into a plate and dip the lamb rack, top side down, to coat it thoroughly. Press the crust down with your fingers to make sure it sticks.

lamb rack with herb and parmesan topping

How long to roast a lamb rack?

Rack is the most delicate part of lamb and the finest cut. As such, I’d advise to cook it as pink as your diners can stomach! It will be juicy, tender and flavoursome. And if given a good resting time, there will be no pink juices oozing out which absurdly put some people off.

So depending on the weight, bones included, a rack of lamb should be roasted for 15 minutes per pound of weight at a lower oven temperature, following a hot ten-minute blast at a higher heat. All ovens are different, but I usually start off at maximum, only to turn it down to about 180C/350F after the ten minutes – or eight in case of electric ovens which cool down much slower.

Let the rack rest for another ten minutes – the internal temperature out of the oven should read 50-54C as it will go up, when serving, to 55–59C which is textbook medium-rare.

Slice the rack into cutlets, arrange in a fan on the plates and enjoy.

rack of lamb roasted medium rare

More lamb recipes

Lamb loin, or cannon of lamb, wrapped in prosciutto with rosemary and thyme, roasted in low temperature oven. The finest dining easily made!

Rack of lamb roasted medium rare with slices of grilled pineapple, a perfect combination of sweet and spicy. Also, pineapple facilitates digestion of meat protein.

Roast leg of lamb on the bone, cooked medium, pinkish in the middle and with a crispy skin, is the perfect Easter Sunday lunch. Half a leg for four, whole leg for a crowd, just adjust the cooking time per pound of weight.

More herby crusted meat recipes

Spring lamb chump chops seared in a hot pan and topped with a pillow of herby crumbs. Light, fresh and delicate in flavour herb crusted lamb chops, the best with new season lamb.

Lamb cutlets with herb crust, or rack of lamb cut into individual little chops. Toss the cutlets in herb and Parmesan breadcrumbs and fry for two minutes on each side.

Tonkatsu is a Japanese dish of breaded fried pork cutlet; there is also chicken version called torikatsu. My tonkatsu recipe uses flattened pork medallion coated in panko breadcrumbs with tomato and Worcestershire sauce flavour.

parmesan crusted rack of lamb

Lamb rack in parmesan crust

Servings: 2Time: 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 8-bone French trimmed rack of lamb
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2-3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
  • grated zest of 1 lemon


1. Score the skin on the lamb rack with a sharp knife on the diagonal. Season generously with salt and black pepper. Mix the mustard with the honey and spread all over the lamb except bones.

2. Strip the leaves off the rosemary and chop very finely, almost to a powder. Mix it with the lemon zest, the grated Parmesan and the breadcrumbs, using your fingers or a small blender. Tip onto a shallow dish.

3. Dip the top side of the lamb rack in the crumbs making sure the coating sticks well, press it on with your fingers.

4. Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/gas 9.

5. Place the lamb rack on a baking tray, crust side up and roast for 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to 180C/350F/gas 4 and roast for further 20-25 minutes (roasting time after the initial 10 minute blast should be 15 minutes per pound, provided your lamb had been brought to room temperature).

6. Let it rest in a warm place for at least 10 minutes before carving and serving.

Originally published: Mon, 15 December, 2014

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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