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How to Cook Lamb Chops

posted in Main Dishes by Kathy Maister
difficulty rating

I like to cook lamb chops quickly, in a frying pan, on high heat. Only seven minutes later, dinner’s ready!

There are many different cuts of lamb available.

These rib chops are have their own little “handle”, which makes them perfect for picking up and eating with your fingers. The nugget of meat in the center will be juicy and tender as long as it is not cooked past “medium.”

A ¾ inch thick chop is the optimum size to buy. Thinner chops tend to get over-cooked very easily. Figure on 2-3 chops per person.

Start by sprinkling some salt and pepper on both sides of each lamb chop.

Preheat your non-stick pan on high heat. To tell if the pan is hot enough, add about 1 Tablespoon of water to the pan. The water should sizzle and evaporate immediately.

Add the chops to the fry pan. You should hear them sizzle! If they are not sizzling, then your pan is not hot enough.

Set the timer to 3 ½ minutes to 4 minutes.

When the timer goes off, flip the lamb chops, using a pair of tongs.

Continuing cooking on the flip side for another 3 ½ to 4 minutes.

Mint sauce is traditional with lamb chops. Some people prefer mint jelly. You get to choose!


If you are feeling adventurous you might want to give cooking a Leg of Lamb a try!



All of my recommendations and cooking times are based on meat taken directly from the refrigerator.

According to Joy of Cooking, in their “Meat” section, they say (and I agree): “While many cookbooks and food experts recommend bringing meat to room temperature before cooking, we encourage you to follow the safer practice of keeping meat refrigerated right up to the last minute before cooking. While room-temperature meat will cook more quickly, there is not enough benefit to outweigh the risks of tempting bacteria even for a short time.”

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Jon said:

I’m a fan of lamb, but sometimes find it a bit ‘fatty’ whcih is why I prefer to cook it under the grill (broiler) so the fat drains off. Also if you cook it that way, the you can baste it as it cooks – my favourite is a mix of olive oil, fresh chopped rosemary (a GREAT herb to have with lamb) and garlic.

Cook the lamb for 1-2 minutes, baste the chop, cook for another minute or so, turn baste and cook for 3-4 minutes – yum.

In my view lamb has to be served a little pink, but cooked tis way it is so tender and juicy.

Graydon said:

Sounds good… I’d like to have seen one cut open to get a feel for the doneness you’d get after 3 1/2 minutes.

Also, do you let your meat sit out for any amount of time or straight from fridge?

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Graydon, you are so right, I should have sliced open one of the lamb chops. (They were our dinner for that evening and I didn’t want them to get too cold!)

They were pink on the inside. I like them medium; my husband likes his chops more medium-rare. (I usually cook his about 2 ½ minutes on each side.)

I did take them directly from the refrigerator where they were very cold indeed. They sat on the counter only for a few minutes while I seasoned them and preheated the pan.

Jon, I’m going to give the broiler a try next time. Thanks for the tip!

Jon said:

For your info, most recipies in cook books are based on cooking meat from room temperature rather than from the fridge.

I have to admit that I find lamb which is beyond pink overly dry and think you lose some of the flavour – though in my experince here in the UK we tend to like our meat far rarer than in the US. I have found in the past that to get meat even near what I would call medium rare, that when I’m in the US I have to ask for rare – and then get some very funny looks…

Kathy Maister said:

Hmmm. I guess that’s why a lot of steak houses give detailed descriptions of what rare, medium-rare, etc actually looks like!

Joy of Cooking is my cooking bible. In their “Meat” section they say (and I agree): “While many cookbooks and food experts recommend bringing meat to room temperature before cooking, we encourage you to follow the safer practice of keeping meat refrigerated right up to the last minute before cooking. While room-temperature meat will cook more quickly, there is not enough benefit to outweigh the risks of tempting bacteria even for a short time.”

All of my recommendations and cooking times are based on meat taken directly from the refrigerator.

matthew said:

I prefer to panfry. Broiling was way too hot and the marinade I used started a small grease fire. Scary and not worth it. Tastes great off a pan.

Kathy Maister said:

I agree with you Matthew! Pan fried lamb chops cook up in no ti;me and are delicious!

Jason said:

When I pan fry lamb chops I like to add a small combination of red wine, olive oil, rosemary, and dill to the mix. For me, it adds for a rich full flavor that complements the strong lamb meat flavor.

Kathy Maister said:

Jason that sounds delicious! Do you use fresh or dried rosemary and dil?

cidnee said:

hi this is one of the most famos chef’s daughter here and when my dad made them lamb chops i loved them i thought i would not like the lamb chops but i was wronge i wish he could fix them some time sooner

Glenda said:

I usually do my chops on the George Foreman, I baste them with a mix of soya sauce, yellow mustard & fresh garlic – absolutely delicious!!

Kathy Maister said:

Glenda, I have some lamb chops in the freezer and I’m going to try cooking them as you suggest…sounds delicious! (I love doing steaks on my George Foreman grill!)



Kathy Maister said:

Hi Richard, why not give this recipe a try and let me know if you have any questions!

DMSEE said:

I never has lampchops before. My friend just gave me three of them that are marinating in Teriyaki sauce. I will cook them on my George Grill, also. I hope they come out good. I will try 3min. ea side. Hopefully that will be good since we like our beef cooked med. I am going to grill the on Mon. If you have a suggestion for me please let me know, thanks.

Kathy Maister said:

Hi DMSEE, I like cooking Lamb Chops with my George Forman Grill. They don’t get quite as crispy as when I do them in the frying pan, but the fat just drips away! I hope yours turned out well?

DMSEE said:

Hi Kathy, The Lamp Chops I made on the George Forman grill came out great! However, they took a lot longer then 3 min. on ea. side, My grill doesn’t have a temp. control so it’s one way cooking. It was more like 10 min. on ea. side and worth the wait. They were still pink and delicious. Thanks so much for responding to my post.

Kathy Maister said:

DMSEE, I’m delighted they turned out well!

I’m not sure I understand when you say “10 minutes on each side”. Are you closing the grill cover down on the lambs or just cooking one side and then the other?

DMSEE said:

Hi Kathy, OOPS!!! I meant 10 min. total. Yes, the lid was closed. Thanks!!

Sony said:

Kathy, I just returned from the store -guess what I bought – LAMB! lol I am cooking it for myself for Mother’s Day – and as a gift my husband has agreed to eat it (uncultured swine – lol). I am going to follow your original recipe (pan fry) – do you marinate the chops at all?

Wish me luck – – (and wish my husband luck – lol)

Kathy Maister said:

Hi Sony, I hope they turned out well! No I do not marinate the chops but I do love lots and lots of mint jelly with my lamb chops!

Keri said:

I marinate my Lambchops in a ziplock bag with olive oil, a lil balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, and a few sprigs of Rosemary . That marinates overnight. I Pan fry them in a splash of white wine for apprx. 10 minutes and they are a perfect medium , so tender and flavorful.

Kathy Maister said:

Recipe sounds great! Marinating in a Zip Lock bag is a huge time saver. I often set the bag on a plate (or bowl) in the refrigerator, just in case it leaks. Lamb chops are a a great meal anytime of the year and are so quick and easy to cook!
Thanks for your recipe!

Diane Edwards said:

This is my first time cooking lamb chops and after reading all of these great recipes I think I will use the soya sauce musterd and garlic mixture and pan fry them with a splish of white wine and evoo.

Kathy Maister said:

Good Luck Diane! Your recipe sound great!
I always keep some lamb chops in the freezer for a quick meal.

AliBaba said:

I did it! I cooked them just as you said – (well, almost) – and they were fab!! After evaporating the water I just couldn’t resist adding some olive oil – well, it looked soo dry!!!

They were fab :o)

Loved ‘em!

Kathy Maister said:

That’s great news AliBaba!

I always keep some lamb chops in my freezer for a quick meal.

Good Luck developing your cooking skills!


maria d said:

i never cook lamb chop before this is my first time ? do you have quick and easy way to cook


I bought some lambchops from my local grocery store but when I opened the package, they smelled like they had just left the farm. The smell was really strong but the meat looked fresh. Tell me what I should do about it. This is only my second time at cooking lamb.

joan said:

Kathy: Talk about serendipitous.

My incredible butcher gave me two beautiful lamb chops along with my regular order (Happy Holidays to me!).

I had no idea what to do with them… and here you are along with all you wonderful reviewers with tons of scrumptious suggestions.

P.S. I AM a beginner. Two years ago when I started I saw a William Sonoma roast lamb recipe. Want to talk easy and delicious? Want to have you guests rave? Check it out for oven temp and time but you make tiny slits all over the lamb and insert sliver thin garlic slices and press juniper berries into the meat. Salt/pep…and rub the roast with olive oil. I’ve made this twice – and people are still talking about it. What’s even funnier is that friends have said people are afraid to make roast lamb. Guess it pays to be a neophyte…I just forged ahead with great results.

startcooking said:

Beverly, my motto is “when in doubt, throw it out!”.

Joan, I love the idea of the garlic and juniper berries. I will have to give it a try!

kat said:

Thanks for the recipe =)

stella said:

Thanks for the step-by-step guide. I’m learning to cook and really appreciate this. Your site is a good example of how to blog well.

startcooking said:

Thanks Stella!
I’ve just bookmarked your site and am looking forward to reading all your great tips on blogging!

JayL said:

I’m cooking lamb rib chops for the first time and wanted to pan fry them. Came to the site and got the cooking times, thanks. I have done lamb chops in the past but have grilled them.

My recipe: Marinate them in Syrah or Shiraz wine(both are the same just one is from Australia and the other from the U.S. with garlic, rosemary, and salt and a little pepper, and refrigerate. The chops will turn a dark purple color and that’s when you know it’s ready. then grill at about 375-400 degrees for about 5-6 min on each side depending on thickness. They are awesome!! Thanks for some of the other tips guys.

startcooking said:

Hi JayL,

Ohhh, your recipe sounds delicious! Can’t wait to give it a ty.

Not being a big wine connoisseur, I had no idea about the Syrah vs. Shiraz…very interesting.


ted said:

simply marvelous

Sonia Bailey said:

Thank you all for your wonderful advice. This evening will be the first time that i have ever made lamb chops. I will be using the pan fry method with rosemary,garlic and olive oil… I will post my comments after i try it… thanks again

Debbie Ermmarino said:

I have a question. My mom was making lamb chops in the oven but we had to run out- they were in for a just a short time-probably half cooked & she left them on the counter for about 2 hrs. We came back & ate them. Was that a good move??? Should they have been put in the frig while we were gone?

Please resond!

startcooking said:

Hi Debbie,
I think that within the next 4 hours you will be able to tell us if it was a good idea to have eaten the lamb chops!
Good Luck!

Jetta said:

This was my first time making lamb chops and I followed the recipe, and they were great, my son loved them and he’s a picky eater, I would like to find more was to cook them.

startcooking said:

Congratulations Jetta! Nothing like being able to satisfy a picky eater!
Try Googling cooking lamb chops and you will discover about a million more choices!

Margaret said:

I likethe fat on lamb chops to be crispy so would prefer to cook them in the oven. How long and at what temperature should they cook.

startcooking said:

Hi Margaret,

If you google cooking lamb chops in the oven you will discover tons of recipes to choose from.

Some recipes have you roast them at a very high temperature for a very small amount of time while others have you sear them in the pan first and then continue cooking them in the oven.

Good Luck!

Brenda Lee Paliy said:

This is my 1st time making lamb chops for dinner.My 1st intention was to make Irish Stew which therefore called for shoulder lamb chops.So off I went to the grocery store buying the ingredients for the stew.Realiesing that it also called for rutabaga,beer,brown sugar etc.So today I was talking to my hubsand asked him how about making Lamb chops,steamed carrots,mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner.Off I went to look for a lamb chop recipe.My comment is this:Thank you for creating a website for 1st timers who need to learn how to cook simple recipes when your MomMother-in-law is not around to ask :)

ronald said:

My Dad, was a butcher  in Manhattan for 35 years, He never timed anything  cooked on the top of the stove. He told me good chops are just right when a person without teeth could eat them without teeth. The chops were always pink on he inside.

Gemma said:

Hey, my fiance and I are going to be trying Lamb chops for the first time. We are going to be trying your recipe, and I will let you know how it goes.

WildBill said:

Hi ,I have been wanting to cook lamb for a very long time…i live here in Iowa and grew up here…i know how to cook almost everything.on the bbq or the smoker..we have just never ate lamb as a family…now im going to give it a try was wondering if lamb is a meat you can smoke well……or any suggestion …i do not wanna mess up good meat and loose the money i bought it with…..thanks Bill

startcooking said:

I’ve done How to Cook a Leg of Lamb
but have zero experience working with a BBQ or a smoker.
Sorry I could not be more helpful.

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