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Fried Lamb Chops in the Cast Iron Skillet

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Learn how to make fried lamb chops in the cast-iron skillet; it’s delicious and only takes about 10 minutes.

close up of lamb chops sprinkled with parsley.

Pan-searing lamb chops in the cast-iron skillet on the stovetop is probably the quickest way of cooking a cut of lamb. A stunning-looking, flavorful dish that requires minimal effort on your side. And check out these Baked Lamb Chops with Potatoes!

What’s great about this simple recipe?

  • Super-fast, delicious lamb recipe using simple ingredients.
  • Delicious: The meat is succulent and full of flavor.
  • Versatile: You can use any spices you like and change the dish’s flavor according to your wishes.
  • Guests: Pan-fried lamb chops are an elegant meal perfect for guests.

Expert tips

  • If possible, use a cast-iron skillet; it retains the heat best and helps sear the meat perfectly. If you don’t have a cast-iron pan, use another large frying pan with a thick bottom.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan; that will lead to steaming instead of searing, and you will miss that thin, savory crust.
  • Fry the narrow fat strip of the chops first; it protects the meat keeping it tender and adding flavor. You can remove what’s left of that layer of fat after cooking the meat.

Recipe ingredients

raw lamb chops on a plate, garlic cloves and bowls with oil and spices.

Lamb chops:

  • A rack of lamb (I had frozen New Zeeland lamb rib chops) cut into individual rib chops. Defrost it in the fridge.
  • The racks I have are already cut into single pieces. If yours are not, just cut between the bones using a good sharp knife.
  • 8 ribs weigh about 2.2 lbs/ 1 kg; they will serve 2 people as a main dish or 4 as an appetizer.

Spices:

  • Fine sea salt or kosher salt and ground black pepper.

Other ingredients: olive oil and garlic. Fresh rosemary sprigs would be great as well; add them to the pan together with the garlic if you happen to have them.

Step-by-step instructions

  • Remove the meat from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking it and let it come to room temperature. 
  • Heat the cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat. Add oil to the pan.
  • Season the meat with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Place the chops in the hot pan on the narrow fat side and cook the fat for 2 minutes until quite a bit of it has been rendered (1).
rendering the fat from lamb in a cast-iron skillet.
  • Add the peeled yet whole garlic cloves to the pan.
  • Arrange the chops in a single layer in the pan and cook the first side for 3 minutes (2).
  • Flip with tongs and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes (3).
collage of two pictures of cooking lamb chops in a cast-iron skillet.

  • Don’t overcook; check the internal temperature.
  • Rest the meat for 2-3 minutes, sprinkle with coarse sea salt, and coarsely ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Internal temperature before and after resting

  • Medium-rare: 130°F/55°C; after resting 140°F/60°C
  • Medium: 150°F/65°C; after resting 160°F/71°C
  • Well-done: 160°F/71°C; after resting 170°F/77°C
many lamb chops in a skillet close up.

Recipe FAQ

Can I marinate the chops?

You can. Mix 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 grated garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, ¼ ground black pepper in a small bowl. Marinate the meat for 2 to 12 hours. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before frying.

Can I use a frenched rack of lamb?

Yes, you can buy already frenched chops or prepare them yourself.

Can I use lamb loin chops (forequarter/ shoulder chops)?

Yes, but as they are usually thicker, you might add another minute or two to the cooking time. An instant-read thermometer is the best way to check if they are done to your liking.

How to serve?

The fried lamb chops are best served immediately and hot after a short resting time. If they sit for too long, they will lose their temperature, and the fat will congeal, which is not pleasant.

How to store and reheat?

Considering how fast it is cooking the chops, I don’t advise you to cook them in advance.
However, leftover lamb chops keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Reheat them in the oven before serving. Place them in a baking dish, cover them with aluminum foil and reheat them at 350°F/ 180°C for about 10-15 minutes.

What to serve them with?

To keep it simple, serve them with lemon wedges.

Try them with mint jelly, dip, pesto, or a sauce made with fresh herbs, like this Wild Garlic Sauce or Chimichurri.

Starchy side dishes: couscous, couscous salad, bulgur salad, or a simple green salad. Roasted or boiled baby potatoes, mashed potatoes, oven-baked potato wedges with chili dip, or smashed potatoes are great sides.

Vegetable side dishes: Buttered Peas, Pan-Fried Asparagus and Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus, or French-Style Green Beans.

close up of one lamb chop in a black skillet.

More delicious lamb recipes

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many lamb chops in a skillet close up.

Fried Lamb Chops in the Cast Iron Skillet

Learn how to make fried lamb chops in the cast-iron skillet; it’s delicious and only takes about 10 minutes.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Beef, Pork and Lamb
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 4 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Servings: 2 -4
Calories: 831kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 8 single-rib lamb chops Note 1
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves Note 2
  • sea salt fine and coarse
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Heat a large cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat.
  • While the pan heats, peel the garlic cloves but leave them whole.
  • Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Add the oil to the pan.
  • Cook fat side: Place the chops in the hot skillet on the narrow fat side and cook the fat for 2 minutes until quite a bit of the fat has been rendered.
  • Add garlic cloves to the pan.
  • Arrange the chops in the skillet on one side and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Flip with tongs and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Don’t overcook; check the internal temperature (Note 3).
  • Rest the meat for 2-3 minutes, sprinkle with coarse sea salt, and coarsely ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Racks of lamb that are cut into single chops. You can buy them already cut, or you can cut them yourself. One individual rib weighs about 2.5 oz/ 75 g.
  2. You can add one or two sprigs of fresh rosemary to the skillet when you add the garlic.
  3. Internal temperature for lamb chops before and after resting:
 
  • Medium-rare: 130°F/55°C; after resting 140°F/60°C
  • Medium: 150°F/65°C; after resting 160°F/71°C
  • Well-done: 160°F/71°C; after resting 170°F/77°C

Nutrition

Serving: 2lamb chops | Calories: 831kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 91g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 298mg | Sodium: 326mg | Potassium: 1210mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 8mg
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Recipe Rating




mjskitchen

Tuesday 12th of April 2022

Usually my husband smokes a rack of lamb, but it takes so long. I love you idea of cutting them into individual ribs and searing them. So easy and they look delicious!