Sous Vide Rack of Lamb is a perfect and elegant holiday dinner recipe that’s mouth-watering delicious. The rack of lamb is seasoned with garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and freshly ground black pepper, and then cooked in the sous vide warm water bath to medium-rare from edge to edge!
Why Sous Vide Rack of Lamb?
- A rack of lamb is one of the best (and expensive) cuts of lamb with about 8-16 ribs or chops. It’s leaner than a steak, as a result, overcooking is the most common mistake to ruin this pricy cut. Sous vide method produces a perfectly cooked, juicer, more tender and flavorful lamb than any other cooking method.
- Sous vide machine cooks the lamb evenly all the way through, and you’ll get an even doneness edge to edge.
- With traditional methods, a minute too long will mean overcooked lamb, and you have to constantly monitor with a meat thermometer. Sous vide cooking is low-stress cooking by eliminating short windows of time and stretch this time window into hours. So you can make a restaurant-quality meal at home almost entirely effortless!
What is sous vide? Sous vide means “under vacuum” in French. It’s a cooking method by vacuum-sealing food in a bag, then cooking for a long time to a very precise temperature in a water bath. This technique is known for being a precise and consistent way to evenly cook your food.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Rack of Lamb: Most racks of lamb from grocery stores are already “Frenched”. Frenched rack of lamb means that the rib bones are exposed by cutting away the fat and sinew coving them.
- Minced Garlic: Use fresh garlic for the best result.
- Fresh Herbs: I used rosemary and thyme.
- Salt and Pepper: For extra flavor.
- Olive Oil
How to cook sous vide rack of lamb
It’s important to know that lamb tastes good on its own, so you don’t want to go overboard with the seasonings, but in the meantime, you need to balance out the gamier flavors. My version uses a simple rub and seasoning with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. It complements the lamb without being overpowering.
After seasoning the lamb, let’s seal it in a bag. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, don’t worry. A regular zip-lock works perfectly for this recipe. Just place it in a zip-lock bag and vacuum-seal it using the “water displacement” method (see recipe card for details). Don’t worry about cooking it in a zip-lock bag, it’s completely safe to use it for sous vide cooking. The trick is to cover the bones with aluminum foil so that they won’t break the bag while cooking.
Cook the rack in the sous vide water bath and then finish with searing the meat quickly.
Do you pre-sear the lamb before sous vide cooking?
There is no need to sear the lamb before placing it in the water bath. After testing this recipe several times, we’ve concluded that the lamb actually tastes best without pre-searing.
Temperature and doneness
Target 130°F for medium-rare, or 135°F for medium. My favorite doneness is to cook the lamb to medium doneness which is very tender and juicy. If you’d like to try another doneness, below are the guidelines:
|Sous Vide Rack of Lamb Temperature||Doneness|
|115°F to 124°F||Rare|
|125°F to 134°F||Medium-rare|
|135°F to 144°F||Medium|
|145°F to 154°F||Medium-well|
|155°F and above||Well-done|
How long does it take to sous vide rack of lamb?
Like central steak cut, lamb doesn’t require a long cook time. The cooking time varies slightly depending on the size of your lamb. For the smaller lamb, it takes a minimum of 1.5 hours to cook, and larger ones will take a minimum of 2 hours to cook. It’s ok to leave the lamb in the water bath for an extra 1 or 2 hours.
Finish with a quick sear
The lamb is completely cooked in the sous vide water bath, but I like to sear it quickly to crisp up and brown the exterior.
In order to get a proper sear, a dry surface on the lamb is the key! Pat dry the meat thoroughly with paper towels, removing as much moisture as possible. This improves the contact between the skillet and the lamb, creating less steam during cooking and helps to create a beautiful sear. Make sure the skillet is very hot before you add the lamb. Sear each side for 45-60 seconds until nicely browned.
Can you sous vide rack of lamb from frozen?
Yes. Just add 30 minutes of cooking time in the sous vide warm water bath.
Sides I’d serve this with:
More Sous Vide Recipes for Dinner Party:
If you tried this recipe, let me know how your Sous Vide Rack of Lamb turns out in the comments below!
Sous Vide Rack of Lamb with Garlic & Herbs
- 1 rack of lamb Frenched*
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic about 2 cloves
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary plus a few more sprigs for searing
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme plus a few more sprigs for searing
- kosher salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- Preheat the sous vide machine: Fill a medium-sized container or pot with water, attach the sous vide precision cooker and set the temperature to 135ºF/57ºC for medium doneness**.
- Season the rack of lamb: In a medium bowl, whisk together garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Rub the lamb all over with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the seasoning mixture.
- Sous vide cook the lamb: Wrap bones in foil and place the lamb in a zip-lock bag or vacuum seal bag. The foil will prevent the bones from breaking the bag while cooking in the water bath.
- Seal the bag with a vacuum sealer, or using water displacement method: Seal all but one corner of the bag, and slowly place it in the water bath. Make sure everything below the zip-line is covered by water. Then seal the rest of the bag.
- Place the bag in the sous vide container and cook for 2 hours.
- Once the timer goes off, remove the bag from the water bath. You can use it immediately or store it in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Remove the lamb from the bag and wipe off any extra moisture with paper towels.
- Sear the rack of lamb: Place the skillet on medium-high heat and add the rest of the oil. Once it’s smoking hot, add aromatics such as rosemary and thyme, and the lamb meat-side down, sear for about 45-60 seconds per side until nicely browned.
- Transfer the lamb to a cutting board, and cover it with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Carve it by holding the rack upright and slicing down after every two rib bones. Serve immediately.
- * Most rack of lamb you will find in grocery stores are already “Frenched”. Frenched rack of lamb means that the rib bones are exposed by cutting away the fat and sinew coving them.
- ** 135°F is my preferred doneness, the lamb is super tender and juicy at this temperature. Anywhere between 125°F to 134°F will produce medium-rare doneness, if it’s below 125°F, it will be very rare and tastes almost raw. You can find the temperature chart here.
Editor note: Originally published Nov 26, 2019 and updated Jan 21, 2021.