These yogurt-marinated grilled lamb loin chops are a great reason to fire up the grill! Inspired by the flavors of the Middle East, this recipe serves grilled lamb chops over a fresh, crunchy fennel salad packed with herbs and delicious spices. Finish with a pinch of sumac, good olive oil and some Greek yogurt for a meal that can be as casual or as fancy as you like.
Table of Contents
- What Is the Difference Between Lamb Rib Chops and Lamb Loin Chops
- How to Grill Lamb Loin Chops
- Test Kitchen Tips
- How Long to Cook Lamb Loin Chops
- What Temperature to Cook Lamb Loin Chops To
- How to Serve Lamb Loin Chops
- Side Dishes for Lamb Loin Chops
- Lamb Loin Chops Recipe Recipe
- More Lamb Recipes to Try
What Is the Difference Between Lamb Rib Chops and Lamb Loin Chops
Lamb loin chops are cut from the back of the lamb right behind the ribs and run from the spine to the hindquarters. Generally cut into thick chops, lamb loin chops are a bone-in cut of meat and are much meatier than the rib chop.
Lamb rib chops are smaller than the other two types of lamb chops—shoulder chops and loin chops—and feature a long slender rib, giving them that “lollipop” look. While loin chops are more akin to miniature T-Bone steaks.
How to Grill Lamb Loin Chops
Loin chops are known for being tender, making them an ideal candidate for cooking over high heat like grilling or searing. Grilling is our preferred way to cook lamb loin chops, not only is it quick and clean, but it imparts a nice amount of smoky flavor and chars the fatty edges of the meat. The process couldn’t be more simple:
- Preheat the grill to medium-high
- Brush the grill grate clean then brush the grates with oil
- Grill the chops for 5–6 minutes per side
Two things to keep in mind, the chops will let you know when they’re ready to flip (they’ll release themselves from the grill grate), and the total amount of cooking time is determined to how well-done you like your meat.
Test Kitchen Tips
- Lamb in particular does really well when marinated in yogurt, so for this recipe we marinate the lamb chops in a combination of Greek yogurt, lemon juice and zest, oregano, cumin and/or fennel seeds (I like both), garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. It’s a simple list of ingredients, but together they create a delicious foundation of flavor.
- Prick the lamb all over with a fork prior to marinating. This encourages the marinade to permeate into the meat, aka infusing it with all those delicious flavors!
- Season the meat aggressively. This is true for any red meat—don’t be afraid to season it well! Even if you’re seasoning your meat, we can almost guarantee you aren’t seasoning it enough. It’s hard to over salt a chop or steak so give it a little more!
How Long to Cook Lamb Loin Chops
A general rule of thumb: when cooked over medium-high heat, lamb loin chops will need about 5–6 minutes per side. Pan-searing lamb loin chops is a similar process to grilling—preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high, cook the chops for 5–6 minutes per side.
The oven can be utilized for a more hands-off approach. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204ºC), while the oven preheats, preheat a cast-iron skillet on the stovetop. Sear the chops until golden on each side (about 1 minute per side) then transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 145ºF for medium-rare or 150ºF for medium, 12–14 minutes. (You can also try out the reverse sear method.)
What Temperature to Cook Lamb Loin Chops To
Using temperature as a guide for cooking meat is always a good idea. It’s truly the only foolproof way to get a perfectly cooked piece of meat every time.
Lamb chops are best served medium-rare or medium. Any more and the meat will start to dry out and lose some of its tenderness (which is what makes them so good!).
Here are some internal temperature guidelines from the USDA for cooking lamb:
- Pull at 145°F for medium-rare, let rest for at least 3 minutes (final temp 145°F)
- Pull at 150°F for medium, let rest for at least 3 minutes (final temp 160°F)
How to Serve Lamb Loin Chops
Serve over a crunchy herbaceous fennel salad for a full hearty meal. It’s perfect for a Sunday night dinner but also makes for a savory summer weeknight meal.
Pair this robust meal with a light and fruity wine like a Pinot Noir or a heavier red like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel. To finish, serve with a piece of crusty bread or milk buns to round out the dish.
Leftover Storage + Reheating Tips
- Loin chops can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- To reheat cooked lamb loin chops, place them in a baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and reheat for 10 minutes at 300°F—or until fully warmed. Reheating using this oven method will prevent the chops from drying out.
Side Dishes for Lamb Loin Chops
- This simple Garlic Naan Bread is a wonderful compliment to the savory lamb.
- Round out the menu by adding Turkish Salad or Fattoush Salad to these chops.
- Cozy up with a side of Roasted Garlicky Brussels Sprouts for a satisfying fall dinner.
- Switch out the fennel for the Middle Eastern inspired Miso & Za’atar Potato Salad.
- Pair with a side of mashed potatoes or roast potatoes and green beans for a filling dinner.
- Swap the fennel salad in the recipe for this reader-favorite fennel salad.
- Uplift a winter weeknight dinner by adding arugula salad to the side of these lamb chops.
Some of the most common flavor pairings for lamb include:
– Preserved lemon
The overall taste of lamb is a stronger, wilder flavor than that of beef—but with a similar texture.
Leg of lamb is fully cooked when the internal temperature reads 145°F. Our preferred method is baking the leg of lamb at 350°F for 90 minutes after adding a generous coat of seasoning.
Here are some of our favorite ways to season lamb chops:
– Salt and pepper
– Dry rubs
– Yogurt or milk marinade
– Rosemary and garlic
– Oregano and garlic
– Mediterranean spices
– Fennel seed
In general, plan for 2 lamb loin chops per serving. If you’re serving them as part of a large meal with multiple sides, one chop per person will do. But for everyday meals with just one side dish, two chops per person is what you should plan on.
Lamb Loin Chops Recipe
- 2 ½ pounds lamb loin chops, about 1½ inches thick
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 lemons, one zested and both juiced
- 2 tablespoons fennel or cumin seeds, crushed (we like a mix of both) + more for serving
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped + more for serving
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced, fronds reserved
- 1 cup mixed fresh herbs such as reserved fennel fronds, cilantro, mint and/or parsley
- ½ teaspoon ground sumac
- Flaky sea salt, extra-virgin olive oil, and Greek yogurt for serving
- Pierce lamb chops with a fork all over; season with salt and pepper.
- Combine yogurt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon zest, 2 tablespoons fennel and/or cumin seeds, 2 tablespoons oregano, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl.
- Add lamb loin chops and toss to coat evenly. Cover and chill for 2 hours or up to overnight.
- Let meat come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, toss sliced fennel with 2 tablespoons lemon juice; season with salt and set aside. Heat a grill to medium-high (375ºF). Brush grill grate clean, then brush with oil to coat.
- Grill chops 5–6 minutes per side until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the centers, but not touching the bone, registers 125–130°F for medium-rare or 135°F for medium.
- Add cup if mixed herbs to sliced fennel mixture; transfer to a serving platter then arrange lamb loin chops on top. Sprinkle lamb and fennel with ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds, sumac, and flaky sea salt. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with additional Greek yogurt.
More Lamb Recipes to Try
- This recipe for Cast-Iron Pan Seared Lamb Ribs Chops is made in one pan and is almost too easy to make!
- These juicy, tender Instant Pot Lamb Shanks are both hands-off and relatively quick-cooking.
- Elevate Taco Tuesday with these 25-minute Spicy Harissa Lamb Tacos.
- Bold, flavorful Lamb Vindaloo is the perfect recipe for a date night in.
- Spicy Lamb Meatballs make a hearty appetizer or cozy meal.
- Instant Pot Moroccan Lamb Stew is unique, comforting and satisfying.
- Easy enough for weeknights yet unique enough for company, Lamb Kofta makes a delicious anytime meal.
- Lamb Tikka Masala is spooned over rice and finished with cilantro and naan bread to make a tasty weeknight dinner.