Tips for Baking Lamb Chops in the Oven

If you enjoy lamb chops, you're probably interested in knowing the best way to cook lamb loin chops in the oven.
Image Credit: Tracey Kusiewicz/Foodie Photography/Moment/GettyImages

If you enjoy lamb chops, you're probably interested in knowing the best way to cook lamb loin chops in the oven. Baking lamb chops in the oven is easy, and can make the chops very flavorful. If you are looking to cut calories, baked lamb chops can reduce fat and calories.

Preparing Baked Lamb Chops

One of the best ways to prepare lamb chops for oven cooking is to set them up in a marinade first. Simple lamb chop recipes are relatively easy to find, and many contain homemade marinades. The Mayo Clinic notes that marinading meat is a good way to add extra flavor without adding extra fat or other unhealthy ingredients.

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Prior to placing the lamb chops in a marinade bag, you should consider removing any extra fat. Many recipes suggest french-cutting the lamb chops, which removes some of the fat.

If you are looking to aide portion control, you may want to cut the chops into 3 ounce pieces. According to the American Heart Association, 3 ounces of meat is a good serving size, one that packs in protein while reducing calories and fat. As a reference point, 3 ounces of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.

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Lamb chops, like steak, should be cooked at room temperature. By leaving the chops on the counter to marinade, the lamb chops will increase in temperature while they are infused with flavor.

The suggested marinade includes only a few ingredients: ⅓ cup of olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, smashed or crushed garlic, salt and pepper. To make the marinade, mix all the ingredients together, and pour them into the bag with the chops.

Then seal the bag, and let it marinade on the counter top. You can also do a dry rub on the lamb chops, which would typically include spices, salt, and sometimes olive oil.

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Read more: How Much Protein Is Right For You?

Lamb Chop Baking Tips

One of the recommended steps in baking any meat, including lamb chops, is to sear the meat first. Searing the lamb chops prior to adding them to the oven caramelizes the sugars in the meat, and forms a brown crust on the outside. This helps keep the flavor inside, and creates a very savory effect.

To sear the lamb chops, you should first bring the lamb chops up to room temperature. This step can be done while marinading the lamb chops. When the chops are at room temperature, heat a pan over high heat, with some oil. When you are almost ready to sear the lamb chops, you should preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Before adding oil or other fat to the pan, you should consider a couple of things. The first is how fatty is the lamb chop? If it has a lot of fat still on, or in, it, you won't need to add additional fats. Also, if the marinade used had extra fat, you probably don't need to add oil to the pan.

If it is a lean cut of meat, or if you removed most of the fat, you may need to add some extra fat to the pan. The best oil to use is olive oil, but you could use a nonstick spray instead. People trying to limit their saturated fat intake should avoid using butter.

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Don't rush heating the pan! If the pan is too cold, the meat can stick to the pan when turned.

When the pan and oil are very hot, add the lamb chops. You should hear a sizzling noise, and may notice some fat jumping from around the meat. Once you place the lamb chop on the pan, don't move it for 2 to 3 minutes. Next, flip the meat, and sear it on the other side.

Once the second side is seared, carefully remove the lamb chops from the skillet, and place them on an oven safe pan. To help prevent sticking, you can use a nonfat spray on the pan prior to adding the chops. According to the USDA, you should cook the lamb chops to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature, by inserting it into the middle of the chop.

Cooking times may vary, based on your oven. According to the USDA, about 7 to 11 minutes should fully-cook the lamb chops. Once they are cooked through, you should let the lamb chops sit for about 3 minutes before cutting into them. Cooking times can also vary based on the thickness of the cut used, so a thermometer is a great tool to use, to make sure the lamb chop reaches the correct temperature in the oven.

Finally, be sure to follow safe meat-handling techniques. You should wash any surface that comes in contact with the raw meat with warm water and soap, or a disinfectant spray or cleaner. This includes utensils, bowls, counter tops, and your hands. Taking precautions can help prevent foodborne illness.

Read more: 15 Healthy 10-Minute Dinner Ideas

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