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Lamb on the grill is a game changer. Grilled lamb is a favorite in North Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, Central Asia, parts of India, Indonesia, and, of course, Australia and New Zealand, where millions of sheep graze the land. And, of course, there is high-quality American lamb!

If you haven’t swapped some grilled lamb into your summer meat-grilling repertoire, then you are missing out! Rib lamb chops grill up fast and easy and might just be your new favorite splurge dinner. Serve them alongside Kale, Cabbage, and Mint Salad with Peanut Dressing instead of the optional Mint-Basil Pesto, which is fantastic over fresh tomatoes, too!

Picnic table with plate of Grilled Rib Lamb Chops covered in pesto alongside asparagus.

Rib lamb chops cook quickly on the grill, and the optional mint-basil pesto in this recipe is the perfect finishing touch!

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Ingredients

  • Rib lamb chops – Buy these special chops from a good butcher or supermarket with a high turnaround.
  • Lemon juice – Fresh is always best!
  • Olive oil – Any good-quality olive oil will work great!
  • Mint Basil Pesto – While optional, this homemade pesto really makes these lamb chops special.
Fresh rib lamb chops on butcher paper.

How Many Rib Lamb Chops Per Person

The amount depends on appetites, of course, and also the thickness of the chops. For 1-inch thick rib lamb chops that weigh 3 to 4 ounces each, I would plan on 3 per person (assuming there are side dishes!). If you are serving them as appetizers, then 2 per person is plenty.

How Long to Cook Lamb Chops on the Grill

Rib lamb chops are pricey, so you want to pay close attention to them on the grill and not overcook them! They cook best over direct high heat, which creates a quick sear on the outside, and allows the middle to remain nice and pink and tender. Note that they cook fairly quickly, and the difference of a minute or two can make the difference between rare and medium, so keep a close eye on the chops as they grill.

Always keep in mind that any food will continue to cook after you remove it from the grill. Consider removing the chops when they are about 5 degrees below your desired level of doneness.

ThicknessRare
(140 F)
Medium
(155-160 F)
Well-Done
(165-170 F)
½ inch 1 ½ – 2 minutes per side2-3 minutes per side3-4 minutes per side
1 inch 3-4 minutes per side4-6 minutes per side6-7 minutes per side
1 ½ inches4-6 minutes per side6-7 minutes per side8-10 minutes per side
Cooking Times for Rib Lamb Chops Over Direct High Heat (450 degrees)

How to Know When Grilled Lamb Chops Are Done

I have to start by saying — in a perfect world, you would use a meat thermometer, and see above for approximate cooking times! If you like cooking meat at all, especially on the grill, a meat thermometer is your best friend.

You need to insert it into the thickest part of the middle of the chop to get the most accurate reading. Testing the temperature near the bone or the edge of the chops might give you a false reading. Let the thermometer rest in the center of meat for 10 to 20 seconds, until the temperature stops climbing.

Grilled Rib Lamb Chops on white plate with grilled asparagus.

However, if you don’t have a meat thermometer, the best way to check for the desired level of doneness is by pressing the center of the chops and seeing how soft/yielding or firm they are. Here is a general guide to checking meat for doneness without a thermometer

  • Undercooked: If it is very squishy, it’s probably still pretty raw in the middle. 
  • Rare: If it is soft but not too squishy, then it is rare.
  • Medium-Rare: It will be soft with some resistance.
  • Medium: Firmer, but with some give when you press it.
  • Medium-Well to Well-Done: The meat will feel firm, though still springy. If it’s not springy, you’ve gone too far!

How to Grill Lamb Chops

  1. Prepare the grill: Heat the grill to high. Scrub the grill rack with a grill brush. Use grilling tongs to dip a wad of paper towels in some vegetable oil, and use the oil-dipped paper towels to wipe down the grill rack.
  2. Make the pesto: Follow the Mint-Basil Pesto recipe, combining the ingredients in a food processor or blender.
Scooping mint-basil pesto out of glass dish with spoon.
  1. Marinate the lamb chops: Place the chops in a nonreactive baking dish in a single layer. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the chops, drizzle over the olive oil, and turn the chops to coat both sides with the juice and oil. Sprinkle both sides of the chops with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes while the grill heats.
  2. Cook the chops: Grill the chops for about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare, less if you like your chops pinker, more if you like them more well done (see lamb chops grilling chart above). Once the lamb chops are on the grill, baste them with any remaining marinade left in the pan. 
  3. Serve: Remove from the grill, let sit for 2 minutes, and serve hot with the Mint Basil Pesto if desired.
Topping Grilled Rib Lamb Chops with mint-basil pesto.

What to Serve With Grilled Lamb Chops

Grilled Eggplant

Red Onion Mint Orzo

Broccoli Orzo Salad

Picnic table with plated grilled rib lamb chops and asparagus next to purple napkin.

More Lamb Recipes

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Grilled Lamb Chops

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Marinating Time: 15 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 People
Rib lamb chops cook quickly on the grill, and the mint-basil pesto is the perfect finishing touch!

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 12 (1-inch thick) rib lamb chops (3 to 4 ounces each)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cups olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • Mint Basil Pesto (to serve; optional)

Instructions 

  • Heat the grill to high. Scrub the grill rack with a grill brush. Use grilling tongs to dip a wad of paper towels in some vegetable oil, and use the oil-dipped paper towels to wipe down the grill rack.
  • Place the chops in a nonreactive baking dish in a single layer. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the chops, drizzle over the olive oil, and turn the chops to coat both sides with the juice and oil. Sprinkle both sides of the chops with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes while the grill heats.
  • Grill the chops for about 4 minutes on each side for medium rare, less if you like your chops pinker, more if you like them more well done (see lamb chops grilling chart above). Once the lamb chops are on the grill, baste them with any remaining marinade left in the pan.
  • Remove from the grill, let sit for two minutes, and serve hot with the Mint Basil Pesto if desired.

Notes

Cook the rib lamb chops to your liking. Remember, thought that the temperature will rise as they rest off the grill. Aim for an internal temperature of 140 F for rare, between 155 F and 160 F for medium, and between 165 F and 170 F for well-done chops.

Nutrition

Calories: 692kcal, Carbohydrates: 0.03g, Protein: 68g, Fat: 45g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 22g, Cholesterol: 224mg, Sodium: 390mg, Potassium: 899mg, Fiber: 0.01g, Sugar: 0.01g, Vitamin A: 0.1IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 41mg, Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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