Red Wine Sauce Rack of Lamb

Lamb with red wine sauce

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 2 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
356 Calories
28g Fat
3g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 356
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 9g 46%
Cholesterol 56mg 19%
Sodium 315mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 21mg 2%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 249mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A rack of lamb always makes a fabulous dinner and an elegant centerpiece for a special occasion. Our succulent rack of lamb is roasted and served with an easy red wine and herb pan sauce that pairs beautifully with the gamy flavor of the lamb. The sauce is also delicious with side dishes like creamy mashed potatoes and silky risotto that soak up the sauce, making every bite simply delicious. Roasted Brussels sprouts or steamed green beans are great choices for a vegetable side.

Lamb is a delicious meat that has 23 grams of protein in a 4-ounce serving (lean lamb)—lamb also has iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins B6 and B12. Find lamb that is locally raised and organically fed for greater flavor. Online butcher shops deliver great quality game to your doorstep, and local butchers always carry beautiful cuts that you can order in advance. The choice of frenching the racks or not is up to you, both presentations are great and equally flavorful.

For the red wine sauce, use a wine that you'd drink by the glass. The better the wine, the better the sauce. For the best flavor, use fresh and organic herbs if possible. Rosemary, thyme, and chives all pair deliciously with lamb. To find the perfect wine pairing, go for a bottle similar to the dry red wine you use for the sauce. If you use a good-quality pinot, merlot, or cabernet sauvignon for the sauce, the rack will go nicely with a similar type of wine.


For the Lamb:

  • 2 racks lamb

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Red Wine Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, or shallot

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed 

  • 1 cup dry red wine, such as pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, or merlot

  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives

  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, or a dash of dried thyme

  • 1 cup unsalted or low-sodium beef stock

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Kosher salt, to taste 

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

Prepare the Lamb

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Rack of lamb ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Sprinkle the lamb with salt and pepper.

    Rack of lamb seasoned with salt and pepper

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Heat the olive oil in a large, oven-safe, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Place the racks of lamb in the skillet, meaty-side down.

    Rack of lamb in a skillet

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Sear the lamb until nicely browned on all sides.

    Searing all sides of the rack of lamb

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the lamb for about 20 to 30 minutes. Check the inner temperature with an instant-read thermometer for minimum safe doneness of 145 F. Remove the racks to a platter, tent loosely with foil, reserve, and keep warm. You will be using the skillet with the drippings to make the sauce.

    Roasted rack of lamb

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prepare the Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for lamb red wine sauce

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Place the skillet in which you cooked the lamb on the stove over medium heat. Add the onion to the drippings. If there aren't enough drippings, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is tender. Add the wine, rosemary, chives, and thyme, and boil until the wine has reduced by about two-thirds.

    Herbs added to pan sauce

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Add the beef stock and continue to cook over medium heat until reduced to about 3/4 cup. Add the butter and stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

    Red wine herb sauce

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Cut the rack of lamb into portions and serve with the red wine sauce. Enjoy.

    Lamb with red wine sauce on a plate

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Why Do I Need to Rest the Lamb?

For lamb, but in general for all meats, rest time is key to serving a beautiful cut. When the muscle fibers are heated through cooking, the fibers firm up and a little bit of the water content gets pushed to the surface while most of it gets pushed inwards away from the heat. If you cut the meat once the cooking process is over, all the liquids will ooze into your cutting board. Allowing proper time for the moisture to redistribute makes meats juicy, but it also allows the racks, roasts, or any large piece of meat to continue cooking while out of the heat source.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Lamb Rack, Raw. FoodData Central. United States Department of Agriculture

  2. Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures Chart. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services