pistacho rack of lamb

Pistachio Pesto Crusted Rack of Lamb

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Method: Sear, Roast

There are many reasons why a Rack of Lamb is such a coveted dish for special occasions. It’s a flavorful, tender cut of meat known for its rich, savory taste. It also has a delicate texture which lends well to roasting or grilling and results in a particularly unique melt-in-your-mouth flavor. It’s a very versatile cut and can be seasoned and prepared in many different ways, depending on the event. And, of course, the elegant presentation of a full Rack of Lamb with its perfectly sized chops and beautiful crust is sure to impress your guests. This Pistachio Pesto Crusted Rack of Lamb recipe perfectly complements the naturally rich flavor of the lamb with a delicate, savory crust. It’s the perfect main dish for your holiday celebration. Before you jump to this incredible Pistachio Pesto Crusted Rack of Lamb recipe, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Select a high-quality Rack of Lamb with equally sized chops — this will help ensure even cooking and provide the maximum visual impact.
  • Look for a Rack of Lamb with a nice layer of fat around the top — this will help keep the meat moist as it cooks and add flavor to the finished dish.
  • Use a meat thermometer while cooking to avoid overcooking the Rack of Lamb — we recommend a smart wireless thermometer like Meater for the best experience.
  • Avoid over seasoning your Rack of Lamb — too much seasoning will mask the flavor of the lamb, you will want to season just enough to bring out the natural richness of the meat.  

Recipe and photography created for The Honest Bison by Essence Eats. 


Rack of Lamb

Pistachio Pesto Crust

  • 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp finely chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp finely chopped basil
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • ½ cup unsalted pistachio nuts (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ⅛ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tbsp pesto


  1. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator 1 1/2 to 2 hours before you cook it so that it comes to room temp. If the meat is not at room temperature, it won’t cook evenly and may still be raw inside while the outside is cooked.
  2. Once the rack of lamb has come to room temperature, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Generously season rack of lamb with kosher salt and black pepper.
  3. In a large skillet over high heat, heat the vegetable oil. Add the rack of lamb, meaty side down, and sear for about 2 minutes. Using tongs, hold the ribs sideways, to sear the sides; then hold them upright to sear the base. This should take 1-2 minutes on each side to sear, about 6-8 minutes total.
  4. Transfer lamb to the foil lined baking sheet and set aside.
  5. In a small bowl combine the rosemary, thyme, basil, garlic, pistachio nuts, panko, butter, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  6. Spread pesto on the fat side of the rack of lamb. Then press the pistachio mixture on top of the pesto, adhering it to the lamb.
  7. Bake in the oven until it is pink in the center, about 25-30 minutes. Then set aside to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. Take the rack of lamb out of the oven around 120F, as the meat will continue to rise in temperature as it rests. The finished rack of lamb should be 125-130 degrees for a pink medium rare center.
  8. To carve, stand the rack of lamb on its end with the exposed ribs pointing upwards. Then glide your knife in between the two rib bones in a smooth single stroke.
  9. Place sliced lamb on a platter surrounded by fresh herbs and additional pesto on the side.
  10. Enjoy this Rack of Lamb recipe with your favorite sides. 

Recipe Notes

Store leftover lamb in the fridge for up to 3 days in a sealed airtight container.

To reheat, place the sliced lamb covered in aluminum foil. Bake for 15 minutes at 325F until warmed throughout.

Other tasty recipes you might enjoy:

Grass fed lamb chops
whole elk tenderloin