Air fryer lamb chops marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and fresh herbs are cooked to tender perfection in under 10 minutes.
Using the air fryer for these lamb loin chops is the easiest method for a consistently delicious outcome!
Y’all know by now I absolutely love lamb.
And while prices have recently got a bit insane (but what hasn’t these days?), I happened to stumble upon a sale of some local lamb chops at the grocery store.
Lamb loin chops are one of my favorite cuts. They’re simple to cook, can be treated like any other chop or steak yet have some of the most tender meat you’ll taste.
In fact, these air fried lamb chops take a total of 8 minutes to cook! And that’s for a thick chop so it’s even quicker if you’re working with thinner ones.
I always associate lamb recipes with spring and Easter so there’s no better time than now (I just saw the first daffodils and hyacinth popping up through the mulch!) to share these easy air fryer lamb loin chops.
ps- I love these spring lamb nachos this time of year.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE AIR FRYER LAMB CHOPS
This recipe is incredibly simple using a quick and easy marinade to flavor the lamb. You don’t need many ingredients but you’ll be blown away by the final taste!
- lamb chops (thicker chops are preferable)
- olive oil
- lemon juice
- fresh rosemary
- fresh tarragon
- garlic clove
WHAT KIND OF LAMB CHOP SHOULD I USE?
This recipe calls for lamb loin chops.
People often only consider lamb chops to be what I used in this za’atar grilled rack of lamb but in fact, there are three different types of lamb chops.
When you buy a rack of lamb and then slice each between the bones, those are lamb rib chops. Rib chops are distinguished by that lollipop appearance with the bone sticking out. They’re very tender and a prized cut. You’ll pay for that though.
The loin chop, what we’re using in this air fryer recipe, is found between the ribs and the leg of the lamb. In terms of beef cuts, it’s the same as a porterhouse steak or T-bone.
The lamb loin chop is great because the meat is still incredibly tender (maybe just slightly less so than the rib chop) but the price is significantly less. Plus, there’s more meat on a loin chop than a rib chop.
Lastly, there’s the shoulder chop. This isn’t a cut I’ve ever cooked with mostly because you just don’t see it as frequently in the store.
It’s the least expensive of all three chops but also the least tender. Shoulders are muscles that work hard on an animal and the meat reflects that with its toughness. Cooking a lamb shoulder chop should be done at lower heat and for a longer time than a rib or loin chop.
So while we’re using lamb loin chops today, you could technically also use lamb rib chops if you prefer. They’ll cost more but the marinade and cooking time would be the same.
HOW TO COOK LAMB CHOPS IN THE AIR FRYER
To impart flavor into the chop, we’ll be marinating them. But, only for a short period of time as the tender chop meat doesn’t need long to soak up the flavor.
Start by making the marinade. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl.
Mince the rosemary and tarragon along with a clove of garlic and add that to the bowl with the salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Place the lamb chops in a baking dish, season with some salt and pepper then pour the marinade on top. Flip the chops over a few times to completely coat and let marinate at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
Preheat the air fryer at 400°F to get it nice and hot.
I don’t often find it necessary to pre-heat the air fryer unless I’m cooking protein in it. It’s akin to preheating your oven or grill and helps get a crispier, browner crust on the outside of the meat.
It’s also especially important when starting with a frozen protein like frozen chicken breasts.
Once hot, place the marinated lamb chops in the air fryer basket or on trays depending on your model type.
Air fry at 400°F for 6-8 minutes total, flipping the lamb chops halfway through cooking.
If you have an oven model air fryer like me, I like to rotate the trays when I do this as well.
Thicker chops (about 1-1.25″) will cook to medium-rare in about 8 minutes. Thinner chops will only take 5-6 minutes.
The best way to gauge accurate doneness is by using an instant read meat thermometer. Medium-rare lamb can be pulled when it reaches 135°F.
Technically, medium-rare for a lamb chop is 145°F but the internal temperature will continue to rise up to 10° after the meat is removed from the heat.
When the lamb chops are cooked to your desired doneness, remove them from the air fryer and let rest for a few minutes before serving.
Garnish with a little extra minced fresh herbs and coarse salt.
From oil sprays to muffin cups and from pizza pans to racks, we've got them all, and they make fantastic Christmas presents, too!
HOW LONG CAN I MARINATE THE LAMB?
If you’re trying to prepare the lamb chops ahead of time, I don’t suggest marinating much longer than 1 hour.
Unlike other tougher cuts of meat that get better as they sit (like the flank steak used in these carne asada nachos), the lamb chops are incredibly tender and a longer marinating time will start to break down the meat too much.
Lemon juice acts as a tenderizer by breaking down the fibers in the meat but if left too long, it will essentially start to “cook” the meat (this is exactly the process when making ceviche).
If you want to prep in advance, make the marinade but keep it separate from the meat until you’re ready to start cooking.
Since the chops only need 20 or so minutes in the marinade, this is still a 30 minute recipe start to finish.
TIPS FOR THE BEST TASTING AIR FRIED LAMB CHOPS
- Bring the lamb to room temperature before marinating it. Room temperature meat is always preferable as it cooks more evenly and will result in a juicier outcome.
- Use fresh herbs! Fresh herbs make a big difference in the flavor of these simple lamb chops.
If you don’t have tarragon or don’t love the taste, feel free to substitute a different herb like mint, thyme or oregano. I happen to think tarragon goes lovely with lamb. In fact, these skillet lamb chops are served with a tarragon honey mustard sauce that’s absolute incredible!
- Don’t overcook the lamb! There’s definitely a larger percentage of people who dislike lamb versus beef and I firmly believe it comes down to two things: overcooking it and buying foreign lamb instead of American lamb. Lamb tastes best cooked medium at most. Tough lamb is usually the result of overcooking. Just don’t do it.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS AIR FRYER LAMB CHOP RECIPE
For a spring vibe and to capitalize on the air fryer already being out, serve the chops with some air fryer carrots.
These brown sugar candied carrots are also a great carrot side dish. They’re made in the skillet and come together very quickly.
Instant Pot asparagus is as simple and spring-like as it gets and also a great pairing with lamb.
I love mushrooms combined with red meat and these air fryer mushrooms are no exception.
For a starch, roasted purple sweet potatoes would be perfect with the herb butter sauce that mimics the marinade of the lamb chops.
MORE POPULAR LAMB RECIPES TO TRY:
Air Fryer Lamb Chops
- 1 pound lamb loin chops
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh tarragon
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- Place lamb chops in a baking dish, season lightly with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Remove rosemary and tarragon leaves from the stems and mince with the garlic clove.
- Add the herb/garlic mixture along with the salt and pepper to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Pour the marinade over top of the lamb chops, turning them with tongs to coat. Let sit for 20-30 minutes to marinate.
- Preheat air fryer at 400°F for 5 minutes. Once hot, place the marinated lamb chops on the trays or in the basket (depending on your air fryer model) and air fry for 6-8 minutes (*see note), flipping the chops half way through.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.