Lamb Lollipops make a great hors d’oeuvre for a party or family dinner entree. Best of all, they’re easy to prepare and delicious pan-seared or grilled.
Have you ever been to a party where lamb lollipops were among the hors d’oeuvres? People cannot get enough of these tender, flavorful lamb chops that you eat right off the bone!
But lamb lollipops aren’t just for parties – they can also be a quick yet elegant family dinner. This version of pan-seared lamb lollipops has a soy-singer glaze and is downright irresistible.
What Are Lamb Lollipops?
Lamb lollipops are simply individual chops cut from a rack of lamb. They are called lamb lollipops because you can hold them in your hand and eat the meat right off the bone with no utensils needed. That’s why these are such a popular party hors d’oeuvre. But even without a party, lamb lollipops are just plain fun to eat.
When shopping for lamb lollipops, look for a “Frenched” rack of lamb, which means that some of the meat and fat have been trimmed away from the rib bones for a more elegant presentation.
This bone is the “stick” of the lollipop, so you want it to be long enough to easily hold. Racks of lamb are often sold already Frenched, but if you come across one that has not been Frenched, you can ask the butcher to do it for you.
A rack of lamb typically comes with eight chops. You can cut them into individual chops yourself, which is fairly straightforward, but you can also ask the butcher to do it for you.
You want to ask them to cut down the rack of lamb into single chops for lamb lollipops. (For other preparations, you may want to cut the rack of lamb into double chops.) Once you get the lamb lollipops home, trim off all but a thin layer of fat from the chops.
You can grill or pan-sear lamb lollipops. Because they are so thin, they cook very quickly – just a few minutes per side.
Prior to cooking, you can marinate lamb lollipops for extra flavor. Try to marinate them for at least one hour and up to overnight. There is no need to let the lamb lollipops come to room temperature prior to cooking because they are thin and cook so quickly. Take them right from the refrigerator to a smoking hot pan.
To cook the lamb lollipops on the stove, heat a nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, brown the lamb chops for 2-3 minutes per side. This may get a bit smoky, so turn on the exhaust fan.
With a pricey and tender cut of meat such as lamb chops, you really want to aim for a beautifully pink, medium-rare degree of doneness. Look for an internal temperature of 125 to 135°F on your instant-read thermometer. Let the meat rest for a few minutes, during which the temperature will continue to rise a few degrees, and then grab a bone and dig in.
How To Serve Lamb Lollipops
As I mentioned, lamb lollipops are a favorite finger food at parties. If you are serving these lamb chops as an hors d’oeuvre, you can simply pass them on a platter with a small plate or cocktail napkin where your guests can place the bone when they are finished eating. One to two chops per person is enough, especially if you are serving other hors d’oeuvres as well.
To serve lamb lollipops as a main course, you should purchase 3 to 4 chops per person. Two racks of lamb, which is 16 chops, will generously feed a group of four. Serve the lamb chops with a starchy side dish, such as mashed potatoes, Italian polenta or rice, and a favorite green vegetable for an elegant dinner worthy of a special occasion.
More Lamb Recipes
Listen to our editor, Christine Pittman, explain briefly about how to make this recipe, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:Print
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2-inch piece ginger root, peeled and grated
- 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola
- 2 and 1/2 lbs. Frenched racks of lamb, cut into single chops
- 1 tsp. salt
- To make the marinade, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, white and light green parts of the scallions (reserving the green tops as a garnish), red pepper flakes and black pepper in a large bowl. While whisking, slowly pour in the oil in a steady stream and whisk until combined.
- Place the lamb chops in a gallon-size freezer bag or a glass baking dish.
- Pour the marinade over the lamb chops and toss them so that each chop is coated with the marinade.
- Close the bag or cover the dish and refrigerate the chops for at least one hour and up to overnight.
- Just prior to cooking, remove the lamb chops from the marinade and brush off any excess. Season the chops with the salt.
- Heat a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat.
- Working in batches so as not to crowd the skillet, add 4 to 6 chops to the skillet.
- Pan-fry until nicely browned on the first side, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then turn and cook the chops on the second side until browned and cooked through to an internal temperature of 125 to 135°F, approximately 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining chops.
- Garnish the chops with the green scallion tops and serve immediately.
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*Serves 4 as a main course or 8 as an hors d’oeuvre.
This post originally appeared in June 2021 and was revised and republished in September 2023.