Sous vide lamb chops are cooked tender and flavorful every time, which makes them excellent for serving to family and friends. Sous vide cooking is ideal for perfectly cooking these delicate lamb shoulder chops.
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I enjoy cooking with lamb, but I don’t use it often, because it is an expensive ingredient. But lamb chops are an excellent dinner to serve because they are simple with lots of flavor. When you are looking for a way to change up dinner and make something different lamb is a great choice.
Cooking Sous Vide Lamb Chops
Sous vide cooking seems intimidating at first, but it is actually very straightforward. The science of this cooking method is that the sous vide cooker holds a water bath at a steady temperature and the food is cooked to exactly that temperature. So all you have to do is put your food in the water bath and let it cook for a few hours.
Lamb chops are an excellent meat to use for sous vide because they are difficult to get exactly right on a stove top or grill. It is easy to over cook lamb chops and end up with a nice brown and crusty exterior and overdone meat on the inside. Lamb is expensive, and it is frustrating to over cook it and feel that you wasted money!
How to Cook Sous Vide Lamb Shoulder Chops
Cooking the sous vide lamb shoulder chops is a simple 5 step process that sounds more complicated than it really is.
Step 1: Set up the Water Bath
Set up your sous vide cooker in a water bath at the temperature you have decided to use. I cooked my lamb chops to 134 F. See this section at the bottom of the post for more details on how to chose a temperature.
Step 2: Season and Bag the Lamb Chops
Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper. Then chop up one clove of garlic and one shallot along with some fresh rosemary. Put the chops in a bag with the garlic, shallots and rosemary. Either vacuum seal the bag or remove most of the air by squishing it out. Use multiple bags if you have more than two lamb chops.
Step 3: Cook the Lamb Chops
Once the water bath reaches the desired temperature add the bag with the lamb chops and let them cook, submerged. They should cook in the water for 1 ½ to 4 hours.
Step 4: Sear the Lamb Shoulder Chops
A few minutes before you are ready to eat heat a cast iron skillet on medium high. Once the pan is hot take the lamb chops out of the bag, reserving the seasonings. Pat the lamb chops dry a paper towel. Add a tablespoon of oil or butter to the hot skillet and sear the lamb chops quickly, for about 45 seconds to 1 minutes per side. You are just trying to get a nice brown color on the chops. If you leave them in the skillet too long they might become overcooked. Once they are seared put them aside on a plate to rest for five minutes.
Step 5: Make a Quick Pan Sauce
While the lamb chops rest add the garlic, shallot and rosemary to the hot skillet, along with some red wine and chicken broth. Let it simmer and reduce for 2 minutes and then add some butter and take it off the heat. Spoon this quick wine sauce over the lamb chops before serving.
What Kind of Lamb Chops Should I Use?
The most important thing in picking lamb chops for sous vide cooking is to buy thick ones. They will cook best if they are ¾ of an inch to an inch thick. Here are the four typical lamb chops you will find:
- Shoulder chop – These are also called blade or arm chops. These tend to be relatively inexpensive and are what I used for this dish.
- Sirloin chop – These are cut from the leg of lamb and are also relatively inexpensive.
- Loin chop – These are like lamb T-bone steaks and are tender and delicious. Because of this they cost more.
- Rib chop – These are the ribs from a rack of lamb cut into chops. Rib chops will be the most expensive.
All four of these kinds of lamb chops are cooked the same when you are using sous vide. So you can pick whichever fit your plans and budget and use this recipe for any of them. Just get chops that are nice and thick and you will get the results you want!
Can I use Frozen Lamb Chops?
Sous vide cooking works well on meat that is already frozen, you just need to increase the cooking time. For lamb chops add 1 hours to the cooking time for frozen meat. If you are adding aromatics like rosemary and thyme you should add it to the bag before freezing and then just pop the frozen bag in the water bath.
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Do I Need a Vacuum Sealer for Sous Vide Cooking?
No, all you need for sous vide cooking is a cooker like the Anova Sous Vide cooker. You can use a plastic recloseable bag in the cooker for almost all recipes. I got my Foodsaver vacuum sealer over a year after I started sous vide cooking. I love using the Foodsaver and it is very convenient, but it isn’t necessary.
At What Temperature Should I Cook the Lamb Chops?
One of the best things about sous vide cooking is that you have total control over what the final temperature of the lamb is. I set my sous vide cooker at 134 F which is at the top end of Medium rare. Here are the temperature ranges for cooking lamb:
- Rare: 115 to 124 F
- Medium rare: 125 to 134 F
- Medium: 135 to 144 F
- Medium well: 145 to 154 F
- Well done: 155 F and up
If you are comfortable eating steak that is rare or medium rare lamb chops are no different in terms of risk. However for food safety reasons I would not ever cook meat in a sous vide cooker at less than 130 F. Check out this article from Cooks Illustrated to learn more about food safety and sous vide cooking if you are concerned.
What Should I Serve with Sous Vide Lamb Shoulder Chops?
When you are serving lamb chops they will be the star of dinner, so you don’t need to make anything fancy to accompany them. I like to serve my lamb chops with mashed potatoes and a simple salad. The pan sauce provides a nice gravy for the mashed potatoes and it is an elegant dinner that everyone can enjoy.
- 2 lamb chops
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 shallot
- rosemary sprigs
- 1 T oil
Red Wine Pan Sauce
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- Set up the sous vide cooker to 134 F (or your desired temperature.)
- Mince the garlic and shallots.
- Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper.
- Place the lamb chops in a vacuum bag or plastic zip top bag along with the garlic, shallots and rosemary. Remove as much of the air as possible
- Place the bag in the sous vide water bath for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
- A few minutes before the lamb is done heat a cast iron skillet on medium high,.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of oil to the skillet.
- Take the lamb chops out of the bag and reserve the garlic, rosemary and shallots. Pat the chops dry.
- Sear the lamb chops in the skillet for 45 seconds to 1 minute per side. Remove to a plate.
- Add the wine and chicken broth to the skillet along with the garlic, rosemary and shallots and let the mixture reduce for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the butter to the skillet and remove from the heat.
- Spoon sauce over the lamb and serve.
If using frozen lamb chops increase the sous vide time to 2 1/2 to 4 hours.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 327 Total Fat: 24g Saturated Fat: 10g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 13g Cholesterol: 65mg Sodium: 499mg Carbohydrates: 6g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 2g Protein: 16g