Adding the right herbs to lamb can elevate the flavor of this succulent meat to new heights. From the refreshing notes of mint to the earthy aroma of rosemary, discover the best herbs for lamb to take your recipes from ordinary to extraordinary!
What are the best herbs for lamb?
Whether you are planning a traditional meal this Easter, or looking for something to spice up some lamb chops, you might be wondering what herbs go with lamb.
Lamb has a distinctive flavor that can be greatly enhanced with the right choice of herbs. Because the flavor of lamb can be strong, it is important to choose herbs that complement it.
Make your own flavorful lamb seasoning or homemade herb crust using fresh or dried herbs. You could use a classic herb mix recipe like herbs de Provence, or get creative and craft your own signature blend.
Some of the best traditional herbs that go with lamb are rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, mint, and bay leaves. However, when choosing herbs for a lamb dish, make sure to consider the other ingredients in the dish.
Read on to find out what are some of the best herbs for lamb, as well as some of our favorite ideas for using them, from marinades to crusts to sauces.
Best herbs that go with lamb
Some common herbs that pair well with lamb are rosemary, garlic, and thyme. These robust flavors can really enhance the natural flavor of the lamb.
Rosemary is a traditional herb that pairs well with lamb. The strong, piney notes of rosemary go very well with the almost gamey flavor of lamb.
If using fresh rosemary, strip the leaves off the stems before using.
To use rosemary for seasoning lamb, either finely chop and use in a seasoning rub or herb crust, and/or place whole sprigs of rosemary on the lamb joint in the roasting dish.
Thyme is another traditional lamb seasoning herb. It has a delicate and woody flavor that’s a good match for lamb, but it also works well with most other poultry, meats, and vegetables.
Thyme is often used in combination with rosemary when cooking lamb as these herbs complement each other very well.
To use thyme to season your lamb, strip the leaves from the stems, finely chop and use as a seasoning rub, add to a herb crust, and you can add whole sprigs of thyme to the roasting pan for extra flavor.
Sage is another classic herb that pairs well with lamb for a traditional roast. It has a peppery, slightly lemony flavor, which balances the grassy flavor of the lamb.
To use sage, remove the leaves from the tough stalks first before finely chopping and adding to seasoning rubs or herb crusts.
You can also use dried rubbed sage instead of fresh if you don’t have any fresh sage to hand.
>> Related article: How to Use Sage in Cooking
Mint is a particularly delicious accompaniment to lamb, its fresh flavor complements the earthy flavor of lamb perfectly.
You can use month in a marinade, crust or seasoning rub, but it is especially tasty when used in a mint jelly or sauce.
Oregano has a mild sweet, aromatic flavor, similar to sweet basil. This herb is great with lamb, and pairs well with Mediterranean flavors like garlic, lemon, and pepper. Great for a Greek-style lamb recipe.
Use oregano in a herb seasoning rub, or marinade.
This herb has a woody pine and citrus flavor. It is related to oregano but has a sweeter flavor profile.
Finely chop fresh marjoram and add to herb crusts, marinades or seasoning rubs.
Parsley is a classic herb used in many types of cuisine. Parsley is valued for its role in blending other flavors, so use it in combination with other herbs for the best results.
If using fresh parsley, flat-leaf parsley (or Italian parsley) is typically preferred over curly parsley, as it has a stronger, richer flavor.
Finely chop parsley and add to herb seasoning mix or herb crust. If you’re looking for a more intense flavor, try adding some of the parsley stems as well.
8. Bay leaves
Bay leaves work well with lamb that is roasted, slow cooked, or stewed. Place whole leaves into the roasting pan, slow cooker, or stew pot. Just remember to remove them before serving!
9. Herbes de Provence
And finally, not a single herb, but a herb mix!
One of my favorite ways to add a little je ne sais quoi to a lamb dish is with Herbes de Provence.
This classic French herb mix contains rosemary, thyme, savory, marjoram, and oregano which are all flavors that go perfectly with lamb!
Spices that go with lamb
The addition of spices will also enhance the flavor of lamb in many dishes. Choose spices that pair well with the overall style of dish you are preparing.
Garlic will go well with all the herbs listed above, and will go with just about any style of cuisine, particularly Greek or middle-eastern dishes, but also a traditional British roast leg of lamb.
Cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper are warming spices that go well with the flavors of middle eastern lamb dishes.
Best herbs for lamb roast
Traditional herbs for lamb roast include rosemary and thyme, served with a mint sauce or jelly.
To make a simple mint sauce You can try an easy homemade version by mixing finely chopped fresh mint leaves with a sprinkle of sugar and a splash of vinegar. It looks a little rustic, but tastes fantastic!
Best seasoning for lamb chops
Some herb combinations that go well with lamb chops are rosemary and thyme, sage and garlic, and coriander and cumin.
Best herbs for lamb stew
For lamb stew the best herbs to use are ones with a robust flavor that will last the long cooking time.
A combination of bay leaves, rosemary and thyme is a good choice, add some garlic for a bit more flavor.
And try adding some fresh chopped parsley as a garnish.
Best herbs for rack of lamb
Rack of lamb tends to have a relatively quick cooking time, so some more delicate herbs can be used for this cut. However, the old faithful rosemary and thyme are still and excellent choice.
Some other herbs to try are sage, oregano and garlic.
A great option is to make a herb crust, which you can do by mixing finely chopped herbs (1 part) with some breadcrumbs (3 parts). Press it onto the outside of the lamb rack before baking in a hot oven.
Best herbs for shepherd’s pie
The best herbs for shepherd’s pie are woody or grassy herbs like thyme, rosemary, parsley, and oregano.
These herbs are great with just about any lamb mince dish.
Add in some garlic and vegetables like carrots and celery for a tasty savory mix.