The Right Internal Temperature for Cooked Lamb

The Right Internal Temperature for Cooked Lamb

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Christine Gallary
Mar 31, 2015
(Image credit: Henry Chen)

Whether you're cooking a whole leg of lamb, a Frenched rack, or lamb chops, it's worth knowing what the internal temperature of the lamb should be so that you don't under or overcook it. But it's not anything to stress about, as the temperatures for lamb are the same as for beef!

Kitchen Fact: The safe internal temperature for cooked lamb is 145° Fahrenheit.

A meat or instant-read thermometer is your best bet for determining the temperature of your lamb, and it should be inserted into the thickest part of the meat that's not touching any bone.

An internal temperature of 145°F means that the meat will be at a medium-well doneness, and this is the official safe temperature recommended by the USDA. Ground lamb is the one cut of lamb that is an exception — it should be cooked to 160°F.

The Right Temperature for the Doneness You Want

For those who prefer their lamb at another doneness, here's a reference chart for the corresponding temperatures before any resting time:

  • Rare: 115 to 120°F
  • Medium-Rare: 120 to 125°F
  • Medium: 130 to 135°F
  • Medium-Well: 140 to 145°F
  • Well-Done: 150 to 155°F

No matter which doneness you take your lamb to, keep in mind that letting the lamb rest for a few minutes will yield juicier meat, and some carryover cooking will occur that will take the internal temperature of the meat up by about 5 more degrees.

Kitchen Fact Source: Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures at Foodsafety.gov

More Lamb Cooking Tips from The Kitchn

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