element. Don’t add more than one Google tag to each page.
Cranberry Pesto Stuffed Lamb

Cranberry Pesto Stuffed Lamb

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

An easy cranberry pesto made with basil, mint, garlic and pine nuts makes this stuffed American lamb dish a gorgeously festive and tasty winter dish perfect as a holiday supper celebration centerpiece.

I like cooking meat. That’s a strange thing to enjoy?

The majority of people enjoy baking or something like that but the complete satisfaction I receive from a perfectly cooked main meat dish like this cranberry pesto packed lamb is pretty much second to none.

Ok, yeasted bread is a close second I think.

Meat is also one of my favorite things to picture that makes it even weirder however I’ll just leave that alone for now …

This post is sponsored by the American Lamb Board. All material and opinions are my own.

What do you all consume for Christmas dinner? We have actually never ever really had a strong tradition in my family.

In some cases it was lasagna, other times pork roast, I think we had prime rib one year and a couple of years occasionally over the decades, lamb would make an appearance.

It’s the best meat for a vacation dinner in my viewpoint due to the fact that it’s simply a liiiitle bit more special than the rest and really matches winter season herbs and flavors so well.

This packed American lamb dish has a lot depth of taste (one of the factors I enjoy using pasture-raised American lamb), it’s actually genuinely a showstopper piece for a holiday dinner.

Whether you’re hosting a little gathering with friends (like we did!) or putting it at the center of your household’s Christmas meal, everyone will enjoy this dish.

How to make packed lamb

The primary step in this recipe is to make the cranberry pesto. Cranberries are everywhere right now in the stores so discovering a fresh bag should not be hard but frozen will work just as well if that’s all you have access to.

In the food processor, combine:

  • cranberries
  • basil
  • mint
  • garlic
  • pine nuts
  • additional virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper

That gets processed up until a paste types that’s easily spreadable. You’ll need to scrape down the sides of the food mill a number of times to reach this consistency.

Note— this will make more cranberry pesto than you require for the 3 pounds of lamb. Save it for another usage or use more when you serve the meal. I put some extra on the table and people used it on top of their roasted potatoes which was tasty!

Asking your butcher to butterfly the lamb for you is the simplest route to go and what I did. Their knives are nice and sharp which stuff is literally their job, take advantage!

Season the butterflied lamb meat liberally with salt and pepper then spread out the pesto all over the lamb. You’ll want to leave a little border without pesto so when you roll it up, the pesto does not get pressed out.

Roll the lamb lengthwise into a log shape and protect in a few locations with butcher’s twine by tying in a double knot.

Sear the lamb prior to roasting

In a large cast iron frying pan, heat some avocado oil (or utilize another high smoke point oil) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the lamb and sear on each side till browned.

Transfer the entire skillet to a preheated 425 ° F oven (convection roast– see dish notes if you don’t have a convection setting) and cook for about 8-10 minutes longer.

Remove the skillet and let the lamb rest in the skillet for a couple of minutes before slicing.

The result is a completely cooked medium-rare (cook closer to 10 minutes for medium) piece of juicy lamb rolled with a brilliant and festive herby cranberry pesto.

Drizzle any pan drippings from the frying pan over the chopped lamb before serving for some extra taste!

While I have actually made a balsamic dijon crusted beef tenderloin for an unique celebration before, I think this stuffed lamb dish steals the program. The inflammation can’t be beat and the cranberry pesto stuffing is just ideal for the season.

Can I utilize various herbs?

I recognize basil and mint aren’t always winter herbs so feel free to use rosemary, parsley, sage and/or thyme in their location.

The cranberries are really the primary taste in the pesto, the herbs are simply the supporting function. Alter to your choice, pesto is forgiving!

Can I replace a different cut of lamb?

I will admit, a lamb ribs is not the most cost conscious cut of meat. That’s why this is a special event meal! Prime rib or beef tenderloin are also costly so keep that in mind.

Finding lamb meat already deboned from a rack of ribs and packaged in the store may show to be a little difficult.

Ask the butcher if they have a rack of ribs that they can debone for you. That’s exactly what my own provided for me and while I paid for the whole thing (ribs and all), I took the ribs home and made lamb stock with them. Nothing goes to squander around here!

Another alternative is to use a lamb loin. If you want to go that path, simply ask the butcher to butterfly the loin and you’ll be all set.

While you could use a butterflied boneless leg of lamb, they will be much larger (better for a big crowd) and require a longer cooking time.

The meat off the rack of ribs is such a fragile and tender cut, it’s actually a fantastic one for special meals over the vacations.

Why choose American lamb?

If you remain in America (as the majority of you reading this are), American lamb is fresher! It’s essentially buying “regional” on a grander scale. Lamb from New Zealand is over 10,000 miles away and can take up to 30 days to get here.

The majority of American lamb farmers are family run services. Buying American lamb suggests you’re supporting them and their livelihood which I understand always makes me feel better about my purchase.

And most notably, taste. As a kid, I was never ever extremely keen on lamb to be honest. I didn’t take pleasure in the taste at all like I do today and I now recognize the difference was the sourcing.

American lamb is much more tasty and exceptionally tender. This is due to their diet. Sheep graze on a range of nutrient-dense turfs, vegetables and forage. It makes all the difference in the taste that winds up on your plate.

From a kid who didn’t truly love lamb to now, with 18 lamb dishes on this website, things have actually done a total 180.

And while I like each and every one of those lamb recipes (these pistachio crusted lamb chops with red wine cherry sauce is another excellent festive holiday option), this cranberry pesto packed lamb dish absolutely goes straight to the top.

It’s joyful, aesthetically sensational, basic and downright tasty.

The perfect dish for your vacation party!

More lamb dishes to try:

Peach Honey Grilled Lamb Chops

Smoky Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Apricots

Frying Pan Lamb Chops and Cipollini Onions with Tarragon Honey Mustard Sauce

Citrus Braised Lamb Shanks with Green Harissa

Wild Mushroom Couscous Lamb Stuffed Kabocha Squash

Prep Time15 minutes

Cook Time20 minutes

Overall Time35 minutes

Active Ingredients

  • 3 pounds American lamb, butterflied see note)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil for browning
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup loaded fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup loaded fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons additional virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 425 ° F convection roast. Or, 450 ° F if you do not have a convection setting.
  2. Place the cranberries, basil, mint, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and salt & pepper to taste in a food mill. Process up until a paste kinds, scrapping down the sides as needed.
  3. Location the lamb flat on a cutting board. Season freely with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread the pesto across the surface area of the lamb leaving a small border without pesto around the entire lamb.
  5. Thoroughly roll the lamb lengthwise and protect in 3 to 4 places (depending how long your tenderloin is) with butcher’s twine.
  6. Heat the avocado oil in a big cast iron frying pan over medium-high heat.
  7. As soon as hot, put the rolled and connected lamb into the skillet and brown on all sides. This will take about 1-2 minutes per side.
  8. As soon as browned, transfer the entire skillet to the oven and roast for 8-10 minutes depending upon how you choose your lamb prepared.
  9. Remove from oven, let rest in the frying pan for 5 minutes prior to slicing and serving.


Ask your butcher to debone a crown roast ribs and butterfly the meat. You’ll likely need to purchase the whole rack of ribs. If so, conserve the rib bones and make broth with it! Lamb loin is another alternative if deboning a rack of ribs isn’t possible.

In order to get about 3 pounds of lamb meat from the ribs, you’ll likely end up with 2 different pieces of meat.

Nutrition Details:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Portion: Calories: 522 Overall Fat: 25 g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 13 g Cholesterol: 249 mg Salt: 189 mg Carbohydrates: 5g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 2g Protein: 71 g

This site supplies approximate nutrition info for convenience and as a courtesy just. Nutrition information can differ for a variety of reasons. For the most precise dietary information utilize your preferred nutrition calculator based on the real components you used in the recipe.

Find Out More