How to Roast Leg of Lamb Recipe (Perfect Every Time)

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How to Roast Leg of Lamb Recipe (Perfect Every Time)– an easy, fool-proof recipe with minimal prep and perfect results. It’s a great recipe for beginners with straightforward and precise cooking instructions- you’ll get the best results every single time.

Serve with Au Gratin Potatoes, Honey Glazed Carrots, and Crispy Brussles Sprouts. See more: Traditional Italian Easter Dinner ideas.

Beautiful lamb roast on a serving platter with potatoes and herbs.
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The Best Roasted Leg of Lamb

This is our go-to recipe for roasting lamb. It’s perfect for Easter Sunday, Christmas dinner, or special occasions. Why you’lll love this recipe:

Flavorful Marinade: The combination of garlic, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper creates a robust and well-balanced marinade that infuses the lamb with delicious flavors.

Tried-and-True Results: The combination of traditional ingredients and cooking methods ensures a tried-and-true recipe that consistently delivers a delicious and well-cooked leg of lamb.

Crispy Exterior, Tender Interior: Roasting the leg of lamb in the oven results in a crispy and flavorful exterior, while the inside stays tender and juicy. The initial high heat gives it the nice crust and the lower temprature cooking ensures it stays tender.

Impressive Presentation: Roasted leg of lamb makes for an impressive centerpiece at any gathering or special occasion, showcasing your culinary skills without excessive complexity.

You will also love our pistachio rack of lamb and lamb steak recipe!

plate with lamb, potatoes and asparagus ready to eat. Pouring the gravy over the top of the meat.

Simple Ingredients

Roasting a whole leg of lamb is easier than you think! We start with a few fresh qaulity ingredients (amounts listed in recipe card below).

ingredient shot for recipe.
  • Leg of lamb: The main protein, rich and flavorful. Get the best quality you can!
  • Fresh Garlic: Adds a savory and aromatic element to the lamb.
  • Olive oil: Enhances moisture and imparts a rich, fruity flavor. It creates a nice crust on the meat.
  • Fresh rosemary: Infuses a fragrant, earthy taste. Fresh herbs are best for this but you can use dried (lessen the quantity).
  • Fresh thyme leaves: Add a subtle herbal flavor to complement the lamb.
  • Dijon mustard: Provides a tangy and slightly spicy kick.
  • Kosher salt: Enhances overall seasoning and flavor.
  • Ground black pepper: Adds a hint of heat and complements the other flavors.
  • Water: Used in the pan to keep the lamb moist during roasting.
  • Optional: Red wine. Adds depth and complexity to the pan juices, creating an optional red wine jus or gravy.

How to Make Roasted Leg of Lamb

If this is your first time cooking lamb, or if you need a new recipe- I promise this is the recipe you will come back to time and time afain.

How to make roast leg of lamb step-by-step: scoring the top of the lamb.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 
Using paper towels, pat the lamb dry. Using a sharp knife, score the top side of the lamb by making shallow cuts in a diamond pattern.

How to make roast leg of lamb step-by-step: making the marinade.

In a small bowl, mix minced garlic, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, Dijon mustard, kosher salt, and black pepper to create a flavorful marinade.

How to make roast leg of lamb step-by-step: topping the meat with the marinade.

Rub the marinade all over the leg of lamb- massaging extra into the fat-scored part. Make sure to coat the lamb thoroughly for maximum flavor.

How to make roast leg of lamb step-by-step: roasting the meat in a cooking rack in a roasting pan.

Place the lamb on a rack, fat side up, in a roasting pan. The rack allows the heat to circulate evenly around the lamb, promoting even cooking.
Pour the water and the red wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

close up of lamb after it is cooked to perfection.

Roast the leg of lamb in the preheated oven. Roast for 10-15 minutes at 450 degrees F, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F. Cook for about 1 hour and 15 minutes more (see notes for doness guide). 

How to make roast leg of lamb step-by-step: letting the lamb rest with foil over the top.

Baste the lamb with pan juices every 20-30 minutes to moisten it.
Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the lamb, which is about 125 degrees for medium-rare.

How to make roast leg of lamb step-by-step: making the gravy.

While the lamb rests, you can use the pan drippings to make a delicious gravy. Strain the drippings, remove excess fat, and whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour or cornstarch to thicken on the stovetop.

pieces of cut meat on a cutting board. The perfect roast leg of lamb is roasted to perfection.

Carve the leg of lamb and serve with the homemade gravy.

pieces of cut meat on a cutting board. The perfect roast leg of lamb is roasted to perfection.

Cooking lamb leg isn’t complicated and makes a stunning presentation for your dinner table. This easy recipe will give you stunning and tasty results every time. It’s the perfect lamb roast.

Variations

You can add variety to your roasted leg of lamb by trying different variations in marinades, seasonings, and accompanying side dishes. Here are a few ideas:

  • Citrus Herb Marinade:
    • Replace Dijon mustard with a mixture of orange and lemon zest for a citrusy twist. Combine it with herbs like thyme, rosemary, and parsley for a refreshing flavor.
  • Minty Garlic Marinade:
    • Add chopped fresh mint leaves to the garlic and olive oil mixture. This imparts a minty freshness to the lamb, complementing its rich flavor. Serve with mint jelly.
sliced roast leg of lamb slices on a platter with potatoes on the side and herbs surrounding it.

Best Equipment for Roasting Lamb

How to Store and Reheat

STORE: If you have leftover lamb, store it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking. Consume the leftover roasted leg of lamb within 3-4 days for optimal quality.

REHEAT: Preheat the Oven: To maintain the roast’s crispiness, preheat your oven to around 325°F (163°C). Add Moisture: Place a small dish of water in the oven while reheating to add moisture and prevent the lamb from drying out. Cover the lamb with aluminum foil to retain moisture during reheating. Reheat Gently: Reheat the leg of lamb in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes or until it reaches the desired temperature. You can use the meat thermometer to ensure it reaches at least 165°F (74°C).

plate with lamb, potatoes and asparagus ready to eat.

Top tips for the best results

  1. Properly Marinate and Season: Take the time to marinate the leg of lamb with a flavorful mixture of garlic, olive oil, fresh herbs (rosemary and thyme), Dijon mustard, kosher salt, and black pepper. This not only adds depth of flavor but also enhances the overall taste of the lamb.
  2. Allow the Lamb to Reach Room Temperature: Before roasting, let the lamb sit at room temperature for about 1-2 hours. This helps the meat cook more evenly throughout. Cold meat going into the oven can result in uneven cooking.
  3. Use a Roasting Rack: Place the leg of lamb on a roasting rack in the pan. Elevating the meat allows heat to circulate evenly, ensuring that the lamb cooks uniformly and the skin gets crispy.
  4. Regular Basting: Baste the lamb with pan juices every 20-30 minutes. Basting keeps the meat moist and adds more flavor. Be careful not to open the oven door too frequently, as it can affect the cooking time and temperature.
  5. Use a Meat Thermometer: Invest in a good-quality meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the lamb accurately. This is the most reliable way to determine the doneness of the meat and avoid overcooking. Follow the temperature guidelines in the chart provided earlier.
  6. Let it Rest: Allow the roasted leg of lamb to rest for 15-20 minutes after removing it from the oven. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicy and tender roast.
plate with lamb, potatoes and asparagus ready to eat. Pouring the gravy over the top of the meat.

FAQs

Tips for buying the best lamb leg

Quality and Source: Choose lamb from a reputable source, such as a trusted butcher or a quality meat market. Look for lamb that is labeled as grass-fed and organic if possible. This ensures better flavor and quality.
Freshness: Opt for fresh lamb whenever possible. Check the color of the meat; it should be pink and not gray.
Bone-In vs. Boneless: The choice between bone-in and boneless depends on your preference and cooking style. Bone-in lamb leg tends to have more flavor, while boneless is easier to carve.

Marbling: Look for marbling in the meat, which refers to the intramuscular fat. A moderate amount of marbling contributes to tenderness and flavor.

Cooking time and internal temperature guide

A general rule of thumb for cooking a roast leg of lamb is remembering that the roast will have carryover cooking. This means the meat rises in temperature as the roast rests (about 10º). This means that you will take it out when it is about 10º below your desired doneness based on the following chart.

Doneness Internal Temperature Cooking Time (Approximate)
Rare: 120-130°F (57°C) 15 minutes per pound
Medium Rare: 130-135°F (63°C) 20 minutes per pound
Medium 135-145°F (71°C) 25 minutes per pound
Medium Well 145-155°F (74°C) 30 minutes per pound
Well Done 155+°F (77°C) 35 minutes per pound

With that said, the BEST way to check for doneness is to use an instant-read thermometer. This will ensure that it is cooked to your preference.

How much meat per person?

Consider the size and weight of the leg of lamb based on the number of people you plan to serve. A general guideline is to estimate about 1/2 to 3/4 pounds of meat per person.

plate with lamb, potatoes and asparagus ready to eat. Pouring the gravy over the top of the meat.

Looking for other recipes? Try these:

What to Serve with Roasted Lef of Lamb

These are my favorite dishes to serve with this roasted lamb:

Make sure to leave a ⭐️star rating on the recipe card and comment below if you make the recipe. I love to connect with you through my recipes.

I would love for you to tag me on Instagram @cucinabyelena so I can see your delicious Italian recipes. To get more ideas, follow me on Pinterest.

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Perfect Roast Leg of Lamb Recipe

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5 from 2 reviews

This easy no-fail roasted leg of lamb recipe gives you the BEST lamb roast every time! It makes for a stunning presentation and a delicious special occasion meal. 

  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 (5 pound) bone-in leg of lamb, trimmed and scored on the fat side
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup red wine (optional, but recommended if making gravy)

Instructions

  1. Bring the leg of lamb to room temp. Take the leg of lamb out of the refrigerator and leave it at room temperature for about 1 hour. 
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 
  3. Using paper towels, pat the lamb dry. Using a sharp knife, score the top side of the lamb by making shallow cuts in a diamond pattern.
  4. In a small bowl, mix minced garlic, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, Dijon mustard, kosher salt, and black pepper to create a flavorful marinade.
  5. Rub the marinade all over the leg of lamb- massaging extra into the fat-scored part. Make sure to coat the lamb thoroughly for maximum flavor.
  6. Place the lamb on a rack, fat side up, in a roasting pan. The rack allows the heat to circulate evenly around the lamb, promoting even cooking.
  7. Pour the water and the red wine into the bottom of the roasting pan. This helps keep the lamb moist during cooking and provides the base for your gravy.
  8. Roast the leg of lamb in the preheated oven. Roast for 10-15 minutes at 450 degrees F, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F. Cook for about 1 hour and 15 minutes more (see notes for doness guide). 
  9. Baste the lamb with pan juices every 20-30 minutes to moisten it.
  10. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the lamb, which is about 125 degrees for medium-rare. Once the desired doneness is reached, remove the lamb from the oven, cover it loosely with foil,  and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before carving (the lamb will continue to cook as it rests, called carry-over cooking, and its internal temperature will continue to rise to around 135 degrees F). 
  11. While the lamb rests, you can use the pan drippings to make a delicious gravy. Strain the drippings, remove excess fat, and whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour or cornstarch to thicken on the stovetop.
  12. Carve the leg of lamb and serve with the homemade gravy.

Enjoy your perfectly roasted leg of lamb!

Notes

A general rule of thumb for cooking a roast leg of lamb is remembering that the roast will have carryover cooking. This means the meat rises in temperature as the roast rests (about 10º). This means that you will take it out when it is about 10º below your desired doneness based on the following chart. 

Doneness Internal Temperature Cooking Time (Approximate)
Rare 120-130°F (57°C) 15 minutes per pound
Medium Rare 130-135°F (63°C) 20 minutes per pound
Medium 135-145°F (71°C) 25 minutes per pound
Medium Well 145-155°F (74°C) 30 minutes per pound
Well Done 155+°F (77°C) 35 minutes per pound
  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes + rest time
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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5 Comments

  1. I made this for Easter dinner this year. I had never cooked lamb but followed this recipe to a “T” and it was perfect. Everyone loved it. Will definitely be making this again!