Roast Leg of Lamb

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I’m a huge fan of a well-made roast lamb, and here’s my go-to recipe: a classic roasted bone-in leg of lamb. It’s marinated in a zesty mixture of lemon juice, paprika, herbs, and minced garlic. To round off the meal, I serve it alongside crispy roasted potatoes.

Roast Leg of Lamb with Potatoes


 

As much as I love a tender prime rib or a juicy pork roast, my food affections often veer towards lamb, especially a well-prepared lamb marinated overnight and then roasted to achieve that melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. The blend of pungent spices, zesty lemon juice, and abundant garlic results in soft, flavorful meat ideal for impressing a holiday gathering.

Choosing a bone-in leg of lamb is the secret to a roast that’s crispy on the outside yet remains nice and juicy on the inside. The bone enhances the flavor, contributing to a richer, deeper taste experience. However, the real trick to nailing the perfect roast lamb leg every time lies in using an instant-read meat thermometer. This tool is your best friend in ensuring the lamb retains its pink, succulent interior. Since lamb leg is quite lean, achieving that perfect pink ensures it’s moist rather than dry.

Ingredients You’ll Need

The best part of this lamb recipe is that it’s very easy to make. Most of your time is spent on just making the garlic, herb, and paprika paste, which takes all of two minutes. Do not be turned off by the long list of ingredients – it’s just spices, fresh herbs, and garlic. 

For the Marinade

  • 1 large lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to your taste preference)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced

For the Lamb

  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) bone-in leg of lamb
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

How To Make Roast Lamb Leg

Cooking a tasty leg of lamb can transform your meal into an unforgettable feast. Here’s a simple guide to preparing and roasting it to perfection, making it a delicious centerpiece for any gathering.

  1. Make the Marinade. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, paprika, pepper, cumin, cayenne, rosemary, thyme, and garlic in a bowl to create a paste, setting aside two tablespoons and using the remainder to rub over the lamb leg.
  2. Prep the Lamb. Trim excess fat from leg of lamb and transfer the leg to a roasting pan. Using a knife, make 6 shallow incisions and stuff with a mixture of smashed garlic and fresh herbs. Rub the lamb with the prepared paste/marinade. If the paste is too thick to spread, add a bit more olive oil to thin it out.
  3. Set aside to marinate. Cover and set in a cool place for 4 hours, or marinade overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Cook. Remove the lamb from the fridge and set it on the counter for 20 minutes. When ready, roast the lamb leg at 350˚F for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Please use a meat thermometer to ensure correct doneness. 
  5. Serve. Let it rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving.

Lamb Cooking Temperature

  • 120-130 °F – RARE
  • 130-140 °F – MEDIUM RARE
  • 140-150 °F – MEDIUM
  • 150-165 °F – WELL DONE
Roasted leg of lamb with potatoes

Recipe Tips

  • Selecting lamb: We always opt for organic, grass-fed lamb sourced from a local farmer. Remember, the closer to home you can buy your meat, the fresher it will be. Plus, choosing grass-fed lamb not only ensures higher quality meat with more benefits but also supports humane animal care.
  • Let it rest: Just like with any roasted meat, giving it a 15 to 20 minute rest before carving is key. This step lets the juices soak back into the meat, guaranteeing a tender roast every time!
  • Perfectly Cooked Temp: For a medium-rare, perfectly pink leg of lamb, remove it from the oven when the internal temperature hits 130°F, as the lamb is rare at this point. By letting it rest for 20 minutes, the temperature will rise and reach the ideal doneness.
  • Potatoes: Make sure to cut the potatoes in half and arrange them around the leg of lamb on the baking sheet. This way, they’ll roast alongside the meat. The potatoes are optional so feel free to skip them if you prefer.

What To Serve With Lamb

If you’ve never cooked a lamb roast before, trust me; it is one of the simplest and most satisfying things you can make. Perfect for the Easter feast, lamb pairs well with potatoes and spring vegetables like lemon butter asparagus, creamed spinach, and roasted artichokes. And bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon. 🥂 Also Pignoli Cookies and Chocolate Mousse Cake.

Roast Leg of Lamb and Potatoes

How To Store Leftovers

For leftovers, store them in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw before reheating.

Favorite Lamb Recipes

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4.80 from 10 votes

Roast Leg of Lamb

Tender, melt-in-your-mouth Leg of Lamb roast prepared with a succulent and citrusy garlic, herbs, and paprika marinade.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Marinating Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 

FOR THE LEG OF LAMB

  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) bone-in leg of lamb
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE PASTE

  • 1 large lemon,, juiced and zested
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon or to taste cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic,, minced
  • olive oil,, for drizzling
  • coarse salt,, to taste

FOR THE POTATOES

  • 2 pounds small potatoes,, halved
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley,, for garnish
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Instructions 

For the Lamb

  • Trim excess fat from leg of lamb and transfer the leg to a roasting pan.
  • Using a knife, make 6 shallow incisions into the leg and set aside.
  • In a small shallow bowl combine 6 cloves garlic, 1/4 teaspoon olive oil, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper; using the back of a fork, press into the garlic to mash it, and stir around to combine it with the rest of the ingredients. If you have a mortar and pestle, use that to make the mixture.
  • Stuff the garlic-herb mixture into the incisions. Set aside.

For the Paste

  • In a mixing bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil, paprika, fresh ground pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, rosemary, thyme leaves, and minced garlic; mix until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Set aside two tablespoons of the paste. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Use the rest of the paste to rub all over the lamb leg. 
  • Sprinkle lemon zest over the leg of lamb.
  • Cover the lamb with foil and let stand 4 hours in a cool place, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

  • Remove the lamb from the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 20 minutes before cooking. Set it on a roasting pan or a baking sheet.
  • Cut up the potatoes and arrange them around the leg of lamb.
  • Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the lamb and the potatoes; toss the potatoes to coat.
  • Take the reserved marinade/paste and, using a pastry brush, brush the paste over the potatoes.
  • Sprinkle coarse salt over the potatoes and lamb.
  • Roast for 1 hour and 10 minutes, mixing through the potatoes few times during cooking.
  • After 1 hour, check for doneness; Lamb is cooked through at 145˚F. For medium-rare, remove lamb from the oven at between 125˚F and 130˚F.
  • Remove from oven and let the meat rest for 20 minutes before carving.
  • Garnish with parsley and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 324kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 248mg | Potassium: 944mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 430IU | Vitamin C: 24.8mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 7mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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13 Comments

  1. Priya Pillay says:

    Amazing recipe. I have tried this a few times already. Thanks.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank you so much! I’m very happy you loved it! 🙂