An easy recipe for roasted leg of lamb. Rub with olive oil and spices, then roast in the oven to medium-rare. The result is tender, juicy and flavorful!
Lamb is by far my favorite meat. Especially New Zealand or Australian lamb, which tends to be relatively lean, gamey and very, very flavorful. Lamb meat is also very healthy.
When I want to roast a big piece of meat, for a holiday or for a large gathering, my two most common choices are either this recipe or ribeye roast.
Roasting a leg of lamb is best
This cut of meat has a wonderful fat cap, and cooking it in the oven browns it nicely.
Sure, you could use a slow cooker. But in my opinion, it won’t be as good. The fat cap won’t brown, and the lean meat can easily dry out during prolonged cooking.
Do you sear a leg of lamb before roasting?
You could, but it’s really not a fun thing to do and I don’t think it’s necessary. You can achieve a similar result by roasting it briefly at a high temperature, then lowering the heat and continuing to roast until the meat is cooked.
At what temperature do you cook it?
I start at 425°F for 15 minutes to brown the fat cap. Then, I lower the oven temperature to 375°F and continue roasting until the meat is medium-rare.
How long does it take to roast a leg of lamb?
You really want to make sure that the meat stays medium-rare (although the USDA says you should cook roasts to medium). Any more than that and it becomes dry and tough and loses much of its flavor. So it’s best to use a meat thermometer when roasting.
As a general guideline, after roasting at high heat for 15 minutes, you should keep roasting the meat for about 20 minutes per pound.
As with all roasts, it’s important to allow the meat to rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing it. You want to give the juices a chance to settle and redistribute before you cut into the meat.
What side dishes go with this recipe?
Any side dish, really. It’s a very versatile dish. I often serve it with one or two f the following side dishes:
What about leftovers?
You can keep leftovers in the fridge, in a sealed container, for up to 4 days. They are very good when very gently reheated in the microwave, covered, on 50% power.
But make sure you don’t overcook them in the microwave or they’ll become dry and inedible. I also love eating cold slices of leftover roasted leg of lamb with homemade quick pickles.
Leg of Lamb Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 lb. Bone-in leg of lamb
- In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, salt, rosemary, thyme and black pepper.
- Rub the olive oil mixture all over the leg of lamb. Place the leg of lamb, flat side down, in a roasting pan on a greased rack. Allow to rest on the counter, at room temperature, for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Roast the lamb for 15 minutes in the 425 degree oven.
- Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and continue roasting 1 hour and 20 minutes (about 20 minutes per pound), or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the leg and not touching the bone registers 135 degrees F for medium-rare.
- Remove the lamb from the oven, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Once you're done carving the lamb, don't discard the tasty bone – use it to make rich, flavorful bone broth.