Roasting a whole leg of lamb may seem intimidating, but it shouldn’t! It’s quite simple to cook perfectly delicious and impressive roast leg of lamb. Let me walk you through the entire process, step by step.
Cooking a leg of lamb is actually very simple despite what you may think. This recipe gives you all of the directions you need to make the most tender and juicy leg of lamb roast you’ve ever had!
Zesty lemon cuts through the richness and a hint of mint add freshness to this leg of lamb roast. And the rich red wine gravy takes this classic roasted lamb from good to excellent! It’s the perfect special occasion meal with no stress or complicated technique.
Crusty on the outside, tender and juicy on the outside. With a rich red wine gravy adding a touch of elegance, this recipe is the best recipe for roast leg of lamb and everyone will be begging to know your secrets!
How to choose a leg of lamb? (Bone-in, boneless, etc?)
You can choose a semi-boneless leg of lamb, or with shank attached. There’s no advantage to shank bone though, other than an impressive presentation.
I love having the bone in the meat while cooking as it increases the richness of the flavor. Another advantage of having the bone is that once cooked, you have a nice bone with delicious bone marrow to use in a soup or stew!
If you aren’t comfortable with carving the leg of lamb once it has cooked, it might work better for you to buy a boneless leg of lamb to roast. A boneless leg of lamb makes carving simple and serving much easier too.
How to roast leg of lamb in oven?
Roasting a leg of lamb in the oven is very simple. Start by removing the lamb from the refrigerator at least one hour before roasting. This helps the cooking process as room temperature lamb cooks more evenly. Preheat your oven now too.
Fat side up on a roasting pan, you’re going to spread your lemon juice and mint mixture over the lamb. These fresh flavors work their way into the meat while roasting for a delicious, fresh medley of tastes.
Roast the lamb until the desired doneness by following my helpful guide below on toasting temperatures and remove from the oven when done. Then it’s time to let it rest for a few minutes. A well-rested piece of meat is more tender and juicy as the muscles relax after cooking and the blood that rose to the surface of the meat while cooking seeps back to the center.
Once rested, you can slice and serve your roast leg of lamb. And that’s it! As you can tell, roasting a leg of lamb is a pretty hands-off, no-fuss recipe that leaves you free to prepare the rest of the meal while it cooks.
What internal temperature should I cook a leg of lamb?
Using a thermometer when cooking a roast leg of lamb is the best way to ensure your lamb is properly cooked to your liking, every time!
Using a thermometer to test the temperature of the lamb leg is simple. Make sure to test the temperature at the thickest part of the meat and not touch the bone when testing. If the thermometer touches the bone, the readings will be inaccurate as the bone will be hotter than the surrounding meat.
This Thermapen Mk4 meat thermometer is my favorite! Super quick and reliable! (<- affiliate link)
Also, keep in mind that the internal temperature of the roast will keep rising after removing it from the oven and while resting.
A here is a quick guide to help you know exactly when your meat is ready and how done it is:
- Rare: 125°F (it’ll rise to about 130°F after resting)
- Medium Rare (our favorite, pink, but not bloody): 130-135°F (it’ll rise to about 140°F after resting)
- Medium: 135-140°F (it’ll rise to about 145°F after resting)
- Well Done: 155-165°F (it’ll rise to about 170°F after resting)
How long to roast a leg of lamb?
When roasting a leg of lamb in the oven you have complete control over your roast. A fire can be temperamental, so use your oven to roast until desired doneness. I found that 2-2.5 hours for medium doneness (135-140°F internal temperature) works perfectly for a leg of lamb.
Use the guide above to cook your lamb perfectly by using a thermometer to cook your leg of lamb just the way you like it.
How much leg of lamb per person should I plan?
If you’re making this roast leg of lamb for a dinner party or gathering, you might wonder if you’re making enough. You’ll have a riot on your hands if there isn’t plenty of this delicious roast lamb to go around.
Thankfully, figuring out how much meat each person needs is simple. This is a guide that can be used for other meals where meat is the main part of the plate.
If cooking a leg of lamb with a bone, aim for at least 12 ounces of lamb per person. As bone adds some weight and some meat will be left on the bone, 12 ounces will be more than enough.
If you have chosen to cook a boneless leg of lamb, you should aim for 8 ounces of meat per person. This is more than enough meat to keep everyone satisfied and full alongside some delicious side dishes.
What to serve with a roast leg of lamb?
Roast leg of lamb usually forms part of a larger meal like a Sunday lunch or a cookout, so here are some delicious recipes for you to serve alongside your roast leg of lamb.
Serve with a fresh salad like this summer Israeli couscous salad that is full of healthy ingredients that also keeps you full!
Mashed potatoes are excellent with roast meats, including this rich roast lamb and gravy!
Roast Leg of Lamb with Red Wine Gravy
For lamb roast:
- 1 whole leg of lamb About 8lbs, semi-boneless (Note 1)
- 1 lemon
- ½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1-2 heads of garlic
- Pearl onions peeled
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup beef broth
- Take out the lamb from the fridge at least 1 hour before roasting. Room temperature lamb cooks more evenly.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place the lamb leg on a rack in roasting pan, fat side up.
- Zest the lemon and juice it. You should get about 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
- In a small bowl, mix together lemon juice, zest, mint leaves, salt and pepper.
- Spread the mixture all over the lamb.
- Cut garlic head horizontally and place it in a roasting pan along with pearl onions. Add 1 cup of water, or beef broth.
- Roast until desired doneness, 2-2.5 hours for medium doneness (135-140°F internal temperature). (See Note 2 below for additional information on doneness/internal temperatures.)
- Remove from oven, cover with foil and rest for at least 15 minutes (or up to 1 hour) before slicing and serving.
- To make red wine gravy, remove roasted garlic and pearl onions onto a plate. Pour the pan drippings (about ¼ cup) into a medium saucepan and heat it over medium heat. Once bubbling, stir in flour and toast, stirring continuously, until golden brown and smells nutty, 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly pour in wine, while whisking, and then add beef broth. Squeeze in the roasted garlic. Cook until nice and thick, about 3 minutes.
- Refrigerate leftover lamb in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.