Roast Leg of Lamb is an easy, but impressive meal that's perfect for any special occasion.
Roast Leg of Lamb: a perfect Easter Dinner
Roast lamb is a very traditional Easter dinner with roots in early Passover celebrations.
It's a very easy meal to pull off, so it's perfect if you're hosting an Easter get-together.
What does leg of lamb taste like?
Fun fact: in general, Americans eat far less lamb than other parts of the world.
But it's economical and delicious, so that's a shame.
We almost never ate lamb when I was a kid. When we did, it always seemed to involve a glob of mint jelly on the plate. I assume that this was intended to offset the lamb's unique flavor.
Why is lamb...lamb-y?
See, lamb tastes a bit different from other red meat. I guess that "gamy" comes closest to describing it, but it also tastes quite different from game meats.
It's a strong, rich flavor.
Science geekery: lamb gets its unique flavor (that is actually quite different from game meats as well) from branched-chain fatty acids (BCFAs).
The concentration of these BCFAs varies based on the lamb's diet.
Grass-fed lamb have higher BCFAs than grain-fed lamb. You can read more about lamb's flavor at Why Lamb Tastes Like Lamb.
The good news is that you can control the degree of "gaminess" by cutting off the fat cap and removing as much fat from the roast as you can.
Because of its rich flavor, lamb pairs well with strong spices and herbs, which is why this roast leg of lamb recipe uses a rub composed of mustard, garlic, and rosemary.
Bone-in or boneless leg of lamb?
As far as presentation goes, bringing a bone-in leg of lamb to the table can't be beat.
But boneless leg of lamb works just as well.
Here in the states, at least, they can be easier to find. Costco always seems to have boneless leg of lamb.
It follows the same recipe, with the exceptions noted below.
How to make roast leg of lamb
Preparing the roast
As mentioned above, I recommend removing the fat cap from the roast.
Do what you can to make the roast as uniform in thickness as you can.
For example, our roast had an exposed joint and a free flap of meat, so we folded the meat over the joint and skewered it in place.
If you have a boneless leg of lamb, you'll need to roll up the roast and tie it with butcher's twine.
Dry the roast thoroughly with paper toweling and rub with a mixture of Dijon mustard, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
Let the roast sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Cooking temperature for roast leg of lamb
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350º F.
Next, place the roast on a rack set into a roasting pan with an inch of water in the bottom (this keeps the roast from drying out).
When is leg of lamb done?
If you want a gorgeous, rare roast (which I recommend), remove the lamb from the oven when it reads 115–120º F in the thickest part.
Removing between 130–140º will give you a medium roast. I don't advise cooking beyond that: lamb is a very tender meat, and you don't want to overcook it.
Let the roast rest for 30 minutes (keep in mind that the temperature will continue to rise).
Note that you will not get uniform doneness with a bone-in roast due to its wonky shape.
You will ultimately get parts that are rare to medium, but this is not a bad thing: everyone can get the doneness they want!
Side dishes for leg of lamb roast
I recommend pairing your lamb roast with a sturdy red wine like Cabernet sauvignon, malbec, or chianti.
Leftover lamb recipes
Our favorite use of roast lamb leftovers is making "gyros."
They're not technically gyros, but they sure are good.
We thinly slice any extra meat, toss it with some olive oil, dried oregano and thyme, salt, onion powder, and pepper, and fry it quickly in a hot skillet.
Then we eat it on pita bread with tzatziki sauce. The whole family loves it!
I hope you love this easy roast leg of lamb recipe.
If you're looking for more inspiration for your special-occasion dinner, check out my Date Night Prime Rib Roast, Herb-Roasted Rack of Pork, Roast Rack of Lamb with Potatoes, Easy Roast Beef Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce, and Reverse-Seared Filet Mignon Steak with Compound Herb Butter.
Or, have a peek at Easter Dinner Ideas (that aren't ham)!
Stay safe. Stay well.
- 6 lb leg of lamb roast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup Dijon mustard
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Mix ingredients 2–6 in a small bowl; set aside.
- Remove fat cap and any other visible fat from the roast.
- If using a boneless leg of lamb, roll up roast and tie with butcher's twine.
- Dry roast thoroughly with paper toweling. Rub with the mixture
from step 1.
- Let the roast sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 350º F.
- Place roast on a rack set into a roasting pan with an inch
of water in the bottom.
- Roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 115–120º F when inserted into the thickest part of the roast (see Recipe Note #1).
- Let the roast rest for 30 minutes (keep in mind that the temperature will continue to rise).
- This temperature will give you a rare roast. Removing between 130–140º will result in a medium roast. I don't advise cooking beyond that: lamb is a very tender meat, so you don't want to overcook it. I recommend that you start checking the temperature after 1 hour of roasting.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 6 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 750Total Fat: 48gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 263mgSodium: 741mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 73g
Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate: if you are tracking this information for medical purposes, please consult a trusted external source. Thanks!