Herb and Garlic Roasted Leg of Lamb

leg of lamb with lemon and herbs
Roman_Makedonsky/iStock / Getty Images Plus
  • 2 hrs 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Ratings (9)

When you need an impressive roast for a holiday or special occasion or a casual meal, consider a leg of lamb. It's an easy preparation, and it makes an attractive presentation. Garlic, lemon juice, and a few basic herbs—preferably fresh—flavor the lamb perfectly. All you need for a perfectly cooked roast is a reliable meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer.

If you are feeding a small group or party, you'll love the creative dishes you can make with the leftovers. Mince leftover lamb to make a fabulous shepherds pie or lamb and potato hash. Or use sliced or diced lamb in gyro sandwiches and serve them with tzatziki sauce. Use leftover lamb in just about any recipe calling for leftover pork or beef.

What You'll Need

  • 5 pounds leg of lamb (center cut)
  • 3 cloves garlic (divided)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (or about 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or about 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Gravy:
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (Pinot Noir or Cabernet)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (unsalted)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Place a rack in a roasting pan.
  3. Pat the lamb dry with paper towels. If there is a tough outer layer of fat on your roast, remove it with a sharp knife. Trim excess fat but leave some so you'll have rich drippings for gravy.
  4. Peel the garlic. Cut 2 cloves of garlic into thin slivers. Mince the third clove of garlic and set aside.
  5. With a small, sharp knife, make several tiny, slits—about 1/2-inch to 1-inch deep—evenly over the surface of the roast. Insert the garlic slivers into the slits.
  1. Rub the lamb all over with the lemon juice.
  2. Give the rosemary and thyme a rough chop (or crumble dried rosemary).
  3. In a small bowl, combine the minced garlic with the herbs, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Rub the garlic and herb mixture over the surface of the lamb.
  4. Place the roast, fat side up, on the rack in the prepared roasting pan.
  5. Insert meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat, not touching fat or bone. Roast in the preheated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes per pound, or until meat thermometer registers 145 F (medium rare) to 165 F (well done), depending on how well you like it done. 
  6. Remove the roast to a platter and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving. 

For the Optional Gravy

  1. Remove the rack from the roasting pan. Skim excess fat from the drippings and place the pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the red wine and cook for about 2 minutes while scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  3. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the chicken stock with the flour; whisk until smooth. 
  4. Add the remaining chicken stock and the flour and stock mixture to the roasting pan and cook until thickened, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 1182
Total Fat 75 g
Saturated Fat 32 g
Unsaturated Fat 31 g
Cholesterol 354 mg
Sodium 1,085 mg
Carbohydrates 21 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Protein 97 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)