Roast Boneless Leg of Lamb

September 20, 2007 158 Comments

Roast Boneless Leg of Lamb Recipe

How to Roast a Boneless Leg of Lamb

Nothing could be easier than roasting a boneless leg of lamb for dinner. Growing up, I remember Sunday dinners of roast leg lamb served with roasted potatoes and mint jelly and eating the leftovers during the week. We roasted a lamb this week for dinner, had leftovers the next night and I’ve been making sandwiches for the last couple of days.

Buying a Leg of Lamb

There are basically three ways you can buy a leg of lamb and each has its advantages. There are actually more than these three cuts, but for simplicity, let’s go with three. By the way, even though a lamb has 4 legs, only the 2 back legs are referred to as “leg of lamb”.

Bone-in leg of lamb is usually a little cheaper, cooks faster than boneless, gives you a bone for making stock for lamb stew and because the bone is a little juicier and has more flavor. A domestic leg of lamb weighs about 7 to 8 pounds.

Boneless leg of lamb with the bones removed is perfect for roasting and easy to carve. You can find it at your supermarket with the thin membrane (called fell) removed and the meat wrapped in a net to hold it together and keep its form.

Whether you buy the whole leg and have it boned or just the top half (sirloin half) or bottom half (shank half) really depends on how many you are serving and your personal preferences.

The sirloin half (consisting of the top of the leg and part of the hip) is meatier and more tender than the shank half (consisting of the lower part of the leg) which is chewier because it has more connective tissue. However, cooked properly, the connective tissue breaks down to be more tender and gelatinous with lots of flavor.

Butterflied leg of lamb is just a boneless leg that has been cut down the center in half but not completely through. The halves are opened to lay flat making the meat easier to grill or broil but can also be stuffed and rolled.

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American (Domestic), New Zealand or Australian Lamb?

I will start off by quoting The Complete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly, “When it comes to flavor, tenderness, and overall quality, you can’t beat lamb from the United States, especially California, Colorado, and Vermont”

No matter what country you buy it from, try to get it fresh. A lot of the lamb coming over from Australia and New Zealand is frozen although more and more is coming over fresh. You will find the New Zealand and Australian lamb to be smaller in size and weigh less.

One of the big differences between American lamb and “Down Under” lamb is diet. While the New Zealand and Australian lamb are raised almost exclusively on grass, American lamb is “finished” on a grain, which may be the reason the meat is a bit milder.

Roasting Technique

I said roasting a leg of lamb is simple but first you have to decide what method of roasting you want to follow. Everyone has his or her own ideas on roasting meat these days. If you follow Barbara Kafka’s technique as described in her informative Roasting – A Simple Art, you start at 500ºF for 10 minutes, then lower heat to 425º until the meat is at the desired temperature.

If you are a fan of Bruce Aidell and Denis Kelly in their Complete Meat Cookbook, you might roast the lamb at 350ºF the entire time until desired temperature.

Me, I like both these methods but I’m also a fan of Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins’ The New Basics Cookbook. I broke my teeth on this book when I first started learning how to cook and go back to it often as a reference. I think it is one of the most important cookbooks you can own when starting out.

They give you all sorts of choices; bone in, bone out, high-heat, low-heat, stuffed, not stuffed but we went with starting at 450ºF for 30 minutes and then reducing the heat to 375ºF until our desired internal temperature.

You really can’t go just by time because there are so many factors that can effect the eventual temperature including the weight of the meat you are cooking, how tightly it is tied, is it stuffed or not, how hot your oven is really cooking at, how long you let it rest – that kind of stuff.

What is the desired internal temperature?

Lamb is naturally tender so you don’t want to over-cook it. Most chefs will tell you to cook and serve it rare. In our house, we like it more medium especially when serving it to the kids. If I was serving the lamb to guests who like it rare, I might pull it out rare, cut off a piece of the meat and continue cooking the rest for a few more minutes until medium. The question is what temperature is rare, medium-rare and medium?

If you look through 10 different cookbooks, you may find 10 different temperature ranges for each level of doneness.   For example, The Complete Meat Cookbook says rare is 125ºF to 130ºF, medium-rare at 130ºF to 140ºF, and medium at 140ºF to 150ºF.

The New Basics Cookbook sees rare at 135ºF to 140ºF and medium at 150ºF to 155ºF.

And then there is the USDA Recommendation. They see rare at 140ºF, medium-rare at 150ºF, and medium at 160ºF. Most chefs would tell you an internal temperature at 160 is well done and too dry.

The answer is to experiment and figure out what temperature is best for you. Once you know that, you can cook it anyway you want knowing just when to remove it from the oven.

Resting & Thermometers

A mistake many home cooks make and certainly affects the final temperature is resting time. As with all roasts, you want to remove them about 5 degrees before they reach the desired ideal internal temperature. This is to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the entire piece of meat.

As the meat rests, it will continue to cook about 5 more degrees, the juices will redistribute and you will end up with a more flavorful, tender result. Never remove the meat from the oven and start carving. Give it a short and meaningful rest.

As for thermometers, they are not all alike and if you have an old meat thermometer that has been in your kitchen drawer for years, it may need to be recalibrated or thrown out and replaced.

We used our old meat thermometer and pulled the meat out at our desired temperature of 140ºF and then tested it with an instant thermometer to see that it read 150ºF. After resting, it ended up at about 155ºF and was ok for us, but you can see how important it is that your thermometer is accurate. Then again, maybe my old thermometer was really the accurate one. I’ll have to test them in boiling water.

Roast Boneless Leg of Lamb

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 8-12 servings

Roast Boneless Leg of Lamb


1 boneless leg of lamb (about 4 to 5 lbs)

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons fresh thyme

2 tablespoons fresh oregano

4 cloves garlic

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

How To Prepare At Home

Preheat the oven to 450ºF.

While the oven is heating, finely chop the herbs and garlic or use a food processor like we did.

Rub some oil on all sides of the lamb and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the herb/garlic mixture on the topside of the lamb and spread it out.

Place the lamb into a shallow roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 450ºF. Reduce the oven temperature to 375ºF and continue cooking until you reach the desired doneness as discussed above.

Let the roast rest for 5 to 10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches ideal temp.

While the roast is resting, now is a great time to make some pan sauce. We poured the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan into a saucepan, added a cup of demi glace and some of the herbs that fell off the roast when removing the netting. Let the sauce reduce until it is thick enough to coat a spoon.

Ideally you would strain the sauce before serving, but we usually don't and it tasted great. Chefs have told me that straining makes a big difference so I need to incorporate that technique into my repertoire.

We didn't do this, but I bet a couple of tablespoons of mint jelly added to this sauce would be incredible.

Last modified on Wed 1 July 2015 1:10 pm

Filed in: Lamb Recipes

Comments (158)

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  1. Dave says:

    Where do you get demi glace? Also, isn’t the net plastic? I always thought the red net around the lamb is plastic, so I get rid of that one, rub all the spices and herbs and then tie it with cooking twine. I never thought that the red net can be used in 450 degree oven.

  2. RG says:

    You can learn more about demi glace, how to make it at home and where to buy it if you don’t want to spend the time at

    The net around our lamb was not plastic but if it were, I would read the label closely and see what it had to say. It doesn’t make sense to me that they would put a netting around the lamb to hold it together only to require you to remove it and tie it with cooking twine. But great question. I will check into it.

  3. Dawn says:

    I was just wondering approximately how long it would take for the lamb to finish roasting. Just an approximate time…is it 1-2 hours or 20 minutes?

  4. RG says:

    Great question. A 4 to 5 pound boneless leg of lamb, rolled and tied, takes about 30 minutes per pound in a 325 degree oven. This of course depends on the exact size of your lamb and the actual temperature of your oven. Just because you set your oven at 325 doesn’t mean it is accurate. Also, where you place the meat in the oven and how often do you open the oven door.

    Use this cooking time as an estimate but if you want your roasts to come out just the way you like them, use a meat or instant thermometer for doneness accuracy.


  5. Kim says:

    I’m cooking my lamb like this. I browned it on my grill after I seasoned it with garlic, salt, pepper. Then I put a bit of water in the pan and now I’m roasting it at 375. is the water necessary? Also can you marinate it?

    Hi Kim, I’m assuming you are roasting the lamb on the grill so a pan of water under the grill will help keep flareups from happening as juices drip onto the coals/burners. It will also help keep moisture in the grill. Yes, you can marinate the lamb and you will find many variations of marinades on the Internet. – RG

  6. Erin says:

    Hi, I bought a 2.61 lb and 2.86 lb boneless lamb leg and am planning on cooking them for Easter dinner. This is my first time cooking lamb and only my second time eating it, but with a husband who doesn’t care for lamb, it is! Can you recommend any good sides to accompany the lamb? And also about how many servings 2 lbs of lamb contain? Thank you!

    Hi Erin, I like to serve potatoes, squash, roasted asparagus or any of your favorite vegetables. Not sure why you purchased two boneless legs of lambs but how many serving each would yield has more to do with the people eating it. Are they big eaters, on a diet, kids, seniors? It also depends on what you are serving it with. Lots of sides usually means the average eater will eat less. – RG

  7. PK says:

    My concern is: three family members who believe they don’t like anything but beef (and ugh, hot dogs!). I’m cooking a 5lb boneless leg of lamb – can I be a bit evasive and just tell them it’s “a roast…”?

    I’m accompanying mine with acorn squash and fingerling potatoes…will do the sauce too…

    Hi PK, you can tell them it’s a roast beef, but after one bite, they are going to know the truth. Why not ask them to give it a try and see if they like it? – RG

  8. Heidi says:

    Thank you! Great information for someone who loves to cook–yet hasn’t ever made roasted lamb before! Perfect info–just what I needed! Happy Easter!

    Hi Heidi, you are welcome and happy Easter to you. – RG

  9. Phil says:

    2 perfect sides:
    – oven roasted potatoes (lately I’ve been mixing them with a bit of spicy shake-and-bake and the kids (including teens) can’t get enough of them)
    – whole roasted tomatoes on top of rice

  10. Hobbylou says:

    I like the 425 for 30 minutes and 375 until done–but what would you guestimate total time for a 4-5 lb. boneless roast med. rare? ( I know I have to watch the oven thermometer but I need to know approx. when to put the roast in initially.)

  11. KP cook says:

    I like the traditional carrots, asparagus and root veggies to go with lamb.
    You can roast some red potatos and baby carrots together. I use like the mint jelly with lamb as thats the way mt mother had done it. Some sauteed spinach w/ garlic and S & P would be tasty and quick

  12. mickey3477 says:

    Yes, get the little mini potatoes both white and red. Par boil them until a fork can go through them then saute them with garlic and shallots. He’ll love it.

  13. betty says:

    I’m with HOBBYLOU..I’ve been cooking for my family for over 35 years. My husband says I’m the best cook in the world…BUT! you need to be more CLEAR with new cooks. HOW MANY MINUTES PER POUND???!!! A cook needs to know what time to start a roast in order to tell her guests when dinner is to be expected. How on earth can you time your vegetables, etc. if you don’t know WHEN the roast will be “DONE”?

  14. RG says:

    Hi Betty,
    Great points and yes it is a good idea to know approximately how long a roast will take to cook but as I say in the post, there are many variables to consider.

    “HOW MANY MINUTES PER POUND” can depend on the cut of meat, how thick it is, the accuracy of your oven temperature dial, where you oven hot spots are, what type of pan you using, how thick is it, what is it made of, what altitude you are cooking at and what you consider medium or medium well done.

    You can see there are lots of things to consider when roasting that will alter how long a roast will take. Saying that, we can look at various cooking charts detailing how long a boneless leg of lamb will take to cook based on it’s weight & cooking temperature in order to time our side dishes.

    So a boneless tied leg of lamb weighing 4 – 7 pounds roasted at 325 degrees should take about 20 to 25 minutes per pound to reach medium to medium rare.

    But what if you want to use the high temperature cooking technique and start at 450 degrees F and then lower the temperature?

    I will work on a chart for approximate cooking times but I highly recommend you purchase a good instant meat thermometer to figure out exactly the best time to take a roast out of the oven to be at your desired doneness.

  15. John Eugene Stowers Jr says:

    Please Respond A.S.A.P.
    I have written many people and many sites and no one has ever contacted me back. I would like to enjoy lamb and know better how to cook it.

    I would like to know if there is any way to take away the strong musky flavor that lamb has?

    Thank you in advance on your response. God’s Blessing

  16. Casey Pons says:

    OK Here goes nutten….
    Regarding cooking times, I have a 3.12lb. Boneless Lamie Pie Leg and I am going to use the 450 degree (initial) for 30 min. reducing to 375 method until 130 internal temp, and I will get back with you all regarding timing at an adjusted heat method.
    Love & Lamb Sandwiches Tomorrow Forever….


  17. Casey Pons says:

    All Righty Then…
    The Boneless leg roast entered the 450 degree oven at 10:00pm ( I panicked somewhat and reduced the temp to 350 after 20 min)
    In One Hour the internal temp was 118.
    13 minutes later I registered a 130 internal temp, removed from oven and let rest in a loose tent for 20 or so min. while I cranked the oven back up to 450 and roasted root vegetables (in the drippings) to dark rustic colors unknown to the free world.
    In summary … 23.5 min per lb. at this varied temp method.
    Wonderful Medium Rare doneness, very flavorful demi glace sauce reduction.
    Waaaayyyy to nice of a meal to enjoy with just your cat.
    (But don’t tell him that)
    Thanks for sharing this Dynomite Dinner recipe

  18. Casey Pons says:

    PS …I used a 9X13 X2 in. glass roasting vessel with a wire rack.
    I hear the Lamb Sandwich calling me as I type…

  19. Peggy strong says:

    love your website!! I am going to cook my first boneless leg of lamb on Sunday. Your website helped immensely!! thanks!!
    I am going to do 450 for 30 minutes then reduce to 325 til 130 degrees. then wrap in foil for 20 minutes!!

  20. Vita roe says:

    I have the butcher bone & stuff with garlic , Italian parsley, salt & pepper. I make brussel sprouts w/ fried bacon garlic & sauted onions. Serve with Musselmans chunky applesauce. Make roasted potatoes in separate pan or in with roast add some water to leg with parsley, onions sliced, salt & pepper. Mangia, Filia me

  21. Nancy Gray says:

    I have a large family to feed on Easter Sunday. I will be roasting two 6 lb. boneless leg of lambs. I’d like to cook the lamb a day ahead. What temperature would you recommend removing the lambs so they can be reheated the following day? What temperature should the lambs be reheated at and how long should they cook? When reheating should I add beef broth or water to keep it from drying out and should I cover the pan. I’m considering placing a 1/2 a can of coke cola and 1/2 a can of beer in the roaster for additional tenderness. What are your thoughts on this. Lamb is expensive and I don’t want to mess this dinner up.
    Thank you for your input.

  22. RG says:

    Since the lamb is the star of the show and is expensive, I would cook the other dishes the day before (whichever ones lend themselves to that) and roast the lamb on Easter. The reason is that reheating a cut of meat that you originally roasted dry (not as a stew or a braise) will never be as good the second day, unless you just slice it and serve it cold or at room temperature.

    If you absolutely must reheat the meat the next day, I would slice it the way you would to serve it and lay it out in a baking dish and barely cover with some chicken or beef broth. Then, I’d cover the dish with some foil and reheat in a low oven (300-325) until reheated.

    Personally, I would not use beer or Coke–these liquids, since they are somewhat acidic, could possibly help to tenderize a tough piece of mutton with long, low cooking, but this would be more like a braise or a stew. For a tender leg of lamb, I’d stay away from either of these and just stick with a light broth or stock.

    I cannot really give you guidelines regarding cooking times or temperatures, because I don’t know how your family likes to eat their lamb.

    My mom used to cook hers until it was gray all the way through, but, if I’m roasting lamb, I like mine medium rare. There is a doneness chart on my Reluctant Gourmet website that you can refer to:

    Hope this helps,


  23. Brett Young says:

    stupid question: When you use a meat thermometer to check the lamb, do you leave the thermometer in the lamb the whole time, or put it in every now and again to check the temp?

  24. Elizabeth says:

    Great site; lots of useful information and discussion. Thank you

  25. Mary says:

    Looks great–I’ll try it for this Easter Sunday. But I’m just curious–Williams Sonoma has a demi glace (chicken, beef, veal–no lamb), that costs $29. They say you only need a couple of tablespoons since it is so concentrated. Has anyone tried it?

  26. Pat Winters says:

    We’re going to church and need to place the leg in the oven and set the oven to automatically come on while we are gone…we’ll be eating upon our return. I’ve cooked lamb many times but have always been home to place it in the oven. Any comments or suggestions?

  27. sean says:

    brett: if you have a wireless thermometer that can handle the heat then you keep it in. otherwise most people have a regular thermometer which will melt if you leave it in the oven. also dont check the temp ever now and then. use a cooking chart and then check after the time it said for the desired wellness. also make sure take the temp from the middle of the roast.

  28. Mary says:

    I am doing a boneless leg of lamb for Easter dinner also. I will serve it with roasted new potatoes, fresh baby asparagus and home-made orange rolls, just as my mother used to! Then I make lamb pot pie for leftovers.

  29. Lark says:

    You asked a good question about thermometers. There are two different kinds. One you leave in for the whole time, and one you insert to check the doneness and take out. The first kind, the one you leave in, is often glass and actually looks like a thermometer. This will have a metal gauge on top so you can read the temperatures. The instant read thermometer is a newer model. It is all stainless steel and looks like a probe with a small dial on the top that reads the temperature. You can often find these in coffee houses (like Starbucks) because they use them while checking the temperature of the milk for lattes.

  30. Lark says:

    I forgot to add to my comment about the thermometers some important info. Both types work well. With the meat thermometer that you leave in, make sure that this never touches the bone of the meet you are reading; you will get an inaccurate reading. I guess that actually goes for both types. You have to make sure that you stick it into the thickest part of the meat. As stated above, there are many different discussions about what is the temperature of rare, medium and well. I have always found that the mark on the old glass thermometers that states medium or rare is always too high of a temp and far too overdone. I would go with the recommendations of this website and use their temperatures as your gauge.

  31. Sue K says:

    Am roasting a 2.4 boneless butterflied half leg of lamb and wonder how long to cook it if the temp in the oven is 350 degrees.

    Want to cook it not much more than rare.

  32. Susan says:

    If you’re using the old fashioned kind of meat thermometer, you can leave it in the whole time and watch the temperature go up through the closed oven door. Remove when it reads the temp you want, then cover. This way you’re not opening and closing the oven.

  33. franny says:

    Just cooked boneless lamb for easter.thought 140 was mediuim rare but was wrong. Way overdone. Will take out at 128 or 130 next time.

  34. Wade says:

    I am roasting my first boneless leg tomorrow. After reading this thread I feel very confident that I will succeed. I am still researching the demi glace and may just make my own pan sauce as I am pretty comfortable in the kitchen. I would, however, like to just make a tiny suggestion regarding cooking times and doneness temp.
    After watching Alton Brown, I shamelessly became hooked on kitchen gadgets.. My most used and most favorite it my Polder timer/temp. thermometer. Just set your desired temperature (subtract between 5 and 10 degrees depending on how high your rocket fuled cooking device is set), place the probe as close to center as possible without touching bone and go do the laundry. When the anoying alarm goes off, simply remove the roast, tent loosely with foil and let rest. Perfect every time without the worrying and constant opening of the oven door.
    As far as the temp is concerned, I recently cornered a chef who told me that while he cannot legally serve it because of the morons in city hall, he considers lamb for his own consumption to be rare at the 118 to 125 degree mark and medium rare between 126 and 132.

  35. RG says:

    Hi Wade, good luck with your first boneless leg of lamb. Let us know how it turns out.

  36. Jenni says:

    this site is very helpful, I am cooking my first lamb on Thursday, my grandson is allergic to poultry so trying something new and hope it will become a new tradition. I heard that you can cut slits in the roast before roasting and stuff garlic cloves in. do you recommend this? Also, it kinda looks like prime rib…would you recommend a light creamy horseradish to accompany as an additional choice with the mint jelly?

    Hey Jenni, great for you to be trying new foods. Yes, I do recommend you add garlic cloves to the lamb for flavoring. I’m not sure I would choose a light creamy horseradish because the roast LOOKS like prime rib. It has a completely different flavor. I would work with rosemary, pomegranates, yogurt, fennel or basil. – RG

  37. CAthy says:

    Do you ever sear the roast before putting in the oven…I have a friend who swears by that approach for beef…do you think it would work for lamb. It’s supposed to help retain the juice.

    Hi Cathy, I don’t usually sear a roast before putting in the oven although I do sear most meats that I’m going to braise. Everyone has their own method of roasting – some like to start with high heat to sear (caramelize) the outside and then cook it at a lower temperature, others like to start at a lower temperature and finish with a blast of high heat. Either way, you will end up with a nice brown skin.

    Please check out my blog post on Baking vs Roasting

  38. Julia says:

    This exchange of views has been really useful. I have a very old small oven and have already bought an oven thermometer as the oven is not to be trusted. Now I will get a meat thermometer … I think I have understood ; the resting time OUTSIDE the oven allows the meat to finally achieve the correct temperature? Yes? How long does this resting bit usually take? I am cooking a stuffed leg of lamb (orthodox stuffing) and will not not know the weight until I collect. I am mildly aware that maybe the stuffing will not cook fully but I guess I can find a way around that if that happens. Thanks everyone …what a useful site.

    Hi Julia, glad you are enjoying the site and finding it helpful. How long something takes to rest depends on the size of the meat you are cooking. For example, I typically let a strip steak rest for 5 or 6 minutes and a roast for 10 minutes and a large turkey for up to 20 minutes. This gives the meat enough time for the juices to redistribute and for it to reach optimum cooking temperature.

  39. bubbling over says:

    Re roast leg of lamb: Fat side up or down?

    Fat side up. – RG

  40. yiayia says:

    greek style….lots and lots of garlic cloves placed in slits all over lamb! mmmmmmm… i have one in the oven right now!

  41. Pat says:

    My mother cooked her lamb exactly as Yiayia does, and it was always delicious. The garlic in her opinion was a must – yet few have used this herb which cuts the “musky” smell. One other thing, salting it beforehand someone said to me hardens and shrinks the joint. That so?

  42. Pat says:

    Forgot to add that my boned lamb leg is sitting right now in the fridge waiting to be coddled, massaged and cooked. Shall I salt?

    Pat, I don’t salt until I’m ready to cook. – RG

  43. Gail says:

    I don’t have a lot of experience with meat, but I experimented with starting a 5 lb boneless leg of lamb at 450 degrees. Within a very short time, maybe 15 minutes, the oven was smoking so much from the drippings that it started the smoke alarm. I had rubbed the lamb with spices and a small amount of avocado oil, which I thought was a high temperature oil. Is this a normal or what did I do wrong?

    Hi Gail, 450 degrees F. sounds hot to me but I know some cooks follow Barbara Kafka’s high heat method of roasting. Some questions for you:
    Did you use a rack?
    What spices did you use?

    I asked Chef Mark Vogel for his advise and here is what he told me:

    “I suspect it was the very high heat and/or the spices that he used. 450 is very high. When chefs use such high heat it is only done at the very beginning or very end just to sear the outside, not for the entire time the food is in the oven. Personally, I would do such a large roast on a low temperature, like 350-375. If you start it too high, by the time the center is cooked the exterior is obliterated. I suspect that’s what happened in this case.”

  44. RG says:

    I’m following up the previous comment by asking my friend Chef David Nelson what he thought about Gail’s dilemma. He told me –

    “If the roasting pan was dry under the roast (I assume it may have been suspended) the rendering fat from such a high heat would hit the smoldering roasting pan and smoke surely. Maybe a bit of stock or water under a roast but not sitting in the liquid would have solved her problem. Also always a good idea to turn on the hood fan on low when roasting larger meats in the house…solves the smoke alarm thing…believe me…I know!!!”

  45. Your Personal Chef - ATL says:

    Lamb roast is a favorite of mine! The “yuckey” smell that you recall from leg of lamb is from the “fell” and the stink gland (good name, yes???). Clean up your lamb roast from extra fat, bits of gland, silver skin, connective tissue, etc. It makes the price per pound go up, but the flavor goes up as well. Or, just start with tenderloins of lamb from Fresh Market, Whole Foods, or your favorite butcher. Season well with olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper and rosemary, place in a 350-450 degree oven and roast to desired temperature. I think “rare” is 120 degrees…to each her own. Be sure to “rest” your roast. Happy eating.

  46. sam says:

    Must you use a rack to roast lamb and should it be covered if not using one?

    Hi Sam, racks are good to keep the meat from sticking to the pan but I have used a bed of vegetables instead of a rack. No, you should not cover your roast with or without a rack. – RG

  47. patricia says:

    I have the pleasure of cooking my first boneless leg of lamb tomorrow.
    This site is awesome! I was leary at first and now I feel much more comfortable. Thank you all

    You are welcome Patricia. Let us know how your leg of lamb turns out. – RG

  48. Mark of LA says:

    I’m doing my first boneless leg of lamb tomorrow (3/27). I was going to grill it first, following a recipe in Bon Appetite, but I’m a little afraid of doing it that way. However, I’m marinating it in a blend of garlic, olive oil, dijon mustard and white wine right now and will leave it overnight. It is about 8 pounds. This means it’ll take 2 hours and 40 min. That seems to be long. Any thoughts? I’m going to roll it up again (perhaps with bone inside) and tie it up. What do you think?

    Hey Mark, I think you are going to have one fine lamb dinner and I hope you are serving a lot of friends with that big leg. As for timing, I think the blog post says it all, you have to go by internal temperature not hours and minutes. Times are there to give you an approximation of how long it will take but there are just too many variables to be solely used. I am not familiar with the Bon Appetite recipe for grilling a leg of lamb but I’m guessing they are having you start on a hot side of the grill and roasting covered on a cooler side. Doesn’t matter how you cook it as long as you use a thermometer to know when you’ve reached your desired internal temperature. Have fun and let us know what you end up doing and how it turns out. – RG

  49. CG says:

    My mom also used to make her lamb with the slits and lots of garlic cloves. She would also season with salt and pepper and then add a layer of flour to the outside of the lamb. While the lamb was cooking she would pour water over the top occasionally thereby creating the gravy fixins. We always had mashed potatoes and gravy with our Leg of Lamb. She insisted that it was the Irish way of making lamb. It was my favorite dish that she made.

    Thanks CG for your lamb cooking suggestions. – RG

  50. Marilyn Davis says:

    How do you reheat leftover leg of lamb without it getting too tough?

    Hi Marilyn,

    If you reheat it, you risk overcooking it so I would suggest finding alternative ideas for the meat including Shepard’s Pie, lamb stew, slicing and reheating in the gravy you made the night before. If you must reheat the leftover leg, I would wrap it in foil and reheat at 200 degrees F in the oven. Be sure to check the lamb’s internal temperature so you don’t overcook it. – RG

  51. Deb says:

    Roast leg of lamb marinated with coffee?! I’m taking over the lamb cooking since my Dad passed away last year, and he had the best recipe, which he didn’t write down. So, do you have any suggestions? He used a lot of garlic, and dried herbs not fresh and really strong coffee. Should I marinate overnight in coffee or just baste it? Thanks

    Hi Deb, not sure about the coffee but sounds interesting. Now that you threw this out to the Internet, let’s see if you get some ideas. – RG

  52. jenphilly says:

    I am cooking my first boneless leg of lamb for Easter and i am a little nervous as my husband is from a traditional Italian family but after reading all the advice and comments i feel a little more secure about attempting this fete.

    Hi Jen, have fun with your lamb dinner and let me know how it turns out. – RG

  53. Caroline says:

    So glad I found this! Like many of the other posters, I’m making lamb for Easter dinner. Going to pair it with The Pioneer Woman’s crash hot potatoes and some sauteed asparagus tips.

    My question is about how long to let the rub sit. Is there big flavor difference/benefit to letting it sit for say 6 hours v. simply the amount of time it takes to preheat the oven? Thanks!

    Hi Caroline, great question. I asked my friend Chef Vogel to help me out with your question and he said unlike a marinade, a rub does not augment the flavor that much more if left on for hours or overnight. 15 -30 minutes should suffice. Hope this helps and happy Easter. – RG

  54. Nick says:

    Re: gar;lic..You should know that when using garlic for flavoring that the depth of flavor depends on how small the clove is sectioned. The smaller the piece, the more intense the flavor. So…when I cut slits and insert garlic in my lamb roast on Easter, it is only with slices from a whole clove.

  55. Linda says:

    I have a 3lb boneless leg of lamb and no working oven. I do have a crock pot, a rotisserie and a convention toaster oven. Which one should I use and for how long?

    Not sure a 3 pound boneless leg of lamb is going to fit into a crock pot or toaster oven so I would go with a rotisserie oven and cook it until it reaches your desired internal temperature for lamb or 130 degrees F to 160 degrees F depending how you like it. You could also ask your neighbor to use their oven too. – RG

  56. Cheryle says:

    OK, I am going to cook a leg of lamb w/ the bone in for Easter. Will this change the cooking time? Can I use the fresh herbs from your recipe? Same temperature 450 and then 375? Can I add new potatoes to the roasting pan while the lamb cooks? Or add by a certain time? Sorry so many questions just want it to be a success. So that family will enjoy and let me cook it more often.
    Thanks, Cheryle

    Hi Cheryle, yes, bone in will change the cooking time but again please don’t depend on times rather than internal temperatures. There are so many variables that can effect cooking times so you are more likely to have a great leg of lamb by using a thermometer. Yes, you can use the fresh herbs and the same cooking temperatures. I wouldn’t add the potatoes right away but after you reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Let me know how your dinner turns out. – RG

  57. Sue says:

    I have two 4 3/4 lbs of boneless legs of lamb to serve 12 people tomorrow. What temperature do you recommend cooking them? Will having two in my oven at the same time affect the cooking time?

    Hi Sue, yes having two legs of lamb in the oven will affect cooking time but once again, it’s more about internal temperature than minutes and hours. Remember, most ovens have hot spots so the two legs may cook differently even though they are in the same oven. You may want to rotate them once or twice while cooking. – RG

  58. Lori says:

    I wish I had read your blog yesterday. The boneless leg of lamb I bought was netted but my recipe said remove fat so I cut it off and removed all the fat. It’s now marinating in olive oil, Dijon mustard, red wine and herbs. Do I have to tie it before I roast it? Should I not have removed the fat? It’s my first leg of lamb also & I hope I didn’t ruin it before even getting a chance to cook it, lol.

    Hi Lori, the netting is there to help hold the leg together but since you removed it, you could always add a few ties with kitchen string. I like roasting meat with the fat on but if your recipe says to remove it, I’m sure they have their reasons why. It may be the recipe came from a low fat cookbook. More importantly, how did it turn out? – RG

  59. greg says:

    I am having a boneless leg of lamb for Easter.I thought I had rosemary and Thyme,but I didn’t.I’m using a good dry Italian spice mix by McCormick.It has rosemary thyme and oregano and a few other things. I think this will be OK. Whats your thoughts?

    Hi Greg, fresh rosemary and thyme will always be better than store bought spices but when in a pinch, your Italian spice mix will be better than no spice at all. Just be careful to check the label to make sure there isn’t too much salt or sugar. – RG

  60. Cheryle says:

    Thank you for the help. I am sorry for the confusion about the herbs. What I was trying to ask is fresh herbs the best or in a pinch can you use the dry. I did go get the fresh ones today. I do understand that the time of cooking is a variable thing. Just was wondering if as a general rule with a bone am I looking a more or less time. Thank you again and I will let you know how things turn out.

    • Hi Cheryle, in my opinion, fresh herbs are always better if available but in a pinch, of course you can use dry and dry is better than none. I would have thought bone-in leg of lambs would take longer than boneless. After doing some research, I find it is just the opposite. According to several cooking time charts I’ve seen, a 5 to 7 pound lamb leg, bone-in roasted at 325 degrees F takes 25 to 30 minutes / pound for an internal temperature of 160 degrees or medium. The same roast, boneless and roasted at the same temperature takes 30 to 35 minutes to reach the same internal temperature. I can only guess that the bone gets hot and acts as a heat conductor and helps cook the roast from the inside out.

  61. Cheryle says:

    Great thanks for the help. I will let you know how it turns out.
    I pray that everyone has a wonderful Easter!

  62. Mary Anne says:

    Help! It’s Easter morning. I have 2 legs of lamb that have been boned and rolled by the butcher. Their weights before the bones were removed were 11 and 9.5 lbs. The butcher told my husband I should cook them for 5.75 hours at 350. I think, after some research, that’s way too long. Has anyone done 2 legs side by side? Please help! I’m a nice Polish girl, who has my Greek husband’s extended family arriving for Easter dinner in 7 hours!

    Hi Mary Anne, sorry for not getting back to you this morning but I was in flight from Park City, Utah. I think if you read this blog post you will see I am a fan of using a thermometer and cooking to desired internal temperatures rather than how many hours. I hope you lamb legs worked out and you celebrated a fantastic Easter. – RG

  63. Joanne Huddleson says:

    To John Stowers Jr.:
    my mom said that IF you purchased a *bone-in* leg of lamb–ask the butcher to remove *the gland* and that will help with the musky scent! Blessings–and a Happy Easter!!

  64. Cheryle says:

    Thank you so much for all the help my Lamb was a great success even my husband liked it and that is saying a lot. So this is what I did with my 6 lb leg of lamb w/bone. I cut slits on both top and bottom of the lamb about an inch apart and put LOTS of garlic slices in the slits. Rubbed w/olive oil and then herbs. Let sit for about 20 min and then rub on salt and pepper. Put on rack in large glass casserole dish fat side up. Cooked 20 min at 450 then put new potatoes in dish turned down to 375 cooked for another 2 hrs 15min and checked internal temperature. When it was at 140 I pulled it out and let sit while I finished the rest of the meal about 20 more min. The only thing I will have to do different is the potatoes because not all were done.
    I do have a couple of question still. What should I do with the leftovers on the bone? And how long does the leftovers last for once in the fridge before you should freeze?

    Me, I would take the meat off the bone and have another meal with the meat. You can make sandwiches or use it to make a stew or casserole. The roasted bone would be perfect for making a delicious soup. I’m not a food nutritionist so I can’t tell you how long it will last in the fridge. You may want to set some meat aside for the next couple of days and then freeze the rest. I’m thrilled your Easter dinner was a success and you shared your experience with me. – RG

  65. Mary says:

    Thanks for the great pointers! I’ll be roasting my first boneless leg of lamb tomorrow! Just wanted to find out how to roast the potatoes and veggies under the lamb since I have a rack for the lamb itself. I wanted to find out if the potatoes should go into the roasting dish and oven at the same time that I put in the lamb? How long do the potatoes cook for? Do I still add water/stock to the bottom of the dish if I’m roasting my potatoes there? Will I need to add seasoning to the potatoes as well? And finally, I have marinated my lamb with a heavier yogurt/garlic/Ginger paste overnight, will the drippings allow the potatoes to soak the lamb juices and get the best flavor?

    Personally, I would roast the potatoes in another pan in the oven and add them after the initial roasting at a higher temperature. This way you don’t have to worry about the stock at the bottom of the pan and you can season them according to your tastes. – RG

  66. Lesley says:

    I’ve really enjoyed reading all these questions and answers – thanks! I think all my questions are answered but I’d like to be clear about something. If I want to roast potatoes around the roast, should I wait until after the initial 450 period but my roast is only going to need about an hour in the oven. Should I roast them in the fat from the lamb? Should I add water? I don’t have a rack. I also don’t have fresh herbs and not crazy about the flavor of rosemary so I was going to do the garlic, salt and pepper and dry thyme – bad idea?

    Hi Lesley, I don’t add the potatoes right away because they typically don’t take an hour to cook. If they take longer, you can continue to cook them while the lamb rests. What kind of potatoes are you planning on serving with the lamb? I don’t think there are bad ideas when cooking or at least not too many of them. Lamb and rosemary go very well together, but if you don’t like rosemary, try something else. – RG

  67. Aussie Bill says:

    G;day RG. I just wanted to say I am very impressed with your site. Even tho I am a yank by birth, I have lived in z for nearly 20 years and LAMB ROAST is our Sunday stable. Here in San Diego, its like diggin for gold to FIND ONE!! LOL. Its just nice to see someone promoting Lamb. If you ever want the worlds best recipe for lamb chops with a spicy tomato base marinade…….. feel free to email. Good onya Mate! “Roast Lamb, better than a date with Tom Cruise!” hehhee (an old Aussie commercial)

    Hi Aussie Bill, never have seen that commercial but I’ll look for it on YouTube. I’ll drop you an email for that recipe. Looks great. – RG

  68. Diane says:

    Not soulful, but I pre-cook my ordinary potatoes to roast with meats in the micro and when they become fairly tender I cut them flatly lengthwise. I do this ahead of time and put them in the refridge. The starch sets so the spuds don’t stick to the roasting pan and they brown greatly near the end of your roasting time.

    Thank you Diane for you potato cooking tip. I’ll have to give it a try. – RG

  69. Cheryl says:

    I want to say a BIG THANKS to RG for his excellent description on lamb. I successfully cooked my 1st lamb yesterday. It was 4 lbs and took 1 1/2. I actually watched the thermometer closely and almost freaked when it said 160…as I thought I had ruined it. I took it out and after letting it rest 10 minutes the thermometer came in at 140…and it was definitely medium and VERY tasty. I kept my eye on it every 1/2 hour. Also, a thanks to Diane for her potato tip as that turned out extremely well. So here’s to everyone getting a “perfect” lamb!

    Hi Cheryl, you are welcome and thank you for sharing your results with us. – RG

  70. Michelle says:

    A couple of anchovy filets in the herb/garlic mash adds some great flavor…and it is not fishy at all.

    Hi Michelle, thanks for the tip. – RG

  71. james says:

    thats whats for dinner tonite,looks awesome,whateva hapen to scratch n sniff,lol

  72. BIG MIKE says:

    The best dinner growing up in the 50’s was my mom’s roasted leg of lamb .What made it taste so good was the gravy!! and the side dishes where roasted potatoes in the pan and baked sharp cedar macaroni and cheese and some vegetable .the secret was NO GARLIC My guess just salt and pepper maybe a little rosemary but nothing tastes better than the flavor of lamb.I have been to friends homes and garlic inside and out and so over seasoned you couldn’t taste the lamb. I find this problem with the new chiefs of the day .

    Hi Big Mike, thanks for the post. I can’t remember my mom using garlic when I was growing up either but I don’t mind sticking a few pieces into the meat when roasting. I guess it has to do with our taste buds. – RG

  73. Jack says:

    Thanksgiving Experiment!! First; Great Site. Getting ready to gather up all the ingredients for this “experiment” today. I will be “grilling/smoking” a 4-7 lb. boneless leg of lamb on my outdoor grill.

    I am creating a “paste” that includes:
    2 cups olive oil
    Seasoned Salt
    Fresh Garlic (6 cloves)
    3 oz. fresh lemon juice
    2 Tb. Oregano
    2 Tb. Thyme
    2 Tb. Rosemary
    ??? Barbecue Dry Rub (not sure yet; to taste!)
    1 Tb Worcestershire

    • Plan on rubbing on the paste and placing in a plastic bag for several hours.
    • I will be rolling and tying the roast and not grilling flat like a steak!!
    • Grill Lamb roast on all side to create a “bark” over hickory charcoal
    • Indirect cook the roast and app. 250; hoping the hickory will add a smoky flavor
    • Taking it off at app. 140 degrees F; which I hope is app. 2 hours;
    • Probably roll up in aluminum foil after about 10 minutes to help hold in juices/flavor

    Serving with an Australian Shiraz

    Thanksgiving, because of the number of people and food we will have at the house, is a great time to experiment don’t you think. I’ll keep everyone informed and take some pictures. Pray for me!!! (and our guests) – Jack

    Sounds like a great menu. Good luck with it and Happy Thanksgiving – RG

  74. carol says:

    I have little problem, we are having a Christmas dinner at a neighbors home and I was asked to bring lamb. Any ideas on how to cook it at my home and get it to there home without it being over cooked we like it rare to medium rare. Plus there will be about an hour of meet and greet first! HELP Please!

    Hi Carol, I sent your question to my friend Chef David Nelson, an incredible cook especially when it comes to lamb and game meats. Here is what he told me,

    “RG, holding cooked meat at rare to medium rare is hard to do even with a good holding oven. Your writer did not mention the cut of meat she might have to use. Possibly suggest that they buy some New Zealand or Australian racks of lamb and cut them into thin chops that can be easily cooked on site in just a few minutes to perfection.”

  75. Peg Feltes Dordal says:

    I have a 58 oz bone in leg of lamb. We are cooking for 30 pl. how much of this leg is bone so that I can plan on the correct number of legs I’ll need? 58oz of leg= how much bone weight? thanks a mil hope this gets through.

    Hi Peg, I have no idea but I’m sure your butcher would be the best one to give you an answer. – RG

  76. Joe says:

    I had a friend over from school one day for a snack. I told him he was having lamb sandwich. He said eeww, not sure I would like that. I told him to try it first, now he can’t get enough of it.

    Hi Joe, nothing like left over lamb sandwich. Did you serve it with a little mint jelly or would that have been too much? – RG

  77. Vjo says:

    Making my first roast….can i use any kind of string to tie it (its only about 3 1/2 lbs) or is it a special kind of twine? Is it sold anywhere? Nervous!

    I would say any kind of string would work but of course you don’t want any kind of coated string. – RG

  78. Marg says:

    I cooked a boneless leg of lamb for Christmas Day and it came out great. I have some leftover and would love to make lamb stew. But I did not save any lamb juices. I was wondering if you had a recipe for leftover lamb stew. I can’t seem to find one. Thanks!

    I’m not sure if I would make a lamb stew from leftover leg of lamb. Usually you would use a fattier cut of lamb that needs to cook slowly over a long period of time. You could make a dish with veggies and the leftover lamb cut up into cubes, deglazing with some wine and using beef or chicken stock for the sauce. Let me think of some ideas and post them in a new blog post but invite anyone else with an idea to post it. – RG

  79. glenn says:

    i want to do a boneless leg of lamb. my roasting pan has a rack in it. Can I leave the lamb on the rack and cook some potatoes beneath it or do i need to remove the rack?

    Either way should be fine Glenn. – RG

  80. Jean Staines says:

    Cooked a 4# boneless leg of lamb for New Years day, medium rare, it was delicious. Today I sliced the leftovers and brought them to room temperature, heated a tiny amount of olive oil in a skillet until hot, placed the slices of lamb in the skillet and heated it quickly. The lamb was warm and still very tender and moist. Used them in gyro’s. Very delicious!

  81. Jean Staines says:

    RE: Marg,
    Used my left over leg of lamb to make gyro’s, still had some left and cut it up into cubes, used two cans of Campbells French Onion soup, a can of salt free diced tomatoes, 2 tbsp of chicken granules and let it cook low and slow. Finished it off with some fresh thyme and oregeno from my garden, carrots from my garden and cubed red potatoes. It was delicious!

  82. David Torney says:

    Love the blog, also love lamb. Why haven’t I seen any recipes using tarragon as the main herb. My brother served me boned, roast leg of lamb years ago and it’s the way I have made it ever since.
    Start with the butterflied lamb and spread current jelly on it. Add crushed, diced garlic (the more the better), and lots of fresh chopped tarragon. Roast as desired (I prefer the oven sear at a higher temp, then slower till the desired temp. I reduce the remainder of the current jelly and baste during the roast. Absolutely delicious. You can have your mint jelly. Comments? Dave

    Hi Dave, sounds great and I like the fact that you are cooking to a desired temperature and not just by weight and time. Tarragon is a fantastic herb that I use a lot with chicken but I will have to try it with lamb. Thanks for sharing. – RG

  83. David Torney says:

    I forgot to say, the roast is rolled and tied with cotton butchers string and on rack while roasting. Having one tomorrow. Dave

  84. Margaret Abbott says:

    I have read all the questions and answers and find them helpful but like someone else I want to eat at 6:00 p.m. The lamb is 1.160 KG just over 2 lbs. I understand what you have already said it all depends on many things but if I put it in the oven at 325 degrees F and go by 30 min per lb., how long would it take to reach the required temperate of 155. Thank you for all the information
    and await your reply.

    Hi Margaret, funny, my wife just this minute told me she purchased a leg of lamb for tonight and was asking the same question as you are. Not knowing all the variables – oven type, meat tied, pan used, meat temperature before cooking, how often you open the oven door to check the temperature – all the stuff mentioned in the post and comments, any answer I give you would be a guess. Now assuming your 30 minutes per pound at 325 degrees F is absolutely accurate to reach 155 degrees F, it should take just over an hour of cooking to be medium-well done and that’s not considering resting time. I highly recommend you invest in an inexpensive meat thermometer that you can pick up in any supermarket for under $10. It’s a good investment that can save you lots of money in overcooked lamb. Hope this helps – RG

  85. kathy b. says:

    Hi, I just purchased a boneless leg of lamb (Australian) and I will roasting it on Sunday. My kids love it because it’s different from the standard meats. I read through this site/blog and found it to be incredibly useful. I will be using the high heat method which I usually do for my prime rib cuts. This was an excellent source of information! Really enjoyed the site! Happy cooking everyone!

    Thanks Kathy, let me know how your lamb turns out and what tips you would like to share with my readers. – RG

  86. Margaret Abbott says:

    Thank you for your reply it at least gives me some idea, I do have a thermometer which I use but I haven’t cooked lamb for company before and that is why I was questioning the cooking time. My friends turn away from any signs of pink. Once again thank you I really appreciate your opinion. Margaret

    You are very welcome Margaret. Like you, I am a home cook trying to learn by experimenting new techniques and recipes. – RG

  87. kathy b. says:

    Hi, my Sunday boneless leg of lamb dinner was a huge success! I brought the lamb to room temperature and seasoned it right before I placed it in the 500 degree oven. I pat it dry and then rubbed olive oil all over. I crushed all the herbs together in the processor, oregano,rosemary,thyme and garlic. I rubbed the paste all over and finished it with salt and pepper. I cooked it for 30 minutes and then lowered the oven to 375. Once my thermoter read 140, I removed it from the oven. The goal was to cook it to medium temp. I removed it then covered it with foil on a cutting board to rest. I then made the sauce. I did not want a thick gravy like I usually make for prime rib. So I added water to the roasting pan and scraped off the bits. I skimmed off the fat from the drippings using my gravy seperator (highly recommended). I proceeded to make a roux using flour and butter. I added some of the drippings to the roux slowing to incorporate them before I added this mixture into my saucepan of warm drippings. Once it was incorporated, I then started to blend it with the warm drippings constantly stirring. I then added a splash of sherry, black pepper and a pinch of salt. I simmered the sauce on low and stirring occasionally while I finished preparing the side dishes. I served asparagus,oven roasted potatoes and carrots along with some dinner roles. The meal was a huge hit! My family raved about the lamb and its flavor. It was my first attempt and I will make it again in the near future. The only thing that I would do differently is to remove the lamb sooner from the oven. My husband prefers medium and it was but I prefer medium rare. There was not much pink in the center but it still was very good! You were right about the temperature rising after the meat is removed from the oven. My roast was removed at 140 degrees and rose to 145 degrees when rested. I realized that my oven cooks and bakes quicker than recipes call for. I will consider this the next time I roast lamb. Thank you for your suggestions and techniques! I will refer to your website again and I will suggest it to my friends as well! By the way, my roast was 6.2 pounds and it was done in 2hrs using the high heat method as I mentioned earlier. A good thermometer is certainly a must have tool! Thanks again! Kathy B

    Hi Kathy, you are very welcome and thank you for sharing your story and success. You explained it better than I could and I’m sure there are many “reluctant” home cooks out there who will be inspired by your experience. Please keep me updated on more of your culinary adventures. – RG

  88. Margaret Abbott says:

    Re: Jan 20 & 22
    R.G. When I purchased the frozen boneless leg of lamb I had no idea it was marinated until I opened the wrapping to a delightful aroma of garlic and spices! Also I felt it needed to be tied together with string which I did. I put it in a 450 degree F oven as you suggested in your recipe for 20 minutes but reduced it to 325 just for over 1 hr. Before I knew it the thermometer shot up to 160 degreesF but the roast was perfect for my friends just slightly pink. I pre-roasted vegetables just before putting the roast in the oven and reheated them while meat was resting delicious, now I look forward to my next lamb dinner.

    I purchased a new thermometer, have you checked them out lately? What a variety to choose from. The one I bought is just simple and large better to see through the stove window.

    By the way what time did you tell your wife to put the lamb in (Jan.20). Were her vegetables ready?

    Thank you for your website. Bon appetite to all and many Blessings.

    Hi Margaret, thanks for sharing your lamb experience. I’m sure I told my wife the same thing I explained to you but I was there with my thermometer. – RG

  89. joy says:

    Take boneless netted roast out of fridge at 11:00 am. Put in roasting pan still wrapped in plastic and/or paper from store. Place in unheated oven so the dog won’t eat it. Go to beach and have a good time but be home by 16:00 (4:00 pm). Unwrap lamb run under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Grab an other paper towel, pour a bit of olive oil on the lamb and use the paper towel to spread it so leg is all over coated with oil. Set back in roasting pan. Go out to garden (or your neighbors house)and get couple of sprigs of rosemary, bay, sage,mint, whatever is fresh, it does not matter. Take the fresh stuff and chop well in a processor. In a ramekin or small bowel mix a tablespoon each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and a teaspoon of cumin if you have it. Add chopped fresh herbs to the ramekin and mix with a fork. Rub mixture onto the lamb leg trying to cover completely and paying special attention to the fatty side. At 16:45(4:45 pm) preheat oven to hottest setting 525 F is great. Put roasting pan with lamb fattest side up in oven at 17:00 (5:00 pm). Cook for ten or fifteen minutes on high, then drop the temperature down to 350 F. Do not open the door to check things. At 18:00 (6:00 pm) start thinking about cooking/ warming up side dishes. At 19:00 pull roasting pan out of oven and place atop stove to rest. Turn off oven. Put plates in still warm oven to heat so everything stays hot at table. At 19:15 (7:15 pm) cut and remove netting. Promptly move lamb to carving board, slice and serve onto preheated plates with sides.

    Interesting Joy. Like the technique but I would not let the roast sit in the oven for 4 hours myself and the times are good but could vary depending on the size of the roast and one’s particular oven. I would use a meat thermometer unless you have prepared this leg of lamb many times and are comfortable with the timing. Thanks for sharing. – RG

  90. Gil says:

    I have my first boneless leg in the oven, and butterflies in my stomach. I have read all your mails on this matter and have followed a combination of some. Once I serve I will write the details of greatness or the agony of defeat! thanks for providing such great tips. Fingers crossed. Gil

    Hey Gil, can’t wait to hear your results. You don’t even want to know about the first time I tried preparing my first boneless leg of lamb. Talk about overcooked… – RG

  91. Linda says:

    Loved reading this! But I have a question that hasn’t been asked … I have 2.5 pd. boneless. Will your suggestion of starting it at 450, then reducing to 375 be too much for such a small roast? I was thinking of keeping it at 350 the whole time. Thanks RG!

    Hi Linda, great question and it might be. I guess you could try cutting the time at 450 degrees F in half and finishing at 375 or even 350 degreesF but with a small boneless lamb you might want to stick with a constant temperature until the meat reaches the desired internal temperature. Let me know which method you use and how it turns out. – RG

  92. Diane M says:

    I really don’t mean to be difficult, but…. after reading the previous 90 responses, I’m more confused than ever.
    YOUR recipe clearly states oven temps (450 then down to 375). However, YOU and others keep changing it:
    Jan 4th Your example was 325F
    Sep 28th Your instructions were for 325F
    Oct 9th Casey is roasting at 350F
    Dec 16th Peggy is doing hers at 325F
    Apr 2nd poor Cheryle intended to roast at 375F
    First you gave her directions to roast at 350F
    And the next day day your example was at 325F
    And Jan 20th Margaret is roasting at 325F

    I guess I can understand why cooks sometimes have to change the oven temp to accommodate something else in their oven but YOU should stick with YOUR recipe as the basic.

    I do understand the value of a good oven thermometer. In fact, sometimes I use two just to make sure I get a good average reading.
    Sorry if I come across as critical but I am just frustrated.
    I do enjoy your website overall.

    Hi Diane, great questions and I can understand your confusion. It really doesn’t matter if you roast your leg of lamb at 325 or 350 degrees F. They will both come out equally well as long as you cook to the desired internal temperature. Saying that, there are three different techniques for roasting and depending on who you are asking, they all work equally well. Some like to start at a high heat to sear and brown the meat, others like to start at a lower heat and finish with a high heat and then there are some who cook at one temperature for the entire time. It’s up to you to experiment with what works best for you. I can tell you how I like to roast a leg of lamb but there will be just as many people who prefer another method. What’s important in all three ways to cook a leg of lamb is cooking it to a desired temperature knowing that you are going to let it rest and the meat will continue to cook and temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees. That’s what we need to understand as home cooks. We want to let the meat rest and we don’t want to overcook it. The technique I described in this post was to start high and then lower the heat but some of the comments were asking about cooking all the way through at one temperature or at least that’s I understood their questions. I guess I should stick with one method as a basic but that would be no fun. It’s much more adventuresome to try various techniques and see which one works best for a given situation. That’s what makes cooking so much fun.

    As for thermometers, the other day I used a probe thermometer and an instant thermometer when roasting a whole beef tenderloin. When the probe thermometer reached 125 degrees F, I removed the roast from the oven. When I tested the temp with my very expensive instant read thermometer, I was getting readings all over the place. The bottom line is I have to do a lot more experimenting with my new instant thermometer to figure out where and when it works best for my cooking situations. I have to eat every day so I know I’ll have a lot of opportunities to test it out. Lucky us. And by the way, the beef tenderloin was perfectly cooked….somewhere between medium-rare and medium. – RG

  93. Cilantro says:

    Hi RG,what a great site u have .Every confused head on the leg of lamb is here (including me now). I have a 4lb butterflied leg of lamb sitting in my fridge marinated with Pineapple juice, (3 Tbs + 2tbs lime juice)Fresh rosemary, Thyme & garlic.i will season it with salt & pepper at the time of roasting. Believe me since the time the leg of lamb has arrived in the kitchen it has tormented me to no end.What temp to start & what temp to finish,how long & what if it is too dry or too rare? I even got up twice from my sleep.Finally i couldn’t take it any longer & landed up on your website and i am glad i now i learned a lot, Now i know i need to tie that leg before roasting . Also just like if you need to run on the treadmill,u must have good pair of shoes if u have to roast a leg of lamb,u must have a thermometer.I have no alternative but to rush to Kroger & get one so that i can cook comfortably & successfully tonight. That’s it ! BTW i ran on my treadmill today so that i can enjoy that leg of lamb guilt free.

    Cilantro, sounds good and let me know how it turns out. – RG

  94. wanda says:

    purchased a boneless leg of lamb today. We had leg of lamb prepared by hubby sister a few years ago, it was awful, very strong tasting, she had prepared with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil,her husband was Greek. the meat taste was very overwhelming but then we had lamb chops in England and Ireland this past summer, was delcious, so decided to try and prepare some, read all the info so here goes this week. Also had a gyro this past week w/lamb, was soooooo good, Wish me luck, will let you know what we think of my cooked lamb.

    Good luck Wanda -RG

  95. cilantro says:

    Finally that leg of lamb which has tormented me so much was roasted on Saturday evening & turned out very delicious & moist. Just before baking I rubbed it with sea salt & lots of pepper. I also preheated the pyrex dish & the rack & added about 3/4th cup of water in the pyrex dish. Then as per your tips from your experience, i started with 450 degrees for 30 minutes but panicked & after 20 minutes turned it to 350 degrees. It took about 1 hr 30 min to reach to 160 degrees thermometer reading. I got the digital thermometer but not sure used it correctly as it sounded alarm at 160 deg but it never showed me current temp. But anyways after total 1 hr 50 minutes, (I opened the oven door twice as i was anxious so probably took longer)i removed it from the oven & made it to rest for 10 minutes & carved.It was super delicious. then i did something which i wouldn’t have dared in my whole life. Whatever the melted fat & juice was collected in the pyrex dish i poured over the roast like a bath ,at this point a horrible word came to my mind, blood bath, i shuddered & quickly brushed it aside or else i would not have been able to enjoy the roast. i served it with saffron rice & Salad BTW,there were no left overs as my friends packed for their lunch.
    This is so far the best leg of lamb i made & now i can’t wait to do it again.After all it is spring time. But i guess i need to learn to use my digital thermometer properly.

    Congratulations – sounds like a great success. – Thanks for sharing your story. – RG

  96. cilantro says:

    RG, A Big Thank U!

  97. cilantro says:

    RG,roasting another leg of lamb today but with bone .hope it turns out juicy & delicious.Stressed over that thermometer,hope it works today.

    Cilantro, don’t forget it is easier to put the leg back in the oven if it is undercooked than dealing with overcooked lamb. – RG

  98. cilantro says:

    Thanks RG,that helped.I am not sure i am using the thermometer right so i checked the leg after 1hr 20 minutes & put it back for another 20 minutes and it was perfect.I need to get the old fashioned thermometer.Do u have any recommendation,pls?That will help.

    Hi Cilantro, you can pick up a decent meat thermometer in any housewares store. – RG

  99. Heather A says:

    Fabulous site! Can’t believe I’ve not stumbled upon it before – have now added it to my favourites.

    Lamb is one of my favourite meats. I have recently moved on a job assignment and am without my cookbooks and outdoor grill. So I’m learning to cook in the oven all over again. For those cooking for one or two people… here’s what I cooked tonight.

    1 lb. piece butterflied leg of lamb which had been marinated by the butcher in rosemary, olive oil, and garlic (Tangos butcher in Vancouver, BC)
    Roasted in the oven @ 350F for 40 minutes, rested for 5 minutes – perfectly medium rare (5 mins more cooking time for medium)

    Hi Heather, sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing. – RG

    For those looking for suggestions for leftover lamb, my Mom always did Lamb Curry which was a family favourite!

  100. Heather M says:

    I used this recipe last Easter to make my first lamb, and it turned out fabulous! I’m doing lamb again this year, and as I re-read this blog, I’m realizing there is a demi glace that accompanies the lamb. I don’t recall making this last year and I know I didn’t buy anything. Is the demi glace necessary? If so, I may try and hunt around for it.

    Hi Heather, I guess if you didn’t use it last year and you were happy it isn’t necessary but demi glace is one of those ingredients used in professional kitchens that in my opinion makes a big difference. Don’t hunt around. Read about demi glace, how to make it and where to find it at Demi Glace.

  101. Jim Sprada says:

    Everyone seems to have a different temperature for “medium”. Anywhere from 160 degrees F to 130 degrees. Since this is my first time for boneless leg o’ lamb and my guest doesn’t like meat “bloody”, I’m going to try it at 135 but am nervous. What’s the safest non-bloody but not dry temp?

    Hi Jim, this sounds pretty good. I think of non bloody and not dry as medium rare and that would be more like 130 degrees F but 135 should work to. Don’t forget to take the meat out 5 degrees earlier and let the meat rest and come to your finished temperature. – RG

  102. phyllis says:

    i’ve got a lovely lamb joint for Easter lunch and I’m wondering if i can part cook it before going to church and finish it off when we get home. i don’t want o be worried about it being too long in the oven if the service runs longer than expected.

    Hi Phyllis, a lot of professional chefs tell me they partially cook meats earlier in the day and finish that night, but I haven’t had any experience doing this so I’m going to say I don’t know. I’ll ask some chef friends to add their own comments about this situation and see what they have to say. – RG

  103. Kari says:

    I’m concerned about cooking time for a boneless leg of lamb; 7.22#, butterflied, stuffed and rolled. Would you say 3.5 hours would get me to 140 degrees by keeping the temp at 350 the whole time? Sorry if I’m too late in asking my question for your response. I understand.

    Hi Kari, it’s so hard to tell how long something is going to cook exactly. So many variables – how tightly the lamb is rolled, what it is stuffed with, how accurate your oven is, etc. I much prefer using a thermometer to tell me when the meat should come out to rest. This way you check it at 3 hours and then every 15 minutes until it reaches the desired temperature and you are not guessing. Happy Easter – RG

  104. Kim says:

    Easy 5 lb boneless leg of lamb.
    Use a heavy metal roasting pan slightly larger than lamb. Spray with cooking non stick spray. Slice 1-2 large onion rounds like for hamburgers and arrange to cover entire bottom of pan. prepare about 3 cups of flour with 3 tablespoons onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon salt. Mix flour and seasonings. Remove lamb from plastic and rinse with cold water in clean sink drain 1 minute do not dry with paper towel as seasoning won’t stick.
    Drench lamb with lots of onion powder, some salt and pepper. Next drench lamb in flour mixture like you would for frying chicken. Press flour mixture onto lamb with your hand. Be sure to cover all sides and ends. The flour will hold in a lot of juices. Set lamb fat side up centered atop onion circles.
    Bake 350 degrees F for 2 1/2 hours. Remove roast from roast pan into a platter deep enough to catch about 1-2 cups of juices.Do not cover or roast crust won’t be crispy.
    Rest meat 20 minutes drain juices back to roast pan. Add 3 cups water to pan. Place roast pan on large burner of stove top and heat till boiling on medium heat. Add salt to taste. While waiting whisk 1 cup flour in large bowl with water by adding a 1/4 cup water at at a time no lumps. Go slowly when adding water. M ix enough flour and water until its thinner than pancake mix (watery). Next remove as many onions from pan as possible. save on the side in bowl. As juices drain from onions, drain back to pan and save onions to border roast on platter. Next add flour water mixture in small splashes to heated pan mixture that’s boiling. Think of adding liquid cream to coffee, because that’s the amount you’ll add at a time. You MUST keep stirring constantly or you will have lumps in your gravy. I use either a pancake flipper or a heat proof spatula. Stop add water/flour mixture when its at gravy consistency maybe a tad thinner as it thickens slightly when it cools. Transfer gravy to gravy boat or serve with ladle from pan. Slice meat and your good to go. Great with mashed potatoes and a salad!

  105. Lynne says:

    My Mum taught me to put slits in roast, and insert sliced garlic and bits of rosemary, put into Hot oven (425 or 450) and immediately turn temp down to 350, roast for 2 hours (we don’t like rare lamb), and we always put large chunks (quarters of a medium potato) tossed in oil or butter around the roast from the beginning. Serve with Bisto gravy, and fresh mint sauce, and whatever veggies you like. Mint sauce: chop fresh mint, as much as desired, add little sugar and vinegar (always malt in England) to taste, and let stand for a while, as roast is cooking. Enjoy!

    Hi Lynne, sounds good. Thanks for sharing. – RG

  106. Arlene says:

    RG. I left a message earlier this week and am disappointed that I do not see it posted because my party is tomorrow at 3 p.m., so here I am again:

    I am cooking a 5.12 lbs of Australian boneless leg of lamb as well as 8.8 spiral ham. I am going to use your recipe as to fresh rosemary, oregano, thyme, garlic with the olive oil rubbed all over. I plan on putting it in the oven 450 degrees for 1/2 hour then dropping it to 350. My question is when do I put the lamb in approximately?? I have guest arriving at 3:00? I would like it to be medium done.

    Hi Arlene, sorry I didn’t respond sooner but I was away celebrating my mother-in-laws 90th birthday party. The answer to your question is in the comments as well as lots of terrific information about cooking a boneless leg of lamb. There are so many variables that decide how long to cook the lamb but it ranges from 25 minutes to 35 minutes per pound. Therefore a 5 pound leg of lamb could take 2 hours to 3 hours and then add the resting time. You see, it is very difficult to tell how long it can take with so many variables including: is the meat at room temperature when you start, is it held together with a net, is your oven accurate, where in the oven are you placing the pan, what else are you cooking. You say you are also cooking a spiral ham. Well that will influence how long it takes. How often you open the oven door to look in on the meat or read the thermometer will effect how long it takes. I’m sorry if I disappointed you, I really didn’t mean to, but sometimes as a home cook, we just have to give it a go and see how it turns out. So by now you have cooked the lamb. How did it turn out and how long did it take using the temperatures you described above? My feeling is we are all in this together and we can all learn from helping each other by our experiences. I would love to hear about your lamb experience today. Thanks, RG

  107. Eric Thompkins says:

    I together with my pals happened to be digesting the good helpful tips located on the blog and all of the sudden came up with a horrible feeling I never thanked the website owner for them. Most of the women appeared to be joyful to read through them and have now really been taking advantage of these things. I appreciate you for turning out to be so considerate and then for considering such nice resources most people are really desperate to learn about. My personal sincere apologies for not expressing appreciation to earlier.

    No Problem Eric, thanks for letting me know. – RG

  108. susie says:

    not sure if I’ll get an answer in time, but here it goes anyway…
    i have a 3.3# boneless leg that i want to come out to rare/med-rare. i have to leave the house and return when it’s done, so i think doing it at a consistent temp might be my best option and will take the longest time to cook. If i set at 325 or 350 degrees, how many minutes per pound should i estimate for? also, i have new potatoes i want to do. shall i put them in the oven at the same time? do i need cooking liquid in the bottom of the pan or does that defeat the purpose of roasting (in dry heat) in the oven? thanks so much!

    Hi Susie, I’m guessing you have finished dinner by now so I’m wondering how it worked out for you. As you can see in my post and replies, I don’t recommend “time and temperature” but rather use a meat thermometer or instant thermometer when cooking a roast. How long did you cook your lamb at 325 or 350 degrees? Was it done the way you like it? Personally, I would never cook new potatoes with a roast. They are fresh with thin skins. I would boil or steam them quickly and serve them with butter and fresh parsley. – RG

  109. susie says:

    hi there-
    thanks for your reply. i had looked at all of the posts as well as some other recipes online. i agree that the thermometer method makes it most accurate, but since i needed to leave the house, i wanted to know min/lb to have a rough guess. i used 20 min/lb and it didn’t work at all. after an hour and 15 mins. i put in 2 different thermometers and thought they might be broken because they weren’t even reading 100 degrees. it took about another 45-60 mins to get it to med rare, but not by temp, but rather slicing it open. we kept putting it back in the oven, let it rest and then sliced it again. what a pain! next time i’m going temp only!!! i also think it took especially long because it was very thick.
    the potatoes on the other hand, came out great. They were tossed in olive oil, salt and garlic and came out tender, delicious and not overdone at all… 🙂

    Thanks for the feedback Susie. I’m sure your comments will help another home cook in the same situation. Good stuff! – RG

  110. cafplaisp says:

    E ‘vero! Credo che sia una buona idea. Sono d’accordo con te.

  111. Cari says:

    Making tomorrow – HELP!! We purchased a lamb from our local fair and I am attempting to make a BONE IN 7.5# leg of lamb tomorrow – I do NOT have a meat thermometer (need to get one but don’t have time). I have read just about all these comments and am totally confused. Please help. Normally I would pan sear a roast prior to putting in the oven, not necessary here? Also, I do like the idea of the higher temp for 30 min. or so – I would like to finish this to a medium temp (I love rare everything but family does not). Please help. I have fresh rosemary, garlic, parsley, thyme (lemon?) in the garden…..what to season with and how long in the oven. I managed to make the lamb chops a month or so ago – but my hubby said the lamb tastes like a lamb smells – he is a dear hunter and I would think the “gamey” smell wouldn’t bother him. I did make a balsamic rosemary sauce for them. I loved them and I will NOT eat venison for the gaminess, lol. Thanks a bunch!!!

    Hi Cari, wow, I might have thrown those lamb chops at him. I’m not sure where you purchased your lamb but they should not taste gamey. These are not wild animals so I’m not sure what happened. As for how to roast a bone in leg of lamb, I’m not sure what else I can tell you that’s not written in the blog and comments. Rosemary and garlic are great seasonings. How long in the oven depends on so many factors as described in the post so I’m not sure how I can help. – RG

  112. Cari says:

    we actually bought the grand champion lamb carcass from our local fair – we have given some to friends and they say it’s the best they have had. We had never tried lamb before, so not sure why we bought a whole lamb, lol.

    I just took it out of the oven, it’s resting – however, I had to steal a nibble and I think it’s pretty darn good. I used lots of garlic and fresh rosemary, olive oil a touch of balsamic vinegar, some lemon thyme and fresh black pepper……

    I will let you know what the family thinks. Thank you for your help and I think your site is wonderful!!!!!

    Can’t wait to hear about your results. – RG

  113. JTM says:

    I have been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be a lot more useful than ever before.

    Thanks – RG

  114. joan howe says:

    I have had a boneless leg of Lamb roast in my freezer for over 2 years!!! I just don’t know how the time slipped away so fast. I was saving it for a special family occasion but the occasion never happened!! The label says it is fresh from New Zealand–and a sell by date of 8/18/09. Is it still OK? Or should I chuck it. I certainly don’t want to chance anyone getting ill. Thanks in advance. Joan

    Hi Joan, more special occasions are in order for you! We just cooked a leg of lamb last week because it was Friday. Hey why not. Is it ok? It might be, but do you really want to take that chance? I’m not a food scientist so I would be very “reluctant” to advise you, so I suggest you ask your butcher and if you don’t know him or her, now’s a great time to introduce yourself. And in the future, look for American raised lamb. In my opinion it has much better flavor. Let me know what you learn and what you decide to do. – RG

  115. Claudette says:

    For those that don’t like the lamby taste. You can soak the roast in buttermilk for 2 -3 days and it will take the lamb taste away, but in that case you should just buy a less expensive beef roast and cook it instead. Be careful of the fat. Lamb fat tastes nasty. Don’t try to make gravy or sauce out of it.

  116. Anne says:

    I think that it is great that this thread is still going and that we are all continuing to learn from it. Lamb for Christmas Eve – wonderful! Merry Christmas to all

  117. Robert says:

    Searing has nothing to do with retaining moisture, a seared piece of meat will have the same amount of water as a non-seared one. The purpose of searing is to caramelize the surface and create flavor. Seared meat just tastes better.

    I agree! – RG

  118. Marilee says:

    I used this recipe for our New Year’s Lamb and it turned out great! I didn’t have a meat thermometer, and I was nervous about the popup timer in the roast so I cooked it at 425 for 30 minutes and then did 375 for one hour. It was a 3 lb boneless leg of lamb. I took it out eventhough the timer hadn’t popped as it had a nice crust and it just seemed like that would be enough cooking. I let it rest for 20 minutes, but about 5 minutes into the resting time I heard a pop against the foil I put over the meat. It was the popup timer!! When we cut the meat it was so beautifully cooked. It was pink, tender, mild, and the herbs seasoned it wonderfully. Thanks for the recipe!

  119. Clare Burmeister says:

    Did 30 min at 450, then turned down to 350. Checked with the them. to 145, took it out and waited about 10 min. Very, very good. Will do this again soon. Love lamb. Thanks for the help. Clare

  120. Nancy says:

    Great website!! Thank you so much to you and everyone who also gave tips. I had a 5.2 pound boneless leg of lamb. Australian (from Costco). Dressed it as you suggested w herbs and olive oil. Used a meat thermometer. Put it in the oven at 4:40. 30 min at 450. I was afraid to open the oven door much so I wasn’t able to read the thermometer perfectly well… (yes, that’s ominous foreshadowing)…I left it in the oven til 6:30 (so 1 1/2 hours at 375) and i kept watching the thermometer rise… unfortunately, when I opened the door to get a good look at the temp, it was 150 or so… I yanked that puppy out and wrapped it in foil for the potluck we were late to get to… carved it & served it an hour later, but no one minded that it was just a tiny pink and not as rare as I would have preferred. It was delicious, but yeah, next time I watch that thermometer like a hawk and pull it out as you suggest at 140. I used the Silver Palette cookbook’s mint vinaigrette to accompany this, but there was also so much gorgeous pan juice, that we put that in a bowl for people to ladle on… Next time, I’ll do more with the juices. The entire roast was devoured. Thanks RG!!

    You are very welcome Nancy. Thanks for responding. – RG

  121. Shirley says:

    Can I cover my leg of lamb when cooking it? I did not cover it the last time I cooked it and my OVEN was a mess.

    I never do, but I have heard some home-cooks will cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Give it a try next time and let me know how it turns out. – RG

  122. Judy says:

    I have purchased a 6 pound boneless leg of lamb. How many people will it serve? I am having 14 people over for Easter dinner (2 children) and I need to know if I should purchase more. Also, if I do purchaser a second one, does it effect the cooking time? Thanks so much.

  123. Mary says:

    I too am serving boneless leg of lamb again this Easter. I have come up with a great side that was a hit last year I’ll share: Bird Nests filled with Green Beans! I take French’s Cheese Onions, mix them together with raw julianned potatoes, place them between 2 different sized hand held wire strainers, place in hot vegetable oil and cook until crisp. take out and let drain on paper toweling. Meantime microwave french cut green beans, dump water and mix in butter, breadcrumbs, pecorino romano and garlic. Place a “nest” on each plate and fill with beans. Before serving I place a hand molded butter egg on each nest. It’s all about presentation when I cook!!Enjoy!!

  124. Janet says:

    I was taught years ago – trim all the fat from the lamb and melt a stick of butter in the pan add lamb and roast – that way you can roast your potatoes with the lamb – delicious! and, no lamb mustiness (sp) – I always just used salt and pepper but your herbs are tempting me. I have the Polder in-oven thermometer but the wide range of themperatures makes it hard to decide what temp to roast to – medium 128 to 170 (in my old cookbook). Just don’t want to overcook!!

  125. Marilyn says:

    I just picked up 2 boneless netted lamb roasts, each of them 6 pounds. I would like to roast them starting with the high temps, then going lower. Can you tell me if cooking 2 6 pounders at the same time will lengthen the cooking time? Also, should I leave them netted until we are ready to carve? I will use a thermometer – guess it should be the same for each of the 6 pound roasts, but I will switch their oven spots half way through cooking. Just need to get an idea because I will be cooking them, then taking them to a family members home about 20 minutes away for dinner. Can I make a test cut thru the netting to check the ‘doneness and color?” Thanks so much! Love this site! Didn’t know there were so many things to learn about cooking lamb roasts!

    Hi Marilyn, I would say yes, roasting two legs of lamb at the same time would take longer only because they each absorb a certain amount of heat. Not being a scientist, I can’t explain if or why this happens but I’m sure I read somewhere it takes longer. Shouldn’t matter too much if you are using a thermometer except for planning.

    Yes, leave the nets on. They help the meat hold a form while roasting. I would think one thermometer would be accurate for both roasts if they are the same size but you can also use an instant thermometer on the other one if you want to make sure.

    Once the meat is roasted, the netting is no longer needed so if you feel it is necessary to cut into the meat to check it for doneness and color, it’s fine. I like the idea of the meat resting for 20 minutes while you travel to your family’s house.

    Have a great Easter! – RG

  126. Nancy says:

    Thank you very much for this informative lesson on cooking a lamb roast. I was asked to prepare two boneless roasts for our church’s annual Maundy Thursday dinner and service. I covered both roasts with the herb/garlic and olive oil mixture and used a large turkey roasting pan and was able to put the roasts (both 5 to 5 1/2 lbs) side by side, fatty side up, on a bed of thickly sliced onions. Started the cooking process in a fully preheated 450 oven for 30 minutes, and then decreased to 350. I checked the temperature every 20 minutes, and at 140 I took them out. I let them rest for 30 minutes and then started to cut into bite-size pieces. (The lamb is always served cold at this meal) After all was cut, I decided that about 1/2 of the pieces were just too dark pink looking (they tasted fine to me, and I had tested the temp and know they were at a minimum of 140, but I thought for the whole group it needed to be more done). So I spread out the pieces, single layer, in a shallow casserole dish and put in 375 oven for an additional 6-10 minutes (depending on the pink level!). I was concerned about over-cooking, but the pieces were still very tender–so tasty! The lamb was very well-enjoyed! Thank you for sharing your expertise

    You are very welcome Nancy and thanks for sharing your lamb experience with me. – RG

  127. Lyn says:

    Help, I ordered a boneless leg of lamb but got home and it’s butterflied! Can I just roll and tie it into a roast and if so, how long should I cook it … its a whole leg.

    Hi Lyn, I don’t see why not. You may even want to roll it with some herbs or other ingredients first and then tie it but not necessary. Please read the other comments on this post about how long to cook. It has more to do with internal temperature than time and temp. Happy Easter – RG

  128. Jinglz says:

    I stayed up late reading all of the great suggestions, tips, and recipes. Thank you for this web-site. I do have quite a few questions. I read Jan 22, 2012 Nancy said she took her lamb to a potluck. I will be taking my leg of lamb roast 4.87 lbs. cooked at home, on Easter, to my sisters approx. 1/2 hour away. When Nancy served it at the potluck was it wrapped in the tinfoil, car ride until food was served or were you able to keep it warm in their oven until you ate? Did you slit holes in the tinfoil to let out the steam? I got that advice from a passionate cook and tend to take her seriously. Does anyone have any input on that? I am also planning on cutting some for my husband to leave at home. Should I just cut some off before cooking roast to ensure not to lose any juices from the cooked meat? Cooking both the peices of the roast separately but in the same pan? And then should I take the roast out of my oven at about 120 temp to 125? (as it will continue cooking at home then in transit til it gets to the table). Also do I pull roast from oven and cover immediately? Is the roast big enough for 12 people with a ham and polish sausage? I also read from April 6, 2009 Nancy Gray and RG responded to her that it wasn’t a good idea to cook it a little then recook, or to make the day before. Nov 20th 2010 RG response to Carol and said it is not good to keep in holding? There is no way to cook it at my sisters as she will be cooking the other meat and sides only having 1 oven. I realize that is a lot of questions especially so close to Easter but any help would be most appreciated. Thanks you and Happy Easter to all.

  129. Jjoyce says:

    I am cooking a 6 lb boneless leg of lamb for Easter tomorrow and need to cook it in my new convection oven. Can you please give me temperature and approximate time it will take to cook. THANK YOU!!!!

    Hi Joyce, as you can see from my comments in this post, I’m not a big fan of time and temperature. I prefer you purchase a thermometer for better results. – RG

  130. Bob says:

    I bought a 10 lb boneless leg of lamb. It is way to big for the amount of people im feeding. Can i cut it in halve and freeze one halve and cook the other? Would it dry out too much being cut like that?

    Wow, that must of been a huge lamb leg. I’m not sure I’ve seen a 10 pound boneless leg of lamb. I would have no problem freezing half as long as you properly freeze it and don’t let it sit in the freezer too long. You want to do everything you can to avoid freezer burn. It’s just like freezing any meat or chicken you buy in bulk. – RG

  131. Robin in WA says:

    Wow! Just got through reading all of the post and comments. Thanks for your great tips RG and everyone else.

  132. joe says:

    I have a 12 pound boneless leg of lamb. What is the total cooking time for this huge piece?

  133. NorthwestKiwi says:

    Thanks for this very informative and well-researched recipe! I cooked a 3.8lb boneless leg of lamb for Easter using your tips, and it turned out wonderfully.

    I used the “30 minutes at 450 degrees then reduce temp to 375” method, and the total cooking time was just under an hour and a half. I used my meat thermometer and removed the roast at 130 degrees, then rested it for about 15 minutes while I made the sauce.

    I didn’t have any fresh oregano to hand, but I added a couple of Tbsp of lemon zest to the rub, and it was delicious. I also added some mint jelly to the sauce, and you were right about that adding some extra flavour – it was wonderful.

    I’ve been enjoying lamb sandwiches all week. 🙂

    P.S. I am admittedly biased, but New Zealand and Australian lamb is much tastier than US lamb – sheep are meant to eat grass, after all!

  134. Sheryl says:

    I’m a bit overwhelmed. I purchased my first pre seasoned lamb. It only weighs 1.96. I’m feeding two. I simply need to know if I cook it covered or not? And for how long? Help????

    Hey Sheryl, I’m now sure what a “pre seasoned” lamb is but cooking it should be easy. I would not cover it and as for how long, use a thermometer to tell you when it’s done. If you read the many comments with this post you will see what I mean. – RG

  135. marie says:

    I cooked my 5 – 1/2 lb. semi boneless lamb at 350 degrees for 2hrs, 45 minutes. It was good .I may try cooking at a higher temp. next time and compare difference. your article was interesting & very informative

    Thanks Marie – RG

  136. K M says:

    Useful information. Fortunate me I discovered your website accidentally, and I’m surprised why this coincidence didn’t came about earlier! I bookmarked it.

  137. tracey says:

    im going to buy a boned leg of lamb for Fridays romantic meal…

    we don’t eat the fat off any meat, and was wondering if i should trim off all fat before seasoning/herbing with rosemary, thyme and mint. Or will this impair the flavor?

    Please please advise me, as i want this to be a very special meal. x

    Hi Tracey, this is a tough one. I have seen leg of lamb prepared with most of the fat removed, some fat removed and just a little of the fat removed. I personally like to leave some fat on when roasting lamb because of the added flavor. If you remove all the fat, you risk loosing a lot of the flavor but you can make counter that by using herbs and spices you mention above.

    There is a good Julia Child video on youtube called Roasted Leg of Lamb (Renaissance Style) that shows Julia cooking a bone-in leg of lamb with most of the fat removed.

    So if you are like my older brother and hate even the site of fat on your food, I suggest you trim it off otherwise, you can always leave some on while cooking and remove when serving. RG

  138. Duncan says:

    Hi- Just stumbled over the blog while doing a spot of research for an article and I noticed the quote from Bruce Aidells about US -v- Australian and NZ lamb – he is utterly wrong. I’m an Australian living in the UK and cooking regularly in Nth America/UK/Europe. Aust and NZ is consistently good, sweet flavoured etc etc throughout the year though spring lamb is the best….Nth American and UK lamb I often find rather greasy and too strong to the point of being unpalatable…no sweetness and balance. It’s getting better but still lags….

  139. Chef dePaprika says:

    Yummie yet simple recipe. I love it with its flavor.
    If you like lamb, you can check my recipe too:

    Oven Roasted Lamb with Wine and Orange Juice Recipe

  140. lindy says:

    I just found this wonderful site, what a wealth of info. Love lamb, we used to raise our own, but just bought organic butterfly leg which I will do the high low way. Thanx for this great site.

  141. Judy says:

    Ok, Im doing the lamb, my question is, after I reduce the tempeture, should I cover the Lamb ?

  142. Nan says:

    I found this site accidently while looking for a lamb cooking chart & have spent the past few hours reading all the info. What a wealth of info. My last lamb preparation was about 25 years ago and I’ve forgotten what I did. I’m preparing a 5 lb roast Wednesday for my family and feel fully prepared. & confident. Thank you.

  143. Sue says:

    My husband & I just LOVE lamb and cook it frequently. I roast it in the oven with nothing but sea salt and fresh rosemary and it is wonderful and the true lamb flavor. I have found over the years we prefer mashed potatoes instead of oven roasted and the lamb dripping make GREAT gravy.

  144. I’ve found the very best roast lamb results from making slits all over and pushing in slithers of garlic, anchovies or olives, slices of preserved ginger and rosemary all in the same slit together.

    The anchovies or olives add the umami/salty flavour and the anchovies melt into the roast leaving no fishy taste at all just a hugely enhanced meatiness.

  145. Fran Butta says:

    Wow, what a wealth of information about roasting lamb. My question however, has to do with grilling a butterflied leg of lamb on our outdoor gas grill. My husband is nervous about what temp, high or medium; cover up or down, and how long (though you have answered it with checking internal temp). thanks for your answer. Happy Easter!

  146. Craig says:

    Great pointers and discussion here. I’m about to make my first leg and have been researching. Mine will be a 6.75 LB semi-boneless which the butcher will butterfly, thus leaving me with a somewhat lighter boneless. The question I have, though, is that a couple folks mentioned something that terrifies me. They said they were shocked to find their legs had achieved 160 degrees, so they promptly pulled them out. But afterwards they found that the temp had *dropped* to 140. That doesn’t make sense to me, but it scares the bejesus out of me that I can’t trust what the thermometer says, especially since it is clearly the only real way to know when your leg is properly cooked. So obviously the question is, do you have any explanation for what might account for those people’s experience?

    • Craig, I do not have an answer but maybe one of the other readers will have some comments for you. I will say this is why it is important to purchase good thermometers. It is also why I like to use quality instant thermometer that does not sit in the oven and I can check occasionally. A couple of other things to consider is how you inserted the thermometer. It is best to insert it horizontally rather than vertically and make sure it is in the center of the meat. Also, make sure if you have a bone-in or semi-bone-in leg of lamb, the tip of the probe is not touching any of the bone. That can really mess up your readings.

  147. Roberta Kennedy says:

    How long should I cook a two pond boneless leg of lamb, already seasoned.

  148. Rosa says:

    I just want to know do you cook the lamb covered or uncovered? And does it matter if you cut the string off before cooking? Thank you.

    • Hi Rosa, I roast a leg of lamb uncovered but if I were slow cooking it in a crock pot or braising in a braising pan, I would cook it covered. I’m assuming you are referring to a leg of lamb. If so, I cook it with the string on and remove when it’s done. If you don’t, the meat may fall apart in the cooking process.

  149. Paul Lord says:

    I am from Australia and I had a friend who spent over a year in the US and he said the lamb over there was rubbish compared to Australian lamb and he said he always tried to get Aussie lamb if he could. This was quite a number of years ago now so it looks like it has improved. Thanks for the information i am cooking a boned leg tonight.

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