Roast Leg of Lamb

February  6, 2015
2 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Serves 8 to 10
Author Notes

Leg of lamb is wonderfully versatile -- it can be cubed and used for stew, braised, or simply roasted. Because it’s a well-exercised muscle, it also gets a good deal of blood flow; this means that it is one of the most flavorful cuts on the animal. Like beef, lamb doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through, and is best at a rosy medium-rare (135 to 140° F, when finished). Here, we’re rubbing it with lemons, garlic, and a spice mixture of coriander, cayenne, cumin, smoked paprika, and sumac -- then roasting it to perfection. —Cara Nicoletti

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 7 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • one 4 ½ to 5-pound bone in leg of lamb
  1. Pulse everything save for the lamb in a food processor until a paste forms. Rub it all over the leg of lamb, wrap it tightly in plastic, and allow it to marinate overnight.
  2. The next day, remove the lamb from the fridge and wipe excess marinade off. Place it in a deep roasting pan and allow it to sit out of the fridge for about 45 minutes to bring it up to room temperature.
  3. While it rests, heat your oven to 450° F.
  4. Roast the lamb for 15 minutes, then drop the temperature down to 325° F and roast until a meat thermometer reads 135 to 140°, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Transfer lamb to a cutting board and tent it with foil. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Bob Quinn
    Bob Quinn
  • AlizaEss
  • inpatskitchen
  • Bill Masters
    Bill Masters
Cara Nicoletti is a butcher and writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Cara started working in restaurants when she moved to New York in 2004, and was a baker and pastry chef for several years before following in her grandfather and great-grandfathers' footsteps and becoming a butcher. She is the writer behind the literary recipe blog,, and author of Voracious, which will be published by Little, Brown in 2015. She is currently a whole-animal butcher and sausage-making teacher at The Meat Hook in Williamsburg.

5 Reviews

Bob Q. March 13, 2018
I have been using a dejon mustard, minced garlic, pureed anchovies (1or 2 fillets instead of salt), chopped rosemary, crushed back pepper and a well aged balsimic vinegar and EVOO as my marinating base, but want to try this one. I just got a built in rotissiere oven and think I'll christen it with this prep for my Easter leg!
AlizaEss February 7, 2016
I work for a farmers' market in Kentucky and can't wait to make this spice mix marinade to bring to our lamb farmers! Everyone here is always uses the same old spice mixes and this sounds like an incredible flavor adventure to bring people on. I love that mix of spices and can't wait to share.
inpatskitchen April 10, 2015
Used your technique last night for this with a paste of lemon, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Wonderful! Thanks for the inspiration!
Sarah March 11, 2015
Bill M. February 16, 2015
Made this for VDay 2/14/15 and it's really good and easy to make. I could not find sumac because I don't live in an area that sells it. Still, it was a great rub and everyone loved the results.