One-Pot Wonders

Lemon-Oregano Leg of Lamb

March 23, 2010
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8 to 10
Author Notes

I have two Meyer lemon trees, which produce an abundance of fruit twice a year. I try and incorporate lemons into any number of recipes, and used them in this recipe to add a bit of zing to a leg of lamb. This marinade can also be used on lamb chops, chicken, or even salmon. —CherylDLee

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: CherylDLee is a chef, food writer, and blogger living in California.
WHAT: A simple roast leg of lamb -- with a ton of flavor.
HOW: Marinate the lamb in oregano, lemon, garlic, and olive oil, then roast.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Sometimes a regal piece of meat -- like a leg of lamb -- doesn't need much fussing with. CherylDLee knows that; she's able to bring out the flavor of the lamb by choosing her ingredients wisely. Don't be concerned about the lack of a sauce; the marinade, combined with the juices of the finished dish, are just what you need. Because there are so few ingredients, make sure that your herbs are fresh, your olive oil is good, and your lemons are bright and cheery. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1/3 cup lemon-infused olive oil, or plain extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon very finely grated Meyer lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 pounds boneless leg of lamb, tied
  1. In a small bowl combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, oregano, salt, and red pepper.
  2. Rub the lamb with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours.
  3. When you are ready to cook your lamb, remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for an hour. Place the lamb into a large roasting pan.
  4. Roast the lamb in a preheated 350° F oven for one hour and twenty minutes, or until the internal temperature measures at least 145 to 150° F for medium rare. If you like your lamb more done, roast until temperature is 160° F. Let the roast sit for 20 to 30 minutes before you slice it, so the juices have time to reabsorb.
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See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • BeckandBulow
  • Nanny Linn
    Nanny Linn
  • sir_ken_g
  • CherylDLee
  • Lizthechef

14 Reviews

BeckandBulow February 15, 2022
Seriously! Don’t sweat the au jus, you just have to go with it and have a backup in case, if necessary. AND a digital meat thermometer is an absolute must. And I would also error toward the lower temp out of the oven too. I use digital thermometers when smoking meats and please visit us:
Emanuela December 22, 2021
love the recipe but my lamb is bone in. Would it work as well? thanks
jane G. February 22, 2019
this is the best. I have a grassfed/pasture raised lamb in the freezer (local grown) and until now have never been happy with a leg of lamb recipe. It was perfect, great flavors, simple and a hit with all.
Shaun May 11, 2015
Made this for Mother's Day yesterday, and there were no leftovers. Cooked to perfection @150° F, and one of the simpler, more elegant versions of lamb I've made over the years, and I've made a lot: The mother we were celebrating was my wife, who is Irish, and has high standards for roasted lamb. Although her standard mint sauce came to the table, she never used it!

Taste notes of citrus and savory lamb were delightful, and I'll definitely make it again.
Nanny L. February 17, 2015
Thanks for the boost of confidence! I will certainly keep you posted!
Nanny L. February 17, 2015
I know this was posted a long time ago, but I'm looking for an opinion.
I recently preserved a few jars of Meyer Lemons. Do you think they would be a good addition to this recipe? I've never used preserved lemons before.
sir_ken_g February 17, 2015
I don't see why not....great idea!
CherylDLee February 17, 2015
I agree with sir_ken_g. Please let us know how it turns out!
sir_ken_g December 29, 2011
I made this as as directed except I added the juice for a lemon too. It was great! And 150F was just right.
CherylDLee April 2, 2010
I actually used an olive oil that was already infused with lemon that was given to me. I think what you did is perfect for an infused oil, and it is what I would have recommended!

I hope you enjoy your lamb!
Lizthechef April 8, 2010
Congrats on your EP! You wouldn't believe how quickly two people can go through a 4 lb. boneless leg of lamb - your marinade is excellent. I had thought it might need to be doubled to flavor that big piece of meat, but I was wrong, happily so...
Lizthechef April 1, 2010
Chef, I have gone ahead, gently heated the oil and included the peel of one Meyer lemon. I waited until oil cooled before I remove the peel. Hope this meets with your recipe standard. Looking forward to cooking on Monday - crazy weekend. Bought beautiful boneless 4 lb. lamb roast and new spices, always important in a recipe test, I think.
Lizthechef April 1, 2010
ps. I'm testing it for a potential Editor's Pick.
Lizthechef April 1, 2010
Hi Chef, I will be testing your recipe and would like to infuse my olive oil as you recommend. Help? I will check back here for your advice/recipe. I have a Myer lemon tree too, so I'm loaded with fruit. Thanks. I will be roasting the lamb for supper on Monday, BTW.