It has been a long time since I have made a Roast Leg of Lamb. I didn’t change anything; the recipe is the same but this time it was delicious! We just kept going back for more even after having had generous portions at dinner. The Au Jus was the perfect finish. It was delicious!

Roast Leg of Lamb

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Course: Dinner
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Passive Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Degree of Difficulty : Moderately difficult
Servings: 6 people
Tip : My roasting pan will not work with my induction cook top, so I added the wine to the roasting pan, hot from the oven, and then scraped up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan that I could. I then strained the pan juices into a small saucepan and reduced by a little (maybe 1/3) over medium high heat, then reduced the heat to low to keep warm until serving.


  • 1 4 lb young leg of lamb
  • 1-2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp oil for rubbing onto leg of lamb
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced
  • 2 whole onions thickly sliced
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • water for bottom of roasting pan
  • 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon or other good red wine

Side Dish


  • Gather all ingredients before starting the recipe.
  • Weigh the leg of lamb and determine the roasting time. The formula is a roasting time of 20 minutes per pound of lamb; so, a 3 pound roast would require 60 minutes of total roasting time where the first 30 minutes of time, regardless of the total time, is at 400°F and the remaining roasting time, in this case, is 30 minutes at 350°F. The time will depend on the weight of the roast.
  • Season all sides of the roast well, enough salt so that you can see it and leave for at least an hour at room temperature before roasting. I often season roasts up to 4 hours (and leave on the counter) before cooking, and if I have time, I will place it in the refrigerator overnight, uncovered, and then remove at least an hour before cooking.
  • Pre heat oven to 400°F.
  • Rough chop 2 onions and place on the bottom of a roasting pan.
  • Poke slits under the skin with the tip of a knife and insert slivers of garlic. Tear off little sprigs of rosemary from the stem and insert these in the same slit. These will flavor the lamb and also show you where you inserted the garlic so you can remove it before carving.
  • Pour enough water around the roast to come up 1/2" around the sides of the pan and then place the pan in a pre heated oven.
  • Roast for the pre-determined time and temperature. If the pan looks dry, add more water and tip the pan to loosen the baked on brown bits all around the pan. This will make a delicious au jus at the end.
  • When the roasting time is finished, remove the roast from the oven, transfer to a platter and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

Au Jus

  • Remove roasted onion to a separate bowl, you can keep this warm and serve beside the lamb.
  • Transfer the roasting pan to medium high on your cook top and add one cup of red wine to the roasting pan. Using a wooden spoon, stir and scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce wine by a third, pour the jus through a strainer into a small saucepan placed over medium low heat, and reserve until ready to serve.

Author Notes

A couple of notes. 
I have made leg of lamb many times. I find that the best tasting lamb is when the roast weighs about 4 pounds and the lamb is either Australian or from New Zealand. This often means that the leg is frozen, but grocery stores often have the roast defrosted in the meat counter around holidays. I have also made this roast out of domestic lamb, which tends to be quite a bit larger and usually weighs more than 4 pounds. As I could not find imported lamb one year, I asked the butcher to cut the shank end of a leg. This resulted in a leaner cut and close to 4 pounds. 
So, there are alternatives, but the best is still imported lamb.
Also, I'm sure that many people shy away from preparing a bone-in-leg of lamb as they really don't know how to carve it. It does look impossible, but it is not. Check my post on How to Carve a Bone-In Leg of Lamb. I've included a video which will step you through it from start to finish.

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