Lamb and Easter go hand in hand. In places like the UK or Ireland, lamb are ready for harvest at this time of year, so no wonder it’s become a tradition to have it for Easter lunch or dinner. I love mint and other fresh herbs with my roasted leg of lamb. Roasting it this way is relatively hands off so don’t be afraid of the cook time. The 1 hour of ‘prep time’ is only to bring the lamb out of the fridge to a temperature that will have it roast evenly.
Mint might be an unusual ingredient for savory recipes to some, but in this marinade it gets mellowed out by the onion, lemon juice and olive oil. If you make extra, you can serve this marinade fresh on the side of your roast to cut through the richness. Let’s talk lamb quality. I always say fresh and local is best, but you can usually find New Zealand lamb legs on sale. Did you know that they are one of the biggest world exporters of lamb and that it’s almost always grass fed? If you want to opt for boneless lamb legs for ease of carving, just be mindful that you’ll likely have a much shorter cook time. Bone-in usually yields more flavourful meat for all cuts of meat. The choice is yours!
- lamb leg
- red onion
- lemon juice
- ground pepper
Making the Marinade / Rub
This is a really great way to compliment and round out the flavour of lamb. If you’re getting a relatively young lamb leg, the flavour will be mellow anyway, but throwing together some mint, thyme, red onion, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper brings it to the next level. Take the lamb leg out of your fridge one hour before roasting to ensure even cooking throughout the meat. This is a good tip for any roast. Rub it with the combined marinade ingredients. I used a mini food processor to quickly bring it together.
Bake the Lamb
I like to roast the lamb on an oven safe metal cooking rack that sits on top of a roasting pan or a sheet pan with high edges that can catch any rendered out juices and fat. The lamb bakes at a high and hot temperature initially to create a good sear. Then, bring the temperature down for the rest of the cooking. Slow roast it until your desired cook temperature. I like it medium.
Rest the Lamb
Once it reaches your desired internal temp, rest the lamb covered in tin foil to keep the heat in. This redistributes the juices. Bring it to the table as is or carve it before guests come. You can even cook the lamb first thing in the morning and keep it whole until ready to carve for lunch or dinner. Slightly warm, or even room temperature roasted leg of lamb is delicious! This gives you time to prepare some sides, like my Winter Slaw.
Roasted Leg of Lamb
- Roasting Pan
- meat thermometer optional
- 1 5-6 lb bone in lamb leg
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
- ½ red onion peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tbsp salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- Optionally remove the leg of lamb from the fridge 1 hr before cooking. This will help it cook more evenly.
- Preheat the oven to 450F.
- In a food processor blend all of the marinade ingredients together.
- Blot the leg of lamb dry with paper towel then rub with the marinade.
- Place lamb on a roasting grate over a tin foil lined sheet pan.
- Place in the oven and roast for 10 min. Without opening the oven door, reduce temperature to 350F.
- Roast lamb until desired doneness. This depends on how big your leg of lamb is but a general rule of thumb is medium will have an internal temperature around 145F and 160F is well done. Please note that the internal temperature will continue to rise 10 degrees after you remove it.
- My lamb leg took approximately 90 minutes. Tent with foil and rest for 20-30 min.
- Slice and serve with your favourite holiday sides.
Looking for more beginner-friendly recipes? Click here!
Check out our Deviled Egg Easter Peeps or if you need a dessert,10 Easter Sides, Desserts, and Dishes to Make in Your Instant Pot.
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