Succulent roast leg of lamb with garlic rosemary lemon crust is so easy to perfect at home! The homemade mint sauce lifts and complements the meat beautifully. Serve with our fluffy Mashed Potatoes with Cabbage or Crispy Air Fryer Potatoes.
For more delicious meal ideas take a look at our Easter Recipe Collection.
What will you be having this Easter? Are you a traditionalist or do you like to mix things up? I wouldn’t consider myself very traditional except for the holidays. Then I expect certain food items to be present.
I didn’t realize until we moved to the UK that the tradition is different here, and roast leg of lamb usually adorns the Easter table. I’ve always been a huge fan of lamb so I happily embraced this tradition.
No one likes being stuck in the kitchen while family and guests enjoy a relaxed Easter Sunday. This means be prepared! I usually plan and prep ahead of time as much as I can manage, so when the day arrives everything is ready.
You will love this roast leg of lamb, which hardly takes any hands-on time and cooks within one hour and a half. That is a win-win situation for me.
Made right, lamb can be beautifully flavourful and succulent. Check out the temperatures and timings in the recipe card, because they will help you get the most out of the meat you have.
The combination of rosemary, garlic and lemon zest does wonders to improve the taste of this lamb roast. If you are not a big lamb fan like my husband was, I urge you to try it one more time with this rub because it might force you to change your mind!
Homemade mint sauce
The flavours of rosemary, garlic and lemon zest cut through the richness of the meat and balance it out beautifully. They could just be the perfect combination for lamb, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a bit of mint sauce to go with it!
The mint sauce brings the freshness of spring and lifts that heavy flavour that is often associated with lamb. Lamb is a bit fatty, and it turns out that mint sauce is just what you need due to similarities in the chemical properties of each.
Mint sauce with lamb actually has a very long history, possibly as far back as the ancient Greeks. Mint is harvested at the same time of year lambs are slaughtered, so it makes sense that they would be served together.
But the combination got a revival in Western Europe due to Queen Elizabeth I, who decreed that lamb and mutton should be eaten with bitter herbs. The idea was to discourage people from eating quite so much, so more sheep would be around for the wool trade.
The issue is that mint is technically a bitter herb and goes down very well with lamb. The pairing became enormously popular, especially as mint sauce makes meat from older, gamier animals a lot more enjoyable to eat!
Mint sauce, or mint jelly, continue to be served alongside lamb, especially my simple homemade version. It’s easy to make, especially if you have a food processor to use, and better fresh than anything you’ll find in a grocery store.
Recipe Tips and Notes
- Take the lamb out of the fridge 1 hour before roasting. It needs to come up to room temperature for more even cooking
- Roast the lamb at 200C/400F for 1 hour 15 minutes for medium rare and 1 hour 30 minutes for well done. These timings work for the specific weight given in this recipe. Cooking this lamb at high temperature, but for shorter time than is traditional, produces the most tender and juicy roast
- Test the doneness of the meat by using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of medium rare lamb is 55-59C/ 130-138F and 67-74C/153-165F for well done. A meat thermometer is a gadget I suggest everyone has in their kitchen. It’s especially true if have have the ambition to make roasts!
- Once your meat reaches the right temperature, do NOT be tempted to cook it longer! Trust your thermometer for juicy, succulent roast lamb.
- Take the meat out of the oven and loosely cover it with aluminium foil to allow it to rest. Rest your cooked leg of lamb for 20 minutes before serving. This gives time for the juices to reabsorb and is important to moist roast.
- Prepare the mint sauce by mixing all ingredients in a blender or a food processor. Trying to do this by hand will be way, way too much work!
I love lamb with mint sauce, but that’s not the only way to enjoy it. Sometime you may want to omit the mint sauce and serve this succulent leg of lamb with our best gravy recipe.
Fill out your roast dinner by serving with my perfect roast potatoes or herb and garlic mashed potatoes. I also like adding some fresh sides such as walnut beet salad, maple glazed roasted carrots and braised red cabbage.
Looking for more? How about garlic butter dinner rolls? Perfect for cleaning your plate!
Storage and leftovers
Leftover roast leg of lamb can be stored for 3-4 days in the fridge, meaning you can have food for a couple of days ready to go. Freezing is also an option, and it will keep almost indefinitely. I would recommend using within 6 months for best flavour and texture.
If reheating in a microwave, drizzle with a small amount of stock or water to keep the lamb from drying out. Turn the meat halfway through heating so it happens evenly and let it stand a minute before enjoying.
The mint sauce can be kept in a fridge for months, a lovely thing to pull out to use in all sorts of creative ways. I would use within 6 months, although should be fine for longer. I store mine in a jam jar for convenience.
More Traditional Roast Recipes
- Honey Mustard Crusted Prime Rib Roast (Rib of Beef)
- Rosemary and Thyme Roast Chicken and Potatoes
- Pork Roast Recipe
- Roasted Duck with Port Cranberry Sauce
Roast Leg of Lamb with Mint Sauce
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
- ½ small bunch fresh rosemary half the leaves removed and chopped
- 1 lemon, zest
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2kg/4.5 lbs quality leg of lamb
For the Mint Sauce:
- 20g/1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
- In a mortar combine chopped rosemary leaves, crushed garlic, coarse salt, lemon zest and olive oil. Bash it with a pestle till rosemary and lemon zest release their oils and the mixture resembles a paste.
- Rub the mixture all over the leg and roast in the preheat oven for 1 hour 15 minutes for a medium-rare and 1 hour 30 minutes for a well done roast.
- Put mint, sugar, salt, water, white wine vinegar and olive oil in a food processor and blend until smooth.
- When your roast is cooked take it out of the oven and loosely cover it with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes before cutting it.