Succulent Mediterranean Roast Leg of Lamb Recipe Is Just Like Grandma Used to Make by Elisa Schmitz

Succulent Mediterranean Roast Leg of Lamb Recipe Is Just Like Grandma Used to Make

As a child, I couldn’t wait to visit my Croatian grandma downstate, especially during the holidays. Grandma could have taught master classes in Old World cooking and baking. Everything she made, from breakfast spreads to comforting soups, from savory dinners to decadent desserts (and all those old-fashioned cookies), was a delight to the senses and the taste buds.

One of my favorite meals was her succulent roasted leg of lamb, which she made for holidays like Christmas and Easter. The aroma of lamb drenched in healthy Mediterranean ingredients like olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and rosemary, roasting in the oven, filled her home (and our hearts).

In my attempts to recreate Grandma’s recipe for roasted leg of lamb, I made this savory lamb dinner that everyone loved. A leg of lamb is drenched in a honey, lemon and garlic marinade then baked to juicy perfection. I added honey to ingredients like olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, paprika, turmeric and rosemary, and the result was a juicy leg of lamb with a touch of sweet to accent the savory flavors.

Baking a leg of lamb is easier than you may think, especially if you get a cut of lamb that has a pop-up timer to let you know when it’s done. This tender lamb recipe works well for any holiday or special occasion (I just served it on Easter and will use the leftovers to make sandwiches or lamb stew), or just when you crave good old-fashioned comfort food.

This roasted lamb recipe recipe calls for a 5-pound leg of lamb, but you can adjust cooking times as needed for smaller or larger cuts of meat. Using this simple baked lamb recipe, your dinner should turn out moist, juicy and delicious.

The marinade is the key. Once you have the lamb covered in it, you just pop the lamb in the oven and in about two hours, you’ll have a fantastic focal point to pair with your favorite side dishes and vegetables. I served mine with turmeric rice, Mediterranean creamed spinach and baby carrots. So good!

Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours (approximately, see note about cooking time below)
Total Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes (approximately), plus 10 minutes to allow lamb to rest after baking
Servings: 8 to 10


  • 1 leg of lamb (about 5 pounds), bone in and at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Place the leg of lamb in a 13x9-inch baking dish. I lined mine with tin foil for easier cleanup.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, honey, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, oregano, paprika and turmeric. Pour the mixture over the lamb in the pan, coating it evenly. Season with sea salt and pepper.
  3. Cover the lamb with foil and place it in a preheated 325-degree F oven. Bake for 1 hour. Remove the lamb from the oven and baste it with the drippings.
  4. Return lamb to the oven without foil, for about 1 more hour, or until your pop-up timer pops, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center registers about 145 degrees F to 150 degrees F without touching the bone. See note about cooking times below.
  5. Remove lamb from pan and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before carving. Cut lamb against the grain. Serve with juices from pan, mint jelly or sauce of your choice.

Note: The general rule of thumb for baking lamb is 20 to 25 minutes per pound for medium-rare. If you want lamb medium, bake 25 to 30 minutes per pound, until meat thermometer inserted into the center registers about 160 degrees F. If you want lamb well done, bake 30 to 35 minutes per pound until meat thermometer inserted into the center registers about 170 degrees F.

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Ground Turmeric $3 & Up
Honey $4 & Up
Dried Rosemary $4 & Up
Paprika $3 & Up
Dried Oregano $3 & Up
Roasting Pan $10 & Up

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Elisa Schmitz
One of the things I love most about cooking is that the food we make can bring back so many treasured memories, and make you feel close to those we have lost along the way. Thinking of my grandmother today!
That’s really true. I miss my grandma’s cooking all the time.

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