I share how to make the BEST fork-tender Greek-style slow-roasted leg of lamb that turns out flavorful, succulent, and delicious every time!
How “done” should lamb be cooked?
The level of doneness for lamb is a matter of personal preference. According to the American Lamb Council, most Americans prefer lamb that is cooked medium rather than rare or well done. The French prefer their lamb rare, whereas Greeks enjoy lamb well done, almost falling from the bone. I am definitely in agreement with the Greeks. I prefer lamb that is well done and fall-apart tender.
Does lamb get more tender the longer you cook it?
The key to cooking any tough cut of meat is slow simmering over low heat. Lamb shoulder or leg could take up to two hours to reach the tender zone. The muscle fibers seize up, then relax into a state of tenderness after more cooking. The best way to tell when the lamb has reached the fall-apart-tender stage is to use an internal meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the lamb. The internal temp for “fall-apart-tender” is roughly 175 degrees F. I remove my lamb at this point, and then I allow it to sit unbothered for at least an hour. The lamb will get even more tender as it sits, as the internal juices will settle throughout the lamb.
How do you cook lamb so that it is tender?
Leg of lamb and lamb shoulder are two of the most flavorful cuts of lamb. The meat turns out to be very tender if cooked low and slow in the oven. These cuts get even more tender if braised in some sort of liquid. The center cuts of lamb — loin, ribs, and breast — are naturally tender, so they do better with quick-cooking methods.
Try this Greek lamb; you might be surprised.
I was a grown-up (in my 40’s actually) before ever loving lamb. My prior experience with lamb was never pleasant. I had only tried lamb that was cooked and sliced (not fall-apart tender). I also did not like rare lamb meat, nor did I like mint added to lamb. But when I discovered how to cook lamb the Greek way, everything changed. Lamb became one of my favorite meats. If you’ve never found a lamb recipe that you like, I hope you’ll give this Greek lamb a try. I think you’ll love it.
How do you get Greek-style flavor?
The cut of meat is important to this dish, but the fresh herbs and lemon juice added make all the difference! All of these combined (as well as the additional spices) bring that delicious flavor your friends ansd family will love. This unique blend of different flavors really takes this roasted lamb to another level!
Greek slow-roasted lamb can be made ahead.
Easter is the time of year that I always serve lamb. Because Easter Sunday involves morning worship (and guests coming over for lunch after), I HAVE to make my lamb mostly ahead. This recipe is perfect for Easter Sunday worship followed by lunch with friends and family. I make the lamb a day ahead and simply reheat it in a low oven on Easter morning.
How do you know when the lamb is cooked to fall-apart-tender?
You can always insert a fork into the lamb, and if the meat gives easily and falls apart, it’s done! But I prefer using an internal meat thermometer that stays in the meat during cooking. I set my thermometer (below) to 175 degrees F. When it gets to this temperature, it alerts me~then I remove the meat and allow it to rest an hour. If you don’t have an internal meat thermometer, you can use a digital thermometer once you pull the meat out of the oven. Both of my meat thermometers are below.
What cut of lamb is best for Greek-style slow-roasted leg of lamb?
I use a leg of lamb. Bone-in is my preference, and I always find this at The Fresh Market. When I get the lamb at Costco, the one that I like is boneless. It is typically labeled “Australian leg of lamb.” I’ve made this recipe using both cuts, and I prefer the lamb with bone-in. It turns out to be more flavorful and succulent.
Where do you buy the best cut of lamb?
Costco typically sells an Australian boneless lamb leg every Spring which is a good boneless option. But if you prefer a bone-in (as do I), you’ll likely need to shop for your lamb elsewhere. The lamb featured in this post came from The Fresh Market, one of my favorite places to get meat.
What roasting pan do you use to make this Greek-style slow-roasted leg of lamb?
I use a roaster with a lid to cook lamb to fall-apart tender. You need to cover the lamb for the long hours of cooking (minus the browning when it is uncovered), so a lid is helpful unless you prefer to cover it tightly with foil. A favorite roaster of mine is an old-timey speckled pan like my great-grandmother used to use. I picture it below with several other covered roaster options. Below are some links to my roaster and similar ones.
How do you make the Greek-style slow-roasted leg of lamb a day ahead?
Roast the lamb completely (except for the final 30-minute browning at the end). Allow it to cool for half an hour or so before placing it in the fridge overnight. On the day of serving, let the lamb sit for an hour or so (to come closer to room temp) before placing (covered) in a warm (300 F) oven. The lamb will reheat fully in about an hour. If the lamb needs browning, uncover and roast for 30 minutes. Allow lamb to rest before serving.
What sides are best to serve with a Greek-style slow-roasted leg of lamb?
Lamb is incredible as an entree, but it needs sides with it as well (especially if you are serving it on Easter Sunday)! A few sides that are good to consider as an addition to this dish is my Linda Evan’s Corn Pudding recipe, shaved brussels, pear & gorgonzola salad, Mississippi green beans and more! I served this Greek roasted lamb this week at our Easter lunch. There was not a bite left. I show our Easter spread, including this lamb, in the short video below. Although it isn’t a “how-to” video, it will give you a glimpse of what the lamb looks like once it is fully cooked.
If you want more information about my Easter Sunday dishes:
If you try this delicious Greek roasted lamb, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! It truly has been a game-changing recipe for me. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Wishing you a joyful, blessed, and savvy day!!
If you like my Greek-style slow-roasted leg of lamb recipe, here are some other recipes you can check out:
Just corrected the recipe! You add the lemon juice along with the broth:-)
When do the lemons enter this recipe? I have the 1/2 Cup of lemon juice, when/where do I add it to the rest of the ingredients?
Ho Rose! I keep it covered until the very end. It is definitely fine to uncover it at the end if you need to cook more quickly or broil for a few minutes to brown the meat.
Do you keep the lamb covered the entire five hours? Thanks
Hello Sefra! Great question! My short answer is this: after 3 hours, start checking the lamb. It will be done when the meat is fork-tender. With a bone, it will be pulling away from the bone. With no bone, just use the fork test. I hope this helps!!!!
Hi , this Greek Roast Lamb looks wonderful. I mostly cook a half leg of lamb with the bone . How should I adjust the oven cooking time ? Would really appreciate your answer . Thank you so much .