Roasted lamb has been an Easter tradition in our household for many years. After the Easter holiday, lamb usually goes on sale at the grocery store. It’s a good opportunity to buy it then, put in in the freezer and use it later. When we roast a leg of lamb, we take it out of the freezer several days ahead of time, and leave it to thaw slowly in the refrigerator (much like you would a turkey at Thanksgiving time). I’m going to share how to prepare and roast a leg of lamb (with shank), and then what we do to preserve the leftovers (which we always have). It really is very simple to make, and if you’ve never had roasted lamb (with homemade mint sauce), you don’t know what you’re missing. So let’s get started!

Equipment Needed:

  • large roasting pan (with rack)
  • aluminum foil
  • A very sharp knife


  • bone-in leg of lamb
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 tbs thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste (i used approx. 1 tbsp salt and a couple tsp black pepper)


Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil (without the rack). Now place the rack into the lined roasting pan as normal.

Take the lamb out of the packaging it came in, and pat it dry (no need to rinse). Place the leg of lamb onto the rack in the roasting pan, fat side up.

With a very sharp knife, score the fat side of the lamb in a criss-cross pattern (diamond shaped). Don’t cut too deep – you want the cuts to go just past the fat layer.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF

In a small bowl, combine all the other ingredients to make a rub.

Spread the rub as evenly as possible, all over the top side of the lamb, making sure to get all of it inside the cuts you made, as well.

When the oven has preheated, place the lamb into the bottom third of the oven (it might be a good idea to move one of your oven racks before you preheat, so you won’t have to do it after the oven is hot).

Roasting Guidelines at 350ºF (check for doneness with a meat thermometer)

  • Rare: 125°F (about 10 minutes per pound)
  • Medium-Rare: 130°F to 135°F (about 15 minutes per pound)
  • Medium: 135°F to 140°F (about 20 minutes per pound)
  • Well-Done: 155°F to 165°F (about 25 minutes per pound)

Our leg of lamb shown here, was 7 1/2 lbs. In our particular oven, it was done to a medium (which is how we like it) after 2 hours of cooking time.

If you want to add mini potatoes to accompany the meat, you need to add them at least an hour before the lamb is done cooking. Because we calculated that our lamb would take about 2 hours to cook, I set my timer for an hour, added the potatoes, and continued cooking the lamb and potatoes together for the last half.

After the cooking time has finished, before removing it from the oven, stick a meat thermometer into the center of the leg of lamb, being careful not to hit the bone, which may not give an accurate temperature reading. When it has reached the desired temperature, remove the lamb and set it aside. Cover the entire thing with aluminum foil and LET IT REST FOR 15 MINUTES! This is a very important step in the cooking process.

Optional: Make Your Own Mint Sauce! Here’s how you do it:

What To Do With All the Leftovers:

Cut all the meat off of the shank and refrigerate. Take the drippings and the shank and place them into a dutch oven or stock pot. Cover with water and slow boil for at least 2 hours (I usually do about 4 hours, or 12 hours in a slow cooker). Let the bone broth cool, and if desired, scrape off the fat that solidifies at the top. Strain the broth through a colander lined with cheesecloth or towel, to filter out any sediment.

Now prepare clean jars for canning up all that yumminess! Cut the refrigerated lamb into chunks, tightly pack them in jars, cover them with the lamb broth up to 1″ or 1.5″ headspace. Debubble and add more broth if necessary. Any broth left over after filling jars with the leftover lamb/broth mixture, just pour that extra broth all on its own into separate jars, leaving 1″ headspace.

Process the meat and broth in a pressure canner at the proper pressure for your elevation, for 75 minutes (for pints) or 90 minutes (for quarts). The broth, if done on its own without meat, only needs 35 minutes of processing time. However, if you have jars of meat in there, process it at the same length of time as needed for meat. The extra processing time for the jars of broth-only, won’t hurt it a bit.

Preserving the lamb leftovers in this fashion, guarantees you’ll have scrumptious lamb to enjoy throughout the year… until next Easter when you can start this process all over again! Yummy!

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