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Roast Lamb Leg with Gravy

I love a good roast lamb (proof). Here’s my classic recipe for lamb leg, rubbed with garlic and rosemary, served with gravy, peas, carrots and crispy roast potatoes (duck fat or classic). I hope you love it as much as I do!

Roast lamb leg dinner with sides

The only thing you need to know for perfect roast lamb leg

I have a lot to say about roasting any kind of meat. Especially Australia’s favourite roast – the great lamb leg. But there’s only thing you need to know to make perfect roast lamb leg, every single time.


It’s the only way you can take the guesswork out of cooking lamb leg so it’s perfect blushing pink and ridiculously juicy inside. Because – and here’s something Aussies don’t like to talk about – lamb leg is actually very lean so if it’s not pink, it’s dry. Full stop, end of story!

My meat thermometer – For most of my adult life, I was using a $5 thermometer I got on Ebay which never failed me. A few years ago I finally decided it was time to invest in a real one so I got a Thermapen which is pretty well regarded as the best (my thoughts here). I consider thermometers an insurance policy to protect my investment in meat. Good meat is not cheap! Why risk overcooking it??

Thermapen – my beloved meat thermometer
Carving Roast lamb leg

OK, I do have a few more “how to make the perfect roast lamb leg” tips!

  1. Garlic rosemary rub – classic lamb flavours

  2. Start on high to get the colour going then lower heat

  3. Roast on a bed of garlic (or onion)

  4. Make the gravy using the pan drippings. Roast lamb gravy is better than every other cut of meat – beef, chicken, pork, none of them compare!

Roast lamb leg dinner plate

What you need for roast lamb leg

Starting with the hero ingredient – the lamb leg! Get the best you can afford – yes, meat is like wine, the more you pay, the better the quality. Quality of life of the animal also comes into play there.

Raw lamb leg

All that red ink you see is perfectly safe to eat and actually, you only see it on better quality lamb. You don’t typically see it on supermarket lamb.

Cut bone – Some (most?) butchers and almost all supermarkets sell lamb leg with the shank (bone) cut. Either fully cut off or partially cut so it folds. This is simply for practical reasons – shelf storage and packing space. For grandness, I like the bone in tact. But it’ doesn’t matter’s purely a visual decision!

Rub for roast lamb leg

Here’s what you need for the rub: rosemary, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Use fresh rosemary – dries is not the same!

Ingredients for Roast lamb leg rub

Roast lamb gravy

All you need for gravy is flour for thickening and beef stock/broth for the liquid.

Ingredients in Gravy for Roast lamb leg

Why beef rather than lamb stock? Well, there’s a reason lamb stock is not typically sold at grocery stores! It’s just very…lamby. 🙂 Beef has a cleaner flavour. It doesn’t make the gravy taste beefy at all because there is so much lamb flavour from the drippings.

Why not chicken stock? It works fine but the gravy colour is paler. I like my gravy for roast lamb leg to be a really deep brown colour!

How to make roast lamb leg

Rub with rosemary and garlic, roast in a hot oven to get the colour going then continue at a lower temperature for 1 hour or until the internal temperature is 53°C/127°F (for blushing pink perfection). Rest for 20 minutes before carving. It will still be very warm even after 1 hour – enough time to make duck fat potatoes!

How to make Roast lamb leg
  1. Make rub – Mix oil, garlic and rosemary in a bowl.

  2. Rub then sprinkle – Slather the rub all over the lamb, then sprinkle the salt and pepper all over. I do this in the roasting pan – why dirty a cutting board??

  3. Garlic bed – Place cut garlic and rosemary under the lamb.

  4. Hot oven 20 minutes – Roast for 20 minutes in a hot 240°C/475°F (220°C fan) oven. This will get the colour going on the lamb. It’s tempting to go longer to get even more colour on it but I find if you go beyond 20 minutes you end up with too much overcooked meat “ring” on the outer edges of the lamb.

  5. 1 hour lower oven – Reduce heat to 200°C / 4009°F (180°C fan) and roast for a further 1 hour or until the internal temperature of the lamb is 53°C/127°F for blushing pink perfection. See below for more information on lamb doneness.

  6. Rest 20 minutes – Rest the lamb for 20 minutes before carving. During this resting stage, the lamb finishes cooking and the internal temperature will rise to 62°C/144°F which is perfect medium rare for lamb.

    Also during resting, the lamb juices get re-absorbed by the meat fibres so when you cut into the meat, the juices remain in the meat and eventually end up in your mouth. If you do not rest the meat then the meat juices leak out everywhere when you start carving the lamb.

Internal temperature of roast lamb leg

No credible restaurant would ever serve lamb leg at anything over than medium rare! But I do know some people like their lamb done a little more, so here are the internal temperatures for lamb leg at different levels of doneness.

Close up of Roast lamb leg

TIP: Take the lamb out early!!!

When you take the lamb leg out of the oven once the internal temperature reaches 53°C/127°F, the lamb is not yet medium rare. This temperature is rare, actually. But we must take the lamb leg out early because the lamb continues to cook when you take it out of the oven due to residual heat. This is called carry-over cooking and it happens when the lamb is resting.

After resting the lamb for 20 minutes, the internal temperature will rise to 62°C/144°F. This is medium rare, the optimum doneness for lamb leg so it’s beautifully juicy. Any more and the lamb meat is drier than ideal, because lamb leg is a lean meat.

How to make gravy for roast lamb leg

Gravy for lamb leg is made using the pan drippings after roasting the lamb. “Drippings” simply refers to the fat and meat juices left in the roasting pan after roasting the meat and it’s our express, free path to a killer gravy.

How to make Roast lamb leg
  1. Heat drippings & cook flour – Once you take the lamb out of the roasting pan, put it straight on the stove to heat the fat. Add flour and stir it for 1 minute to cook it off – it will kind of be like a paste.

  2. Pour in the beef stock, stirring as you go to help dissolve the flour.

  3. Smush the garlic with a potato masher or even a smooth to help release the beautiful caramelised garlic flesh into the gravy.

  4. Strain – Then just simmer for a few minutes until the gravy thickens to your taste then strain into a bowl, pressing the gravy liquid out of the garlic heads. Then pour into a jug to serve!

Pouring gravy over Roast lamb leg
Roast lamb leg with roast potatoes

And that, my friends, is everything you need to know to be the king (or queen) of roast lamb leg from this day forth. The precision by which you roast your lamb to blushing pink perfection will be admired. Your gravy will be whispered about in your circles – the flavour!!! It’s incredible!

Just smile sedately, sit back and bask in the praise. There is no need to reveal your recipe source. 😎

The lamb leg in this post is pictured with duck fat potatoes (the best crispy potatoes in the world!) with peas and steamed carrots tossed with a little butter and parsley. If you don’t have duck fat, make my classic crunchy roast potatoes instead. They are still way crunchier than your usual way of making them.

Go forth and enjoy your new lamb-alicious world! If you’ve got your own lamb leg secrets, sharing in the comments below – readers love hearing what you have to say. – Nagi x

Watch how to make it

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Roast lamb leg with roast potatoes

Roast Lamb Leg with Gravy

Servings6 -8

Tap or hover to scale

Recipe video above. I love a roast lamb leg! My top tip is to use a meat thermometer. There’s no way to guarantee perfect blushing pink roast lamb without one, even if it’s a cheap one!Rubbed with rosemary garlic and accompanied with a killer gravy for lamb. Serve with peas, buttered steamed carrots and crunchy roast potatoes (either classic or ultra crunchy duck fat potatoes).


  • Take lamb out of fridge at least 1 hour before roasting. (Note 4)

  • Preheat oven to 240°C/475°F (220°C fan) with oven shelf in the middle.

  • Rub – Mix rosemary, garlic and olive oil.

  • Prepare lamb – Place lamb leg in a roasting pan. Coat with the rub using your hands, the sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Place garlic and rosemary sprigs underneath the lamb, garlic cut face up.

  • Roast lamb leg for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 200°C/400°F (180°C fan) and roast for a further 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 53°C/127°F for medium rare (Note 5 other doneness). Check first at 45 minutes – everyone’s oven is different!

  • Rest – Remove lamb from oven. Transfer lamb to plate, loosely cover with foil and rest for 20 minutes to 1 hour (it will still be warm enough for serving!). The internal temperature will rise to 62°C/144°F (medium rare). Make gravy while lamb is resting – below.

  • Serve lamb with gravy, duck fat or classic crunchy roast potatoes, peas and steamed carrots tossed with butter and parsley.

Gravy for roast lamb leg

  • Drippings in pan – Discard rosemary sprigs. You should have around 4 – 5 tbsp of fat (drippings). If less, add butter. If much more, discard a bit.

  • Add flour – Place roasting pan on stove over medium heat. When the fat starts to bubble, then add flour. Mix flour in and cook for 1 minute.

  • Stock – Pour in half the beef stock and mix to dissolve sludge in, then add remaining beef stock and mix.

  • Garlic squidging – Use a potato masher (if you’re really keen like me) to mush the garlic to squeeze out the flavour (also helps flour caught in garlic to dissolve).

  • Taste – Check salt and pepper (I don’t add more).

  • Thicken – Simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring, until it starts to thicken. Take it off the stove BEFORE the gravy is the thickness you want because it will keep thickening.

  • Strain into a bowl, mushing garlic to squeeze all the liquid out. Then pour into gravy jug and serve with lamb!

Recipe Notes:

Roast lamb leg cook times
1. Lamb leg – Recipe is based on a whole lamb leg. See roasting time table above for different lamb sizes. Sometimes the bone sticking out is removed, sometimes it is partially cut so it folds inwards. It doesn’t matter either way, but just ensure the bone inside the meat is not removed. (If it is, you have a butterflied lamb leg – use this recipe instead).
 2. Garlic base – Elevates the lamb slightly so it cooks more evenly and allows the fat to drip over the garlic so the flavour infuses into the drippings that then forms the base of the gravy. Place garlic cut side up so the flavour infuses into the flesh of the lamb.
It is not garlicky at all because when garlic roasts, it becomes sweet and caramelised. It is my big secret for making a killer gravy for roast lamb! You can use 1 onion, quarters (skin on) instead of or in addition to garlic.
3. Gravy for lamb is best made with beef stock/broth because it has a deeper flavour and makes the gravy a beautiful dark brown colour. Store bought is fine, though homemade makes it ultra restaurant-worthy! If you cannot consume beef for religious or health reasons, then chicken broth can be substituted.
4. De-chilling lamb will make it cook more evenly. Cold lamb leg = overcooked on the outside by the time the inside is cooked.
5. Internal temperature of cooked lamb leg:

Roast lamb leg internal cooked temperature
I highly recommend getting a meat thermometer for accuracy – only guaranteed way to get juicy lamb every time!
6. Holding – The lamb leg will stay warm for up to 1 hour, enough time to make duck fat or classic crunchy roast potatoes! The inside of the lamb is still warm even after 3 hours. 
7. Servings: A 2.5 kg/5 lb lamb serves 6 very generously and 8 comfortably. After taking into account the bone (500g/1lb) and meat juices lost during roasting, you should end up with around 1.7kg meat after cooking which is around 280g for 6 people (generous!) or 200g for 8 people. If you slice lamb thinly it will go further!
8. Nutrition per serving, assuming 8 servings and that all the gravy is consumed.

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 275gCalories: 450cal (23%)Carbohydrates: 3.3g (1%)Protein: 54.6g (109%)Fat: 22.7g (35%)Saturated Fat: 6.1g (38%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 16.6gCholesterol: 169mg (56%)Sodium: 381mg (17%)

Originally published October 2016. I have been very neglectful not updating one of my favourite recipes with sparkling new photos and a recipe video!

Life of Dozer

Original photo from when I first published this recipe in 2016 still holds true, so no need to update:

DOZER. Don’t breathe your stinky dog breath over my friends while they eat!


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