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There are few large pieces of meat that my family loves more than leg of lamb, and few that make more of a statement for company. This cut of meat may seem intimidating, but really, it’s just like any other roast — the oven does most of the work, and all you have to do is make sure not to overcook it. (That’s where an instant-read meat thermometer comes into play.)

This lemon-garlic leg of lamb is a traditional and timeless combo of flavors. And just two ingredients, plus the lamb! (OK, and salt and pepper.) It pairs beautifully with Red Onion and Mint Orzo and Roasted Cauliflower with Chimichurri Sauce. Or try Lebanese Couscous with Sautéed Kale and Lemon DressingCreamed Kale with Parmesan, or Orange and Herb Orzo.

Lemon-Garlic Semi-Boneless Leg of Lamb sliced on a white platter.

Lemon-Garlic Semi-Boneless Leg of Lamb: Two ingredients are all you need to turn a leg of lamb into a company worthy dinner. Perfect for Easter!

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Lemon-Garlic Semi-Boneless Leg of Lamb Ingredients

Other than salt and pepper, this easy recipe only needs two ingredients besides the lamb!

  • Semi-boneless leg of lamb – See my thoughts on using bone-in or bone-out legs of lamb instead in “Variations and Substitutions.”
  • Minced garlic – Since there are so few ingredients here, you really need to use fresh garlic cloves. Mince finely and rub all over your leg of lamb to impart it with flavor.
  • Lemon zest – Finely grated lemon zest is the other half of the flavor combo here. You’re going to zest two lemons for this recipe.

Deciding How Much Lamb to Buy

It’s hard to know just by looking at it, isn’t it? And bone-in or bone-out factors into play since the bone is part of the overall weight of the roast. This recipe for a 6-pound semi-boneless leg of lamb will generously feed 12 to 16 people. You can plan on about ⅓ to ½ pound per person (½ pound allows for seconds or leftovers). 

Leg of Lamb WeightNumber of Servings
4 lb8 people
5 lb10 people
6 lb12 people
7 lb14 people
How Much Lamb Per Person Chart
Sliced leg of lamb on a plate with cauliflower with chimichurri sauce and orzo.

How to Cook Lemon-Garlic Leg of Lamb

  1. Marinate lamb overnight: Rub the garlic and lemon zest all over the lamb and season well with salt and pepper. Place in a bowl or on a plate and refrigerate overnight, uncovered.
  2. Preheat and prep: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bring the lamb to room temperature.
  3. Roast on high heat: Roast the lamb for 20 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat: Then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue to cook for another 1 ½ hours to 1 hour 45 minutes, until a meat thermometer registers 135 degrees in the center of the meat. (That’s the temperature for medium-rare. Let it go to 145 degrees if you prefer medium-cooked lamb.) Start testing on the very early side.
  5. Remove and let sit: Remove from the oven and let it sit for 20 minutes to collect its juices and finish cooking before carving and serving.
Sliced leg of lamb on a white platter with orzo salad nearby.

Semi-Boneless Leg of Lamb Cooking Times

The cooking times for a boneless (rolled) leg of lamb might actually be longer than for a bone-in leg of lamb. That’s because the bone acts like a heat conductor, according to the American Lamb Board. A semi-boneless leg of lamb is, as you would expect, somewhere in the middle.

Here’s how long to cook a semi-boneless leg of lamb at 325 degrees, depending on your preference for doneness. Always err on the side of checking at the shortest end of the suggested cooking time so you can avoid overcooked meat.

Cooking Time
per Pound
Doneness and Internal Temperature
18–25 min/lbRare (130 degrees) or Medium-Rare (135 degrees)
25–30 min/lbMedium (145 degrees)
30–35 min/lbMedium-well (150 degrees) or Well-Done (160 degrees) 
How long to cook a leg of lamb per pound to different levels of doneness
Sliced leg of lamb on a cutting board.

FAQs

What size leg of lamb serves how many?

One person generally will eat about a ⅓ to a ½ pound of lamb. Do the math from there: A 5-lb leg of lamb will serve about 10 people, and so on.

How do you use a meat thermometer to test the doneness for a leg of lamb?

You need to use a meat thermometer to make sure your meat is safe to eat and that it’s done to your liking. Leg of lamb needs to reach a certain internal temperature to kill any unsafe microorganisms.

Using your meat thermometer is actually relatively simple: Just insert the “probe,” or the long end, into the thickest part of your meat. It should not touch any very fatty areas or bone. Depending on your thermometer, you’ll have a reading within 30 seconds.

Lemon-Garlic Semi-Boneless Leg of Lamb Pro Cooking Tips

  • While the oven is preheating, place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan of some sort and allow it to come to room temperature.
  • Remove the leg from the oven and let it sit for 20 minutes to collect its juices and finish cooking before carving and serving. The temperature will rise slightly while it is sitting, but don’t worry — that’s the plan. That’s how you get those tender, rosy slices without losing all the beautiful juice to the cutting board when you slice it.
Lemon-Garlic Semi-Boneless Leg of Lamb resting on a wooden surface.

Leg of Lamb Leftovers and Reheating

Leftovers are everything when you are making a leg of lamb. Carve all the meat off the bone. You can either leave it in chunks and slice it later or slice it all.

If you plan to reheat it, you might want to leave it in a big chunk so that it doesn’t overcook too much when you warm it. It can be warmed in a 300-degree oven just until warmed throughout, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the piece. Leftover lamb can be stored in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 3 days.

Once you have leftovers on hand, you might think about Lamb Crostini with Spiced Crème Fraiche and Herbs or Cheesy Mashed Potato Topped Shepherd’s Pie — two excellent reasons to make a larger-than-needed leg of lamb.

What to Serve With Leg of Lamb

Rice Pilaf

Spinach and Radish Salad with Feta

Greek Orzo Salad

Leg on lamb and orzo on a decorative plate.

More Leg of Lamb Recipes

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Lemon-Garlic Semi-Boneless Leg of Lamb

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 12 People
A family favorite, you need just two ingredients to turn a leg of lamb into a company-worthy (or Easter!) dinner.

Ingredients 

  • 1 6-pound semi-boneless leg of lamb
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Coarse or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • Finely grated zest from 2 lemons

Instructions 

  • Rub the garlic and lemon zest all over the lamb and season well with salt and pepper. Place in a bowl or on a plate and refrigerate overnight, uncovered.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 F. While the oven is preheating, place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan of some sort and allow it to come to room temperature.
  • Roast the lamb for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 F and continue to cook for another 1 ½ hours to 1 hour 45 minutes, until a meat thermometer registers 135 F in the center of the meat. Start testing on the very early side. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 20 minutes to collect its juices and finish cooking before carving and serving.

Notes

Leftovers are everything when you are making a leg of lamb. Carve all the meat off the bone. You can either leave it in chunks and slice it later or slice it all. If you plan to reheat it, you might want to leave it in a big chunk so that it doesn’t overcook too much when you warm it.
It can be warmed in a 300-degree oven just until warmed throughout, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the piece.
Leftover lamb can be stored in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 184.35kcal, Carbohydrates: 0.38g, Protein: 29.43g, Fat: 6.45g, Saturated Fat: 2.3g, Cholesterol: 91.44mg, Sodium: 88.76mg, Potassium: 412.93mg, Fiber: 0.11g, Sugar: 0.05g, Vitamin C: 1.5mg, Calcium: 11.12mg, Iron: 2.6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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