Roast Leg of Lamb

A leg of lamb, bone-in, semi-boneless, fully boneless, rolled, any which way is just a marvelous centerpiece to a meal.  And while lamb has a distinct flavor (the boys in my family are lamb devotees – see the list of other legs of lamb below) it also takes to all kinds of seasonings, so you can play around with your spice drawer like crazy.  Today, it’s Slow Cooked Moroccan Leg of Lamb.

Slow Cooked Moroccan Leg of Lamb

Easy Leg of Lamb Marinade Ingredients

The seasoning blend looks a bit lengthy but it takes 5 minutes to pull together. And if you don’t happen to have one of the spices, just leave it out – there is plenty of flavor going on. You simply combine cumin, paprika, coriander, allspice, ginger, cayenne and salt and pepper, and then blend that up with some fresh honey, lemon juice, parsley and olive oil, and rub it all over the roast, working it into slits cut into the lamb so the rub can really penetrate the interior of the meat.

And note to self — this should marinate overnight for optimal flavor, so plan accordingly.  You will be rewarded with a deeply flavorful slow cooked leg of lamb.

Then your work is pretty much done — an overnight rest in the fridge, a few hours in the oven, and you have a centerpiece meal to be proud of. If you don’t think all of the meat will be eaten, it’s nice and a little dramatic to leave a portion of the leg of lamb uncut for serving, and keep it on the platter with the sliced meat.  And of course, you can always slice more!  

Slow Cooked Moroccan Leg of Lamb

Harissa Sauce for Lamb

Do not skip the creamy harissa sauce — it takes all of 30 seconds to stir together and it’s a fantastic little finish to the dish. The little bit of lime juice at the end adds a burst of tart freshness which plays so nicely against the richness of the meat and the robust seasonings.

Slow Cooked Moroccan Leg of Lamb

Internal Temperature for Leg of Lamb

Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature to see if it’s done. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the leg of lamb, making sure not to touch the bone. For rare you want to take it out at 120 to 125 degrees. For medium rare you want about 135 degrees, and medium is 140 to 145 degrees. Boo to overcooked leg of lamb. 

The temperature of the lamb will climb for a few minutes once the meat is taken out of the oven.  And it’s just an undeniable, critical fact that roasts need to rest before cutting, so all of those beautiful juices do not end up on the cutting board instead or in the meat where they belong. Let the meat sit for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing.

Slow Cooked Moroccan Leg of Lamb

This beautiful lamb roast is infused with fabulous spices, but don’t skip the harissa sauce.

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What to Serve with Moroccan Leg of Lamb

Here it’s served up with an arugula salad, some simple roasted butternut squash, and couscous.

Slow Cooked Moroccan Leg of Lamb

Also think about:

If you wanted to go all-in Moroccan-wise you could start the meal with Moroccan Carrot and Cauliflower Soup.

Slow Cooked Moroccan Leg of Lamb

Other Leg of Lamb Recipes:

So…I may or may not have made one or two legs of lamb before. You may also like:

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Slow Cooked Moroccan Leg of Lamb

This beautiful lamb roast is infused with fabulous spices, but don't skip the harissa sauce.
Yield: 12 People
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Marinating and Resting Time 6 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 9 hours 50 minutes


For the Lamb

  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3 shallots
  • ½ cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 6-pound semi-boneless leg of lamb trimmed of excess fat

To Serve

  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste
  • ½ cup crème fraiche
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • Sprigs of fresh cilantro leaves
  • Hot couscous cooked according to package directions, to serve


  • In a food processor or blender combine garlic, shallots, parsley, cumin, paprika, coriander, allspice, salt, pepper, ginger, cayenne, olive oil, lemon juice and honey. Pulse to combine, then puree until it forms a paste. Use a sharp knife to cut about 15 deep slits into the lamb on all sides, then rub the mixture all over the lamb, working in into the slits. Place the lamb into a roasting pan, cover it loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Let the lamb sit out at room temperature for an hour. Preheat the oven to 225°F. Place the lamb in a rack in a roasting pan. Roast the lamb in the oven for about 2½ to 2¾ hours, until it reaches an internal temperature of 125°F on an internal thermometer. Turn the heat up to 500°F. and let the meat cook for another 15 to 20 minutes (the temperature in the oven will climb, but may not quite reach 500°F within 15 minutes, which is fine). Check the internal temperature: for rare you want to take it out at 125°F, for medium rare you want about 135°F, and medium is 140 to 145°F. The temperature of the lamb will climb for a few minutes once the meat is taken out of the oven. Remove it from the oven, transfer the lamb to a cutting board, tent it with foil, and let the meat sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • While the meat is resting, in a small bowl combine the harissa with the crème fraiche and lime, and season with salt. Thinly slice the meat across the grain and pile it onto a platter. Serve with the cilantro sprigs and the creamy harissa sauce, with couscous on the side.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 327mg | Potassium: 482mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 404IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 3mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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  1. I’m looking at slow-cooking the lamb but with this marinade – do you think this will work and any recommendations on how to ensure it remains moist? Also a suggested cooking time? I do have a meat thermometer which i know will help gauge the cooking time.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Thank you!

  2. This is an excellent change of pace from garlic and rosemary lamb. I do think it needed more salt since most meat seasonings call of 1/2 tsp. of salt per # of meat. I have a Wolf stove/oven and my cooking time was 35-40 minutes longer but my roast was 1 # heavier than recipe called for. Katie is absolutely right about the harissa sauce…off the charts delicious on this lamb. This recipe is going in my file. Thank you Katie Workman for this treat!

  3. Amazing recipe! This is probably the best lamb we have ever had! The seasoning rub is out of this world full of flavor (which we will use in other dishes in the future). Pretty easy prep and very straight forward process. We didn’t make the harissa sauce, but it was delicious without it too.

  4. I’m making this with a 1.5 pound leg of lamb… about to marinade for tomorrow night’s dinner. How long should I roast it? I’m not sure how to adjust for both the low and high temps…

    1. Apologies for the late reply! That’s a very small leg of lamb! Not 100% sure about time, because it also depends on thickness, but check the internal temperature: for rare you want to take it out at 125°F, for medium rare you want about 135°F, and medium is 140 to 145°F. The temperature of the lamb will climb for a few minutes once the meat is taken out of the oven. I would say start testing it after 45 mins, and when the internal temp gets to 120°F that’s when you turn up the heat to 500 for 10 minutes – not longer, because the temp will rise quickly in a smqller cut of meat. Take it out at 125 for rare, give it 5 more minutes for medium rare, and so on. Hope you like it!

  5. Hi,

    Your lamb sounds delicious and mine is currently in the oven right now, but I’m worried about the temperature your cooking it at. Seems kind of low at 225F even if it is in the oven for 2 1/2-2 3/4 hours. Is this really correct?

  6. Wow! What a delicious parade of flavors for the palate! Thank you. I rotisseried the leg of lamb after marinating it for 24 hrs. The Harissa I mixed with Greek yogurt slightly sweetened, instead of creme fraiche and it was wonderful. The cilantro adds the perfect touch.

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