Pot-Roast Leg of Lamb, Greek Style, with Lemon, Oregano & Roasted Potatoes

Suffolk Lambs

Suffolk Lambs

By Cat, Nov 2010 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Its no secret that Greek food is one of my favorites; so rich in flavors and so healthful. I have several Greek lamb recipes on this site (see Mediterranean Menu).

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie) is an excellent accompaniment for this recipe, especially when served on a holiday or for other special occasions. Another great accompaniment is Greek Style Roasted Potatoes, with Garlic, Lemon & Oregano (instead of cooking the potatoes in the pot with the lamb).

Pot-Roast Leg of Lamb, Greek Style, with Lemon & Oregano, and Roasted Potatoes 

I originally adapted this recipe from Farmgirl Fare (1), that produces a “fall-off-the bone pot roast with incredible flavor,” but my first test (2/5/19; see below) was disappointing. Yes, it was very tender, but it lacked the traditional Greek flavor. (See below for that version).

I have updated that adaptation with ideas from “Flavor It Greek” recipes contributed by Voula Bakouros and George Anasis (3). You can use a bone-in or boneless roast, but will need a shorter cooking time if boneless. I have not yet tested this version.

Major differences between the Farmgirl Fare and Flavor It Greek recipes:

  • Garlic:
    • Farmgirl Fare adds garlic to the potato/lemon/lemon-juice-olive oil mix part-way through the roasting time;
    • Flavor it Greek inserts garlic cloves in deep slits cut into the meat.
  • Potatoes:
    • Farmgirl Fare adds lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano, and olive oil with the potatoes (without marinating first) around the roast at beginning of roasting time;
    • Flavor it Greek marinates the potatoes in a Greek-style vinaigrette (lemon juice,  salt, pepper, oregano, crushed garlic, and olive oil) prior to adding to the roast.
  • Sear/browning/roasting:
    • Farmgirl Fare roasts at 425°F prior to roasting (covered with foil) at 350° – 375°F, and adds an optional hour at the end of the roasting time to brown the meat.
    • Flavor It Greek: Meat is not seared prior to, nor browned after roasting, and is not covered while roasting.
  • Total cooking time:
    • Farmgirl Fare roasts 5 – 6 lb bone-in roast: 3 – 3½ hours total (½ – 1 hour at 425°F, then 2 – 2½ hours at 325°F), plus 1 additional hour (optional) to brown the roast, is way too long (in my opinion), but would be more appropriate in a true slow oven at 250° – 300°F.
    • Flavor It Greek: 2 hours (4 lb bone-in) or 2½ hours (8 – 10 lb bone-in). Roast is not seared before, nor browned after roasting.

Cooking temp and total cooking time is the biggest difference, and accounts for why my test of the Farmgirl Fare version was way over-cooked. However, it would be appropriate for a true slow-roast 250° – 300°F followed by a reverse sear at 450° – 475°F if desired.

I would also add more seasoning flavors, such as

  • 1 – 2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed, or
  • herbs/spices mix including any of the following:  oregano, rosemary, coriander, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, crushed garlic (or garlic powder)

Regarding potatoes, you could prepare Greek Style Roasted Potatoes, with Garlic, Lemon & Oregano separately, instead of roasting with the meat.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 3 – 4 lb boneless (rolled & tied), or 5 – 6 lb bone-in leg of lamb
  • 4 – 6 cloves garlic, peeled (or more, to taste); if large, cut in half, lengthwise
  • Herb/spice rub:
    • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh Greek oregano (or more)
    • Optional herbs/spices: allspice, chervil, cinnamon, coriander, oregano, rosemary. My choice would be allspice, coriander, and oregano.
    • crushed garlic (or garlic powder)
  • 2 pounds small Yukon gold or red potatoes (if larger, cut into wedges)
  • ½ – 1 cup water
  • Marinade:
  • 1 – 2 lemons (for 4 – 6 Tbsp juice)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and pressed with salt
  • Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp chopped fresh Greek oregano
  • 1 – 1½ Tbsp fresh, or 1 – 1½ tsp dried rosemary (optional)
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Garnish or side dish:
  • fresh spinach or kale
  • Equipment
  • Corningware oval casserole; (photo, right, from Walmart (2)), or
  • roasting pan


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

    Corningware oval casserole

  2. Prep:
    • Rub: Mix together herb/spice mix.Mince garlic, sprinkle with a bit of salt and crush with side of knife blade; or use powdered garlic. Add garlic to herb/spice mix and stir to combine.
    • Lamb: If using bone-in roast, trim off excess fat; boneless roasts are already trimmed. Insert garlic cloves into deep slits in the meat. Rub with prepped rub, then place in roasting pan/casserole.
    • Lemons: Halve-crosswise and juice lemons, removing seeds. Cut each juiced lemon halves into 2 – 4 pieces.
    • Potatoes: wash and peel (optional); cut larger potatoes in half or in large wedges
    • Marinade: Combine lemon juice with oregano, optional rosemary, salt and pepper. Slowly add 3 Tbsp olive oil, whisking (or using blender) to combine. Pour over potatoes and gently stir to combine. Marinate at room temp or in fridge ½ – 1 hour
  3. Arrange potatoes with their marinade around roast in pan. Add juiced lemon pieces and water to pan. Stir.
  4. Roast, uncovered; until internal temperature of 130° – 135°F (medium-rare) or 135° – 140°F (medium). Roasting time varies with size of roast, and whether boneless or bone-in. Baste often (every 15 minutes), and add more water if evaporated.
    • The following times are approximate:
    • Bone-in: 3 – 4 lb roast: 2 hours; 8 – 10 lb roast: 2 – 2½ hours; if needed, increase oven to 375°F if roast not yet up to temperature.
    • Boneless: about 12 min/lb (medium rare), or 15 min/lb (medium);  2 – 3 lb roast: 25 – 35 minutes; 4 – 5 lb roast: 50 min or more
  5. Let rest about 15 minutes before serving.

Assembly & Serving

  • Remove pan from oven. Transfer lamb to large platter and cover tightly with foil. Move potatoes to one end of the roasting pan; tilt pan so juice collects at the low end, then add chard or spinach and optional raisins, stirring them into the juice and then spreading them out. Cook for about 10 minutes on top of stove, until chard/spinach is wilted, stirring once or twice. Or instead serve with Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie).
  • Remove lamb from bone with a fork and serve warm with the veggies. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and mix them into the potatoes or spread them on warm slices of crusty bread.
  • Serve with Tsatziki  or other yogurt sauce (see Greek Yogurt Sauce or Dressing or Lebneh (Yogurt sauce)). Cucumber and tomato slices are a nice garnish.

Original adaptation of  Pot-Roast Leg of Lamb, Greek-Style (adapted from Farmgirl Fare)

I tested this version on 2/5/19, but was unhappy with the result.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 3 – 4 lb boneless (rolled & tied), or 5 – 6 lb bone-in leg of lamb
  • 2 large lemons
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp chopped fresh Greek oregano, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 pounds Yukon gold or other roasting potatoes
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled (or more, to taste)
  • bunch swiss chard or spinach (optional)
  • handful raisins (optional)
  • Equipment
  • roasting pan
  • foil and parchment (I use parchment on top of roast to protect it from aluminum foil placed on top of parchment to hold it tightly)
  • OR use Corningware roasting pan with glass lid (photo right, from Walmart website (2))


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Prep:
    • If using bone-in roast, trim off excess fat; boneless roasts are already trimmed. Place in roasting pan, fatty-side up.
    • Halve and juice lemons, removing seeds. Cut juiced lemon halves into chunks.
    • Combine lemon juice with 3 Tbsp olive oil in jar and whisk to combine. Pour over lamb, rubbing it into meat with your fingers. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with 2 Tbsp of the oregano. Pour water around the meat.
    • Peel potatoes (if desired) and cut into bite-size wedges; set aside.
  3. Roast 15-30 minutes.
  4. Turn the leg over in pan (fatty side down), season with salt and pepper and 1 Tbsp oregano. and roast 15-30 minutes more.
  5. Remove pan from oven. Reduce oven temp to 325°F.
    • Turn lamb over one more time (fatty-side up).
    • Scatter potatoes and lemon chunks in the pan around lamb, turning them over with slotted spoon to coat them in the juice.
    • Season potatoes with salt and pepper and remaining 1 Tbsp oregano. Drizzle with remaining 3 Tbsp olive oil.
    • Add a little more water if it has all evaporated.
    • Cover pan tightly with parchment, and then foil.
  6. Return pan to oven and cook 1 – 1½ hours (or less time, if using a boneless roast).
  7. Remove cover and scatter peeled, whole garlic cloves over potatoes, then stir to combine.
  8. Cover loosely with foil and roast 1 hour more. [3 – 3½ hours cooking time to this point.]
  9. It is ready to serve at this point, but if you wish to brown the roast, remove foil and roast 1 hour more.


2/5/19 (original adaptation): Although I’ve made Greek-Style roast lamb many times when I lived in Portland, but I lost my old recipe. This is the first time I’ve tried this recipe.  It’s a chilly 15°F day, so I appreciate the warm oven. Used 2 lb boneless, tied pastured lamb roast, and my Corningware roasting pan with glass lid (so don’t need foil). Made as written but reduced amounts by half since roast is only 2 lb. Into oven at 3:35 PM.First roasting at 425°F: 30 min.;  second roasting: 20 min.. Added more water when added potato wedges and lemon chunks for third roasting (325°F): 45 min.; fourth roasting: Potato wedges are done after third roasting, so will only roast 20 min after adding garlic; fifth and final roasting 35 min. Total roasting time: 1 hr, 35 min. Result: Overcooked – my meat thermometer must be off. Not much Greek flavor – not like previous versions I’ve made. 2/8: Reheated a serving of leftover roast, seasoning with allspice, cinnamon and garlic powder; much better in flavor, especially because I served with the last of the leftover cranberry sauce from Christmas.


  1. Farmgirl Fare recipe (farmgirlfare.com/2009/05/less-fuss-more-flavor-cooking-slow.html)
  2. Corningware roasting pan: walmart.com/ip/Corningware-French-White-2.5-qt-Oval-Casserole-with-Glass-Cover/11971384
  3. Flavor It Greek” cookbook (from Philoptochos Society of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Portland, OR)

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