Roast Leg of Lamb with Yogurt

  • Active Time 5m
  • Total Time 3h 45m
  • Rating ****

Serves 6

While yogurt is more commonly used as a tenderizing marinade for lamb kebabs, in this recipe from Crete it is mixed with cinnamon and spread on a leg of lamb during only the last 15 minutes of roasting. Surprisingly, the yogurt forms a wonderful savory crust.


  • One 5- or 6-pound leg of lamb on the bone
  • 6 cloves garlic plus 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons plus 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups whole or low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour


Using a small, sharp knife, cut about 12 slits, each about 1/2 inch deep, in the leg of lamb, spacing them evenly. Cut 3 of the garlic cloves into thin slivers and place in a small bowl with the 2 teaspoons of rosemary. Mix well and insert the garlic mixture in the slits.

Finely chop the remaining 3 garlic cloves and place in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the rosemary, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Mix well. Rub this mixture all over the leg of lamb. Cover and let marinate for 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the lamb in a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, the remaining 1 tablespoon rosemary and the 2 teaspoons minced garlic. Roast the lamb, basting every 20 minutes with the oil-lemon mixture, for 1 1/4 hours.

Whisk together the yogurt, cinnamon and flour in another bowl. Spoon the mixture over the lamb and continue to roast until the yogurt sauce sets up and the lamb is done to your liking, about 15 minutes longer for medium-rare. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the leg away from the bone to test. It should register 145-150 degrees F for medium-rare.

Transfer the lamb to a warm serving platter and let rest for 8-10 minutes. Carve and serve hot.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 699

nutrition information per serving

658 calories; 32g total fat; 253mg cholesterol; 283mg sodium; 8g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 81g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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