The best cuts for roasting lamb

Follow these simple tips to get the most out of roasting different cuts of lamb, then try our recipes including butterflied leg of lamb with mint pesto, slow cooked shoulder of lamb and roast loin of lamb with braised peas and salsa verde.

 The best cuts for roasting lamb

The best roasting cuts


Leg

A favourite cut of lamb for roasting.  A whole leg is ideal for serving large numbers, and yields plenty of lean, tender meat. It can be divided into two joints  (the fillet end has the best flavour).

Shoulder
Roasting joint that is inexpensive because it carries a little more fat. The bone running through the centre makes it a little more difficult to carve. Shoulder benefits from long, slow roasting, and can be boned and rolled, as can the smaller knuckle and fillet ends of the shoulder.

Best end of neck
This has the very best flavour, and is made up of lean meat.  It cooks very quickly, and will feed two perfectly. It is also the most expensive cut.

Saddle of lamb
An impressive joint for roasting, but a little difficult to carve. This joint is quite large and expensive.

Loin
A lovely joint for roasting, on or off the bone, because it carries a little more fat than the leg but not as much as the shoulder. A boned loin is ideal for stuffing.

Chump
This is an inexpensive, small boneless joint made of well-flavoured meat with no waste. Ideal for two.

Breast
The most fatty of all the joints, the breast is under-used and underrated. When it has been boned and rolled around a dry, lean, well-flavoured stuffing, it produces a beautifully flavoured, tender and inexpensive roasting joint.

Tips for roasting lamb

  • Let the meat come to room temperature just before roasting it.
  • Always season well before cooking.
  • With larger roasting joints, start the meat off at a high temperature (230°C/fan210°C/gas 8) for 15 minutes, to get the heat through to the centre of the joint, then reduce the temperature to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6 and continue to roast for 13 minutes per 500g for rare (very pink in the middle), 18 minutes per 500g for medium (just pink nearest the bone) and 20-22 minutes per 500g for well done.
  • For small joints such as a rack – which cooks through much faster – roast at the higher temperature of 230°C/fan210°C/gas 8 for the whole cooking time.
  • Rest the meat before carving. This allows the meat fibres – which contract in the oven – to relax again, giving juicier meat.

Butterflied leg of spring lamb with mint pesto

Butterflied leg of spring lamb with mint pesto

Pesto works very well with lamb recipes. Here, it flavours the meat and keeps it succulent. Make home-made pesto for extra brownie points.

Salted rosemary roast lamb with fennel and garlic boulangère potatoes

Salted rosemary roast lamb with fennel and garlic boulangère potatoes

Roasting with recipes such as this sublime lamb dish is guaranteed to make Sunday the best day of the week.

Swedish roast leg of lamb with anchovies and potato gratin

Swedish roast leg of lamb with anchovies and potato gratin

Lamb with anchovies is a classic that's popular in Sweden. You can serve this roast with some steamed spinach and small buttered carrots on the side.

Grilled aromatic shoulder of lamb

Grilled aromatic shoulder of lamb

Valentine Warner's grilled aromatic shoulder of lamb recipe is great on the barbecue. Enjoy with a fruity glass of red wine.

Slow-cooked shoulder of lamb with chilli jam and rosemary

Slow-cooked shoulder of lamb with chilli jam and rosemary

This slow cooked, chilli glazed lamb shoulder is juicy, sticky and melts in the mouth. Perfect for a Sunday roast.

Spiced shoulder of lamb

Spiced shoulder of lamb

The Indian spices give this slow cooker recipe another dimension. You can also oven-cook this recipe.

Parma ham-wrapped lamb with white beans

Parma ham-wrapped lamb with white beans

This is an easy but sophisticated-looking lamb recipe with an Italian influence. It only takes 40 minutes, too.

Pan-fried lamb with crushed potatoes and salsa verde

Pan-fried lamb with crushed potatoes and salsa verde

Lamb, potatoes and salsa. A quick mid-week dinner.

Lamb pilaf

Lamb pilaf

Basmati rice is a store-cupboard staple and this lamb pilaf takes just 5 minutes to make and 25 minutes to cook.

Roast loin of lamb with braised peas and salsa verde

Roast loin of lamb with braised peas and salsa verde

This tender cut is ideal as a small roasting joint. It cooks quickly and carves into neat slices.

Roast loin of lamb with apricot stuffing

Roast loin of lamb with apricot stuffing

This delicious roast lamb dish is easy to prepare, cook and carve

Roast Bowland lamb with minted pease pudding

Roast Bowland lamb with minted pease pudding

The beautiful colours and complementary flavours make this seasonal lamb recipe a winner.

Lemony lamb chops with crushed new potatoes

Lemony lamb chops with crushed new potatoes

If you like your meat chops succulent, then this lamb recipe is the one for you. The herby crushed potatoes add substance.

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