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christmas roast lamb-4

Festive Roast Leg of Lamb

My festive roast leg of lamb flavoured with rosemary, cloves, orange and cranberries makes a fantastic alternative to turkey on Christmas day or to feed your family and friends over the festive period.
4 from 1 vote
Active Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 1 leg of lamb - or half leg
  • 10 cloves - approx
  • 3 sprigs rosemary - approx
  • 1 tbsp cranberry sauce - heaped tbsp. I prefer to use chunky cranberry sauce, but smooth is fine if that’s what you’ve got
  • ¼ orange - zest only
  • Salt


  • About an hour before you want to cook your lamb, remove it from the fridge, remove all packaging and place into a large roasting dish. Cover the lamb with cling film and allow it to come up to room temperature before roasting (about an hour).
  • Remove the cling film and use a sharp knife to cut small slits in the lamb. Place a clove in each slit (see the picture above for how I spaced mine out). Lay a few sprigs of fresh rosemary on top of the lamb. Season with salt.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan).
  • In a small bowl mix together the cranberry sauce (1 heaped tbsp) and orange zest (¼ orange).
  • Roast the lamb for 2 hours, 5 minutes (adjust the time according to the weight of the lamb). About every 20-30 minutes, baste the joint with the juices in the bottom of the tray. Half an hour before the lamb has finished cooking, remove it from the oven and brush it with the cranberry and orange mixture so it has a thin coating all over the outside then return it to the oven to finish cooking.
  • Once the lamb has cooked remove it from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Remove the cloves and rosemary sprigs before serving.


Timings given are for a 2kg leg of lamb cooked medium.
For other sizes of lamb joint, use these cooking times:
• Medium: 25 minutes + 25 minutes per 500g
• Well Done: 30 minutes + 30 minutes per 500g
For a really tender roast lamb I’d recommend removing the lamb from the fridge an hour before you start cooking.


Serving: 1portion | Calories: 228kcal | Carbohydrates: 1.3g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6.1g | Sodium: 160mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 1.2g

Any nutritional information provided is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you would like to learn more about how this is calculated.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Keyword: Christmas, Easter Lunch, Roast Dinner, Roast Lamb, Sunday Roast
Author: Charlotte Oates