Slow-roast lamb with cinnamon, fennel & citrus

Slow-roast lamb with cinnamon, fennel & citrus

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(27 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 4 hrs, 20 mins Plus overnight marinating plus resting


Serves 6
For lamb that will melt in your mouth and surprise your palate, follow Sarah Cook's easy recipe

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal514
  • fat32g
  • saturates13g
  • carbs8g
  • sugars5g
  • fibre0g
  • protein50g
  • salt0.29g
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  • 1 leg of lamb



    A lamb is a sheep that is under one year old, and is known for its delicate flavour and tender…

  • zest and juice 1 lemon and 1 orange



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 1 tbsp each of cinnamon, fennel seeds, ground cumin



    A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed


  1. Put the lamb into a large food bag with all the juice and marinate overnight.

  2. The next day, take the lamb out of the fridge 1 hr before you want to cook it. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Take the lamb out of the marinade (reserve remaining marinade) and pat dry. Rub with half the oil and roast for 15-20 mins until browned. Remove lamb and reduce oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.

  3. Mix the zests, remaining oil, honey, spices and garlic with plenty of seasoning. Lay a large sheet of baking parchment on a large sheet of foil. Sit the lamb leg on top, rub all over with the paste and pull up the sides of the foil. Drizzle marinade into base, and scrunch foil to seal.

  4. Roast for 4 hrs, until very tender. Rest, still wrapped, for 30 mins. Unwrap and serve with juices.

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Comments (46)

squeeze101's picture

Made this for the second time today - delicious. Won't be the last - definitely my new favourite way of doing a leg of lamb! And this time I had all the correct ingredients!

squeeze101's picture

By far the nicest leg of lamb I've ever cooked. Succulent, moist and full of flavour. When it came time to make it I realised I only had cumin seeds and no fennel seeds (bad planning!) but I used a few cumin seeds and ground up a Star Anise in place of the fennell. Will definitely be making this again.

katycwright's picture

Disappointed. Tasted just very orangey, which to me doesn't work with lamb. I would perhaps use the combo of honey, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cumin rub but maybe with pomegranate syrup as somebody else mentioned and omit the juice and peel. I will say the texture was good slow roasting it.

faceman77's picture

Delicious & so easy to make. Will be making this again & again! Can't recommend enough.

spot-the-dog's picture

Don't understand why people are getting in a tizz about the marinade - point 1 says it all!

gandt810's picture

Absolutely wonderful. I made the paste up the night before so that I could juice and zest the citrus at the same time. Prep on the Sunday was therefore minimal but the results were perfect! Will definitely be making this again.

barrettl's picture

I have made this numerous times and it is always a hit with our guests. The last time I made it I added a couple of sliced fennel bulbs in the foil as I was roasting. I also add the juice of an extra orange when marinating. Also when roasting I add a little white wine which helps to keep it so moist. I serve with the crunchy potatoes with dill & onions and herb salad with pomegranate & pistachios as suggested.
Re question about marinating - put the lamb in a food bag with the juices of the lemon and oranges and marinate overnight.

clareharris's picture

Can anyone help - what potatoes & salad was originally suggested? There is no longer any other recipes linked with this one?

lahelapixie's picture

Really yummy. The lamb was so soft and just fell apart. Most of my marinade escaped when cooking though, I obviously failed to wrapped it up well :( still tasted great.

paullatham's picture

Served this for Easter lunch , in France , to my French in-laws. In view that some of my customers are known to,like the lamb undercooked I was apprehensive that 4 hours in the oven would generate a resounding Non! However things tuned out to be absolutely to the contrary with smiles all round. Served with the suggested potatoes. Could not find pomegranate seeds and so went with walnut, dried raisin and cranberry mix which went well with a dish considered to be similar in flavour to a Tagine.

bevhiggs's picture

This really works. Halved the cumin and added 1 tbsp pomegranite syrup. Very successful with the salad and potatoes recommended. Will definitely do it again.

rilzey's picture

please can someone tell me what is the Marinate made up of thanks

mumof3chickens's picture

Marinate is a verb. "Put the lamb into a large food bag with the juice and marinate overnight". People looking for a marinade need to just use the juice.

phatmer's picture

It's fabulous! I forgot to season with salt and pepper before putting in the oven, but did so after while it was resting. Served with the suggested sides for Christmas dinner. Amazing. Thank you.

swnydon45's picture

Wonderful meal with the crunchy potatoes with dill and onions and pomegranate salad, couldn't ask for better

gilla2012's picture

what ingredients are used for the marinade?

tresillian's picture

cooked this yesterday, along with the suggested salad and potatoes, for family and friends and it went down a storm... 2.5kg leg easily fed 8 but upped the potatoes to 2.5kg and used 200g of salad leaves. Made Honey Yogurt Cheesecake to round things off and can honestly say it was the best received meal ever and I do a lot of cooking; so simple and yet so good!

meljanie's picture

Very yum - will definitely be making this again. Have to admit that I didn't do the overnight marinade, but it was still good - which is worth knowing.

iloophius's picture

Made this for Mothers day when my parents-in-law were over and it's the most succulent lamb I've ever eten!
It's well worth the effort (in the end, it's not that much of an effort because as soon as it's in thte oven for 4 hours, it doesn't require any attention).
The leftovers went into a curry the next day and worked like a treat!

jules37384's picture

This was great, I used a roasting bag to cook it in and used the juice to make the gravy (as suggested by on an earlier comment). Everyone loved this!


Questions (5)

Alison P.'s picture

For Jane Hornby's spiced roast lamb recipe, could it also be slow roasted? Thank you, Alison

dsijs's picture

Are you sure it's 160 degrees Celsius and not Fahrenheit? 5 minutes ago I opened the foil after four hours and what was left of the lamb was a piece of coal :(

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there thanks for getting in touch and sorry to hear you did not have success with this recipe. The temperature and timings are correct however the size of lamb leg may vary so it’s best to check during cooking – perhaps after 2.5 hours, then 3 hours. It's also a good idea to regularly check your oven temperature with a separate oven thermometer just in case it's running slightly higher than it should be. Hope you will be tempted to try this recipe again. 

maryknox's picture

What potatoes should I serve with the slow roast lamb with cinnamon, fennel and citrus? I understand it is suggested a pomegranate salad is also served - is there a recipe.

goodfoodteam's picture

Try this recipe for pomegranate salad: if you wanted to serve with potatoes instead then these would go well: Thanks.

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