Lamb kleftiko

Lamb kleftiko

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(12 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 5 hrs, 20 mins plus overnight marinating

Skill level

Moderately easy


Serves 6

Seal a leg of lamb in a parcel then roast it long and slow with garlic, lemon and herbs, and potatoes to soak up the delicious juices

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Gluten-free
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving



  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped oregano
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped rosemary
  • zest 1 lemon and juice of 2
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2kg leg of lamb
  • 1kg Desiree potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 5 bay leaves

For the mint yogurt

  • 250g Greek yogurt
  • juice ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • handful mint, shredded

For the Greek-style salad

  • 1½ tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 100g baby spinach
  • small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • 175g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cucumber, halved lengthways, deseeded and sliced
  • 75g black kalamata olives, stoned and quartered

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  1. Crush together the garlic cloves and 1 tsp salt using a pestle and mortar. Add the herbs, lemon zest, cinnamon, some black pepper, crush a little more, then stir through 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Using a sharp knife, create lots of holes all over the lamb, and rub in the paste, pushing it deep into the holes. Transfer the lamb to a large food bag, pour in the lemon 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 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Lay 2 long pieces of baking parchment on top of 2 long pieces of foil – one widthways, the other lengthways to form a cross. Pop the potatoes in the centre of the parchment and toss with the remaining oil and some seasoning. Bring up the sides of the foil, then pour the marinade from the lamb over the potatoes and throw in the bay leaves. Set the lamb on top of the potatoes and scrunch the foil together tightly to completely enclose the lamb. Lift into a roasting tin and roast in the oven for 4½ hrs until very tender.
  3. Remove tin from the oven and increase the temperature to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Unwrap the parcel and scrunch the foil and parchment under the rim of the tin, baste the lamb with the juices and return to the oven for a further 20 mins until browned. Remove the lamb from the tin, wrap in foil and rest. Turn the potatoes over and return to the oven for 30 mins, then season with salt.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, stir together all the ingredients for the yogurt. Combine the red wine vinegar, oil and some seasoning to make a dressing for the salad. Toss together the remaining salad ingredients, adding the dressing when you’re ready to eat. Serve the lamb with the potatoes and meaty juices, with the salad and yogurt on the side.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, September 2013

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Mike Edwards's picture
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What can I say? Absolutely the best lamb I have ever tasted! I bought a half leg of lamb at my local superstore and asked the butcher to bone it and tie it for me. I followed the recipe almost to the letter but reduced the garlic and lemon by half. I cooked it with the potatoes in my fan oven at 130 C for four and a half hours and then 200 C for 30 minutes. My only problem was that the potatoes didn’t crisp up enough. In future I may take these out earlier and cook in my upper oven for slightly longer at 200 C. This was definitely a winner with the family and can’t wait to impress friends with it!

slickson's picture
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Is there a sixth star? Best lamb leg recipe ever!! The potatoes were amazing too. Served with salad/ on a warm summer evening. Perfect.

shinnell's picture
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This really is delicious. It has become one of my signature dishes. The potatoes cooked in the juices make them the best tasting I've ever had. Always get lots of compliments serving this one up to guests and it doesn't need you in the kitchen missing out on the chat.

sjmsjm2's picture
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Lovely for a leisurely Saturday evening dinner with friends. I drained (& kept) the marinade when I took the lamb out of the oven and the potatoes crisped up beautifully. Will do again.

Louise G's picture

I was only doing a 1lb lamb shank so I knocked the cooking time down by an hour. I also only marinated mine for about an hour and it was still great - am excited to try it with a proper overnight one.
If only it was feasible to always cook roast potatoes for several hours with a bit of lamb on top - totally delicious!

linda_firth's picture

What did I do wrong? The recipe sounded delicious but it didn't work for me. The flavours were too strong, the potatoes over lemony. My guess is that I had one of those odd tasting lemons that turn up sometimes, and I used a frozen lamb leg which certainly did not fall off the bone. I thawed it first of course. Shame, after all those hours of cooking. I will learn from experience and taste my lemons and buy my lamb from a trusted butcher. .

slickson's picture
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Definitely worth trying again. I only used one lemon (it was a big juicy one)

russbarton's picture
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Fabulous recipe. The lamb just falls off the bone and the potatoes are cooked to perfection. Served with cauliflower cheese....heaven!

gemma99's picture

This went down a treat! A LOT easier than it sounds. The lamb is so tasty and the potatoes are just divine! Yummy!
give it a whirl you wont be disappointed!

fayfumbs's picture

Jut divine! Will be making this again and again.....

bettercook's picture

This was absolutely wonderful. I roasted the lamb using fan and it didn't take nearly as long as stated in the recipe. But I used the same cook times for the post-roasting of the lamb and the potatoes. The potatoes were lemony and crispy, the lamb succulent and so tasty. I couldn't discard the au-jus - it was just too tasty so used it as accompaniment along with the minty yoghurt. Guests were very impressed, as was I. I served it with the suggested salad as well as some fresh green beans.