Lamb kleftiko

Lamb kleftiko

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(48 ratings)

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

More effort

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

  • Gluten-free

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal729
  • fat41g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs33g
  • sugars6g
  • fibre4g
  • protein57g
  • salt2.3g
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  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped oregano



    Closely related to marjoram, of which it is the wild equivalent, oregano has a coarser, more…

  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped rosemary



    Rosemary's intense, fragrant aroma has traditionally been paired with lamb, chicken and game…

  • zest 1 lemon and juice of 2



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

  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 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…

  • 2kg leg of lamb
  • 1kg Desiree potato, halved or quartered



    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • 5 bay leaves

For the mint yogurt

  • 250g Greek yogurt
  • juice ½ lemon



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

  • 1 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…

  • handful mint, shredded



    There are several types of mint, each with its own subtle difference in flavour and appearance.…

For the Greek-style salad

  • 1½ tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 100g baby spinach
  • small bunch parsley, roughly chopped



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…

  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • 175g cherry tomato, halved
  • ½ cucumber, halved lengthways, deseeded and sliced
  • 75g black Kalamata olive, stoned and quartered


  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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. 

  5. 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.

  6. 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. 

  7. Turn the potatoes over and return to the oven for 30 mins, then season with salt. While the potatoes are cooking, stir together all the ingredients for the yogurt.

  8. 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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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8th Feb, 2017
Nothing could be roasted for 4 1/2 hours and still be raw. This is the perfect time and temperature to have it falling off the bone. Oven setting user error.
23rd Apr, 2016
This is my most favourite lamb recipe ever! Have made it 3 times now and it never disappoints! The lamb is beautifully cooked - falling off the bone and the potatoes are so good after being cooked in all the juices from the lamb. I serve mine with a Greek salad and Tzatziki.
10th Aug, 2015
This is a wonderful way to do lamb and just what was needed for a summer version of a Sunday roast. The salad is delicious and I also made the pomegranate salad that is shown on the Persian lamb recipe on this site.
9th Aug, 2015
This was going to be a Sunday dinner but turned into an engagement celebration meal and it rose to the occasion magnificently!! Delicious lamb and all the salad and mint yoghurt were perfect too.
27th Jun, 2015
Sausage 21 asked what to do with the leftover lamb. In the past I have reheated the lamb, finely chopped some tomatoes, shredded lettuce, made humus although I have bought that sometimes. When the lamb has been reheated, I shredded it and then toasted pitta bread to make pockets for the salad, shredded lamb and humus. It is absolutely delicious and one of my (grown up) sons prefers it to the actual full blown Kleftiko meal which in itself is a wonderful discovery
24th May, 2015
Ive made this a couple of times with half a shoulder and works devine for a family of 4. I dont even peel the spuds! Cutting the time down by blasting at high heat at first. Lots of flavour and leaves more time on a Sunday to do the rest of the chores. Makes a change from the usual traditional roast.
30th Mar, 2015
I've got some of the lamb left. Any idears how to use them
27th Jun, 2015
Sorry Sausage 21- I have replied to your comment on another post. I hope you find it useful although I think the leftover lamb has long gone :-)
16th Mar, 2015
Calling all people who want to impress their guests with very little effort! What a wonderful recipe this is, we had this for Mothers Day lunch and it was lovely to put everything into the oven and forget about it! The mint dip was glorious too. The only thing I would do differently is to take some of the juices which the potatoes are sat in and baste the lamb before I covered it with foil to rest.
Mike Edwards
30th Sep, 2014
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!


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