How to Cook Boneless Leg of Lamb in Convection Oven
It’s easy to keep cooking the same things every week. After all, you know how to cook your specialty dishes perfectly, and being able to make something well feels really great.
Still, it’s also great to learn how to cook something that you’ve never made before and to manage to do it successfully!
Today, we’re going to share with you how to cook boneless leg of lamb in convection oven.
Cooking lamb can be intimidating for a lot of people, but it’s certainly not impossible.
Most do not have as much experience cooking lamb as they do cooking other proteins, and this is why it can be rather terrifying.
Today, however, you’ll get all of the information that you need to make cooking lamb a part of your normal cooking routine.
How to Cook Boneless Leg of Lamb in Convection Oven
If you’ve never cooked a boneless leg of lamb before or seen one cooked, you might have no idea where to begin.
That’s okay because, today, you will learn everything that you need to have and do when you’re preparing lamb.
The big bonus of using a convection oven for this recipe is that it changes very little about what you need to do to prepare the meat for cooking, but the convection oven gives the outer shell an even crispier finish!
Boneless lamb legs are actually very difficult to mess up despite the stigma attached to cooking lamb; in fact, you might even be shocked at how easy it is to do!
What You’ll Need
- Dutch oven or medium roasting pan
- Paring knife
- Internal meat thermometer
- 6 cloves of garlic, cut into slivers
- 4- or 5-pound boneless leg of lamb (tied)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- Ground black pepper (to taste)
How It’s Done
Step 1: Season the Lamb
Place the debone lamb leg roast into your pan or Dutch oven.
Using the paring knife, you need to make around 15 inserts into the leg by pushing the knife into the lamb.
Now, take the garlic slivers and push them into each opening until you have used all of the garlic; make more inserts as needed.
Use the two tablespoons of olive oil to rub the entire roast with oil.
Sprinkle the top side of the roast with half of the salt, pepper, and rosemary; flip and repeat.
Step 2: Bake the Lamb
Now, you’re going to bake the lamb!
In a convection oven, you want to roast the lamb at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for a minimum of one hour.
Do not cover the lamb roast while it is cooking.
There is not an exact time that you want to roast the lamb for; instead, you’d want to take the lamb’s internal temperature to know when it is done.
Start taking the internal temperature of the lamb after 45 minutes to 1 hour.
From that point, check it frequently until it reaches the right temperature, depending on your preferences.
Step 3: Let It Rest
Once the lamb is done, you want to allow it to rest, uncovered, before you cut it.
The lamb should rest for 15 minutes.
Many people like to tent their lamb with a piece of aluminum foil while it rests to help prevent it from cooling down too quickly; this is optional.
If you skip this step, the lamb will lose much of its moisture, so make sure that you do this.
Step 4: Carve
Finally, put the roast on a cutting board and cut it after removing the casing.
You can cut the lamb into any slices that you want, but it’s always best to cut against the grain.
Most people find that thinner slices of lamb taste better than thicker ones, so try to cut something around the ¼-inch slice line.
How Long to Cook Your Boneless Leg of Lamb
Much like beef, the time you cook your lamb is going to depend on what type of cook finish you prefer.
Lamb can be cooked well-done, medium-well, or even medium-rare; it’s up to you to decide what type of finish you want on your lamb.
The times we’ve covered below are for convection ovens, but you can also use a conventional oven if you simply expect it to take a few more minutes per pound.
Once you’ve decided, you can find your cooking time by checking the temperature of your meat after one hour and then every 15 minutes after that.
- Medium rare: 120 F to 130 F (about 12 minutes per pound)
- Medium: 130 F to 140 F (about 14 minutes per pound)
- Medium-well: 140 to 150 F (about 15 minutes per pound)
- Well-Done: 150 F to 160 F (about 16 minutes per pound)
When cooking lamb, we recommend ensuring you reach 125 F to 135 F for the best-tasting lamb.
Rather than relying on time to know when your lamb is done, it’s best to use time as a guideline for when to check the lamb’s internal temperature.
Generally, it will take less than two hours to have your lamb finished and ready to eat.
Finally, remember that after you remove the meat from the oven, it will continue to cook while it rests.
Bonus Tips and Tricks for Cooking Lamb Successfully
As with any food, there is certainly more than one way that you can successfully cook a boneless leg of lamb in a convection oven!
Today, we’ve covered what we think is the easiest way to cook lamb that tastes great, but it’s always fun to try out different adaptations, as well.
Here are some ways that you can customize your lamp the next time that you roast one.
1. Customize Your Seasoning
Rosemary and garlic are a very popular combination that is used with lamb. However, it is not the only choice.
You can substitute or add oregano, thyme, or any other savory spice that you like.
Many people also add citrus flavors, such as lemon or orange juice, to a marinade in order to cook their lamb.
Think about what seasonings you like the most, and think of how those might successfully be used in your lamb rub.
2. Consider Braising
While we cook our lamb at one temperature for the entire time, not everyone subscribes to this method.
Many people like to sear the outsides of the lamb in a hot pan before it goes into the oven; searing the meat in this way can help to lock in moisture.
When you’re using a convection oven, we don’t find this step to be as important.
Still, you can consider searing the outside if you want to make sure you really lock in all those juices.
3. Changing Cooking Temperature
While this recipe keeps the oven pretty hot while the lamb cooks, some prefer to sear the outsides of the lamb and then cook it at a lower temperature.
Both methods can be successful, and it’s worth trying them both out to see which method you prefer.
Another way that you can cook the lamb is to start at a high temperature to get the outsides of the lamb crisped up, and then lowering the temperature of the oven to finish it off more slowly.
Experiment with different temperatures; any temperature is fine as long as the internal temperature of the lamb reaches the right numbers to be finished!
4. Skip Marination
Some recipes will suggest that you use a marinade for your leg of lamb before you cook it.
However, this is not the best choice when you’re using a cut that is as naturally tender as a boneless leg of lamb.
When cooking other cuts of lamb, marinades can be very helpful for tenderizing the meat, but marinating this cut can actually lead to a mushy result.
Cooking lamb shoulder for lamb stew, for example, is best marinated for a few hours before it is added to the stew so that it can break down more effectively.
Rather than trying a marinade, it’s best to just add additional spices to your pan when you roast the lamb for added flavor.
The Best Side Dishes for Lamb Leg
Now that you know how to make the perfect boneless lamb leg, you need to think about what side dishes you want to serve with the lamb.
Sides are just as important as the main course, and you would want to choose sides that will complement what you’ve done with the lamb.
While you can make practically any side that you can dream up, these are some of the most popular sides that pair very well with the lamb:
- Mashed potatoes
- Cauliflower mash
- Roasted sweet potato chunks
- Cucumber and tomato salad
- Grilled cucumber and yellow squash
- Fresh green beans
- Spinach salad
Balancing the fatty lamb out with something green is always a good idea, but you can also choose to go with a carbohydrate-heavy side that is going to make the overall meal filling and balanced.
The best solution for choosing a side is to choose two sides. Pick one that is leafy and green, and another that is more carb-forward.
In the end, you’ll be very happy with how those two sides balance out your meal!
1. What is the cooking time for lamb?
There is not a set cooking time for lamb; the amount of time it takes to cook will depend on many factors:
- Amount of lamb
- Oven temperature
- Type of oven
- Desired finish
Generally speaking, the lamb will take between one and two hours to cook at a minimum.
Check the temperature of your lamb after one hour if you’re cooking at 375 degrees F or higher; check it after 80 minutes if you’re cooking at a lower temperature.
From there, continue to check the temperature every 10 or 15 minutes until the lamb is finished.
2. What temp should leg of lamb be cooked at?
There are different temperatures that can be used to cook your leg of lamb.
Some people insist that slow-roasting lamb at a lower temperature around 300 degrees F is the best way to get a good final product; others up the temperature to balance cooking time with juiciness.
The recipe we shared above does the latter.
By cooking at a higher temperature of 400 degrees F, you can get a nicely browned outside and moist inside without needing to keep the lamb in the oven quite as long.
Plus, using a convection oven helps to make the outside very crisp and browned.
3. Do I need a thermometer to cook lamb?
Yes, you should have a thermometer if you want to prepare baked lamb at home.
While some say that you can eyeball doneness, the only way to get a tender and perfectly cooked cut of lamb is if you can pull it out at the right temperature.
Using a thermometer is the only way to do that accurately.
If you wait and cook the lamb until it visibly looks done, there is a good chance that you will overcook it, and it will turn out to be very dry.
For that reason, it’s best if you have a thermometer when you are baking lamb.
4. Does lamb get more tender the longer you cook it?
The answer to this question is both yes and no.
When you are cooking lamb stew or cooking lamb legs at a very low temperature, such as 325 degrees, the lamb will become more tender for the longer you cook it.
If, however, you are cooking at a higher temperature or you are cooking lamb that has been heavily marinated, cooking for too long can actually break down the integrity of the meat too much.
The end result could be mealy or even mushy.
Don’t rely on the length of time to make the lamb more tender. The real secret to a tender slice of lamb leg is to make sure that you cut against the grain after letting it rest for 15 minutes!
5. Do I have to cook lamb in a convection oven?
Lamb does not have to be cooked in a convection oven; it can be cooked in a standard conventional oven or even other types of ovens, as well.
The cooking temperatures and times will change a bit depending on what type of oven you use, but there isn’t a single type of oven that has to be used when cooking lamb.
The benefit of using a convection oven for cooking lamb is that the air is constantly circulating, and that helps to ensure that all sides of the lamb get equally browned.
Convection ovens also tend to help the outside of meat get a nice, crispy browned finish that might be hard to achieve without searing in other ovens.
Finally, convection ovens cook a bit faster than other oven types because of the circulating air.
6. Is boneless lamb better than bone-in lamb?
There are benefits to cooking with both bone-in and boneless lamb, but boneless lamb is the favorite of many home chefs because of many reasons, some of which are the following:
- It’s easy to fit in a pan.
- Carving it is simple.
- You get lots of meat.
- It usually cooks faster.
There are times when you might prefer to use bone-in lamb legs instead, but generally speaking, home chefs have better success with boneless lamb legs.
7. How do I cut against the grain?
Lamb, like all other meats, tastes best when it is cut against the grain rather than with the grain.
The grain of the meat is the direction of the muscle fibers; you can see this by simply looking at the meat and seeing which direction the lines seem to run.
You want to cut against the grain, which means that you cut across these lines of fibers rather than with them.
When you cut this way, the cuts of meat you create will be juicy and tender.
8. Why does meat need to rest before its cut?
Recipes for lamb and similar proteins often include a mandatory 15-minute resting period before the meat is cut. Why does meat need to rest, though?
When lamb is pulled out of the oven, the juices are not distributed evenly because of the temperature of the oven and how it was cooking.
If you were to cut it right away, those juices would come out of the meat and onto your cutting board. Hence, your meat would end up very dried out and not-so-tasty.
If you wait at least 15 minutes, you give the juices time to even out in temperature and redistribute throughout the meat evenly.
You can then cut the meat and eat a delicious and moist cut of meat.
Today, you learned how to cook boneless leg of lamb in convection oven. Do you feel like you could prepare your own lamb leg now?
Don’t be afraid to give this technique a try! Cooking lamb is not as intimidating as many people make it out to be.
In fact, lamb legs, in particular, are one of the easiest cuts of lamb that you can prepare at home. You only need a few tools and ingredients to cook lamb.
The next time that you see a sale on lamb, pick up a boneless leg, and prepare it for a decadent meal at home. You won’t regret it!