This is a really simple recipe for Greek roast lamb with potatoes. You will be surprised by just how easy it is to make this elegant meal which only requires a few ingredients. I will teach you how to make the most tender and delicious lamb, and mouthwatering potatoes. This recipe is truly failproof.
Most Greeks love lamb, and even those who don’t appreciate its unique, game-y flavour will appreciate that they are in the minority of Greeks. Even people who abstain from eating meat will likely acknowledge that lamb is a staple in traditional Greek cooking. Whether it is an entire lamb roasting for Easter, or a rack of lamb on the barbecue, a lamb-based meal usually means that there is something to celebrate; maybe a birthday, a nameday, or a Friday…we should always try to celebrate Friday.
Why this recipe works
Lamb tends to be one of the pricier protein choices (at least where we live) so when we do indulge, it’s important that we treat it right. This recipe for roast lamb with potatoes ensures that it is. Despite the fact that it is super simple, and uses only the most straightforward of ingredients, the end result is a meal which is purely decadent and worthy of the most important celebrations…like, maybe Christmas (how many more days until Christmas??!!)
Cooking tips and helpful hints
One of the great things about roasting a large piece of meat this way is that you end up with all sorts of doneness. Because the lamb shoulder has varying degrees of thickness, and bones in certain places and not others, the way that it cooks is uneven. Your lamb will be medium rare in some places, and more well done in others. This is perfect, because if your family is like ours, everyone seems to have a different taste. What is consistent throughout however is that no matter the degree of doneness, the lamb will be moist and delicious.
Use the best cut of lamb
The cut of lamb used in this recipe is lamb shoulder. This is a great choice of meat, and if you are careful to purchase a piece which has a little bit of fat on it you will be rewarded with a roast lamb which is moist, flavourful and incredibly satisfying. Whenever possible, it is important to try and develop a relationship with your local butcher, someone you can trust to supply you with the best and freshest cuts of meat.
Use plenty of oil
You will notice that there is a fair amount of oil used in this recipe. You may balk. You may cringe. You may try to do with less. We strongly suggest that you do not. The amount of oil used does a couple of things. First, it adds flavour. Second, and most importantly, the way in which the oil coats the potatoes and lamb results in an incredible texture. Remember, although the potatoes do absorb some of the oil during the cooking, a lot of it gets left behind in the pan. It’s not horrible!
The best roasting pan
The roasting pan that our parents use in this recipe is the same one which they use to make their epic roasted chicken and Greek style potatoes. It is a large, round metal roasting pan which is large enough to fit the lamb and potatoes, without crowding them, and without leaving too much free space. Everything fits together nice and comfortably. If the potatoes are piled, one on top of the other, they will steam rather than slow roast. And, if you have too much free space, you’re going to end up using more oil than you need to, which is wasteful. Of course, if you don’t have a round metal roasting pan, another style will work as well. In this situation, it’s really the size that matters most.
You only need a few ingredients to make this incredible meal.
Lamb – I tend to use lamb shoulder when I make Greek roast lamb and potatoes. It cooks up really well, has just the right amount of fat, and always turns out perfect.
Lemon juice – Fresh squeezed is best, and don’t skimp; use as much lemon juice as I do. It is worth it!
Greek oregano – I always use dry Greek oregano in my cooking. You can find this in most Greek or Mediterranean grocery stores, or online. It is really worth it; the fragrance and flavour cannot be beat.
Potatoes – I use yellow flesh potatoes mostly because I love the flavour and the texture. They are creamy, slightly sweet and so good in this meal.
Oil – I actually use a combination of vegetable oil and olive oil in this recipe. In part this is to keep cost down a little bit, but also because you don’t consume the oil – most of it will remain behind in the pan. So, I use some olive oil for the flavour it will provide and the rest is usually vegetable oil.
Paprika – I love to use paprika on my roasted potatoes. It gives a slightly sweet flavour and nice colour.
How to make
Many people think that this is a fancy meal, and so it must be difficult to make. Nothing could be further from the truth. You need time for it to roast, but while your meal is in the oven you have time to sip a nice Greek coffee and nibble on a koulouraki.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll be using bottom rack of your oven.
Prepare your lamb shoulder by trimming away any excess fat. Place your lamb in the center of a large roasting pan, one which is just large enough to hold the lamb and all of the potatoes.
Pour 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice over your lamb shoulder and then sprinkle your lamb evenly with 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1 tablespoon Greek oregano.
Peel your potatoes and cut them into thick wedges (for small to medium sized potatoes, cut them in quarters, and for larger potatoes, cut them into 6 wedges).
Place your potatoes into the roasting pan, surrounding the lamb. Pour 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice over your potatoes. Evenly sprinkle your potatoes with 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon oregano.
Pour the olive oil and vegetable oil over your lamb and potatoes.
Place your roasting pan on the bottom rack of your oven, uncovered. Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove roasting pan from oven and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of paprika over the potatoes. Turn your lamb shoulder over. Cover the lamb loosely with aluminum foil. Leave the potatoes uncovered.
Return to oven and cook for an additional 45 minutes. Check your potatoes for doneness. They should be soft and golden yellow.
Allow your lamb to rest for 5 – 10 minutes before carving, to allow juices to settle. Enjoy!
Use a different cut of lamb
You can make this meal with leg of lamb instead of lamb shoulder. Follow the recipe exactly, but just check on the roasting time.
Add carrots to the roasting pan
Often, when I roast potatoes, I add in a few chunks of carrots to roast along with them. They end up really sweet and caramelized and add a pop of colour the the finished meal.
Use only olive oil
Although I use a combination of vegetable and olive oil to keep costs down and to have a milder olive oil flavour, you can certainly use only olive oil (actually, you can also use only vegetable oil). The most important thing is to use the same amount of oil as called for in the recipe.
Frequently asked questions
Best potatoes to use for roast lamb with potatoes
Our parents tend to use yellow fleshed potatoes when making this meal, and most other roasted meats which they accompany with potatoes. However, they have also been known to use regular russet potatoes, or other white fleshed potatoes. Truth is…if there are potatoes on sale, they will likely buy those and use them in their recipes.
What can I do with leftover roast lamb?
If you do happen to have any lamb leftover you can reheat it in the oven to be enjoyed the next day. Wrap it in aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350 degree oven until heated through. Serve it with some nice sides like Greek lemon rice and some broccoli. You can also turn your leftovers into an amazing lamb sandwich or use it in place of chicken in this always popular grilled chicken bowl.
How do I make the amazing Greek roasted potatoes?
The key to making the best Greek roasted potatoes is time, lots of lemon, and lots of oil. Do not skimp on any of these. You can use any potatoes you like, although I tend to use yellow fleshed potatoes. In this recipe the potatoes also pick up the flavour of the lamb, which is amazing. If you want to only make potatoes however, no problem. You can find the perfect recipe for Greek lemon roasted potatoes here.
How to serve
All this meal needs are a few simple sides. A Greek lettuce salad called maroulosalata would be a fresh and light accompaniment to this meal. I also love to serve it with some homemade tzatziki – so good! Finally, to really cap off this meal in a spectacular way, consider making a classic Greek dessert like a galaktoboureko or a baklava. Yum!
Looking for some more lamb recipes? Check these out!
Lamb burgers with feta Use ground lamb and feta to make this amazing Greek burger.
Grilled lamb chops A real treat, learn how to make the best Greek grilled lamb chops.
Youvetsi with lamb A classic Greek meal of orzo, lamb and tomato.
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Roast lamb with potatoes
- Aluminum foil
- 4-5 pounds lamb shoulder
- 1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed, divided
- 1½ tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp dried Greek oregano, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 10-14 medium sized potatoes
- 1/4 cup Greek olive oil
- 1 ¾ cups vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Preheat your oven to 400 °F. You’ll be using bottom rack of your oven.
- Prepare your lamb shoulder by trimming away any excess fat. Place your lamb in the center of a large roasting pan, one which is just large enough to hold the lamb and all of the potatoes.4-5 pounds lamb shoulder
- Pour 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice over your lamb shoulder and then sprinkle your lamb evenly with 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1 tablespoon Greek oregano.1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed, divided, 2 tbsp dried Greek oregano, divided, 1 teaspoon ground pepper, 1½ tbsp salt
- Peel your potatoes and cut them into thick wedges (for small to medium sized potatoes, cut them in quarters, and for larger potatoes, cut them into 6 wedges).10-14 medium sized potatoes
- Place your potatoes into the roasting pan, surrounding the lamb. Pour 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice over your potatoes. Evenly sprinkle your potatoes with 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon oregano.
- Pour the olive oil and vegetable oil over your lamb and potatoes.1/4 cup Greek olive oil, 1 ¾ cups vegetable oil
- Place your roasting pan on the bottom rack of your oven, uncovered. Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove roasting pan from oven and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of paprika over the potatoes. Turn your lamb shoulder over. Cover the lamb loosely with aluminum foil. Leave the potatoes uncovered.1 teaspoon paprika
- Return to oven and cook for an additional 45 minutes. Check your potatoes for doneness. They should be soft and golden yellow.
- Allow your lamb to rest for 5 – 10 minutes before carving, to allow juices to settle.