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Lamb Leg Roast Kleftiko Style

Cooking Lamb Kleftiko-Style is the only way I cook a lamb leg (or shoulder). In fact, I posted my pull-apart Greek Lamb Roast many years ago and it is still in my top most searched recipes. The lamb is so juicy, tender and flavourful that many have said to me they can’t believe they never thought to cook a whole leg of lamb using this technique.

What is Klefiko?

Kleftiko is derived from the word “steal” which is where the English word Kleptomaniac comes from. So, it roughly translates to Stolen Meat. This is because the Outlaws or Bandits would steal a lamb or goat and take it up to the mountains where they hid and slow cooked it in the ground. Cooking this way prevented any flames and smoke in case it would reveal their location.

Because the lamb takes a little while to cook, the aroma, taste and texture is mouth-watering. It truly will have you going back for seconds. In saying how long it takes to cook, keep in mind it only takes 10 minutes to prepare. Put on the alarm to remind yourself to turn off the oven and in the mean time, you can forget all about it. Doesn’t get any simpler than that!

I have created this video to show you how simple this is to prepare. I have also cooked this with potatoes which I peel, marinate with olive oil, lemon, oregano and sea salt and add to the oven for an hour prior to the lamb finishing off. This way the lamb and potatoes finish cooking at the same time.

Watch How to Make It

This lamb is wonderful to serve with a Greek Salad and Tzatziki Dip.

And now it’s time to start cooking! As always, if you make any of my recipes, I would love to hear your feedback. I am available here via email or you can catch me daily on Instagram and Facebook. Don’t forget to save it on your Pinterest board as well! I have a board named CreateCookShare that you can follow and save. Can’t wait to hear from you.

Happy Creating,


Lamb Leg Roast, Klefiko

Serves 6

Prep 10

Cook 4 hours

Lamb Leg:

2kg lamb leg

3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1.5 tsp garlic granules)

2 rosemary springs, leaves removed, chopped

1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano

2 teaspoons sea salt

1.5 teaspoons paprika powder

½ teaspoon black pepper

Juice of 1 lemon


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon Greek oregano


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan forced / 200°C conventional oven / 400°F.

Arrange a baking tray large enough to fit the lamb.

2. Lay a long piece of foil and a long piece of baking paper on the bench. One widthway and the other lengthways to form a cross. You will be placing the lamb in the center and wrapping it with baking paper and foil.

3. In a bowl combine the garlic, rosemary, oregano, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and form a ‘paste/ rub’. Use this to rub and massage all over the lamb. Transfer to the baking paper and fold the baking paper and foil over to completely enclose the lamb. Place into the baking tray and roast for 4 hours (Adjust time according to the weight of the lamb leg).

4. In the meantime, prepare any side dishes such as Greek salad, baked vegetables, and tzatziki dip.

5. Once the lamb is cooked, carefully open the foil and baking paper and place back into the oven for 10 minutes to golden.

6. Whisk the dressing in a small bowl and pour it all over the lamb (and if you have baked potatoes, pour it over the potatoes too). Serve immediately.

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Aug 03, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Best thing I've ever made! Even my fussy wife loved it!!

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