How to Carve a Leg of Lamb in Just 4 Simple Steps

Intimidating? Yes. Doable? Also yes.

A leg of lamb on a cutting board
Photo: James Baigrie

Serving a succulent leg of lamb isn't just for professional chefs because you can easily learn how to cut leg of lamb at home. Why would you want to? Lamb makes for an elegant, impressive main dish for home entertaining that rivals a Thanksgiving turkey.

While a rack of lamb makes for a showier presentation, a leg of lamb is equally accommodating to feeding a crowd and renders the same—if not a bit more intense—lamb flavor. To its credit, a leg cut is a bit less fatty, easier to cook, and less expensive than a rack.

Don't let lamb's high intimidation factor keep you from serving this guest-pleaser at your next gathering or for Easter dinner. With just a little guidance, you can carve a bone-in leg of lamb in just four simple steps.

What You Need:

  • Bone-in leg of lamb
  • Cutting board
  • Carving knife and fork
  • Platter for serving
01 of 04

Step 1: Start on the Outside

A leg of lamb on a cutting board
James Baigrie

Placing the leg of lamb on its side on a cutting board, start on the outside. Cut thin slices parallel to the bone until you reach the bone, and transfer them to a platter.

02 of 04

Step 2: Cut Perpendicular to the Bone

Slicing a leg of lamb
James Baigrie

Turn the leg onto the cut side so that it sits level, and then begin slicing the meat perpendicular to the bone. You won't hit the bone for the first few slices.

03 of 04

Step 3: Slice Above the Bone

Carving a leg of lamb
James Baigrie

Once the knife hits the bone, continue slicing across the meat and above the bone until you reach the end of the leg.

04 of 04

Step 4: Separate Slices From the Bone

A carved leg of lamb
James Baigrie

To separate the meat slices from the bone, make a long horizontal slice along the top of the bone, and then transfer those slices to the platter.

Boneless Option

For whatever reason, you may opt for a boneless leg of lamb. Without the bone, a leg cut has a bit less of a strong lamb flavor. Boneless legs are generally more expensive than bone-in because the carving work has already been done and there's more meat to the pound.

Many boneless cuts of a leg of lamb are already rolled up and tied in netting by the butcher. While convenient, you still have to cut the netting open to season the inside of the roast. A butterflied leg of lamb, on the other hand, is also boneless but not tied—which makes seasoning easier—but you have to roll and truss the roast before cooking it.

Lamb Recipes to Try

If you've never tried tasting, much less cooking, lamb, you no longer have any excuse. If you're not ready to cook a leg of lamb yet, start with a pound of ground lamb. Whether you decide to go the boneless route or follow our bone-in leg-of-lamb carving instructions, practice using one of our recipes. Of course, you can also start with ground lamb fresh from your grocer's butcher counter

Leg of Lamb

Ground Lamb

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles