We are often asked how to cook a butterfly leg of lamb. Lamb is an incredibly delicious meat with a distinctive flavour that makes a beautiful roast dinner for the family. There are different cuts of lamb that you can buy for your roast, including a lamb shoulder, chop, rump, shank and leg. A leg of lamb is a perfect cut for serving a family or guests at a dinner party; it is a large piece of meat that is also extremely tender, making it ideal for roasting. You may have cooked a roast leg of lamb before without realising that it is also possible to create a butterfly leg of lamb from this glorious cut. Whether you are looking for a new recipe idea for your roast dinner, or want to improve your cooking skills, a butterfly leg of lamb is a great option. Here is our guide to a butterfly leg of lamb. 

What is a Butterfly Leg of Lamb?

A butterfly leg of lamb is a leg of lamb without the bone, flattened out so that it can be cooked evenly and in a faster time. You can ask us at Murphy’s Butchers for a butterfly leg of lamb, or you can even do it yourself with a leg of lamb at home. Removing the bone from your leg of lamb not only helps it to cook faster, but will make it easier to marinate and handle. There are plenty of recipes available for a delicious leg of lamb roast, butterflied and marinated in delightful seasoning. If you enjoy cooking and eating lamb, you will be sure to enjoy a butterfly leg of lamb for your next roast.

Should I Marinate My Leg of Lamb?

You should marinate your butterfly leg of lamb for up to 24 hours before cooking. The marinade will not only make the lamb more tender, but it will contribute a great amount of flavour to your dish. The best way to marinate your lamb is to combine your desired ingredients and rub thoroughly all over your butterfly lamb. Once the lamb has been evenly coated all over, place it into a heavy duty zipper food bag or in a non-metallic dish. Cover and refrigerate for around 24 hours. There are a range of marinade recipes online that you can follow for coating your leg of lamb.

How Do I Butterfly a Leg of Lamb Myself?

We recommend having a butcher butterfly your leg of lamb; we can provide this at Murphy’s Butchers. If you want to give it a try yourself then you will need a large chopping board and sharp knife. Place your leg of lamb on your chopping board and feel for where the bone is. Cut vertically down by the bone, and then cut around it, keeping your knife as close to the bone as possible. Once you have lifted the bone out, cut the lamb so that it is even and remove any bits of fat. Place cling film over your even-cut lamb and use a rolling pin to flatten it out. Once you have butterflied your leg of lamb you can begin with your marinade. 

How to Cook a Butterfly Leg of Lamb?

Preparing and cooking a leg of lamb without the bone is just as easy as cooking a usual lamb roast! Make sure that you prepare your marinade 24 hours in advance so that you can cover your lamb and refrigerate it for amazing flavour and texture. Here is a tasty recipe that you can use for your butterfly leg of lamb:


  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 red chilli, chopped with seeds removed
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste



  1. Combine the garlic, rosemary, thyme, juice of 1 lemon, chilli, salt, pepper and olive oil
  2. Coat your lamb with the marinade in either a zip-lock bag or non-metallic tray, ensuring that every part of the meat is coated
  3. Cover your marinated lamb and place in the fridge for up to 24 hours
  4. When you are ready to eat, heat the oven to 200 °C / 180 °C fan
  5. Take your leg of lamb out from the marinade and remove any excess liquid
  6. Season your lamb with some more salt and pepper
  7. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan on high heat, and once hot enough sear your lamb on each side until golden brown; this should be a few minutes on each side
  8. Transfer your lamb from the pan into an oven-proof dish and cook for 20 to 25 minutes
  9. Use a meat thermometer to ensure your lamb is cooked to your desired temperature; 130 °F for rare, 145 °F for medium-rare,  160°F for medium, 170°F for well done
  10. Once your lamb is cooked to how you like, take it out of the oven, loosely cover it with foil and leave it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes


As you can see, it is easy to Cook a Butterfly Leg of Lamb, and this recipe is a real crowd-pleaser. A roast butterfly leg of lamb can make an absolutely delicious meal, consisting of tender meat with exquisite flavours that also provide a good amount of nutrition into your diet. Here at Murphy’s Butchers we provide top quality meats, sourced locally in Ireland. Buy your butterfly leg of lamb from us for your next heavenly roast! We also provide centre loin chops, lamb kebabs, lamb koftas, leg of lamb and tomahawk lamb chops. Order online with us for collection today.