Fresh Mint Sauce For Lamb

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Leg of lamb is a perfect holiday meal or Sunday supper, and this mint sauce for lamb is the ideal complement. If you’ve only had lamb with mint jelly, you must try this fresh mint sauce recipe!

Pouring fresh mint sauce for lamb.

How to Make Mint Sauce For Lamb

If you’re looking for a good alternative to mint jelly for lamb, this leg of lamb mint sauce is it!

American mint jelly is loaded with artificial colors and flavors. It’s cloyingly sweet and electric green. 

In England, lamb is traditionally served with a mint sauce which is more akin to an au jus. It’s tangy, slightly sweet, and simply made using fresh mint, malt vinegar, and very little sugar. If you are sugar sensitive, you can certainly substitute your favorite alternative.

Fresh mint, salt and malt vinegar on a wood cutting board.

This homemade mint sauce recipe for lamb comes from the old Time/Life Series, Foods of the World, The Cooking of the British Isles. It’s the best sauce for lamb, and it’s easy to make! 

Simply dissolve sugar and ½ cup of water over low heat until barely simmering. Add a handful of fresh mint leaves, a cup of malt vinegar, and a pinch of salt, and let it sit at room temperature for a couple of hours.

Mint sauce in a sauce pan.

Adjust the flavor (sweetness) by adding a bit more sugar if necessary. Serve the lamb mint sauce on the side and ditch the mint jelly!

Bone-In Lamb or Boneless Lamb?

You can buy a bone-in leg of lamb, partially boned leg, or a boneless leg of lamb. I prefer a partially boned or boneless leg of lamb as it cooks faster, and is easier to slice. However, people say bone-in legs may be tastier.

Whatever you choose, I recommend buying lamb that is ethically raised, grass-fed, and never fed antibiotics! 

Uncooked leg of lamb studded with garlic

Leg of lamb with mint sauce is my favorite Easter meal. I like to stud my lamb with slivers of garlic for extra flavor.

The rub I use is freshly chopped rosemary, kosher salt, and coarsely ground black pepper.

Rubbing leg of lamb with fresh herbs and spices.

What is the Proper Lamb Cooking Temperature?

Good quality lamb (or beef) should be served medium-rare to medium at the most! Some would argue even that’s too well-done. This is a personal preference, but if you’re going to spend the money on high-quality meat, please don’t overcook it!

Chef holding a cooked lamb on a platter.

The best way to ensure the perfect temperature is to use a meat thermometer that you can keep in the meat while it’s in the oven. The thermometer will beep when it’s getting close to the correct lamb temperature. 

If you prefer your lamb rare, you’ll want to pull it out at 130 degrees. For medium-rare, it should register 135 degrees, and for medium 150 degrees. Keep in mind that the meat will rise up to an additional 10 degrees after it’s taken out and resting.

Leg of lamb with rosemary on a plate.

Remember that it’s easier to cook it longer, but once it’s overcooked, you can never go back. 

Now that you know how to cook your lamb and you have the best sauce for lamb, you’re ready to serve this fresh, healthy meal for your next special occasion. Enjoy!

Lamb with fresh mint sauce on a plate.
leg of lamb

Leg Of Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce

Roast Leg of Lamb (adapted from Foods of the World, The Cooking of the British Isle)
5 from 41 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Entree
Cuisine British
Servings 12 servings
Calories 285 kcal


Roast Leg of Lamb:

  • Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees F.
  • 5 pound Lamb (boneless leg), this one was just over 5 pounds.
  • 3 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3-4 Rosemary sprigs, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 3-4 cloves garlic peeled, and sliced into thin slivers

Mint Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2-4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped and packed
  • 1 cup malt vinegar (wine or cider vinegar won’t give the same flavor)
  • pinch of kosher salt


Leg of Lamb:

  • Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees F. Adjust oven racks so that lamb will roast on the bottom third of your oven. 
  • For faster cooking, bring meat to room temperature. Mix salt, rosemary and pepper in a small bowl. This is important because you don’t want cross-contamination. 
  • With a long, thin knife, make several deep cuts into the roast. Put a sliver of garlic into each cut. Coat all sides of meat with rosemary/salt rub. (discard any un-used herb rub)
  • Roast lamb, fat side up, at 500 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 375 degrees and continue roasting until internal temperature reaches the proper temperature to your liking. For medium rare, remove at 135 degrees F. (It will continue cooking after you remove it from the oven another 10-15 degrees)
  • If you prefer yours rare, pull at 130*, for medium, pull at 145*. 
  • This lamb was pulled at 140 for medium rare. 

Fresh Mint Sauce:

  • Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring just until the sugar dissolves completely.
  • Remove pan from heat and stir in the mint leaves and vinegar. Taste and add more sugar if you prefer a sweeter sauce.
  • Set aside at room temperature for 2-3 hours.


  • Figure on 6-8 ounces of meat per person for a boneless leg of lamb.
  • Remove lamb from the oven an hour before roasting.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 285kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 40gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 1874mgPotassium: 541mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 82IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. 5 stars
    That’s so fascinating about how great the process is for raising grass-fed in Australia. And I have to give fresh mint sauce a try. I’ve never been a fan of mint jelly, but I do love the flavor it adds!

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve had Australian lamb and agree. I simply won’t bother with lamb that has a lamb-y flavour, and I’ve never had it with Australian lamb.

    Your leg of lamb looks perfect, and the simple preparation makes it all the more appealing to me! Delicious!

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe – it will be perfect for easter! I usually don’t make mint sauce for my lamb but I have been wanting to try it – will try your version now!

  4. A beautiful lamb recipe, and I’m intrigued by the minted sauce. I’ve never ever even tried the mint jelly that’s traditionally served with lamb. I just never “got” it. But I love what you’ve done. When in Australia I enjoyed lamb, as well as in New Zealand. What a treat.

    1. I don’t like mint jelly because it’s so sweet. This mint sauce is slightly sweet and tart and a traditional accompaniment in England.

5 from 41 votes (33 ratings without comment)

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