Is there anything better than a great meal? We’re not sure we can think of one.
And when you’re looking for a protein that’s full of flavor, delicious, and super versatile, you might turn to lamb.
Lamb is such a wonderful canvas for so many different flavors—from savory spices to bright, fresh herbs.
But which herbs are the BEST?
Which ones pair best with the flavor of this protein?
Well, if you’ve been wondering what herbs go well with leg of lamb, you’re in luck!
We’ve put together a list of the 13 very best herbs out there that will make your leg of lamb taste absolutely perfect.
What Herbs Go with Leg of Lamb? 13 Best Herbs
Leg of lamb is a hearty, comforting meal, and it calls for fresh, strong flavors.
Here are the 13 best herbs to help you bring out the flavors of your leg of lamb:
1. Bay leaves
Bay leaves do have a strong taste, but when used correctly they can enhance the flavor of any dish without overpowering it.
They’re a great choice for leg of lamb because they pair well with garlic and rosemary.
They are also the perfect complement to potatoes, so you can use them to make roast potatoes that will be even better than they already are.
Rosemary is one of those herbs that’s perfect for just about any occasion.
If you’re cooking leg of lamb in the oven and want to know what herbs to use, rosemary is definitely one to consider.
Just chop up a bunch of fresh rosemary leaves and sprinkle them over the top of your lamb before popping it into the oven.
The rosemary will soak into the meat as it cooks and release its savory aroma, enticing everyone around you with its herbaceous scent.
This aromatic herb can also be used in a marinade for leg of lamb!
Just chop up some fresh rosemary leaves and combine them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and other spices for an incredible flavor combination that will keep your guests coming back for more.
Cumin is a herb that pairs well with leg of lamb because it has a warm, rich flavor that goes well with the fat in the lamb.
It’s also a herb that can be used in both savory and sweet dishes, which makes it versatile.
This combination works really well together when you’re making a stew, which is basically just a slow-cooked soup that has meat and vegetables.
Typically, lamb is used for stews because it’s tender, so you don’t have to break out the old pressure cooker to make sure it cooks all the way through.
If you’re planning to make a stew with your leg of lamb and cumin, we recommend adding some fresh mushrooms (either cremini or shiitake) and carrots to your dish.
This herb is probably one of the most common ways to flavor leg of lamb.
It has an earthy taste and pairs nicely with other herbs like rosemary or thyme for an extra boost of flavor in your dish.
Sumac is one of the most common herbs in Middle Eastern cuisine, and it pairs perfectly with leg of lamb.
Its citrusy flavor and bright red color complement the rich flavor of lamb and the red color of the meat itself.
It’s great in a stew or braised lamb, but it also works well sprinkled over grilled meat.
If you’re making a stew or braise, add some whole seeds to your pan as you brown your meat, then remove them before serving so they don’t get stuck in your teeth.
If you want to add some sumac to your grilled lamb chops, toast the seeds briefly in a pan on low heat—this will bring out their nutty flavor—and then grind them up in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder before sprinkling over your meat.
6. Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds are one of our favorite ways to add an aromatic, herbal boost to a dish.
They’re particularly great for leg of lamb because it makes the meat feel more savory, without overpowering all the other flavors in the dish.
If you’re not a fan of licorice flavor, though, this might not be the herb for you: fennel seeds leave a slightly licorice aftertaste on your tongue, so if you’re cooking for someone who doesn’t like that, it may not be the best choice.
To use fennel seeds in your next leg of lamb recipe, try sprinkling them over the top before roasting or braising your cut.
You can also toast them lightly in a pan with some oil to bring out their flavor even further (just keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!).
When you’re cooking a leg of lamb, oregano is another way to go.
It’s got a strong, peppery flavor that elevates the taste of the meat, but it’s not overpowering.
Plus, it pairs beautifully with many other ingredients—like potatoes!
Try making small holes in your potatoes with a fork, drizzling them with olive oil and sprinkling them with oregano before roasting them alongside your lamb.
8. Garlic powder
Garlic powder is a great way to add some subtle flavor to your leg of lamb without overwhelming the taste or making it too spicy for family members who aren’t into the hot stuff.
If you want to go all-out on your garlic experience, though, consider roasting some cloves in the oven along with your leg of lamb and then squishing some into tiny bowls for everyone at the table to try!
Saffron is a great way to add depth to the flavor profile of your lamb.
Earthy, aromatic, and slightly bitter, saffron pairs well with leg of lamb in dishes like braised leg of lamb or leg of lamb shanks.
To use this herb in a meal, try rubbing it into your meat before cooking and/or adding it to the braising liquid.
If you don’t want to commit to buying a whole jar of saffron because you’re not sure if you’ll use it again, try buying it in bulk at an international grocery store (like an Indian or Persian market).
You can also substitute turmeric for saffron if you want the yellow color but don’t want the bitterness—just be aware that the taste won’t be exactly the same as saffron.
Cloves are often overlooked in cooking because of their sweet and spicy flavor.
Most herbs are described as ‘earthy’, ‘floral’, or ‘sweet’ but cloves are none of those.
Cloves have a powerful, fragrant aroma that seems to float in the air long after they’ve been picked.
They’re also known for their medicinal properties (which is why people used to chew on them after dinner).
However, what most people don’t realize is that cloves can add an extra dimension when used correctly with leg of lamb.
When cooking leg of lamb, you may want to consider using cloves to add a sweet note that pairs well with the savory flavors from the meat itself.
You could make a simple herb rub by mixing cloves and olive oil into a paste then spread it on your leg before roasting it in the oven; this will give your dish an extra kick while still keeping its traditional flavor profile intact.
The key thing to remember when using cloves as part of your spice mix is not overdo it!
A little goes a long way and if you’re not careful, they’ll overpower everything else in sight so use them sparingly (but don’t be afraid to experiment with different amounts until you get it just right).
Have you ever had that friend who’s a little bit too much?
You know the one: she’s loud and in your face, she talks over you, she makes you feel self-conscious, she never lets you have a word in edgewise. Yeah, mint is basically that friend.
Mint is fresh and bright and strong—a great match for a leg of lamb.
But this herb is not for the faint of heart—it’s pretty volatile, and will easily overpower other flavors if given the chance.
This makes it a pretty good candidate for mint jelly, but not necessarily the best sidekick to serve alongside your main course.
That said—if you’re looking for something bold and unique to add to a dish with your leg of lamb, look no further than mint!
If you pair it with something tangy (like yogurt), or even something with some heat to it (like horseradish) then you’ll be able to mellow out the flavor just enough so that it doesn’t overwhelm everything else on your plate.
And if you want an extra punch of freshness?
Add some lemon zest: it’ll bring out all those fun citrus notes without adding any bitterness at all!
Tarragon is another herb that works well with leg of lamb. It can be used to make a sauce for the lamb, or simply sprinkled over the top of it.
Here are some instructions for how to use it in a meal:
- When making leg of lamb, coat the leg in tarragon and place in the oven at 350 degrees Farenheit.
- Allow to cook for 20 minutes, or until done.
- The meat will be infused with the flavor of tarragon and ready to eat!
Here are some things to consider:
- Tarragon pairs well with other herbs, such as rosemary and parsley. You may want to consider using these other herbs as well when preparing your meal!
- While tarragon does not have a strong flavor on its own, it does have undertones of licorice and anise that some people may find overpowering when combined with leg of lamb’s rich flavors. Keep this in mind when choosing your seasonings!
Lavender has a floral and slightly sweet flavor that works really well with the rich and savory taste of leg of lamb.
I’ve seen it used in a couple different ways: as an ingredient in a marinade for sliced lamb or as a rub for a boneless roast.
Either way, it adds some extra depth to a meal that might otherwise be a little heavy on the salt.
If you’re planning to use lavender along with other herbs in your meal preparation, make sure you balance those flavors out—especially if you’re using rosemary or thyme, which can be strong on their own.
You also want to make sure you’re using edible lavender (which has been grown without pesticides) instead of the kind that’s made for potpourri.
13 Herbs that Go with Leg of Lamb
- Bay leaves
- Fennel seeds
- Garlic powder
- Pick any of the herbs and spices from this list to use in your gamey meal.
- Prepare the rest of your ingredients.
- Be ready to munch in no time.