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How Long to Defrost Leg of Lamb

Blog • March 14th 2023
leg of lamb prepared to be cooked

Knowing how long to defrost leg of lamb can be the difference between an Easter feast and an Easter flop. As good as all the roast potatoes and veggies are, nobody wants a frozen centrepiece. Make sure your Easter meal is a success by ordering succulent grass-fed lamb in advance and freezing it. This way you won't lose out on any flavour and can relax with your family knowing you've got everything prepared. All you have to do is remember to allow enough time for your lamb leg to fully thaw before cooking. Learn how long to defrost leg of lamb for safe and delicious results with our ultimate guide.

Table of Contents:

How long to Defrost Leg of Lamb Depending on Size

The time it takes to defrost a leg of lamb depends on its size. There can be a big difference in thaw times for a 2.5kg whole leg of lamb compared to a 1.25kg half leg of lamb. Once your Easter Lamb has been delivered, take note of the weight and then put it in the freezer if required. Using this weight, it is simple to figure out how long your leg of lamb will need to defrost. On average, you need to leave about 4 hours for thawing per every 500g of lamb. Below you can find some guidelines on how long to defrost leg of lamb.

  • To defrost a 1kg lamb leg butterfly - 8 to 10 hours.
  • To defrost a 1.25kg half leg of lamb - 10 to 12 hours.
  • To defrost a 2kg carvery leg of lamb - 18 to 20 hours.
  • To defrost a 2.5kg whole leg of lamb - 22 to 24 hours.

In the same way that knowing how long to defrost a turkey will help you prepare for Christmas, using these estimates should help you ensure that your lamb has plenty of time to defrost ahead of Easter.

The Best Way to Defrost Leg of Lamb

As with all meat, the best and safest way to defrost a leg of lamb is in the fridge. Once you know how long to defrost your lamb for, follow these simple steps for the tastiest results:

  1. Clear a space on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator. By defrosting your lamb on the bottom shelf you should avoid it leaking moisture and contaminating fresh food below.
  2. If you can set the temperature of your fridge, the ideal temperature for defrosting leg of lamb is 5°C or below.
  3. Take your frozen leg of lamb from the freezer and place it on a large roasting pan or a plate. Place this in turn on the bottom shelf of your fridge.
  4. Leave to defrost for the required amount of time before preparing to cook.

For more guidance on how to freeze and defrost other meats, read our Ultimate Freezing and Defrosting Guide.

Can You Defrost a Leg of Lamb at Room Temperature?

No, you should never defrost a leg of lamb at room temperature. This is because it will expose the meat to something called the 'Danger Zone'. The 'Danger Zone' refers to temperatures below 63°C but above 8°C. In this temperature window, bacteria is the most likely to grow. Therefore, if you leave your leg of lamb to defrost at room temperature you are risking harmful microbes growing. This is also why defrosting lamb in direct sunlight or by a radiator should be avoided.

Can You Defrost Leg of Lamb in a Microwave?

Yes, it is possible to defrost leg of lamb in the microwave. If your microwave is big enough that is! If you are pressed for time, using a microwave for defrosting is definitely an option. However, we would only use this method as a last resort because the results can be inconsistent and the temperature is harder to control. With larger lamb legs especially, the outsides may begin cooking at a low temperature whilst the inside is still trying to defrost. If you must defrost your leg of lamb in a microwave, it's vital you use defrost mode and follow the manufacturer's instructions closely to avoid exposing the meat to the 'Danger Zone'. If using a microwave, you must cook the lamb leg straight away. Do not then store it in the fridge.

How Long After Defrosting Should Lamb Be Cooked?

If defrosted in the fridge, leg of lamb can be safely left in the fridge for 3 to 5 days before cooking. If defrosted in the microwave, lamb should be cooked straight away after thawing. Once your leg of lamb is fully defrosted, follow our tips on how to roast a leg of lamb from Michelin starred chef Jeff Baker. To mix things up, you could also try massaging your lamb with a marinade and letting it marinate overnight. Or prepare following our lamb on boulangère recipe for a fine-dining spin on the classic lamb roast dinner.

Defrost Better Meat with Farmison

Farmison's mission is to bring better meat to the nation's table. This means sharing higher quality meat that is more sustainably sourced, and making it easily accessible at home. Whether you are planning a festive feast, a refined dinner party or a comforting midweek meal for the family, our exceptional range of grass-fed and free-range meat is the best option to choose. Show your family and friends the love they deserve by sharing some of Farmison's top quality British meat with them this Easter.