Rioja Style Roast Lamb: You Have to Try This

Rioja style roast lamb can be made in different ways depending on the cut of meat and the garnish, but the result is always a delicious dish!
Rioja Style Roast Lamb: You Have to Try This

Last update: 04 May, 2022

One recipe rises above all other stewed meat recipes. Without a doubt, one of the best options to test out is the famous Rioja style roast lamb, a dish that stands out for being delicious, traditional, and with an unbeatable flavor.

In this article, discover how to make this recipe step by step, as well as a few tricks to make sure you get excellent results every time!

Traditional Riojan recipe

You might be wondering, what does stewed meat have to do with a roasted dish? Part of the secret to creating this dish depends on how the ingredients are added and the contribution each one has to the final flavor of the recipe.

In this sense, the goal to achieve a good and traditional roast lamb is to move from the simple to the elaborate. Even if you know the Spanish region of Rioja and the tradition this dish refers to, or if you’ve read this recipe on the internet before, there are still many things to keep in mind when you decide to make this dish.

Two options for the same recipe

Some recipe books classify Rioja style roast lamb as an “extremely simple and practical dish”. Others, meanwhile, include more elaborate steps and processes with more elements and, in consequence, are more complex. To show this, we will give you two options.

The first option is a more “classical” variation where you roast the meat with very few ingredients and a lot of patience. Unlike the other option, this one is loaded with history, adaptations, and even the approval of Ernest Hemingway! That’s right, the American author ate and enjoyed this dish when he was in Spain.

However, it’s important to understand that you shouldn’t be confused. In fact, by showing you two ways to make the same recipe, we’re just teaching you that it’s possible to do something with opposite perspectives and requirements.

Two methods to make Rioja style roast lamb

roast lamb
This lamb recipe is part of the traditional Riojan gastronomy.

1. A traditional recipe for Rioja style roast lamb

This is the first way to make this juicy and delicious Spanish plate. The recipe is attributed to the culture and tradition of those who live in La Rioja and who have made this recipe for generations with just a handful of ingredients. The only thing is: you need a lot of patience to make this recipe.


  • 1 thick lamb loin steak (about 800 g)
  • 2 cubes of lard (75 g)
  • 2 cups of water (500 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon of coarse salt (15 g)


  1. Start by pouring the water into a large crockpot.
  2. Then, add the tablespoon of coarse salt and stir a little.
  3. Next, add the cut of lamb to the pot.
  4. In a preheated wood oven, put the pot with the lamb and roast it with the skin facing down.
  5. This will take about 45 minutes. After this time, do the same with the other side for the same amount of time.
  6. Between roasting each cut of lamb, you’ll have to grease the pot with lard to keep them from sticking.

2. Recipe for Rioja style roasted lamb leg

roasted lamb leg
To make this dish we selected the variations that are most adapted to our tastes.

The main difference between this option and the previous is the number of ingredients and that this one has many vegetables. However, it continues to be similar to the previous dish. The details and steps to follow are below.


  • 1/3 medium lamb leg (about 1 kg)
  • 2 onions
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (45 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper (15 g)
  • 2 tablespoons of coarse salt (30 g)
  • 1 Riojan chorizo (120 g)
  • 1 cup of bacon (150 g)
  • 3 cloves of garlic without the peel
  • 1 tablespoon of wheat flour (15 g)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped paprika (30 g)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh parsley
  • 3 green peppers
  • 1 tomato


  1. Start by putting a large pot with plenty of water on the stove on high heat.
  2. Then, boil the following ingredients in the pot: lamb leg, leeks, carrot, bay leaf, pepper, and salt for 30 minutes.
  3. After, reduce the heat and turn it off once the meat has softened. Set to the side.
  4. In a frying pan, pour the olive oil and fry the bacon on low heat until you start to smell it.
  5. Add the chorizo chopped in half and let it brown for a few minutes too.
  6. Try to remove as much grease as possible from the pan and add a tablespoon of wheat flour. Next, add the green peppers, the tomato, and finally the lamb leg broth.
  7. Add a quick touch of salt and pepper if needed.
  8. Bring the sauce to a boil, and then reduce the fire to obtain the desired thickness.
  9. Once the sauce is ready, pour a little on the lamb legs and put them on the heat again for about 25 minutes at low heat.
  10. Once the 25 minutes is up, you’ll have finished your roast lamb.

We hope you enjoy these delicious recipes!

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.