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How to cook lamb in a slow cooker

Lamb is a Kiwi favourite, and there’s nothing better than slow cooked lamb on a chilly weekday night.

Kiwis love lamb, and New Zealand lamb is some of the best in the world. Slow cooking your lamb is one of the best ways to serve up this delicious meat with minimal effort. From fall-off-the-bone lamb shanks to a rich Irish lamb stew, there are plenty of ways to enjoy slow cooked lamb.

Keep reading to find out the best cuts of lamb for the slow cooker, and a few different slow cooker recipes.


The best cuts of lamb for the slow cooker

There are plenty of cuts of lamb with the bone in. These cuts are some of the best for slow cooking, with the bone imparting lots of deep flavour and the low, slow method helping the meat cook beautifully all the way through.


Lamb shanks

Lamb shanks come from the leg, just above the knee, and are packed with delicious, lean meat that produces melt-in-the-mouth results in the slow cooker.

How to cook lamb shanks in the slow cooker

  1. Toss lamb shanks in flour to lightly coat, then sear all over in a frying pan over a high heat.
  2. Place the shanks in the slow cooker, ideally with the bone sticking upwards and cover in your chosen sauce.
  3. Cook for 4 hours on high, or 8 hours on low for about 1.5 kg total weight (3-5 lamb shanks).

Lamb neck or shoulder chops

Lamb chops are slices taken from larger joints. Neck and shoulder chops in particular are well suited to slow cooking because they have a lot of connective tissue and bone, which both lend flavour with a long, slow cook.

How to cook lamb chops in the slow cooker

  1. Sear lamb chops on both sides, then place in slow cooker with your choice of sauce.
  2. Cook for 4-6 hours on low, for 800g-1kg of lamb chops. 
  3. When done, the meat should have an internal temperature of at least 54°C.

Lamb, kūmara and spinach coconut curry

This mild but flavourful slow cooker curry is perfect for the whole whānau and requires minimal effort. We love it with Kiwi favourite kūmara but any root vegetables such as potato, carrot or parsnip also make for excellent additions. Plus, it’s a great way to sneak in those veggies! 

6 hours 30 mins
Serves 4-6
Get the recipe

Whole lamb joints

Even the Kiwi favourite, the whole lamb leg can be slow cooked. You can also use a half leg or shoulder. Whole lamb joints are a great way to cook up a lot of pulled lamb if you’re feeding a crowd, or to prepare meat for salads and sandwiches throughout the week.

How to cook whole lamb joints in the slow cooker

  1. Rub lamb generously with oil, salt, pepper and seasonings of your choice.
  2. Place lamb in the slow cooker and cover with braising liquid of your choice (eg. beef stock, tomatoes).
  3. Slow cook on low for 10 hours for a 2kg leg roast, or 8 hours for a 2kg shoulder roast.

Boneless lamb roast

The best slow cooker lamb cuts are bone-in, because the bone imparts lots of flavour and prevents the meat from drying out easily. That said, for something like a stew or a curry, boneless lamb or shoulder pieces can go down a treat. You can even buy a butterflied lamb leg and dice it yourself.

How to cook boneless lamb in the slow cooker

  1. Toss diced lamb pieces in flour to lightly coat, then sear on all sides in a frying pan over a high heat.
  2. Add lamb to your slow cooker with your other casserole ingredients, holding back any tender vegetables like peas, corn or beans.
  3. Add tender vegetables in the last half hour of cooking.
  4. Slow cook for 3-4 hours on high, or 7-8 hours on low. The meat should be tender, and the gravy slightly reduced.

Lamb mince

Lamb mince can work a treat in the slow cooker as meatballs or as the filling for a shepherd’s pie. Mince doesn’t need long in the slow cooker compared to other cuts, but the slow cooker can be a great way to ensure the meat is especially tender. 

How to cook lamb mince in the slow cooker

  1. Brown mince over a high heat in a frying pan. Or if making meatballs, sear meatballs all over.
  2. Add plenty of liquid, such as tinned tomatoes or beef stock. The mince should be submerged, but not drowned.
  3. Cook for at least 5-6 hours on low.

Lamb slow cooker recipes

Slow cooked lamb korma

This sumptuous Indian-style lamb korma comes together easily in the oven in a casserole dish, or simply in your slow cooker. The addition of fresh spinach, cream and ground almonds at the end creates a thick sauce with gently wilted greens for a dreamy texture and added nutrition. 

Read our recipe for slow cooked lamb korma


Slow cooked Indian lamb and chickpea curry

Using lamb leg, this Indian-style curry is packed with protein and flavour. We’ve included instructions for the oven as well as the slow cooker, so you can do whatever works for you. 

Read our recipe for slow cooked Indian lamb and chickpea curry.


Hungry for more?

Discover more tips and tricks from your New World butchery, or shop from our great range of fresh-cut slow cooker lamb or prepackaged lamb cuts.