Meltingly tender slow cooker lamb curry in a flavorful and spicy coconut sauce. You can cook the lamb curry in advance; it is even better when reheated.
This rich slow cooker lamb curry is probably the best Indian lamb curry recipe I’ve ever cooked. The meat is incredibly tender, and the coconut milk sauce is packed with flavors.
Making your own curry paste and frying it with the onions before adding it to the crock pot is worth the time: this slow cooker lamb curry beats any other similar dish I’ve cooked before.
Are you looking for more lamb in the slow cooker recipes? We have lots of them: Lamb Shanks in the Slow Cooker (with Red Wine Gravy), Slow Cooker Lamb Ragu, Lamb Casserole in the Slow Cooker, Shoulder of Lamb in the Slow Cooker, Slow Cooker Lamb Ribs, and Slow Cooker Lamb Chops.
Jump to recipe
- Meat: Lamb leg or lamb shoulder. They are tougher cuts of meat, perfect for slow cooking.
- Generally, the shoulder is fattier and tenderer than the leg, but when testing this recipe, I didn’t notice any difference between the two cuts. The leg curry was just as tender as the shoulder lamb curry.
- You will need 2.5 lbs/ 1.2 kg of boneless meat. If you can only get a bone-in piece (like I did), it should weigh about 3.5 – 4 lbs/ 1.6 – 1.8 kg.
- Onions: 2-3 medium ones (250 g/ 8 oz) for the base of the dish and 1 for the curry paste.
- Curry paste ingredients: Fresh garlic and fresh ginger for the curry paste.
- Spices: Ground coriander and cumin, red pepper flakes, sweet paprika, turmeric, yellow mustard seeds, and fine sea salt or Kosher salt.
- Liquids: One cup of coconut milk (preferably full-fat) and ½ cup of lamb, beef, or chicken stock (preferably low sodium).
- Other ingredients: All-purpose flour, vegetable oil, bay leaves, one cinnamon stick, ground black pepper, and some water.
How to make lamb curry in the slow cooker?
- Prepare the meat: Remove the excess fat (1), debone the meat (if required), and cut it into even-sized cubes (2). Dry, flour, and season the pieces (3).
- Brown them in a heavy skillet, searing them on medium-high heat in several batches adding a little oil when necessary (4,5,6).
- Prepare the onions: Halve and thinly slice the onions. Cook them in a large pan on low heat for about 10 minutes or until soft and lightly browned. Give them a good stir regularly.
- Curry paste: Blend chopped onion, garlic, ginger, and all the spices in a food processor (7). Add a few tablespoons of water and scrape the machine a couple of times in between. The mixture should be smooth (8).
- Curry: Add the onion-spice mixture to the sliced onions in the frying pan (9, 10). Pour the coconut milk and the stock, and stir to dissolve the paste clumps (11).
- Pour the sauce over the meat pieces in the slow cooker, add bay leaves and cinnamon stock, and stir to combine (12).
- Adjust the taste with a bit of salt if necessary; it depends on the saltiness of your stock.
- Slow cook on HIGH for 30 minutes, then on LOW for 6 hours or until the meat is very tender (13).
How to remove the bone?
- Use a sharp boning knife.
- Cut straight down the length of the leg, then cut away the meat from the bone, trying to leave as little meat on the bone as possible.
- Get the knife tip under the bone and cut towards a joint. When you reach the joint, cut the meat around it to loosen it from the joint. Repeat in the other direction (towards the other joint). Cut around it and remove the bone.
- Browning the meat, frying the onions, and the curry paste: These two extra steps make this slow cooker lamb curry really good! You might skip the browning of the meat (although I don’t recommend it) but do cook the onions and the curry paste before adding them to the slow cooker.
- Liquid: 1 ½ cups of coconut milk and stock might not seem much but don’t be tempted to add more; that is plenty of liquid.
- The meat will also release its juices, and there is not much steam that can escape from the crock pot during the cooking process.
- Cooking times: Start by cooking the curry for 30 minutes on HIGH to give it a head start. After that, turn the machine down to LOW and cook the food for 6 hours. Check; the meat should be very tender.
- Bone: Don’t discard the bone if you have a bone-in piece of meat. Use it to make lamb stock. If you debone the leg in advance, you can cook the stock and use it for this recipe.
- Make a hot curry: This lamb curry recipe is spicy but not particularly hot. You can make it hotter by replacing the red pepper flakes with cayenne pepper (½ - 1 tsp) or with 2-3 chilies, which you will blend with the paste ingredients.
A slow cooker is a kitchen appliance (a metal pot), while a crock pot is a type of slow cooker with a stoneware pot surrounded by a heating element.
Yes, the dish tastes even better the next day, so I always make it one day in advance. Transfer the food to a pot, let it come to room temperature, and refrigerate it. Reheat it in the pot before serving (as instructed below).
You can. It’s preferable to use a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid that keeps the steam inside. Check occasionally; if the curry seems to be getting dry, add a splash of stock sometimes to keep it from catching. Also, remember to stir regularly, scraping the bottom of the pot well.
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Freeze for up to 3 months and defrost in the fridge.
Reheat the slow-cooked lamb curry in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add a splash of stock or milk to loosen the sauce, and frequently stir while reheating.
How to serve the slow cooker curry?
- Serve it with Basmati rice, brown rice, vegetable pulao, biryani, tomato and vegetable rice, Carrot Rice, Buttered Rice, etc.
- Serve it with this fluffy Afghan Naan Bread, Indian naan, or another Indian bread.
- You can also top the slow cooker lamb curry with pickled red onions.
- Make some raita or this Easy Yogurt Mint Sauce to serve with the crock pot lamb curry.
More Indian food recipes
Slow Cooker Lamb Curry
- Slow cooker or crockpot
- 3.5– 4 lbs bone-in lamb leg 1.6 – 1.8 kg, Notes 12, 3
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil more if needed
- 2-3 onions 250 g/ 9 oz, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil + 1 tablespoon later
- 6 large garlic cloves roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion 120 g/ 4 oz chopped
- 1 ginger 30 g/ 1 oz, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes Note 4
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher
- a bit of water
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ cup lamb stock or chicken/ beef stock low sodium
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- sea salt or Kosher to taste
- Remove the fat layer from the leg of the lamb.
- Debone lamb: Use a sharp boning knife. Cut straight down the length of the leg. Cut away the meat from the bone, trying to leave as little meat on the bone as possible. Get the knife tip under the bone and cut towards a joint. When you reach the joint, cut the meat around it to loosen it from the joint. Repeat in the other direction (towards the other joint). Cut around it and remove the bone.
- Chop the meat: First, remove the hard connective tissues found where the joints were. Next, chop the meat into 1.5 inches/ 4 cm chunks.
- Pat the cubes dry with a paper towel.
- Season lamb: Place them into a large bowl, and sprinkle them with flour, salt, and pepper.2 tablespoon flour + ¾ teaspoon salt + ½ teaspoon pepper
- Brown the meat in batches: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large heavy-bottom pan or Dutch oven. Fry the lamb chunks in 3-4 batches depending on the pan size; the pan should not be overcrowded. This will take 4-5 minutes per batch; keep turning the pieces in the pan so that they can brown all over. Add more oil when necessary between the batches.2 tablespoon oil, divided between the batches
- Transfer the meat to the slow cooker.
- Cook them while the lamb pieces brown.
- Slice: Halve the onions and slice the halves thinly.9 oz/ 250 g onions
- Fry onions: Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the onions on low heat for about 10 minutes or until soft and lightly browned. Stir often. If necessary, add 1-2 splashes of water during cooking to prevent the onions from sticking to the pan and browning too much.2 tablespoon oil
- You can start preparing the paste while the meat and the sliced onions cook.
- Chop the onion and the garlic, and peel and chop the ginger. Place them in a food processor, and add all the spices and 2 tablespoons of water. If the food processor is small (like mine was), process the paste in two batches.6 garlic cloves + 1 onion + 1 oz/ 30 g ginger + 1 tablespoon cumin + 1 tablespoon coriander + 1 tablespoon sweet paprika + 1 teaspoon turmeric + 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds + 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes + ½ teaspoon sea salt + 2 tablespoon water
- Process the mixture to a smooth paste scraping the walls of the food processor a couple of times in between. If necessary, add one extra tablespoon of water to help the spices blend.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the onions in the pan.
- Add the curry paste and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir to combine and cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring very often until the mixture just begins to darken.
- Pour the coconut milk and the stock and stir well to dissolve the paste clumps into the sauce.1 cup coconut milk + ½ cup stock
- Check for salt; I added another ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt, but it depends on the saltiness of the stock.
- Slow cook: Pour everything over the meat in the slow cooker and add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Cook on HIGH for 30 minutes and then on LOW for 6 hours.2 bay leaves + 1 cinnamon stick
- Check the meat; it should be very tender.
- Boneless meat: 2.5 lb/ 1.2 kg left after removing the bone.
- Bone: Don’t discard the bone; it makes excellent lamb stock. You can debone the leg in advance, make stock with the bone and use the stock for the lamb curry.#
- A shoulder of lamb can be used instead.
- Hot curry: This recipe is very spicy but not particularly hot. You can make it hotter by replacing the red pepper flakes with cayenne pepper (½ - 1 tsp) or with 2-3 chilies which you will blend together with the paste ingredients.