Lamb is a lovely choice of meat to cook in a slow cooker because the low temperatures and long cooking time helps to break down any tough spots so that you are treated to a soft and delicious meal that melts in the mouth. The liquid used in a slow cooker also helps lamb to retain moisture, keeping it succulent and full of flavor.
The length of time you’ll need to cook lamb in a slow cooker will depend on what type of joint you have, how big it is, and what setting you are using on the cooker. For lamb cooked on the low setting, a joint such as leg or ribs will need between 8 and 12 hours, while on the high setting, this will be reduced to 4 to 6 hours. For chopped lamb, for example, in a casserole or curry, you should cook the lamb for 6 to 10 hours on a low setting or 3 to 5 hours on a high setting.
Can Lamb go in the Slow Cooker?
Any meat or fish can be cooked in the slow cooker, and this includes lamb. Some cuts of lamb are better suited to slow cooking than others, such as a leg of lamb. This is because slow cookers are able to break down tough meats to make them soft and flaky, as opposed to the chewy texture you might get if you cooked the same meat in a conventional oven.
Lamb’s legs tend to be quite tough because the leg muscles have been overworked, so it makes sense to cook this lamb joint in a slow cooker for the best results. Other types of lamb, such as stewing lamb, are a great addition to slow cooker curries and casseroles because the slow cooker will gradually break down the meat to result in a tender texture with a concentrated flavor.
Lamb’s ribs are a popular dish because this cut of lamb is naturally quite tender. This will cook well in a conventional oven, but it can also be really delicious when slow-cooked, resulting in meat that slides off the bone.
How to Cook Lamb in Slow Cooker
The best way to slow-cook lamb depends on what type of lamb you have and what meal you are cooking. For a roasting joint of lamb to go along with root vegetables and mashed potatoes for a Sunday dinner, you can place the lamb over the top of the vegetables in a slow cooker and let it heat through gently for most of the day. Add some stock to the slow cooker to keep the joint moist, and use this to make a full-flavored gravy to serve with the meal.
The vegetables will help to keep the lamb elevated in the pot so that the steam inside the cooker can evenly spread around the entire outside of the joint, and you will also end up with soft and flavorful veg to serve as side dishes.
For chopped up lamb or minced lamb, these are best cooked by being submerged in a sauce or other type of liquid, such as stock, inside the slow cooker. The slow cooker will simmer the lamb so that it has a tender texture, and the liquid will ensure it remains moist and juicy. Cooking meat submerged in liquid also ensures that the heat is evenly transferred across the whole of the crockpot.
How Long Does Lamb Need in Slow Cooker?
The length of time you need to cook your lamb will depend on how you are cooking it, and what type of lamb you’ve chosen. Larger joints of meat typically require longer cooking times to ensure that the meat is fully cooked all the way through. Smaller joints of lamb, or lamb which has been chopped into smaller pieces and added to a sauce, will have a shorter cooking time.
The setting you select on your slow cooker will also play a large part in determining the length of the cooking time because using the ‘low’ setting over the ‘high’ setting will effectively double the amount of time a meal needs to be cooked for.
When using the ‘high’ setting, the slow cooker will reach its maximum temperature in around 4 hours, while on the ‘low’ setting, the cooker will take around 8 hours to reach the same temperature. Once the high temperature has been reached, the slow cooker will maintain this level of heat for the remaining duration of cooking time.
You will achieve much more tender lamb meals if you use the low setting to cook your lamb, but if you are short on time, then you can use the high setting to speed things up. A roasting joint of lamb will need between 8 and 12 hours if cooked on the low setting or 4 to 6 hours on the high setting.
For chunks of lamb or minced lamb cooked in soups, stews, curries, or casseroles, the cooking time will be between 6 and 10 hours on the low setting or between 3 and 5 hours on the high setting. Some people like to use a combination of both the low and high-setting options in order to speed up the cooking process without compromising on taste. To do this, take note that every 2 hours on the low setting counts for 1 hour on the high setting.
If, for example, your lamb recipe calls for 10 hours on the low setting, you could instead cook this on the high setting for 3 hours (the equivalent of 6 hours on the low setting), and then cook the meal on the low setting for the remaining 4 hours.
This will have saved you 3 hours of cooking time and still result in tender and flavorsome lamb. You can also use this method in reverse, by cooking on the low setting at first and then switching to the high setting towards the end of the cooking time.