Slow cooker lamb shoulder on a board

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This slow cooker lamb shoulder is an absolute show-stopper. Ridiculously tender pull-apart lamb drizzled in a rich gravy. Serve it in the centre of the table for your guests to serve themselves, and no one will ever know that it was so simple and easy to make!

If you are looking for an oven version of the recipe then check out this slow-cooked lamb shoulder.

What is it?

Lamb shoulder is one of the cheaper cuts of lamb available, but when prepared properly its low price tag has no bearing on the luxurious and delicious results.

As the shoulder is a well used joint it contains a lot of collagen, in addition to being quite a fatty piece of meat. Long and slow cooking is required to break down the collagen and to allow the fat to render so it becomes super tender.

Cooking the joint in the slow cooker means you can set it going while you get on with your day. And this recipe is foolproof, you can cook it for 8-10 hours and it’s practically impossible to overcook it.

Do I need to finish it in the oven?

You don’t technically need to finish the lamb in the oven as directed in the recipe. However, it does add some extra browning to the meat which adds a ton more flavour as well as a rich brown colouring.

Not only that, but it gives you the time to prepare the gravy while the meat is getting that beautifully crisp crust in the oven.

Is bone-in or boneless lamb shoulder better?

Both bone-in and boneless lamb work great for this recipe, so use whichever you can get your hands on. In terms of which is better, there are pros and cons for each.

The most important consideration is how big your slow cooker is. Naturally, a bone-in piece will require you to buy a larger piece to yield the same amount of meat, so you need to make sure it will fit!

The biggest reason to use a bone-in piece is that the bone does add a little more flavour to the meat, although it’s such a tasty joint that a boneless piece is still delicious. If you are a fan of making your own stock then another bonus is that you will have a great roasted bone to boil into some lamb stock later.

Typically boneless joints are easier to carve. However, the meat in this recipe is so tender it literally falls off the bone so it’s not too much of a consideration here. I like to serve it at the table and shred the meat with two forks which is a great way to impress your guests.

Slow cooker lamb shoulder with gravy

How much lamb should I use?

I typically aim for around 200-300g of meat per person, which will weigh less after cooking. You’ll probably end up with some leftovers if you aim for generous portions too (and you’re going to want some leftovers, trust me!)

If you are using a bone-in joint then to allow for the weight from the bone, go for around 300-400g per person.

The cooking times in the recipe are for a 1kg piece of lamb. Since it’s very hard to overcook this meat, you don’t need to reduce the time significantly if you use a smaller piece, and since it’s cooked long and slow you should find that a larger piece doesn’t require much additional cooking time if any.

Here is a handy guide:

Number of peopleBonelessBone-In
2500g – 600g
1.1lb – 1.3lb
700g – 800g
1.5lb – 1.7lb
4800g – 1.2kg
1.7lb – 2.6lb
1.4kg – 1.6kg
3lb – 3.5lb
61.2kg – 1.8kg
2.6lb – 4lb
around 2kg – 2.5kg
around 4.4lb
Lamb shoulder weights for slow cooker

What can I serve it with?

As with any roast, some veg and a side of potatoes are a must! A Yorkshire pudding never goes amiss either! A few sides to try are:

Lamb shoulder with vegetables on a tray

What can I do with the leftovers?

The leftovers are one of the best parts of this meal and there is so much you can use them for. Why not try:

  • Reheating the lamb and serving it with these bubble and squeak cakes made from the leftover veg
  • A roast lamb sandwich, with a little lettuce, red onion and tomato
  • Making into a delicious shepherd’s pie
  • Using it in a rich lamb curry, such as this lamb bhuna
  • As an alternative to minced lamb in moussaka. Why not try these moussaka rolls for a different twist


For a full list of ingredients with weights and measurements jump to the printable recipe card.

Slow cooker lamb shoulder ingredients
  • Large onion, cut into eighths
  • 1/2 bulb garlic, broken into pieces
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Boneless lamb shoulder joint
  • Beef stock
  • Mint sauce
  • Cornflour/cornstarch, mixed with water

How to make it

For more detailed steps with recipe tips jump to the printable recipe card.

Recipe Steps
  1. Layer the onion, garlic and rosemary in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Rub the lamb shoulder all over with salt and pepper and place on top of the onion and garlic.
  3. Pour the beef stock around the sides of the lamb and place the lid on the slow cooker.
  4. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
  5. Heat the oven to 200C/400F. Transfer the lamb to a baking tray and place it in the oven for 20 minutes.
  6. Skim the fat from the juices in the slow cooker and then strain into a saucepan. Simmer until reduced by half.
  7. Reduce the heat and stir in the mint sauce and then slowly add the cornflour slurry, stirring until the gravy has thickened.

Looking for more great roast recipes? Try:

Products that work well for this recipe:

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Lamb shoulder with vegetables on a tray

Slow Cooker Lamb Shoulder

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This slow cooker lamb shoulder is an absolute show-stopper. Ridiculously pull-apart tender lamb drizzled in rich gravy. No one will know it was so easy!

A 1kg boneless lamb shoulder will serve around 4 people.


  • 1 large onion, sliced into eighths
  • 1/2 bulb garlic, broken into pieces
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1kg boneless lamb shoulder (see note 1)
  • 500ml beef or lamb stock
  • 2 tbsp mint sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornflour and 2 tbsp water


  1. Place the onion, garlic and rosemary in the bottom of the slow cooker, spreading the onion out evenly.
  2. Pat the lamb dry with some paper towel and then rub salt and pepper all over the joint. Place it on top of the onion in the slow cooker.
  3. Pour the stock around the lamb and place the lid on the slow cooker.
  4. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200C/200F. Transfer the lamb to a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. (see note 2)
  6. While the lamb is in the oven make the gravy. Skim any fat off the juices in the slow cooker or use a fat separating jug. Strain the gravy into a saucepan and then boil it down until reduced by half (you want around 1 cup of the juices left). 
  7. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the mint sauce.
  8. Mix the cornflour and water until you have an even texture. Pour the cornflour into the sauce slowly, stirring consistently. Cook for a further couple of minutes until the sauce is thickened. 


  1. You can use bone-in or boneless lamb for this recipe, but you will need to adjust the weight to allow for the bone. To serve 4 you need around 1kg of boneless lamb or around 1.5kg of bone-in.
  2. Be careful when removing the lamb from the slow cooker, as it may have become so tender that it falls apart! 
  3. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. 
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: British


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 730
  • Fat: 59g
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Protein: 43g

Keywords: lamb shoulder, british, dinner, easy, slow cooker, meat, indulgent

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