This slow cooker Italian lamb shoulder is incredibly easy to make and oh so delicious. It’s sure to be your new favorite comfort food! Make it for an easy weeknight dinner or when entertaining friends.
Why We Love It
Get ready to meet your new favorite dinner recipe! It’s the ultimate in comfort food, a bone-in lamb shoulder slow cooked to tender perfection with lots of garlic, onion, and bright Italian seasoning.
The lamb simmers away in your slow cooker for hours, making your mouth water as the smell fills your home. It’s incredibly comforting and cozy, and like my Ranch Pot Roast, it’s a “dump and start” recipe.
To put it simply, you just add (or dump) all the ingredients to your crock pot, and let it cook until the meat is so tender is practically falls off the bone. This recipe great if you’re new to cooking, but if you’re a seasoned cook, or just want looking for something simple for once, this is for you, too.
Oh, and did I mention this recipe is Whole30 and Keto friendly, too? Let me tell you more!
👉 What kind of cut is lamb shoulder? Lamb shoulder is a tough, fatty cut of meat taken from the top of the animal’s back. Lamb shoulder is best cooked slowly to allow the meat to tenderize and the fat to render, until it’s fall apart tender. It’s also budget friendly compared to other cuts of lamb (about 1/3 the price of a leg of lamb the same size).
For this recipe, use a whole bone-in lamb shoulder OR lamb shoulder chops, whichever you prefer!
👉 What does lamb shoulder taste like? Lamb is similar in taste to beef, but lamb is a richer and more gamey or earthy in flavor. If you haven’t had lamb before, it just might surprise you how much you enjoy it.
I’ve personally come to love lamb over the years, and I think it’s a wonderful protein for hearty recipes like my Irish Lamb Stew, and rustic Italian Lamb Meatballs. I buy my lamb from Porter Road because the taste and quality is 💯.
This recipe contains just eight simple ingredients, total. Because when you start with great ingredients, you don’t need to do much to make them shine! Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe at home:
- Bone-in Lamb Shoulder
- Chicken broth or vegetable broth
- Red wine vinegar
- Italian Seasoning
- Fresh rosemary, for garnish.
- Arrowroot powder, for the gravy. If you’re not following Whole30 or Keto, feel free to substitute any other thickener, like corn starch or flour.
My favorite sides to serve with this lamb are crispy vegetables, especially red potatoes and carrots. To make them, quarter the veggies, then toss with oil, salt, and pepper, and bake at 425°F for 35 minutes, turning once.
Step by Step Instructions
Quarter the onions and remove the garlic from their skins. Guess what? You’re DONE with the knife & cutting board. Go ahead and put them away because you don’t need them anymore!
Add the onions, garlic, broth, and vinegar to the slow cooker. Set the lamb shoulder on top, with the fat cap facing up. It should be at least partially submerged in the liquid, but not completely covered.
Sprinkle the top of the lamb shoulder with the Italian seasoning. If your Italian seasoning blend doesn’t contain salt, season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt as well. Cover and turn the slow cooker on.
Now prepare yourself, because as it cooks, the most delicious smell will begin to fill your house. It’s so delicious that waiting is almost torturous!
Whole Bone-in Lamb Shoulder Cook Times
- High: 4.5-5.5 hours
- Low: 7-8 hours
*If you’re using lamb shoulder chops, cook on low for 5.5-6.5 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
Once the lamb is done cooking, carefully remove it from the slow cooker and set it aside on a large rimmed plate. Spoon a little liquid from the slow cooker over the meat. You’ll know it’s ready when it can be easily shredded with a fork (no knife necessary!).
Cover it loosely with a piece of tin foil or another plate and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the gravy. Strain all the liquid from the slow cooker into a medium sauce pan to remove the large pieces of onion and garlic.
Whisk the arrowroot powder into the liquid and simmer, whisking often, until it thickens a bit. Season the gravy with salt and pepper.
Last, go back to the rested lamb. Use two forks to pull apart the pieces of the cooked lamb. Set aside the bones and any large pieces of fat.
Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and serve with a healthy drizzle of the gravy and garnish with rosemary.
Instant Pot Adaptation
Optional step: Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode and add about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Pat the lamb shoulder dry and season with salt and pepper. Once the oil is heated and shimmering, brown the roast on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.
Next, add the onions, garlic, vinegar, and broth to the Instant Pot. Secure the lid and turn to High Pressure. Set for 45 minutes, then once it’s done cooking, allow for a natural pressure release (allow the steam to naturally dissipate). This usually takes about 15 minutes.
More Delicious Recipes
Slow Cooker Italian Lamb Shoulder
- 3 lb bone-in lamb shoulder, or substitute bone-in lamb shoulder chops
- 16 ounces chicken or vegetable broth about 2 cups
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1.5 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 5-7 cloves garlic
- 2 onions
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder, optional, for making gravy
- Quarter the onions and remove the garlic from their skins. Add the onions, garlic, broth, and vinegar to the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Set the whole lamb shoulder in the slow cooker, with the fat cap facing up. Sprinkle the top of the lamb shoulder with the Italian seasoning. If the Italian seasoning blend does NOT contain salt, sprinkle the roast with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt as well. Cover and turn the slow cooker on. Cook on high heat for 4.5-5.5 hours or on low heat for 7-8 hours, if time allows. Note: If using chops, cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5.5-6.5 hours.
- Test the tenderness of the lamb close to the end of cook time. If it's so tender that you can easily pull the meat apart with a fork, it's ready. Carefully remove the lamb from the slow cooker and set it aside on a large rimmed plate. Spoon a little liquid from the slow cooker over the meat. Cover it loosely with a piece of tin foil and let it rest.
- Meanwhile, prepare the gravy. Strain all the liquid from the slow cooker into a medium sauce pan to remove the large pieces of onion and garlic. Turn to medium heat and bring to a simmer.Whisk the arrowroot powder into the simmering gravy, continuing to whisk occasionally as it thickens, for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Note: If your arrowroot powder becomes clumpy, use an immersion blender to blend the clumps out.
- Last, go back to the rested lamb. Use two forks to pull apart the pieces of the cooked lamb. Set aside the bones and any large pieces of fat. Serve the lamb with a healthy drizzle of the gravy, a little salt and pepper, and garnish with rosemary.