If you’re looking to make the best lamb stew, this recipe is all you need! Comforting, fall-apart tender braised lamb with loads of veggies, chickpeas and warm Moroccan flavors. (You can also make this in your crock pot or pressure cooker). Serve it with my 15-minute couscous!
Be sure to grab my tips and watch the video below for how to make this lamb stew.
I happen to be of the school of thought where any one-pot recipe is a good recipe!
As a bonus, this lamb stew recipe is nearly impossible to mess up, so even if you're not a super experienced cook, you can still make something delicious!
Lamb stew has that rich heartiness with deep and well-developed flavors that taste as if it has been cooked in an oven all day. My version takes only a few minutes of hands-on time and about two hours in the oven, making it a shortcut version without sacrificing any of the flavors. No special tagine pot needed!
And for those who swear by pressure cookers and crock pots, you can totally use either to make this lamb stew (see my notes below!)
What Goes in this Flavor-Packed Moroccan Lamb Stew?
This lamb stew recipe with vegetables begins with familiar hearty ingredients: like onions, garlic, carrots, gold potatoes, tomatoes, chickpeas...
But to give it that wonderful Moroccan twist, I use a combination of sweet and savory flavors--from dried fruit to a host of warm spices!
I know you see those dried apricots! Using dried apricots--or other dried fruits like figs or raisins--may sound like an unusual choice, but trust me, it gives a mild, very subtle sweetness to help round out the flavors in the dish without being at all overpowering. And, if using whole apricots still sounds a bit too adventurous, chop them up into small bits using a sharp knife. Mincing the apricot will help it better dissolve in the sauce and give the flavor it needs without being too obvious.
Now let's talk about the warm Moroccan spices...
The Winning Spice Mixture to Flavor your Moroccan Lamb Stew
This Moroccan lamb stew uses a blend of different spices and flavor-makers such as cinnamon, allspice, bay leaves, and, what I consider the star spice here, Moroccan Ras el Hanout.
Ras el Hanout is a decidedly North African/Moroccan spice blend that includes notes of turmeric, cloves, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and more! I love it because of its deep aroma and the layers of warm, deep flavor it adds to dishes, especially in something like lamb stew. You can find Ras el Hanout here at our online shop.
A little bit of Ras el Hanout goes a long way in this recipe!
Two Important tips for making this stew
1.What cut of Lamb to Use for Lamb Stew?
To make the perfect lamb stew, I use boneless leg meat compared to other cuts of lamb. This is a cut that's pretty available in most grocery stores and easy to cut up into pieces.
Although lamb leg is a leaner cut of lamb, stewing (or slow-cooking in a crock pot) breaks it down. And the little bit of marbling dissolves right in during the cooking process, making the lamb buttery and melt in your mouth tender. You can substitute leg meat in this lamb stew recipe for lamb shoulder, or even substitute the lamb completely with beef if lamb meat is not available to you.
2. Braising is the way to go!
If you're wondering what is the best way to cook lamb stew? Braising is where you begin.
Braising starts with searing the meat before stewing it in a little bit of liquid. Essentially, you brown the meat in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil until you get a nice crust and seal in all the juices before cooking in your Dutch oven (or even crock pot) with the rest of the ingredients and broth. Cook until the meat is nice and tender.
Let me just repeat this one tip: don’t skip browning the meat, it is so easy to do and makes a world of difference in developing depth and flavor right off the bat.
Step-by-Step for this Lamb Stew Recipe
- To make Moroccan lamb stew at home, in a large heavy pot or Dutch Oven (affiliate), saute the chopped vegetables with a little oil. I use Private Reserve Geek extra virgin olive oil.
- Once the vegetables soften, remove them from the pan and add in the lamb with a little bit more oil if needed. This stage is the braising stage where you want each piece of lamb to have that crispy crust from a deep browning that will seal in the juices, keeping the lamb tender and moist. The braising process will likely cause some of the bits to stick at the bottom of the pot—and that’s a good thing. Any browning adds flavor and richness to the sauce.
- Once the meat is brown on all sides, add the vegetables back to the pot with the apricots, spices, tomatoes, and broth. Bring everything up to a boil, then cover and transfer to the cook in the oven for 1 ½ hours (check part-way through to add water if needed.) Remove briefly from oven, add in the chickpeas and cook another 30 to 45 minutes.
Note: Oven braising helps evenly distribute the heat that keeps the meat tender and retains its juiciness.
Lamb Stew in the Crock Pot or Pressure Cooker
This recipe is super friendly for crock pots and pressure cookers as well. Here is how you can make it in either:
To make in a crock pot
Follow the directions below by sauteing the vegetables and browning the lamb. Once the lamb is seared, transfer it into a crock pot along with the sauteed vegetables, apricots, spices, tomatoes, and broth. Cook on low heat for 6 hours. Stir in chickpeas, then let cook another 1 to 2 hours (up to 8 hours in total.) Or cook on high for up to 5 hours.
To make in a pressure cooker
Instead of using a Dutch oven or other oven-safe cooking pot, follow the steps below to saute and braise using your pressure cooker.
Then, add in all the ingredients except for the chickpeas to the pot and lock the lid in place. Cook for 30 minutes on high pressure.
When the timer is up, allow the pressure to safely release for about 10 minutes before using quick-release according to the manufacturer’s directions. Add in the chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes. Allow the pressure to release again according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Make-Ahead and Storage Instructions
As with many stews, Moroccan lamb stew can be made ahead and stored in the fridge or freezer without sacrificing any of the flavor.
To Make-Ahead and Refrigerate: If you’re planning a dinner party and want to work a bit in advance, you can make this lamb stew a day or two ahead of time and keep in the fridge. It helps to bring it closer to room temperature before reheating in the oven (be sure to add more liquid as well for reheating.) a day or two and then reheated in the oven, making a great option for dinner parties or preparing for a busy night.
To Freeze Cooked Lamb Stew: This stew can also be frozen for those who meal prep.Cool the stew to room temperature and store in a freezer-safe airtight container for up to one month. Thaw in your fridge overnight and reheat in oven.
What to Serve with this Moroccan Lamb Stew
This lamb stew is pretty hearty on its own, and does not require much else to complete the meal. I occasionally serve it with challah bread, or any crusty bread. It's also great, ladled on top of some beautiful Lebanese rice or plain couscous. For starters, I often serve a bright salad like fattoush and these Moroccan carrots.
Watch the Video for How to Make This Moroccan Lamb Stew:
Check out more Moroccan recipes.
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Easy Moroccan Lamb Stew Recipe
- Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: Serves 6 to 7 1x
If you’re looking to make the best lamb stew, this recipe is all you need! Comforting, fall-apart tender braised lamb with loads of veggies, chickpeas and warm Moroccan flavors. You can make this in your crock pot or pressure cooker; instructions included for both!
Be sure to check out my tips above and watch the video for how to make this lamb stew.
- Private Reserve Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, cubed
- 6 Yukon gold potatoes (or any small potatoes), peeled, cubed
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 2.5 lb boneless leg of American lamb, fat trimmed, cut into cubes (Or American lamb shoulder, bones removed, fat-trimmed)
- 3 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- ½ cup dried apricots
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ tsp ground allspice
- 1 ½ tsp ras el hanout Moroccan spice blend (find it here)
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 6 plum tomatoes from a can, cut in halves
- 2 ½ cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas
- In a large Dutch oven (affiliate) or heavy oven-safe pot, heat 2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking.
- In the heated oil, saute the onions, carrots, and potatoes for 4 minutes or so. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the pot and set aside briefly.
- In the same pot, add more oil if needed, and deeply brown the lamb on all sides. Season with salt and pepper.
- Turn heat to medium-high and return the sauteed vegetables to the pot. Add the dried apricots, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and spices and stir to coat.
- Add the plum tomatoes and broth and bring everything to a boil for 5 minutes or so.
- Cover the pot and place in the 350 degrees F heated-oven for 1 ½ hours (check partway through to add water or broth if needed). Now stir in the chickpeas, cover and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve hot with your choice of Lebanese rice, couscous, pita bread or your favorite rustic bread.
- A simple Mediterranean salad like Fattoush makes a great starter for this hearty meal. Enjoy!
- Crockpot Instructions: If you prefer, after step #5 is completed, transfer the lamb stew to a large slow cooker insert. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours, then stir in chickpeas and cook another 1 to 2 hours (total of up to 8 hours.) Or cook on high for 4 to 5 hours in total.
- Pressure-Cooker Instructions:Instead of using a Dutch oven or other oven-safe cooking pot, follow the steps below to sauté and braise using your pressure cooker.Then, add in all the ingredients except for the chickpeas to the pot and lock the lid in place. Cook for 30 minutes on high pressure.When the timer is up, allow the pressure to safely release for about 10 minutes before using quick-release according to the manufacturer’s directions. Add in the chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes. Allow the pressure to release again according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Recommended for this Recipe: Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil; all-natural Ras El Hanout spice blend; and ground allspice.
- Visit Our Online Shop to browse our olive oils and all-natural and organic spices.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 2 hours 15 mins
- Category: Entree
- Method: Stewed
- Cuisine: Moroccan
Keywords: lamb stew, Moroccan Lamb Stew
*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2017 and has been revised with new information and media for readers' benefit. Enjoy!
I recently bought a butchered lamb form an organic farm, and looked up different recipes specific for lamb. I needed one for lamb stew and found this recipe.
I made this today, with a couple ofchanges, mostly due to due to diabetes. I used 1 parsnip, 1 rutabaga and a small bunch of radishes to reduce the carbsfor the potatoes. (all of those are supposed to be good replacements for potatoes.)
I actually had the ras al hanout as I bought a set of 4 "exotic" spice blends and it was one of them. Didn't have chickpeas or bay leaf so left them out. I had everything else.
This was VERY good! I didn't particularly like the whole apricots so next time I'll chop them up, and for me, it was a bit too spicy...I'll reduce the ras al hanout. But it had so much flavor and was SO good. I will definitely be making this again!
Thank you so much for this recipe. I tend to use the same flavor profile for all of my cooking, and I'm really glad I tried thie, for me, "out of my comfort zone" recipe
PS: TERRIBLE comment format! I couldn't cut/past my commentand it would not allow me to 'backtrack' to make edits to errors, so I left them in.....Seriously, fix that!!!
Thanks for sharing your experience with this recipe, Carol! So glad you enjoyed it!
Oh wow this is absolutely and incredibly delicious! We’re in the middle of a blizzard so I couldn’t get out for dried apricots so I had to substitute chopped golden raisins, otherwise followed exact recipe and I’m here to tell you it’s 5 stars!
Hi, Tracy! I'm Summer I work here at The Mediterranean Dish. Thank you so much for letting us know you loved the stew. Subing raisins for the apricots is a great idea!
This was amazing! I halved the recipe and replaced the apricots with prunes and cherry tomato’s and it was sensational!
I see you made changes and would like to see whether I can get one of your old recipes?
It was for a beef stew that tasted dry rich and cooked not in a crockpot but in the oven. Not the beef stew recipe I see now.
I’d say it’s closer to the recipe you have on your website now for lamb stew.
If possible, I hope you can find that older recipe and share it with me. I thought it was still saved on my phone but it’s gone. It was from about 2-3 years ago.
I am so excited to try this recipe! Is it possible to cook 100% on the stovetop (in a copper-bottom pot)? If so, would you recommend any modifications? Thank you so much for this glory!
Sure, Susan. You could try that. Another reader had success simmering this on the stove on low for around 2.5 hours. Just be sure to check the liquid level around every so often and add more as needed.
I plan to make this soon. I want to find a recipe to use with mint. Would mint work fine with this or should I stick with cilantro?
Sure! You could garnish with mint here. Enjoy!
I want to cook in the oven for longer (my dinner is 5 hours away and I have just finished step 5), what temperature should my oven be?
I had a dinner party last night for 6. I made this dish (using the slow cooker method). Fabulous flavor! My guests raved about it. I served the lamb stew with rice flavored with turmeric and petite peas. A real winner!
This is one of my favorite things to make during the winter. However, mine never comes out quite like a stew (I pressure cook it). It turns out a lot thicker, almost mushy. Do I need to adjust cooking instructions? Add more broth? I followed the pressure cooker instructions exactly.
Hi, Claudia. Even though you followed the pressure cooking instructions exactly, each pressure cooker will vary a little bit. So, yes, you may need to adjust the cooking time a bit, or even add some more broth.
I've made this many times -- it's a family favorite. Beef works well also.
Great to know! Thanks, Drew!
This is an amazing recipe.
Fabulous rich and spicy, a great casserole. I used goat instead of lamb which gave it deeper flavour. Really enjoying the recipes. Thank you.
Can I use chicken instead of lamb or beef?
Sure! I think using boneless chicken in this recipe will work, but it will cook more quickly. If you love Moroccan flavors and want to do a chicken recipe, you might like to give our Moroccan Chicken a try!
My partner and I have dramatically decreased our meat consumption over the last couple of years, so when we have meat, we try to make it an event - and boy oh boy does this recipe do the job! Hearty, wholesome and delicious. Great on its own, with some bread on the side, or some cous-cous. Plus the house smells AMAZING while it cooks!
Thanks so much, Merce!
I'm very tempted to try this recipe, but the past times I made lamb it was extremely gamey. Do you have any secrets for cutting back the gaminess? I read somewhere that cutting off all the fat helps? Thank you!
Gamey lamb probably means mutton, not young spring lamb, or lamb that sat in storage too long. Removing the heavy fat layer on the outside of the leg or shoulder helps, but salting generously and marinating in the fridge with diced onions will generally get rid of any objectionable gamy taste. But the best way is to get fresh spring lamb.
Tried it last month and it was wonderful. Could we use sweet potatoes for this instead of Yukon gold?