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!
Thanks for this recipe, delicious. I scaled it up to 21 portions and did it in two batches in my 8L Instant Pot.
One thing that would be really helpful, especially when scaling up, would be if the vegetable quantities were given by weight. '18 small potatoes' is quite difficult to figure out when you in fact have large potatoes and are trying to guess the equivalent!
I've also learned that you can't scale up spices the same as other ingredients, or they would be overwhelming. You might want to put a disclaimer on your recipes, for those who do use the scale-up function. Cooking this for 21, I did use 4.5 teaspoons of ras el hanout, but left out the other spices - it was tasty, but a little bit under-spiced. I will continue to experiment!
I've now cooked this twice, for 20 people each time, in the instant pot, and it came out really well! Just a note about scaling up - it would be great if the quantities of vegetables were given by weight; '18 small potatoes' is a little hard to guess at when I'm using large potatoes and wondering what the equivalent is 😀
I haven't yet figured out the right amount of spices to add when scaling up, as it turns out you can't scale them up the same as other ingredients - I probably under-spiced a bit, out of caution, but it still came out tasty. Thanks for the recipe!
Thanks for the feedback, Helen!
Making today. Recipe says “Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.” Should it say “Bring to a boil, then reduce heat & simmer for 5 minutes”?
Hi, Jodi! You can follow the recipe just as written here.
Amazing, amazing, amazing. This was super easy and delish. My whole family loved it!!
Yay! That's great! Thanks, Beth!!
Delicious. Will definitely make again. Subbed sweet potatoes for the yellow potatoes because it's what I had on hand, and it worked beautifully. Thank you!
I am a novice with North African, Middle eastern and South Asian cooking, and am enjoying the learning very much. I used the bones from the cut of lamb to produce the broth while I was braising and preparing everything else. I have no experience with dried apricots. They come in halves. Do I chop them up? Thank you.
Hi, Ed! You can just add the dry apricots whole for this one. Enjoy!
Made this in my great grandmother’s cast iron Dutch oven. It was easy and delicious!
I'm so glad to hear that, Cindee! Thank you!
My friends and I made this stew for Christmas. Apricots and cinnamon stick made all the differences! Absolutely delicious!!!
Wonderful!! Thanks, Tanya!
Loved it! Served this to a couple of foodies and they both went back for second servings. It was even better the next day and my kids slayed the leftovers.
I made some minor changes, mostly because I used what I had. I subbed in some lamb with bones (labeled “stew meat”). Also, I used lamb stock (got some bullion cubes for Christmas). Both of these additions really added to the depth of the stew. Next time I might add a little heat, but not sure what that will be.
Thanks for sharing. Great recipe.
Thanks for your feedback, Ed!! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe!!
What a wonderful recipe! I made it with stewing beef and the warm Moroccan flavors are amazing!
Delicious, easy, comforting. We loved it!
I have made the Moroccan fish and Moroccan chicken dishes and I just love the Ros el Hanout. So tonight I made the stew and it was great. I used the boneless leg of lamb and after trimming fat I had enough meat so doubled the recipe, knowing i could freeze leftovers. I put in in the largest Dutch oven I had but was still worried that everything would fit. There was a lot of juice from meat when i browned and I did drain tomatoes. The doubled recipe called for 10 cups of stock but I only added two since there seemed to be plenty of fluids. I kept checking to make sure it was fine, and didn’t need to add any additional liquids. It was perfect with a gravy-like sauce. Delicious! Since I live alone and have been very strict on the social distancing, my neighbors who also live alone have greatly benefited from my cooking as I share. Your recipes have kept me sane during this difficult time and clearly my friends are singing your and mine praises. Now let’s get through these next months together. Thank you for a great site. I love it.
Hi, Marie! I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Cooking a lot has certainly helped me get through the last year, as well! Here's for better times in 2021!
I do not own a dutch oven or pan that can go into the oven. Can I cook this on a very low heat on the stove top? Thank you so much!
Sure, Susan. You could try that. A slow cooker/crockpot would also be a great option, if you have on available.
Perfect. My family loves this dish and we’ve since had it several times. I made mine throwing all the ingredients and spices listed in the crockpot on low for six hours until the meet falls off the bone of the small lamb steaks (5). Also used real ginger not ground because that’s what I had. It’s outstanding. We serve it with jasmine rice. Delightful.
Sounds wonderful, Jenna! Thanks for sharing your crockpot version!!
This was a big hit last night. Used dried cranberries rather than raisins. Added red sweet peppers. Used Harissa rather than your star spice. And served it over rice.
YUM! Thanks for sharing your variations, Lorraine!
I made this for my son last week. He had purchased some lamb stewing meat. I found your recipe, tried it and it was delicious. As I write this, I have another pot of your stew in the oven. He wanted it again for the rest of the week. Huge hit. Great recipe. Thank you
Awesome! Thanks, Barbara!
My father-in-law is Egyptian from Cairo. My wife Brenda was born in England. I came across your Mediterranean Dish when I was searching for a new way to make lamb stew. I already had Ras El Hanout spice mix and was attracted to your Eastern Moroccan recipe. The first time I experimented and ended up with a mix of several recipe’s. It tasted good. Today I am following your recipe a little more closely though will add some Spanish Rioja to the lamb broth. My wife and I emigrated to Zambia in the late 60’s. She is a doctor like my my late father-in-law and worked as a Flying doctor in the local missionary hospitals. Our daughters were born in Zambia, one like me fair haired, blue eyed, with curly hair, the other dark skinned, olive eyes and curly dark hair definitely following my wife. She is multilingual though not Arabic. The second attempt was much better but I used a very fatty cut of lamb. Next time I will definitely use the leg as you suggested.
Thank you so much for sharing, Philip. I appreciate learning a bit about your family and your wife's Egyptian heritage.
Absolutely delicious! I'm not big on recipe sites but recently I've been looking for different ideas. I love this site so far.
This recipe in particular is spectacular. A great way to use lamb and the spice combo is right on. I couldn't find Ras El Hanout in stores so I made my own following another recipe. I simmered this on the stove for about 2 1/2 hours on low making sure to check the liquids around every 20 minutes. I will definitely be making this again.
Thanks for sharing!
My pleasure, Tamika! If you you are in the US, you can order Ras El Hanout from our online store: https://shop.themediterraneandish.com/product/ras-el-hanout/
I used the slow cooker for this recipe and it was amazingly perfect!!! I love the richness and flavor of the broth. The cinnamon stick, bay leaf, allspice and dried apricots gave it a savory taste. Just what I needed!!!
Wonderful, Deborah! So glad you enjoyed it!
I make lots of recipes that I find on the internet. I would say that more then 1/2 the time they are less then expected. THIS is not one of them. This dish is warm and spicy and so flavorful. I sent the recipe to all my friends and family. It reminded me of all that’s comforting in an American beef stew with the warm and exciting Middle East/Indian spices/flavors. It was one of my new favorite foods. I will be making this many many more times. Thank you for sharing!
So glad this was such a hit, Laura!
What's a good substitute for apricots? I've got fresh peaches and nectarines. 🙂
Either of those would work. The flavor will be a little different, but I still think the recipe would come out delicious!
Purchased some lamb shoulder chops over the weekend with the intent of freezing them, but after finding this recipe, decided to go ahead and make it. Glad I did as this turned out to be a hit with everyone. Great flavor. Easy to make but does take longer to cook than I anticipated. I was using an Instant Pot., but needed to start my prep much sooner and take into consideration the release times. I have prepared and enjoyed many meals from Mediterranean Dish, but this is my first time leaving a comment. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes.
Thanks you so much for sharing, William! So glad you are enjoying the recipes you find here!
Can the sauce be thickened and the stew eaten with mashed potatoes. Maybe replacing the potatoes in the recipe with something else so it’s not redundant?
Sure! I've never done that before, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.