All the delicious Moroccan flavors of lamb tagine, made easier in a slow cooker. This Moroccan stew has tender, slow-cooked lamb seasoned with warm ras el hanout spices and flavored with dried apricots and dates. Serve it over couscous, rice, or quinoa. Lamb stew is a hearty and comforting dish perfect for chilly days. Also includes oven directions!
Slow Cooker Lamb Stew
Slow cooker recipes are a real time saver because once the ingredients are in, the appliance does all the work. They're also handy for freeing up oven space when cooking for a holiday. Slow cookers are especially great in the winter and fall for making warm and comforting dishes.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- One pot meal means less mess to clean!
- So flavorful. The dried fruit and spices add lively flavor to the dish.
- Versatile. It can be made with beef or lamb.
- Low and slow cooking creates fork tender lamb. No knife required!
- Only 25 minutes of prep time, then the slow cooker does the rest!
Traditionally lamb tagine is cooked in a clay pot with a conical lid, called a tagine. I’ve adapted the recipe for American cookware so the dish can be made in either a slow cooker or dutch oven. Tagines generally cook low and slow, so a slow cooker is well-suited to cook this dish as well.
The key to making this lamb tagine recipe in the slow cooker is to start it on the stove top. Searing the lamb and onions first in a skillet helps add an extra layer of flavor. Then transfer the ingredients to a slow cooker to finish cooking.
What is tagine?
The word tagine can refer to a cooking vessel or the dish that was prepared in it.
A tagine pot is an earthenware pot used for cooking in Morocco and north African countries. It has a shallow bottom pot with a cone shaped top. The top allows the food to steam but collects the condensation so it drips back into the dish keeping food moist.
The dish tagine refers to a stew-like dish prepared in the tagine cooking vessel. A tagine is similar to a curry, but usually has dried fruits like raisins, apricots, or dates. It usually features warm spices like cinnamon, coriander, ginger, and cumin. It can be made with lamb, beef, fish, chicken, or even vegetables.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
See the recipe card below for a complete ingredient list and measurements.Jump to Recipe
- Boneless lamb shoulder - Lamb shoulder is a tougher cut of meat that is marbled with fat. This cut of lamb is perfect for slow cooking. The long cook time will tenderize the meat and allow the fat to render adding extra flavor. You can also make this dish with beef in the same way.
- Produce - Carrots and onion. You can substitute yellow onion for a white or sweet onion. Some people also use sweet potato to make this dish even heartier.
- Dried fruits - Dried sweet apricots are one of the hallmarks of lamb tagine. I also add medjool dates for extra flavor and a touch of sweetness. Other varieties of pitted dates can be substituted, but they need to be soaked in water for 10 minutes because they are less moist than medjool. The dried fruits paired with lamb produce a wonderful sweet and savory combination. However, if you would like to cut down on the sweetness of this dish, use half the amount of dried fruits.
- Ras el hanout seasoning - This Moroccan seasoning mix is a blend of several warm spices. Every family and company has a different recipe, but they typically contain cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, nutmeg, clove, ginger, chili, pepper, paprika, turmeric, and allspice. You can buy a blend, or make your own with the recipe given in the recipe card below. Alternatively, substitute with an aromatic blend like baharat or garam masala.
- Chicken broth - Substitute for beef broth or Imagine’s Vegetarian No Chicken Broth.
Step by Step Photos
See the recipe card below for complete directions.Jump to Recipe
Season lamb pieces and brown on all sides. Transfer lamb to a slow cooker.
In the same pan, sauté the onions until softened.
Add carrots, garlic, and ras el hanout. Stir and allow seasonings to toast for a minute.
Add some chicken broth to the pan and scrape up any browned bits into the liquid.
Add the contents of the pan to the slow cooker with remaining broth.
Cook on low until the meat is fall-apart tender. The sauce is a bit thin at this point.
Add in the dates, apricots, and potato starch slurry. Remove cover and reduce the sauce.
Serve lamb tagine over couscous, and top with toasted almonds and fresh cilantro or parsley.
You can also make this lamb tagine in the oven! See the recipe card for full oven instructions.
This recipe can be made ahead of time. Allow it to cool down completely before storing in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Storage and Reheating
How to store: Allow lamb stew to cool. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How to freeze: Store in a freezer-safe container well sealed for up to 3 months. To serve: defrost overnight in the refrigerator, and then reheat as directed below.
How to reheat: To reheat, place the lamb stew into a pan, cover with foil, and heat at 350°F in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. The lamb stew can also be heated in a covered pan on a Shabbat hot plate for 1-2 hours.
What to Serve With Lamb Tagine
This lamb stew is hearty enough to serve on its own, or serve over a bed of couscous, rice, or quinoa to soak up the savory gravy. Serving over quinoa is a great option for Passover.
When to Serve Slow Cooker Lamb Tagine
The warm spices and slow cooking of this dish make it ideal for the cool weather of fall and winter. It's a great fit for all the high holidays. Serve it as an entree for Rosh Hashanah or as a hardy meal before the Yom Kippur fast. It also works well as a one-pot dish to serve in the sukkah during Sukkot.
Serve it in the spring when there is new spring lamb, which makes this a good dish during Passover.
Double or triple this recipe if you are serving a crowd and add to the cooking time.
Other Main Dish Recipes
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! You can make lamb tagine with a dutch oven in the oven, or with an electric slow cooker.
A tagine is a type of stew cooked in a special pot also called a tagine. The pot has a cone shaped lid that helps trap condensation and keeps food moist.
Slow Cooker Lamb Tagine Recipe
- 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder cut into 1 ½ inch (4 cm) cubes
- 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 large yellow onion quartered and sliced into ½ inch (1.25 cm) thick slices (2 cups once sliced)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil divided
- 4 medium carrots peeled and cut into 2 inch (5 cm) chunks on a bias
- 3 garlic cloves finely minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons ras el hanout seasoning
- 2 cups chicken broth, divided sub for beef broth or Imagine’s Vegetarian No Chicken Broth
- ¼ cup roughly chopped pitted medjool dates about 6 large dates
- ¼ cup quartered dried apricots about 6 apricots
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds toasted
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, as garnish
- 1 tablespoon potato starch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
Ras el hanout recipe
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne or chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
Slow Cooker Directions
- Place the lamb cubes onto a plate. Pat dry with a paper towel to facilitate browning. Sprinkle all sides of lamb with salt and pepper.2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- Heat ½ tablespoon of the oil in a large pan over medium high heat for about 1 minute until hot. Add lamb and cook on all sides for 7-10 minutes total until browned. If needed, cook in two batches so the lamb is not too crowded in the pan.
- Transfer seared lamb to a 7-quart slow cooker pot.
- To the now-empty skillet, add ½ tablespoon olive oil and chopped onion. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat until softened. Stir occasionally.1 large yellow onion
- Mix in carrots, garlic, and ras el hanout, and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.4 medium carrots, 3 garlic cloves, 1 ½ tablespoons ras el hanout seasoning
- Add 1 cup of broth to the pan, and deglaze by scrape the bottom of the pan to release any flavorful bits from cooking the meat and onions. Pour everything from the pan into the slow cooker pot.2 cups chicken broth, divided
- Pour the remaining 1 cup broth over the meat-vegetable mixture (in the slow cooker pot), and stir to combine.
- Cook for 5-6 hours on the low setting until the meat is very soft.
- Uncover the pot and mix in the dates, apricots and potato starch slurry. Turn the heat to High and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes until sauce thickens and is brown in color.¼ cup roughly chopped pitted medjool dates, ¼ cup quartered dried apricots, 1 tablespoon potato starch
- In the meantime, toast the almonds. Start by adding 1 teaspoon oil into a medium fry pan. Turn the heat to medium and add almonds. Toast for 3-4 minutes, mixing often until lightly golden. Transfer to a plate to cool.⅓ cup slivered almonds
- Serve lamb hot over couscous, rice, or quinoa, and top with toasted almonds and a sprinkle of parsley or cilantro.1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Position the oven rack on the second or third rung from the bottom. Preheat to 350ºF (175°C).
- Follow the slow cooker directions steps 1 through 7 above. There is no need to brown in a separate skillet; use a 5 or 6-quart oven-safe soup pot or dutch oven.
- Once the lamb and vegetables are browned and the broth and seasonings are added, cover the pot with a lid. Use hot mitts to transfer the pot to the oven. Cook for about 2 hours or until the meat is cooked through and very soft and fork tender. Check the lamb about halfway through cooking, and add a little water if the sauce reduces greatly.
- Remove the pot from the oven, and stir in the dates and apricots. If the liquid has thickened to a brown sauce, then no thickener is needed. If the sauce is thin, add the potato starch and water slurry and stir to combine. Return the pot to the stove uncovered, and simmer on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens.
- Serve lamb hot over couscous (or rice or quinoa), and top with garnishes.
DIY Ras El Hanout
- This should yield a bit over 1 ½ tbsp. Mix everything together and then measure the exact 1 ½ tablespoon for the recipe.
- Make ahead: This recipe can be made ahead of time. Allow it to cool down completely before storing in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Reheat: To reheat, place the lamb into a pan, cover with foil, and heat at 350°F in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Also, the lamb can also be heated in a covered pan on a Shabbat hot plate for 1-2 hours.
- Freeze: Store in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
- Ras el hanout recipe adapted from The Spruce Eats.