CrockPot Leg of Lamb Recipe

This dry rub seasoning blend for your leg of lamb is pretty much the best thing in the history of the universe. If you think you don't like lamb, it's because you've been cooking it wrong.

This is how you make a perfect leg of lamb in the crockpot slow cooker
Day 79.

I've made leg of lamb in the crockpot four times now, and each time I do, I marvel at just how good it is. 

We've baked, broiled, and barbecued lamb, but the crockpot lamb really comes out the best.

Lamb has a tendency to dry out. That's just not a possibility if it is cooked slowly in it's own juices.

The Ingredients.

I like the seasoned boneless leg of lamb from Trader Joe's. It is in the frozen food section.

If you do not have access to a Trader Joe's (you should really move), you can make a dry rub with:

1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

--1/2 cup of water

Use a 4 to 5 pound boneless leg of lamb. If your lamb has a bone, that is FINE. It's just that it usually is easier to find the boneless in the grocery store.

The Directions.

--If you are using the Trader Joes lamb, plop it into your crockpot

If you are using your OWN leg of lamb: thaw it overnight in the fridge.

Run it under cold water to rinse it off a bit. Pat dry with paper towels.

in a small mixing bowl, combine the dry seasonings. 

Place the lamb into your slow cooker, and rub the seasoning blend all over it.

Pour a 1/2 cup of water around the *base* of the meat (this means, don't "wash" the seasoning off of the lamb!) ;-)

--cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours.

I didn't add any vegetables to the crockpot because we are still working on these leftovers, but any of your favorites would work fine. 

Potatoes, carrots, celery, an onion...

you don't need to add any additional water as long as you keep the lid closed and don't futz with it.

PS: your lamb is finished when it is spoon tender. If your meat doesn't fall apart easily, then it's not cooked long enough. You want it to sort of break down and then reabsorb the cooking liquid.

Use this dry rub mixture on your leg of lamb to get the juiciest, most moist lamb you've ever had. It's absolutely delicious! My FIL grew up eating lamb all the time and says this one is his absolute favorite.

The Verdict.

I really am no longer interested in attempting to cook lamb any other way. 

This always turns out perfectly, and no one needs to man the bbq (and ignore the family... hmmph...).

Here are EVEN more ideas for your holiday table that can all be made in the crockpot!! :-)

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at March 19, 2017

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What they say about this article

  1. i was just at T.J.'s yesterday looking at the lamb, not knowing how i would cook it! thanks for the scoop! i have a question, do you put it in the crockpot frozen? i didn't know you could do that... my life would get much simpler if i could put frozen meat into a crockpot!!!

  2. I am enjoying the same leftovers. The cabbage and potatoes turned out yummy!

    Thanks for this idea. I've never dared try lamb on my own but if the easiest way is the best way then I'm ready to give it a go.

  3. Anonymous3/19/2008

    now you've done it! you've spurred me into preparing some lamb....the mint jelly comes from safeway.

  4. annette---I did put it in frozen. I needed to run the package under hot water, just enough to release the "stick" from the plastic, and then used kitchen shears to cut it open.

    I regularly use frozen meat in my recipes---it makes it take longer to cook, which is a bonus in my mind.

    icecream diary, yay! we're leftover buddies!

    anon, yum, mint jelly.


  5. I bet it smelled reeeeeeeally good while cookin'!

  6. Okay, just discovered your blog and also have a crockpot fetish...You totally rock, woman! My friends will hear about this. Keep it up!

  7. I stumbled upon your Blog, it is so cool!!! I am so excited to try the recipes. I too love my crockpot!!!!

  8. amie, it totally did!

    thank you, laurel and crystal! I'm having lots of fun.

    steph (very cool name), I have my flops well documented. I'm definitely learning throughout this process about what works and what doesn't.


  9. I pass by that darn leg of lamb all the time a TJ's. Now we can have that insead of ham for Easter.....thanks!!!!

  10. thanks for the tip on the frozen meat!!! yahoo! keep experimenting! love your blog!

  11. I just recently stumbled on your blog too, and I'm telling everyone about it! Such a great idea. :)

  12. You have totally made my life easier! I have all parents joining us for dinner and I couldn't figure out how to make the ham, the lamb, the potatoes, and the asparagus with only one oven.


  13. Do you think there is a disadvantage to cooking meat fresh instead of frozen? Is there a point where meat can be overcooked in the crockpot to the point that it turns into mush. Haven't hit that wall yet, but wondering if it is out there.

  14. Hi Jared! I would bet in a side-by-side comparison, the fresh meat would be juicier and perhaps taste a bit meatier.

    can meat taste meatier?

    I think this calls for an experiment. ;-)

    as for the mush factor, I haven't ever intentionally cooked anything too long to see what would happen. I have had chicken disinigrate on me, which is kind of gross, but still edible.


  15. Hey, just wandered over here from LeeAnn's site. What a timely post for our Resurection/Passover lamb leg. Gonna give it a try.

  16. Anonymous3/21/2008

    "If you do not have access to a Trader Joe's (you should really move),"
    Oh I so wish for a Trader Joe's here. Not even one in the whole state of Iowa! Of course, if I had one, Mom would stop sending me Chocolate Almond Laceys and tell me to buy my own :)

  17. I tried this dish for Easter Sunday and it was a huge hit!!!! I even blogged about it on my blog yesterday and gave you full credit!!!

  18. 1. Found your great blog yesterday.
    2. Bought leg o' lamb last night
    3. Just made my own dry rub and plopped the lamb in the crock about five minutes ago.
    4. Lamb for dinner in 4-6 hours.
    5. Will report back as to success or failure.
    6. I live alone, so here's hoping for lots of yummy leftovers!

    Can't wait! My first attempt at lamb. Ever. Fingers crossed!

  19. When I saw this recipe, I was curious, but skeptical. My husband is Greek, and him and his mom make the best lamb ever. They make slits in the lamb, stuff it with garlic, sprinkle rosemary, salt and pepper on top and bake it in the oven. I was pleasantly surprised to find the crockpot lamb was very tasty without nearly as much work as the Greek version. The whole family really liked it. Thanks for a great recipe.

    Carol Connell

  20. Anonymous10/20/2008

    I am excited to try this. I have been trying to figure out what to do with the lamb that I have. By the way. This recipe isn't linked with the other lamb recipes in your sidebar. Thought you might want to do that.

  21. I'm so excited about your blog. And now I'm wish there was a Trader Joe's to get one. Do they sell them at Albertson's or Smiths? I'm not fond of Wal Mart, but if they a l.o.l.. I'll go.

  22. Anonymous12/24/2008

    I made this for our family's gathering this evening. Oh, my! I wish the whole household liked lamb so I could make it weekely. So easy and soooooo good!

  23. I'm excited about trying this lamb. I'm going to follow your recipe but add 'taters and green beans and maybe a bit of flour too.

    I have read that starting meat from frozen poses a risk because of possibly allowing too much of a window of time for bacteria, etc to thrive at favorable temperatures. My remedy for this is to add a some alcohol. Does it help? Who knows! But it can't really hurt.

    Maybe I'll post about how successful my meal was. Who knows!

  24. Hi Coastal,
    I've read that same stuff too. If you're adding warmish water and room temp ingredients (veggies, etc) it all seems to balance out. The newish crockpots get "up to speed" faster and the food isn't in the food danger zone that way. Here's what Crock-Pot has to say.


  25. Anonymous1/11/2009

    Thanks for your reply, Steph.

    The big day for Lamb is tomorrow. My crockpot is so old. . . "how old is it?" so old, that it's been to 70's themed parties where the invitation just said "Party," if you catch my drift. So, I can't rely on it's getting up to speed quickly.

    On the positive end, I've been allowing the lamb to thaw in the fridge for a while, so it should be okay on temperature. I'll add in some red red wine in the water just in case though.

  26. years ago i made myself a promise: "I will never again live more than 20 minutes from the beach or 10 minutes from a Trader Joe's." it's one of the few promises I've kept.

    i've cooked lamb roasts in the crockpot for years, and i love them this way. i'm even known to make a "bed" of fresh rosemary branches, onion slices and garlic cloves in the bottom of the pot to rest the lamb (well seasoned with salt, black pepper and rosemary) upon. i use wine in place of water. when i can i sear the lamb first - NOT because it locks in juices - it doesn't - but because it makes it taste really yummy!

    Steph is right - you gotta cook a leg of lamb this way!

  27. Randy On-His-Own Jones5/03/2009

    Okay, what am I? The only man on the internet that believes in crockpots? Hell, with no more wife to cook for me, I have to survive on my own and work 8-10 hours per day to boot! (Oh, you gals been doing that all along?) Well, God bless crock pots is all I can say. It's that or McD's, let alone TJ's!

  28. We raise our own Katahdin grass fed lambs and I have been looking for an easy way to prepare the meat. DH suggested the crock pot and I found your site. We have 7 kids and use the crock pot alot, so I'll be back here often! I'm making this leg of lamb for Sunday dinner! Thank you!

  29. Anonymous7/16/2009

    Oh my gosh! I tried the crock pot recipe with only the salt, pepper and rosemary. It was the best crock pot recipe I have ever experienced! I live a couple thousand miles from TJs and have never tried the frozen meat deal, but I am a believer in this recipe!

  30. Anonymous9/18/2009

    I was searching the Internet for a recipe for the seasoned boneless leg of lamb I had in the freezer from TJ's and your recipe showed up first! So excited to try this now (it had been in the freezer forever because I didn't know how to prepare it). Yea! Thank you so much!

  31. Keith H.12/21/2009

    Try substituting 1/2 cup of white wine instead of really gives a great flavor to the lamb.

  32. cindybakedababy1/22/2010

    I was so excited to make this recipe and ran down to TJ's today. Unfortunately they aren't able to get the Frozen Leg of lamb anymore. I bought their fresh pepper burgundy leg of lamb and threw 1/2 cup water on it. I'll update after we eat :)

  33. Anonymous3/12/2010

    Hi from accross the water in dear old blighty.
    Firstly - like the blog
    Secondly - Cooking frozen meat - brilliant! Don't have to worry the night before, what were having the following day - Definately trying that.
    Thirdly - Non-frozen meat definately tastes better plus we have the best tasting lamb in the world here (in my opinion of course)... Thanks again for the tip.

  34. Anonymous4/06/2010

    Hello :) I'm from England too - Henley-on-Thames (the regatta town!) - we don't have Trader Joe shops here although they sound interesting - are they just a butchers shop? anyway I am doing boneless leg of lamb in my slow cooker tomorrow and will try it with a dry rub....

  35. Anonymous5/08/2010

    In regards to cooking frozen meat: many years ago when I cooked my first thanksgiving meal, I was so nervous about all the preparations that I forgot to thaw the turkey. The big morning arrived and I realized the turkey was still frozen! In a panic, I ran water on it until the inside thawed enough to get the neck etc. out of the cavity....washed it well in warm water, threw it in the oven and held my breath. It was delicious! No one could believe that my first attempt at cooking a turkey came out so well. I have cooked my turkey frozen for 30 years now and get rave reviews every time.

  36. A very belated comment on this post. The photographs, more than anything, have convinced me to try this dish. I'd found a similar recipe in a cookbook, but was that crockpotting a leg of lamb would make it too well done and turn into a lamb pot roast. Which might be tasty, but wasn't the deserved effect.

    Yours looks nice and pink and juicy, though, so I guess I'm good to go!

  37. Anonymous11/14/2010

    You were wonderful today at the Livermore Library! Thank you for your information and insights on crocking. I am off to Trader Joes to buy a leg of lamb. Warmly, Pat p.s. So sorry for carrying on about Healthy Indulgences and my insights; I haven't talked to an adult in person for over a week, as I teach Kindergarten and am a dog sitter. . . .

  38. Anonymous12/06/2010

    I'm very sorry to say that I was disappointed with this recipe. As others have mentioned Trader Joe's now sells the "Black Pepper Burgundy" boneless lamb leg (almost 3lbs). Followed the recipe exactly - put the frozen lamb in with a half a cup of water, and cooked it on low in my slowcooker for 8 hours. It was overcooked and very dry - a few slices in the middle were okay. I took the pan juices, threw them in a gravy strainer, removed most of the fat and reduced the sauce with a little port and a quarter cup of veal demi glace. Even the sauce couldn't revive the dried out lamb.

    Any suggestions? Just don't cook a 3lb lamb leg for 8 hours? I have another 5 lb in the freezer - hoping for better luck with that one.

  39. Anonymous12/25/2010

    I was seriously skeptical about making lamb this way, but pretty much all the reviews were favorable. I did it with a 2 pound butterflied piece that I cooked for about 4 hours on high in a 2 quart crock using the suggested seasonings suggested in the book. It was fantastic!

  40. What if you have a bone-in leg of lamb, Steph? Do they taste as good? I'm a vegetarian cooking this for my boyfriend who I know likes lamb...

  41. Hi Jessica,

    no problem. toss it in with the bone. The meat will become quite tender and peel away nicely.


  42. Me again! So when it came down to it...I picked up some frozen boneless lamb chops. Will they do the same trick?

  43. Anonymous3/10/2011

    My family loves lamb cooked this way. I add to frozen leg of lamb 1 can tomato past, 2 cups water; dash rosemary salt and pepper to taste throw in crock pot cook on high 6 hours serve over rice. This is wonderful when done the meat is so tender it falls apart. You can also add potatoes and or green beans and eat as a stew.

  44. Stephania8/13/2011

    Being Greek, lamb is a common item in my diet.

    I went to an Afghan halal butcher with a friend the other day and when I was looking at all the kewl herbs and had my back to him, he cut my beautiful lamb leg into chunks ..ARGH. I guess he never heard of cooking the leg whole. Sigh.
    Anyway, I'll go ahead and use your crockpot idea, substituting my Greek spicing. That will be dinner.
    No mint jelly for us Greeks. Give us garlic, basil and a nice chunk of feta cheese and yogurt.


  45. bummer... made this last night. was SO stoked to try and excited how it might turn out. but... my lamb was defiantly dry and kind of bland.
    main differences:
    - used a thawed leg (not frozen)
    - followed the seasoning suggestion, with a bit more garlic & rosemary
    - used a dry white wine instead of water
    - cooked for 7 hours on low
    could it have been the wine? or left it too long?

    would love to try this again. my brother who cooks gave me a lot of grief afterwards, saying "you shoulda roasted it". would love to prove him wrong!

  46. Thank you so much for this recipe. I'm a first-time-crock-pot-user. Busted it out of the package yesterday. I frequent a Greek restaurant downtown and every Friday they serve slow cooked lamb. I wanted to recreate it and came across your recipe. I used unfrozen lamb which calls for water, I swapped the water for a can of petite diced tomatoes (as the restaurant uses some type of tomato base). Nailed it! Well, I owe it all to you and my new crock pot. Thank you!!

  47. I'm thinking about making this for Christmas day but if I cook it tomorrow how would I reheat it on Sunday? The reason being we're eating at my mother in law's on Sunday and we're in charge of the main course. We won't be there hours and hours before serving the food though. Any ideas?

  48. Made this for Christmas Even dinner with a 2.4 pound butterflied piece of lamb. Seriously, I almost cried it was so good. My visiting mother-in-law made gravy from the juices at the bottom and it was out of this world!!!

  49. Next time, try cooking it longer: give it 24 hours!

    One of my favorite dishes when visiting Turkey is "fırın kebabı". Cook lamb in the crock pot for at least 20 hours, salt generously, serve with raw onion wedges over bread, and you've pretty much duplicated it!

  50. Why does the dry rub list 1/2 cup water as an ingredient? What do you do with the water?

  51. You are awesome! I'm doing this tomorrow, I have done lamb every which way as well, crock potting it sounds like such a great idea! I go one step further with a 2 day marinade; in the food processor I put a boat load of fresh rosemary whole head of garlic half an onion s&p and evoo. Amazing every time. It was a little dry when I baked it, so I'm very excited about the crock pot idea. THANK YOU!

  52. I used a 2.5 lb portion of semi-boneless lamb. I added the dry rub in the same amounts listed here, since I was not sure what size the TJ's portion was. It came out fantastic, and my lamb-loving child was thrilled. It did create a whopping amount of liquid, though, and I was wondering what to do with it. I spooned some over the lamb to keep it from drying out. Do I make a gravy with the rest, or feed it to the dogs, or what?

  53. Jessica Cruz7/12/2012

    Hi Steph,
    I used the crock pot today, for the first time ever! Happened to have a leg of lamb, and when I Googled for recipes, yours was one of the first I came to...definitely the most simple. I used Italian seasoning in place of rosemary, simply because there was none on hand, added onion, red potatoes, and carrots, and the result was perfection! I started a little later in the day and so shortened the time by half and cooked on high (only after reading on another site that this was okay.)
    Thanks for the recipe!

  54. Troy Wright8/12/2012

    I realize that I posted my comments under Anonymous before I read the statement about you not accepting them. So my comments refer to rite of passage humor along with the Greek Seasoning being added to dry mix.

    My name is Troy Wright and that should added as owner of that comment. I glad that you offer those whose choose not to be on any of the social networking a chance to post comments.

  55. If you are starting with frozen it will take a little longer. What I use is a digital thermometer and insert it in the thickest part of the meat and set the temperature for what you desire, for lamb 145* for rare, 160* for well done. Also to lessen the cooking time you can take a large towel and fold it several times and lay it over the lid and it will help hold the heat in, then all you have to do is lift the towel every now and then to check to see if you have enough broth in the bottom without sacrificing any heat. The thermometer can be set to cook by time or temp, either way the alarm goes off. The lead on the probe is thin enough that the lid can sit on it without loosing heat.

  56. has anyone ever done this with their frenched rack of lamb? unfortunately, my tj's only sells that. :(

  57. THANK YOU for posting this! Quick QUESTION - do you keep the netting on the lamb when cooking???

    I cut it off and just added to the crock pot, but now wondering if I was suppose to leave it on???

  58. Hi Terry, you did it right!
    :-) enjoy your meal!

  59. I got a local OG lamb roast yesterday and followed your recipe with purple potatoes, celery, spices, and red peepers. I love harvest season and your recipe made being on an allergy diet and working with a family simple. It was loved by all. I used a bit more water, but I have a big crock pot and with the veggies added 2 cups water. yumyum.

  60. Anonymous2/25/2015

    Wow! This sounds super easy and delicious! Gonna maybe try this for Easter Dinner. I am wondering, how much liquid is in the bottom after cooking? Wanting to make plenty of Lamb gravy (not into mint jelly), but I wanted to make sure there will be enough of the juices, and I'm hoping they aren't too watered down with the water?

  61. Anonymous4/03/2016

    So with fresh (non-frozen) lamb 1/2 cup of water is all the liquid added to the crockpot??? And if it's a bit over 3 lbs, is 4-6 on high the best amount of time? Thanks!

  62. Hi Jenn, yes, I only add about that much liquid. I prefer my lamb to sort of fall apart so then it soaks up the accumulated juices. If your meat isn't as tender as you'd like after 3 hours on high, cut it into a few pieces and then let it cook that way for the last hour or two.

  63. I wonder how wine would work, instead of water...

  64. I made this today, absolutely delicious, lamb was moist, I did add some crushed garlic, and chicken consommé, made a gravy served with mashed potatoes & broccoli. Thank you for sharing��

  65. Anonymous10/22/2016

    very good! first lamb in my life for my Mrs who likes lamb and I don't. she LOVED it! thanks!

  66. We finally got a Trader Joe's in Vermont this past year and I was so up for making a Christmas lamb like my family use to have in California. Earlier this week I was crushed to find our TJ's doesn't carry ANY frozen meats. So we bought an Aussie leg of lamb at a local supermarket chain, I applied your seasoning mix, and then froze it solid ... I'll be cooking it tonight ... let you know how it turns out in a day or 2. Love your recipes. -Lynn

  67. Please help! I have to get this lamb leg going for an early easter dinner today. My lamb roast has strings wrapped around it. Do I leave them on or take them off before putting it in????

  68. Hi Tarynn,
    Go ahead and snip them off!!

  69. Do I need to cook it for 7+ hours still if it's fresh lamb?

  70. Hi Abbey,
    yes. the TJ's ones come frozen, but then you thaw to cook and I use fresh lamb each year. Lamb is a pretty tough meat -- so I recommend 7 on low, 5 to 6 on high. You can check it after 6 or so on low but I really think it's best when it sort of relaxes, soaks in the juice and can cut easily apart with a fork.

    I hope this helps a bit! Happy Easter!!

  71. Note there are Trader Joe's which are so small thatbthey don't carry ANY frozen meats (example: the TJ's in S.Burlington,VT).