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Slow-cooked Leg of Lamb with Garlic, Lemon and Herbs

Slow-cooked Leg of Lamb with Garlic, Lemon and Herbs

By JulieVR

Lamb is very much a spring dish, and very common on an Easter table. Leg of lamb is a classic cut, with bone or without, with the shank end or trimmed. The thing about leg of lamb, regardless of the cut, is that it has a lot of tough connective tissues which need long, slow cooking in order to break them down. You can do this in the oven, and a slow cooker works very well. Cooking an entire leg of lamb, can be a hassle, mostly due to its shape thick on one end, tapered on the other, it’s difficult to cook evenly without one end being overcooked or the other not cooked enough. Deboned legs of lamb are good alternatives without bones it’s a more uniform cut of meat but in general meat roasted on the bone has more flavor. Either way, a slow cooker will ensure it’s cooked through without being overcooked, undercooked, or dry.

Lamb takes on all kinds of different flavors well – you’ll find it in cuisines around the world. You don’t really need to rub it down with anything, but I love to make a paste out of squished garlic, chopped rosemary, lemon juice or zest and olive oil and smear it all over the meat first. At this point you could leave it to sit for a bit, or refrigerate it overnight to let it marinate.

If you like roast potatoes with your lamb, tuck them around the leg in the slow cooker or roasting pan, or roast them separately, on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven (on the lower rack, or as the lamb cooks in the CrockPot).

Slow-cooked Leg of Lamb with Garlic, Lemon & Herbs


  • 1 leg of lamb (that will fit in your slow cooker if not, get the butcher to cut off the shank end) with or without bone
  • 1 lemon
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, sliced or crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • some wine, chicken or beef stock, tomato juice or water


  1. On a chopping board, pat your lamb dry with paper towels. Finely grate about half the zest off the lemon and grind into a paste with the garlic, rosemary, thyme, oil, salt and pepper using a mortar and pestle. Rub the paste all over the lamb. If you like, refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  2. Put it into the slow cooker, or into a large baking dish. Add about a cup of liquid. Squeeze the juice of the lemon overtop too. In a slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. In the oven, roast at 450F for 20 minutes to get a nice golden crust, then cover tightly with foil or a lid and cook at 300F for 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Serves 6-8.