Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder With Rosemary Garlic & Honey

This rosemary garlic and honey slow-cooked lamb shoulder is the most incredible lamb roast I’ve ever made! Succulent, fall-apart meat on the inside, crispy browned on the outside and with the most delicious, caramelised sauce. This lamb recipe is perfect for weekends, Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving.


Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder With Rosemary Garlic & Honey

I love roasting meat on the weekends or for special occasions like Christmas or Easter. Lamb roast is our family favourite and this particular slow-cooked lamb shoulder with rosemary, garlic and honey is simply the most delicious! 

This is the main I will be making for Christmas and I can’t wait for everyone to try it. For this recipe, I used a 1.3 kg lamb shoulder, which is typically big enough for 4-5 people, so I will be roasting two of these lamb shoulders over the holidays. 

Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder Recipe

Best Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder Roast

There are many lamb roast recipes out there BUT this is the best I have made. The secret was to score the lamb with deep slits so I was able to rub seasoning and rosemary in as much meat as possible, plus insert the garlic cloves. 

The lamb is then slow-cooked in the oven with some red wine and water to keep it lovely and moist AND to form an incredible pan sauce. The lamb shoulder is roasted covered with foil for just over 2 hours, then drizzled generously with honey and finished uncovered for 30 more minutes. 

Lamb juices and honey dribble into the pan broth, which reduces and caramelises during cooking. This gives you the BEST red wine, rosemary, and honey lamb sauce without you having to do extra work! 

Lamb Shoulder Roast With Rosemary Garlic & Honey

Ingredients For Lamb Roast

Lamb shoulder – for this recipe, I used a smallish lamb shoulder with the bone in, about 1.3 -1.5kg (3 lbs), which is plenty for 4-5 people. If you’re cooking for more people, you can either use a larger lamb shoulder OR cook two in a large baking tray. See recipe notes for measurements and cooking times variations. You can use boneless lamb shoulder as well, it will take less time to cook. 

Rosemary – this recipe uses 5-6 large sprigs and the needles are pulled off and chopped so they can be rubbed into the meat. I love fresh but you could use dry herbs instead, about 2 tablespoons. Thyme could also be used.

Garlic – lamb meat loves garlic so go to town here. I cut the cloves into long pieces as they are easier to insert into the slits of the meat.

Seasoning – salt, pepper and smoked paprika, which I love with the lamb.

Honey – any runny honey can be used.

Red wine – this adds flavour and acidity to our lamb gravy sauce. 

Lamb shoulder roast ingredients

How To Make My Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder

You will find the full recipe card with ingredients and a nutritional breakdown below. Here are the steps for making my slow-cooked lamb shoulder recipe.

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 356 F. 

Step 2. Pull the needles off the rosemary sprigs and chop them into small pieces. Cut the garlic cloves (lengthways) into 2-3 pieces each.

Step 3. Place the lamb shoulder on a cutting board, meatier side up. Use a sharp knife to score the top with deep slits (see photo). 

Step 4. Drizzle with olive oil and rub it in. Sprinkle each side with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and chopped rosemary, rubbing everything into the meat cuts. Insert garlic pieces in the slits and any folds of the meat. 

Step 5. Add 1 cup of water and 2/3 cup of red wine to a deep roasting pan. Place the lamb shoulder inside, meatier side up. Cover with one piece of foil, tucking the edges close to the meat and with another piece of foil covering the edges of the pan. It’s a double foil wrap. 

Step 6. Place in the preheated oven, middle shelf, and cook for about 2 hours and 15 minutes. 

Step 7. After cooking for that long, remove from the oven and take off the foil. Scoop some of the juices from the pan and drizzle over the lamb meat. Then drizzle generously with honey, about 4 tablespoons, spreading it evenly over the meat. You don’t need to turn the lamb shoulder over, just drizzle the top.

Step 8. Pop back in the oven with no foil wrap and cook for another 30 minutes. I find this is long enough and the top of the meat will be well-browned and the honey caramelised. The liquid in the pan will reduce quite a bit, with the honey and lamb juices incorporated into the sauce and caramelised. 

Rosemary Honey Lamb Shoulder After Roasting

Remove from the oven and cover with foil for about 5-10 minutes to rest. Then use the spoon to scoop and drizzle the sauce in the pan over the lamb. Serve as is or carve the meat and serve in the pan sauce. 

Recipe tip: You can add some pre-boiled potatoes or fresh carrots to the pan for the last stage of cooking. They will absorb some of that lovely sauce though. 

Slow cooked lamb shoulder roast

More Lamb Recipes To Try


Full Recipe 

Find the full list of ingredients, instructions, and nutritional breakdown below. If you have questions or cook this recipe, please let me know in the comments, and make sure to rate this recipe so it’s easy for others to find.

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Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder With Rosemary Garlic Honey

Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder With Rosemary, Garlic & Honey

  • Author: Irena Macri
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 5 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Roasting
  • Cuisine: Australian
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Would you like to make the most amazing lamb roast ever? This rosemary garlic and honey slow-cooked lamb shoulder is what you’re looking for. Succulent, fall-apart meat on the inside, crispy browned on the outside and with the most delicious, caramelised pan sauce. This lamb recipe is perfect for weekends, Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving.


Ingredients

Scale

1.21.4 kg lamb shoulder (about 3 pounds)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1.5 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

5 sprigs of rosemary, needles pulled off and chopped

68 cloves of garlic, cut in halves lengthways

2/3 cup red wine

1 cup water

4 tablespoons honey


Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C / 356 F.
  • Pull the needles off the rosemary sprigs and chop them into small pieces. Cut the garlic cloves (lengthways) into 2-3 pieces each.
  • Place the lamb shoulder on a cutting board, meatier side up. Use a sharp knife to score the top with deep cuts (see photo).
  • Drizzle with olive oil and rub it in.
  • Sprinkle each side with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and chopped rosemary, rubbing everything into the meat cuts.
  • Insert garlic pieces in the cuts and any folds of the meat.
  • Add 1 cup of water and 2/3 cup of red wine to a deep roasting pan. Place the lamb shoulder inside, meatier side up. Cover with one piece of foil, tucking the edges close to the meat and with another piece of foil covering the edges of the pan. It’s a double foil wrap.
  • Place in the preheated oven, middle shelf, and cook for about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
  • After 2 hours, remove from the oven and take off the foil. Scoop some of the juices from the pan and drizzle over the lamb meat. Then drizzle generously with honey, about 4 tablespoons, spreading it evenly over the meat. You don’t need to turn the lamb shoulder over, just drizzle the top.
  • Pop back in the oven with no foil wrap and cook for another 30 minutes. I find this is long enough and the top of the meat will be well-browned and the honey caramelised. The liquid in the pan will reduce quite a bit, with the honey and lamb juices incorporated into the sauce and caramelised.
  • Remove from the oven and cover with foil for about 5-10 minutes to rest. Then use the spoon to scoop and drizzle the sauce in the pan over the lamb. Serve as is or carve the meat and serve in the pan sauce.

Notes

Cooking time variations:

  • Lamb shoulder sizes and cooking times while covered- around 1-1.2 kg- 2 hours, 1.2-1.5 kg – about 2.5 hours, 1.5-2kg – about 3 hours. If you go slightly less or more, it won’t affect the result too much. 
  • Boneless lamb shoulder (unrolled) – reduce covered cook time by 15 -20 minutes, longer if it’s a large piece. 
  • Rolled boneless lamb shoulder (~1.1 – 1.3kg) – cook time per recipe. 
  • 2 x ~1.2-1.55kg/3lb shoulders – fit into one pan, it’s okay if they touch as they will shrink; cook for 2 hours 20 minutes under foil and the same time for uncovered. 
  • Cooking veggies? You can add some pre-boiled potatoes or fresh carrots to the pan for the last stage of cooking. They will absorb some of that lovely sauce though.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 150 grams (5-6 oz)
  • Calories: 383
  • Sugar: 14 g
  • Sodium: 819 mg
  • Fat: 17.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 17.5 g
  • Fiber: 0.9 g
  • Protein: 33.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 112.2 mg

Keywords: Lamb shoulder, lamb recipes, lamb roast, slow cooking, roasting, rosemary, honey, Christmas, Easter


How much lamb meat per person?

The meat shrinks while cooking, revealing a big bone in the middle, so the lamb shoulder will look smaller once roasted. 

An average 1.5 kg / 3 lb lamb shoulder yields about 700-800 g/1.4lb of meat once cooked. 

This should be enough for about 5 people (4 if they are very hungry and love lamb). I find that with side dishes, you can stretch it out. 

For example, I will be cooking for about 10 people on Christmas eve, so I plan to cook 2 x 1.2-1.5 kg lamb shoulder in one pan with lots of sides.  

Lamb leg vs Lamb Shoulder

Lamb shoulder is a fattier cut of lamb with more connective tissue and requires low and slow cooking BUT is also tastier as a result in my opinion. 

It should be slow-cooked on low to moderate heat, which allows all that connective tissue and fat to melt into the meat, resulting in very succulent meat. A shoulder is smaller than the leg so it usually takes around 3 hours at 180 C / 356 F.   

In a nutshell, I find lamb shoulder has more flavour and is easier to cook. 

A lamb leg is leaner and has less connective tissue so it usually cooks a little faster but can get tougher if overcooked and not covered in enough liquid (see my next point!).

The main thing to remember about the lamb leg is that it should either be cooked at a high temperature fast to blushing pink & juicy (under 2 hours at 220 C / 425 F, like in this recipe https://www.recipetineats.com/roast-lamb-leg-with-gravy/. Or, it can be slow-cooked until it falls apart, but that takes more like 5-6 hours at 170C. Anything in between can be tough and not very nice. 

Both lamb shoulder and lamb leg will taste delicious with rosemary, garlic and honey and cooked with red wine. 

If you want to use lamb leg for THIS particular recipe, I recommend using the low and slow cooking method and adding extra water and wine to the pan. You would roast at 170 C / 338 F for 4-5 hours under the foil, then uncover and drizzle with honey and roast for an additional hour. Check halfway to see if you need to add more water and wine to make sure it doesn’t dry out AND you have enough liquid for the jus.

Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. Here at Cooked & Loved you will find simple, delicious recipes worth sharing. From new dishes to old-time favourites with a twist, this is the food I cook and love. More about me here.

PS. Some posts contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission for purchases made through these links.

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6 Comments
  1. This lamb shoulder is going to be going on your holiday rotation year after year once you make it. It’s so tender, and juicy, and I love the drippings it creates to make gravy with.

  2. What a fantastic recipe! Lamb is my mom’s favorite, and we will enjoy this roast for a very special holiday meal. Thank you for the detailed instructions and photos, too.

  3. This is my new favorite way to enjoy lamb! It’s incredibly tender, flavorful and easy to prepare! Going to make this again during the holidays 🙂

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