Slow-cooked lamb with onions & thyme

Slow-cooked lamb with onions & thyme

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(118 ratings)

Ready in 3.5 hours


Serves 4
Five ingredients, one pot, no effort. This meltingly tender lamb dish is satisfyingly rich, and virtually cooks itself

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal731
  • fat39g
  • saturates19g
  • carbs21g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre4g
  • protein63g
  • salt0.87g
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  • half a leg of lamb (about 1¼kg/2lb 12oz)



    A lamb is a sheep that is under 1 year old; between 1 and 2 years old you will find it sold as…

  • 1kg onion (about 4 large ones)



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • handful of thyme sprigs


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 300ml red wine
  • large handful parsley



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…


  1. Firstly, prepare the lamb. Heat oven to 160C/fan140C/gas 3. Wipe the meat all over and season well. Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large heavy flameproof casserole, add the meat and fry all over on a fairly high heat for about 8 mins, turning until it is evenly well browned. Remove to a plate.

  2. Thinly slice the onions. Add to the pan and fry for about 10 mins, until softened and tinged with brown. Add a few of the thyme sprigs and cook for a further minute or so. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Sit the lamb on top of the onions, then add the wine. Cover tightly. Bake for 3 hrs. You can make to this stage up to 2 days in advance, then reheat for 45 mins.

  4. To finish off, strip the leaves from 2 thyme sprigs and chop them with the parsley. Scatter over before serving.

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Comments, questions and tips

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22nd Dec, 2015
This is the only way I cook Lamb now and is such a simple recipe and with so little waste. I never use the Red Wine though as I think it's too strong a flavour for a lovely tasting meat like Lamb - I just use Lamb stock (from a cube). The juices can be thickened with cornflour and the Lamb perfectly reheats in the tasty gravy if you want to make it one day and actually eat it the next day. I have also added carrots to the onions at the bottom of the tin and it all goes in the gravy and gets blitzed down with a hand blender. So tasty.
6th Jun, 2015
Delicious and so simple. I made this for a dinner party and everybody absolutely loved it. I didn't have any red wine so substituted that for port and stock instead which work beautifully. Gravy needed reducing down a tad.
davandsar3's picture
22nd Nov, 2014
Have used this recipe with mutton and lamb both really tasty.
15th Nov, 2014
Excellent - don't understand the few criticisms about the sauce being too runny - I followed the recipe to the letter and if anything found that there was only just enough sauce. Perhaps the reports of 'fatty' sauce say more about the meat?? Easy, tasty, tender, and it cooks away whilst you're doing other things. My kind of meal.
Bigspottedcat's picture
1st May, 2014
Too Fatty I am afraid. I was not able to get the fat off, even after leaving the meat to rest overnight.
21st Apr, 2014
I made this for an Easter Passover Seder and it was absolutely delicious! I followed the recipe "almost", except that I used two crock pots (was making food for 16 people.... I did a shoulder in one pot and a leg in the other), making it on Saturday and then reheating on Sunday. I cut the number of onions in half (two sliced onions per crock pot instead of 4 each). It cooked in the crock pot for almost 8 hours and the meat was falling off the bone tender. Overnight, I had all of the meat stored in one container and the juice in another. The next day, all of the fat had congealed at the top, so I was able to get rid of all that fat! I set aside about 1/3 of the juice/onions, and put the meat and remaining juices back in one crock pot to reheat for the meal. Using a juicer/blender, I blended the set aside juice and onions along with about 1/4 cup of black currant jam... then poured this over all that was in the crock pot. Finished off with the thyme and parsley as suggested. It got very high reviews from the guests!!
4th Feb, 2015
Was this cooked on low or high setting. I would love to try this but have only just bought my crock pot and am a bit nervous about using it. Sounds like a fab recipe.
14th Apr, 2014
This has become a firm family favourite since first making this 4 years ago. I normally use a third of the wine and the rest water. Last year I started adding a little redcurrant jelly to the gravy and everybody has said it tastes even better.
6th Apr, 2014
Easy peasy recipe. Put it in the slow cooker and ignored it for 6 hours the day before I needed it. Then popped it in the oven for 45 mins before serving it. 1kg onions was not just 4 - I needed 11 to get a kilo and could have had less although they did thicken the red wine and lamb juices to a delicious sauce.
31st Mar, 2014
Did this, 200ml Red wine, 100ml Lamb stock. Cut up Garlic, rosemary, mint and parsley mixed with olive oil rubbed lamb all over browned off well and put in slow cooker on low setting for 8 hours. Used half a leg about 1.6kg in weight and the dish was perfect. Used thickening granules at the end to get a lovely thick gravy. Well recommended.


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