This simple Lamb Curry has warming spices, nourishing lamb, and nutrient-rich veggies. It’ll make you feel good from the inside out. Plus, it’s easy to prepare and thanks to a pressure cooker, you can have dinner ready in less than an hour.
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It’s no secret that the pressure cooker (or more specifically in my case, Instant Pot®) is awesome. Dinner ready in under an hour? Yes please and thank you, especially when that dinner typically needs hours to cook on the stove or in the slow cooker.
You know what else is awesome? Lamb.
Lamb is underrated and so easy to prepare
When was the last time you enjoyed lamb? If you are like most people, it’s probably been a while (or never) since you cooked lamb at home which is incredibly unfortunate because lamb is such a wonderful addition to your meals.
I love lamb because not only is it incredibly flavorful where a small amount goes a long way, it is also very nutrient rich. Lamb serves up a significant amount of nutrients essential for immune function like zinc, selenium, protein, and iron. So this dish is great for the cooler months when you need an immune system boost.
Lamb available in the United States is premium quality, and it’s raised on family-owned ranches in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
To bust the myth that lamb is intimidating, complicated or too fancy, my nine year old niece Joy and I made Lamb Curry in the Instant Pot. And then I tested it a few more times to triple check (or really just as an excuse to keep making this amazing dish!)
Why you should make this Lamb Curry
Well first of all, you should make this lamb curry because it is deeeeeeelicious. Plus, it makes a hefty amount so you can serve your whole fam plus have leftovers.
Lamb is an excellent, high quality protein choice that gives your meals — especially this lamb curry — incredible taste that only lamb can give. Also, a little bit of lamb goes a long way, meaning you can enjoy the greatness of lamb along with veggies, spices, and rice (or whatever you decide to serve with your lamb curry) for a beautifully balanced plate.
Plus, this lamb curry is is heavy on the veggies to give your body extra antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. It is also gluten free, nut free, soy free and can be dairy free. We tried it with yogurt and with coconut milk. I think I liked the coconut milk version better (but my sister doesn’t like coconut, so she preferred the yogurt version). Both were tasty!
Is Lamb Curry healthy?
Yes, this lamb curry is rather wholesome! It has warming spices, nourishing lamb, and nutrient-rich veggies.
You only need a 2 pound shoulder (which ends up being about 1.5 pounds after trimming the fat and removing the bone) to serve 6 to 8 people.
Since aromatics are lambs’ best friends, you’ll be adding onions, garlic, spices, and lemon juice to season the dish along with upping the fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins.
What if I am intimidated by cooking lamb?
Ah, yes… I used to be a member of the “I’m scared to cook lamb” club. However, I have proudly realized how simple cooking lamb is!
Like with any recipe, when you are armed with the right information, you can achieve success and see the beauty of lamb for yourself. When you know the right cut to get and how to prepare it properly, you will see just how easy it is! And to help ease an anxiety you might have, I am here with all my tips. Let’s start with how easy this is…
How to Make Instant Pot Lamb Curry
There are no special tricks for this recipe. It’s pretty basic. Here are the steps (with extra details because I like to be as specific as possible so you know exactly what to expect):
- Lightly brown the lamb in the Instant Pot and transfer to a bowl. This is an important step because it helps give the dish added depth, but more importantly, it helps render some of the fat so your lamb curry isn’t extra greasy.
- Pour off the added liquid and fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the Instant Pot.
- Add the veggies and sauté for a few minutes to give them a little extra flavor.
- Once the veggies are soft, add the spices. Stir until fragrant.
- Put the lamb back into the pot, and stir to coat completely.
- Add in the tomatoes. Stir well.
- If using coconut milk, add it here along with the water (1/4 cup). If using yogurt, only add the water (1/2 cup) because you’ll add the (1 cup) yogurt after cooking.
- Cover and cook.
- Release the pressure.
- Add in the yogurt if you didn’t add coconut milk.
- If you are adding spinach, go ahead and toss that in your Instant Pot and put the lid back on.
- Stir well and let sit for about 5-10 minutes until the mixture thickens (and it’ll be one million degrees, so you won’t want to eat it just yet anyway).
- Stir in lemon juice, and serve over rice. Sprinkle with cilantro or mint and serve with extra lemon juice, and enjoy!
Tips for Making this easy lamb curry recipe
The best lamb cut for Lamb Curry
I used lamb shoulder in this recipe.
You can use lamb shoulder, leg of lamb, or lamb kebab meat (which is likely lamb shoulder or leg of lamb pre-chopped for you). These are economical cuts that are easy to find in your grocery store, and they are great for roasting and in stews.
I like to buy a two pound lamb shoulder and have the butcher remove the fat and cube it for me. I left the bone in while cooking for extra richness and removed before serving, but you can discard it before cooking if desired.
Alternately, you can buy a boneless shoulder. After trimming, you should be left with around 1.5 pounds of lamb.
- The 2 pound lamb shoulder came packaged with the bone in and with a thick layer of fat. I had the butcher slice and discard the fat. He cubed the meat and left the bone for me to use while cooking (which I discarded before serving).
- You can easily do this at home, but I enjoyed one less step. Ask your butcher to cube the lamb into 1 inch or 3/4 inch pieces if possible. Otherwise, you can trim and chop it right before cooking. It’ll take about 10-15 minutes.
Do you need to marinate the lamb for lamb curry?
Nope, you do not need to marinate your lamb for this recipe.
I wanted to keep things as simple as possible. The least amount of dishes to clean. The least amount of steps involved. Absolutely no steps that were not necessary. And that meant that I skipped marinating because the lamb was incredibly tender without bothering to marinate. Score!
Make Ahead Tips
This dish comes together quite quickly, but a few things you can do to make ahead of time are…
- chop the veggies (or use chopped frozen), and keep in the fridge until ready to cook
- remove the fat and chop the lamb, and keep in the fridge until ready to cook
- cook the rice or whatever you want to serve with your Lamb Curry in advance
Additionally, you can make this lamb curry in advance and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to one month.
Variations & Substitutions
Vegetables: You can change the vegetables or use more or less of certain veggies. Like carrots but not onions? Ditch the onions and add more carrots. My family really liked the carrot, bell pepper, and onion combo, and I also added some spinach in one of my test batches (kids weren’t a huge fan of that but the adults enjoyed it).
Yogurt vs. coconut milk: I tested the recipe with both and prefer the coconut milk, though both are really good! Either way, you will use 1 cup of yogurt or coconut milk.
The coconut milk version is a little thinner than the yogurt version. I recommend using regular coconut milk (not reduced fat) so your curry isn’t too soupy. If you use coconut milk, you will only add 1/4 cup water in the recipe.
The video shows me using coconut milk, but you can easily use yogurt. To use yogurt in place of coconut milk, you will add 1/2 cup water to the Instant Pot. Do not add the yogurt until after it has cooked.
After you’ve cooked your lamb curry, and take a spoonful of the cooked lamb curry and add to 1 cup of yogurt. Mix together; then stir into the lamb curry. Everything else is the same.
Alternative prep & cooking methods:
Don’t have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker? You can totally make this in your slow cooker!
To make in your slow cooker, you have two options.
- throw everything in the slow cooker and cook all day — this option is a lot easier but make sure that your lamb is completely trimmed of fat so you don’t have excess grease in your finished curry
- brown the meat and saute the veggies then add to the slow cooker — this will give your dish more depth and will help the lamb render some of the fat off while cooking before adding to the slow cooker
To be honest, I have not tried this specific recipe in the slow cooker. However, most pressure cooker and slow cooker recipes easily translate, and for this recipe, you’ll just cook all day in the slow cooker instead of cooking in under one hour in the pressure cooker (Instant Pot).
Immediately transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to one month.
What to serve with this dish
I personally think you need some kind of carbohydrate like cooked rice or quinoa or even a big piece of bread to soak up the warm, spicy curry sauce.
Pro tip: cook a big batch of rice at the beginning of the week and all you have to do is take out of the fridge about 30 minutes before serving. Then pour the steaming hot Instant Pot Lamb Curry over your rice and it’ll warm it up for you! No microwave needed 🙂
This Lamb Curry meets all of the requirements for a fabulous recipe:
- it’s easy to make and my nine year old niece could do it with a little assistance from me when it came to handling the raw meat and using the Instant Pot
- it’s incredibly satisfying and delicious. My niece and nephew (along with their parents and I) really enjoyed this meal!
- it makes a large amount so you can enjoy leftovers for another meal or two
- it’s full of vegetables — woohoo!
MORE RECIPES LIKE THIS YOU’LL LOVE:
Instant Pot Lamb Curry
- 2 pound boneless lamb shoulder trimmed of fat and cubed
- 1 medium bell pepper chopped
- 4 medium carrots chopped
- 2 large onions chopped
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1.5 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 15 ounce can diced tomatoes no salt added
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup coconut milk *See notes for using plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice from 1 small lemon
- 6 ounces fresh baby spinach optional
- Turn on the saute function of your pressure cooker. Lightly brown the lamb on all sides, and transfer to a bowl or plate. Pour off the rendered liquid and fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the Instant Pot.
- Add the veggies and sauté for about 5-7 minutes until soft.
- Add in the garlic, curry powder, ground ginger, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using). Stir until fragrant.
- Put the lamb back into the pot, and stir to coat completely in the veggies and spices.
- Pour in the canned tomatoes along with their juices. Stir well.
- If using coconut milk, add it here along with 1/4 cup water. (If using yogurt, only add 1/2 cup water because you'll add the yogurt after cooking.)
- Cover, set the valve to sealing, and cook on HIGH pressure for 20 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes then release the remaining pressure.
- If you did not add coconut milk before cooking, stir about 1/2 cup in the yogurt until smooth. Pour into lamb curry mixture and stir to combine.
- If you are adding spinach, add to the lamb curry and put the lid back on. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes and stir well.
- Stir in lemon juice, and serve over rice. Sprinkle with cilantro or mint and serve with extra lemon juice, and enjoy!