How to cook a frozen shoulder of lamb?

When it comes to meals, it’s always great to have options, especially when you’re running low on fresh ingredients. If you happen to have a frozen shoulder of lamb in your freezer, don’t worry – there are ways to work with that too! In this article, we’ll walk you through how to cook a frozen shoulder of lamb.

Preparing the Lamb

To prepare the lamb for cooking, the first thing you need to do is defrost it properly. There are two ways to do this – slow thawing or quick thawing. For a slow thaw, take the frozen lamb out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator overnight (or for at least 24 hours) until it has fully defrosted. Be sure to place a tray under the container holding the lamb to catch any juices that may leak.

If you’re in a hurry, you can use a quick thaw method. For this method, take out the lamb from its packaging and place it in a sealed plastic bag before placing it under cold running water for about an hour. This should help speed up the process slightly.

Once defrosted, trim any excess fat from the lamb using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife. You can choose from various seasoning options such as garlic and herbs like rosemary or thyme based on your preference.

Cooking Options

There are several ways of cooking shoulder of lamb: oven roasting; slow cooking; and grilling.

Oven Roasting

One popular way to cook shoulder of lamb is by oven roasting. Here are some steps you need to follow:

  • First preheat your oven at 160 degree Celsius (320 F).
  • Rub your desired seasoning into the meat and refrigerate ideally overnight so that flavors meld together.
  • Place your roast into an oiled baking pan.
  • Now put your roast into preheated oven & cook according to its weight.
  • To check its doneness, insert a thermometer into the thickest part of meat to make it sure that internal temp reaches between 60° Celsius and 63° Celsius (140 F -145 F).
  • Leave it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes more or until fully cooked once you have removed from the oven
  • Take it out, let it rest a little bit before carving into pieces.

Few tips to keep in mind:

    • To help ensure even cooking, turn your roast every 30 minutes, baste with vegetable oil or melted butter.
  • *To avoid unevenly cooked lamb place the meat on a roasting rack if it’s a boneless cut or on top of vegetables like onions and carrots if it’s bone-in cut.

Slow Cooking (Crock Pot)

Another method is cooking shoulder of lamb in slow cooker/crock pot. Here are some steps you need to take:

  • Rub your desired seasoning into the meat and refrigerate ideally overnight so that flavors meld together.
  • Preheat slow-cooker on high heat setting
  • Put lamb and any other ingredients in the crockpot
  • Add water/broth (about one cup)to avoid burning or scorching the bottom while cooking.
  • Turn down heat setting to low for eight hours or more.
  • (If you’re using high heat instead of low heat then cook for six hours)
  • Check internal temperature once it reaches between 60° Celsius and 63° Celsius(140°F -145 °F). It’s probably cooked!

Few Tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid opening lid frequently as this may cause loss of moisture.
  • Always opt for slow cooking when compared to fast cooking as that helps retain flavors.

Grilling a Frozen Shoulder of Lamb

Another way to cook shoulder of lamb is by grilling it. Here’s how you can do this:

  • First, defrost your meat (Quick or Slow quick methods).
  • Preheat your grill and make sure they’re hot.
  • Place seasoned lamb on the top heat side of the grill for two minutes to sear.
  • Turn the lamb over, and then move it to cooler parts of the grill.
  • Cook slowly until internal temperature reaches between 60° Celsius and 63° Celsius(140 F -145F)
  • Remove from heat and let it rest a little bit before serving.

Few Tips to keep in mind:

  • Set up two different heat zones:
  • One’s hot/cooking zone
  • One’s cooler zone where you place meat once its browned at the top side
  • Always follow advised instructions over grilling times to avoid overly done/undercooked meat.

Checking for Doneness

Whether you use oven roasting, slow cooking or grilling, it’s important to check if your lamb is cooked thoroughly. For checking its doneness, use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat. Ensure that the thermometer reads between 60°Celsius and 63°Celsius(140°F -145°F) so that there’s not any pink color left inside.

It’s important to know that different size shoulders require a different length of cooking time. Here’s a breakdown of how much time each weight class needs for every method using an average temperature setting.

Lamb Cooking Time Chart (in Oven Roasting/Slow-Cooking Method)

WeightCook Time in OvenTime per Pound
Small Shoulder1 hour20 minutes per pound
Medium Shoulder1 hour 15 minutes25 minutes per pound
Large Shoulder1 hour 30 minutes30 minutes per pound

Letting it Rest & Carving Lamb

Once your lamb is cooked and has reached the desired internal temperature, don’t carve it just yet. It’s important to let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes, which allows all the juices to redistribute within the meat.

To carve a lamb shoulder:

  • Hold onto the leg bone while carving
  • Make long slices against the grain of the meat
  • Aim for even pieces when slicing

Serving Suggestions

There are various ways to eat roasted/slow-cooked delicious lamb shoulder. These include serving with couscous, rice pilaf or mashed potatoes. For add-ons such as gravy, sauces or reductions for rib roast recipes serve alongside vegetables like baked tomatoes, roasted peppers, mushrooms etc . Sharing ideas and recipes that complement roasted or slow-cooked shoulder of lamb.

  • Roasted leg of lamb with potatoes
  • Lamb curry
  • Slow-cooked lamb stew


We hope this article has given you some insights on how to cook frozen shoulder of lamb and allowed you more flexibility in meal planning. Whether you choose oven roasting, slow cooking or grilling method, make sure your internal temp reaches between 60° Celsiusand 63° Celsius (140 F -145 F). Adding a variety of spices can add zest and flavor to your roast while resting will help distribute moisture evenly so that each bite is juicy. So what will be your next go-to recipe for your frozen shoulder?


  1. Q: Can you cook a frozen shoulder of lamb without thawing it first? A: Yes, you can cook a frozen shoulder of lamb without thawing it first. However, it is recommended to thaw the meat before cooking in order to ensure even cooking and prevent overcooking the outside while undercooking the inside.
  2. Q: What are some easy seasoning options for a frozen shoulder of lamb? A: For an easy seasoning option, try rubbing the lamb with a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic powder and rosemary. This will give it a classic flavor that complements the richness of the meat.
  3. Q: How long should I cook a frozen shoulder of lamb in the oven? A: The cooking time for a frozen shoulder of lamb will depend on its size and your desired level of doneness. Generally, you can plan on cooking it for 20-25 minutes per pound at 350°F until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (medium-rare) or 160°F (medium).
  4. Q: What are some side dishes that pair well with cooked frozen shoulder of lamb? A: Cooked frozen shoulder is traditionally served with roasted vegetables like carrots, potatoes and onions. Alternatively, you could also serve it with mashed sweet potatoes or creamy polenta for a richer flavor profile.

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