Lamb Tagine with Apricots and Dates
Lamb tagine with apricots and dates is a tender, aromatic, hearty African meal. Take a virtual trip to Morocco by making this easy recipe!
The powerful flavors come together in this North African recipe in a truly amazing way. Tangy apricots, saffron, cinnamon, and onions combined with deliciously tender lamb is the ultimate comfort dish.
Next time you need a bowl of something warm and cozy, try this instead of the usual winter meal.
Hungry for more comfort food? Check out my recipes for butter chicken and chana masala! They’ll keep you warm all season long.
What is a tagine?
For those who aren’t familiar, a tagine is an African cooking pot that’s typically made out of clay or ceramic. It has a round, shallow base and a cone shaped, vented top. Tagines have been used for centuries as the perfect dish to use for slow cooking!
Lamb Tagine with Apricots
Ingredient Notes + Substitutions
- Olive Oil – Use a rich extra virgin olive oil to maximize the flavor.
- Almond Slivers
To blanch almonds, simply place them in boiling water for 1 minute. Don’t boil too long, or they’ll become soft! After boiling, drain and rinse immediately with cold water.
- Red Onions
I use red onion because of its potent, bitter flavor. However, if you’re in a pinch, yellow onions are an adequate substitute.
- Ginger Paste
Store bought is fine, but making your own is so easy! Just peel about 1 pound of ginger and blend it with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. Voila, you now have homemade ginger paste!
- Coriander Seeds
These seeds should be crushed. Whole coriander seeds will ruin the texture of the dish.
Shoulder or leg meat work best. As long as it’s 2 pounds of boneless meat and cut into cubes, it will work for this recipe.
Remove the seeds! Just like the coriander, date seeds will ruin the texture of the meal.
- Ras el Hanout
This blend is optional, but highly recommended. The flavor this seasoning brings to the dish as a whole is simply mouthwatering.
Recipe Video + Instructions
To see exactly how to make the lamb tagine with apricots and dates, you can watch the video located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
- Sauté the ingredients. Start by heating up the butter and oil in the tagine. Then, stir in the almonds until they’re golden. Once golden, add the diced onions and garlic, stirring frequently.
Aftew a few minutes, add the ginger paste, saffron threads, cinnamon sticks and coriander seeds. Next, add the cubed pieces of lamb and stir everything together and continue to sauté for approximately 4 minutes.
- Add water. Pour enough water into the tagine to cover the meat. Bring the mixture to a boil before reducing the heat and letting it simmer until the meat is tender. This should take about 1 hour.
- Add the aromatics. After letting the meat simmer for an hour, add the dates, apricots and orange peel. Stir everything together in the tagine and simmer for another 20 minutes. Enjoy the mouthwatering smells filling your kitchen!
- Stir in the honey. This step is my favorite, because you get to watch your dish become fully realized! After stirring in the honey, simmer for about 10 more minutes. After that, your sauce should be syrupy and ready to go. If you decide to add ras el hanout, toss it in with the honey.
- Serve! This dish is delicious with a garnish of chopped fresh cilantro. Serve the meal with a side of couscous and pita bread. Enjoy!
Lamb tagine will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
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Lamb Tagine with Apricots + Video
- 1 tbsp olive oil (See Note 1)
- 1 tbsp butter (See Note 1)
- 2 tbsp blanched almond slivers
- 2 red onions diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp ginger paste
- pinch saffron threads
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tsp coriander seeds crushed
- 2 lbs lamb shoulder or leg cubed
- 8 dates seeded
- 8 dried apricots
- 1 orange (See Note 2)
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp Ras el Hanout optional
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Heat the butter and oil in a tagine (See Note 3), or Dutch oven, heavy casserole baking dish (See Note 4). Stir in the almonds and sauté until golden. Add the diced onions and garlic, stir and cook over low heat until golden. Stir in the ginger paste, saffron, cinnamon sticks and coriander seeds. Add the cubed lamb pieces and stir to make sure everything is coated with the onion and spices. Sauté for 4 minutes.
- Next pour enough water in to cover the meat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until meat is tender.
- Add the dates, apricots and orange peel, stir to mix and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the honey and ras-el-hanout (optional) and simmer another 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The sauce should be syrupy. If it is too watery, allow to simmer and thicken with lid off for 5 minutes, or add some water if necessary.
- Top with chopped cilantro and serve along side couscous and bread of choice.
- Use the Saute setting and melt the butter and oil. Stir in the almonds and sauté until golden. Add the diced onions and garlic, stir and cook until golden. Stir in the ginger paste, saffron, cinnamon sticks and coriander seeds. Add the cubed lamb pieces and stir to make sure everything is coated with the onion and spices. Pour enough water in to cover the meat, close the lid and choose Stew setting.
- Do a Quick Release and add the dates, apricots, orange zest, honey, ras-el-hanout and choose the Saute setting for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The sauce should be syrupy. If it is too watery, choose the Saute setting for another 5 minutes or as needed.
- Top with chopped cilantro and serve along side couscous and bread of choice.
- You can also substitute the oil and butter for 2 tablespoons ghee.
- I use a vegetable peeler and get 4 strips of orange peel, no white part.
- Be sure to have cured your tagine prior to it’s first use (good post here) and use a diffuser between the tagine and the heat source, be it flame electric burner.
- If using a dutch oven or deep casserole dish (cover with foil), bake at 350°F, same time applies.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Made this tonight – minor adjustments- I added a lamb stock cube, extra ras el hanout and I had no orange so used lime peel – so good and flavorful
Sorry for the late reply as I have been over in Egypt researching new recipes to share here. Excellent choices there Margaret, so glad you enjoyed.
I made this with beef short rib instead of lamb in a dutch oven in the oven. I found that it needed significantly more salt throughout (my version). I added a two tablespoons of beef buillion paste, and probably would have salted the meat beforehand. Because I used fatty cut of beef I needed to remove some of the fat off the top. Otherwise, turned out lovely and intense. I used a simple ras-el-hanout mix I found online from epicurious with the ingredients I had at home.
Fantastic, so glad you gave this a try and adapted to what you had on hand Olivia!
Hi Kevin! What size tagine do you recommend for making this?
Mine is about 11 to 12 inch in diameter and a 2.5 quart capacity. If you don’t have a dutch oven with lid works perfectly, too.
What a fantastic recipe, it was utterly delicious! I used lamb and chicken because I was on a budget, but it was still great ! Do happy to have found this recipe, thank you 🙂
So happy you enjoyed this one Clemence!
making this awesome recipe and would like to know what side to serve besides couscous and naan for a dinner party. Tanks
Fantastic! Lots to choose from, see my North African section here Diana!
I had a legendary lamb with dates and apricots in London few years back and have been dreaming about it since. Now I have found the recepie, thank you!! and I have just bought a cast iron cocotte le crouset and drying to use it. Any tips for your tagine, like temperature and cooking time on a fan assisted oven.
I have approximate 900 grams of lamb ready in the fridge.. Literally starting preparation in the afternoon.. Thanks
You can definitely use a dutch oven like you recently purchased in lieu of a tagine. I would set oven to a 350°F temperature and the same times apply. Enjoy Paola!
Could I make this using chicken instead of lamb, would the cooking time be the same?
Yes you could John. As I have not tried that I could not give an accurate time, but my guess would be to cut the time to maybe 45 minutes and check to see when the chicken reaches internal temp of 165°F. Hope this helps.
I made this as is, but added a tablespoon of ras el hanout instead of 1/2 teaspoon and it was delicious. First time ever cooking and tasting a lamb tagine. Thanks for the easy to follow and tasty recipe!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Kristy. Thanks for coming back to let me know!
kevin this looks heavenly! big fan of Morrocan food.
So glad you are following long and hope you give this one a try!
1st time tried cooking n tasting lamb tagine today. Quite nice, complex flavors but on the sweet side.
Interesting dish 🙂
Thanks Sunny! We enjoyed it at our house too!
Can I make this in the instant pot?
Naz, I have now updated the recipe card to reflect my Instant Pot version. I hope you enjoy!
OH Im wondering that too in the instan pot..,?
I have updated the recipe card to reflect my Instant Pot version!
I made this as is, and it was SO GOOD! The meat was super tender and the combination of spices and sweetness was amazing. I served this over a Mediterranean baked rice with roasted tomatoes and garlic, along with a few dolmas and naan. Incredible meal, even the kids enjoyed it! Thank you so much!
I am so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for sharing!
Hi Kevin, this looks so delicious. I want to make this for Christmas. Can I also make this in my slowcooker? I have only a small tagine and I need to make this for 10 people, can you give me a suggestion for how long it has to cook in a slowcooker?
Hi Michelle. I found a similar recipe online that uses chicken instead of lamb. The instructions say to sear the meat and aromatics in a skillet, then place them in a 6-quart slow cooker with the apricots. Lay the meat on top and slow cook on low for 6 hours. I hope this helps. Please let me know how it turns out!
This is incredible, I loved every bite. Worth a try.
Talk about tender and good flavor, right? Thanks Dave!
Any instructions for making this without a tagine? On the stove? My mother loves lamb and would love to make this for her for Christmas.
Just replace the tagine with a dutch oven/casserole dish and lid and you are good to go Cherlynn.
Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. Looks like an interesting dish. I’m anxious to try it.