American Lamb Vindaloo

Prep Time

 1HR 10min

Cook Time

 2 hr

Total Time

3hr, 10min



Lamb pita bowls on a table


  • 2 pounds boneless American lamb shoulder roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 5 chiles de árbol, (stemmed, seeded and torn in half)*
  • 4 green cardamom pods 
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, or 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and thinly slice
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (or molasses)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds**
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 large yellow onion, (chopped)
  • 8 cloves garlic, (roughly chopped)
  • 1 small red or green Thai chili or red jalapeño, (stemmed and thinly sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (optional)
  • Cooked rice, bulgar, or barley for serving

* Leave the seeds in half of the chiles for added heat. If you like a lot of spice, keep the seeds in all of the chiles, if you like it mild, remove the seeds in all of the chiles. 

**if you do not have black mustard seeds, go ahead and use yellow. If you don’t have yellow either, feel free to leave them out altogether. 


Toss lamb with 2 teaspoons salt; set aside. 

Toast peppercorns, dried chiles, cardamom, cloves, and cumin seeds in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer spices to a blender with vinegar, ginger, tamarind paste, and turmeric; blend, scraping down sides as needed, until smooth.

Add spice purée to lamb and toss to coat; cover and refrigerate for 4 hours (or set aside at room temperature for 1 hour).

Heat oven to 325 degrees F with rack set in lower-middle position.

Heat oil in now empty Dutch oven over medium-high; cook mustard seeds and cinnamon until seeds pop, 1–2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic, chiles, and sugar; cook until onion has softened and starts to brown, about 8 minutes. 

Stir in lamb and its marinade, 1 cup water (or white wine) and bring to a boil. Cover pot, transfer to oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours until lamb is tender.

Using wooden spoon or rubber spatula, scrape any browned bits from sides of pot and stir into sauce; stir in bell pepper, if using, and let stand, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Skim and discard grease from surface of sauce. Season vindaloo with salt to taste and serve.

To de-fat the vindaloo even more: make the lamb a day ahead of time, store it in an airtight container and scoop the chilled layer of fat off the top. 

USDA recommends the following time and temperature parameters

Ground Lamb

Internal temperature of 160°F

All Other Cuts

Internal temperature of 145°F, with a 3 minute rest

thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.

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