pressure cooker lamb tajine
Sweet and savory combine with spices we don’t usually associate in a meat dish to create a classic Moroccan Tajine – a dish usually prepared in a conical ceramic pot (larger than the one photographed) that operates a bit like it’s own pressure cooker!

You can serve this dish, with a cardamom-infused Basmati rice. Just make your rice in the usual way, and throw in a few crushed cardamom pods.

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
3L or larger None 25 min. High (2) Natural

4.4 from 15 reviews
Moroccan Lamb Tajine - pressure cooker recipe
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: Moroccan
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2.5 lbs (1.2 kg) lamb shoulder, cut into pieces
  • 10 oz (300g) pitted prunes, soaked - or a mix of dried apricots and raisins
  • 1 cup (250ml) Vegetable Stock
  • 2 medium onions, roughly sliced
  • 1 bay laurel leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 3.5 oz (100g) Almonds, shelled, peeled and toasted
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  1. Mix the ground cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cumin and, garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil to make a paste, cover the meat with this paste and set aside.
  2. Put the dried prunes in a bowl, and cover with boiling water cover and, set aside.
  3. In the preheated pressure cooker, with the lid off on medium heat, add a swirl of olive oil (about a tablespoon) and onions and let them cook until softened (about 3 minutes). Pour out the onions, and set aside. Add the meat, and brown on all sides (about 10 minutes). Then, de-glaze the pressure cooker with the vegetable stock, ensuring to scrape the bottom well and incorporating any brown bits into the rest of the sauce. Then, add the onions, bay leaf and cinnamon stick.
  4. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  5. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 30 minutes at high pressure.
    For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 25 minutes pressure cooking time.
  6. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural release method - move the cooker off the burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes). For electric pressure cookers, disengage the “keep warm” mode or unplug the cooker and open when the pressure indicator has gone down (20 to 30 minutes).
  7. In the pressure cooker, with the lid off on medium heat add the salt, rinsed and drained prunes, honey and reduce the liquid (about 5 minutes). Fish out the bay leaf and cinnamon stick.
  8. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and sesame seeds and serve.


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  1. I have never tried Moroccan recipes..but you have aroused my interest in it ! Thank you !

  2. Mihela, if you try it, come back to tell us what you think!



  3. Just finished this wonderful tagine! The seasonings were spot on – it was rich and luxurious. Served mine over couscous and made only two changes. My butcher only had leg so had him cut it up for me into small pieces. Worked wonderfully. Also, I just threw my apricots (that’s what I had on hand) right into the PC and cooked everything together for 30 min in my electric PC. There was enough texture for me that way – thank you for a wonderful recipe!

  4. PamS, great to hear of your success in the electric pressure cooker! Lamb shanks were a prefect substitution. Any tough cut of meat benefits immensely from this long braise — well…. long in Pressure Cooking time!!



  5. Made this tonight almost exactly as written (added cardamom to spice blend, sultanas to apricots, reduced sauce in saucepan separate from meat) – awesome dish! Picky dad and 15-yr-old niece had big seconds. Cardamom basmati so nice. Threw in crushed lot, seeds & shells – was that right? Can’t wait to make for chef BF. Lamb shoulder way to go.

  6. This recipie was delicious, what an intriguing blend of spices!

    If one wished to incorporate additional vegetables, such as potatoes or carrots, would you advise adding them to the pot after some time or preparing them seperately so that they are not overcooked and mushey? Would you increase the amount seasoning or use a different blend if cooking the vegetables seperately?

    Thanks for sharing your fine work in such comprehensible terms. The photos prove most helpful as well.

    1. Kewlio,

      Yes, you are right, you should phase-in the veggies later in the cooking. Pressure cook the tajine for 20 minutes, then add diced potatoes and carrots sliced in large rondelles (about 3/4″ thick) on top and bring up to pressure, cook for 5 more minutes with natural release.



  7. Thanks for the prompt reply, Laura.

    I prepared this dish again last night, roughly doubling the spice blend to account for the volume of additional vegetables. I briefly seared the carrots after the onions and phased them in again with the potatoes as you suggested. The veggies were well cooked yet remained firm, your timing is impeccable!

  8. I assume that Instruction #1 “2 spoons of olive oil” = 2 Tablespoons…

    1. Yes, that would be olive oil – I have updated the recipe to reflect that change (I published this recipe 5 years ago before I knew how to write recipes properly ; ).



      1. Cool Laura, thanks for clarifying!

  9. Looks delicious! I’m very new to pressure cooking – if you were going to substitute the lamb with chicken thighs would the cooking time change? (I have an electric pressure cooker – Instant Pot)

      1. Thank you for the reply – I am going to go through Laura’s pressure cooking lessons so I don’t have to ask any more dumb questions!

  10. I made this last night and while the flavors were good, it turned out very soupy. It was much more like a stew than I expected. If I make it again I’ll cut the stock in half because it didn’t reduceas much as I expected. For sake of full disclosure, this was the first attempt at anything made in a pressure cooker, so maybe I did something wrong?

    1. A common issue with pressure cookers is that the result is too wet. This is because of the need to add liquid to maintain the pressure. The solution is simple. Just simmer for a while with the lid off after finishing the pressure phase. If you find you need to reduce a long time, you may want to shorten the time under pressure to compensate for the extra cooking. EDIT. I just re read the recipe. Laura says to reduce the liquid in step 7.

      Actually when I make this traditionally in a tajine it comes out very liquid too.

    2. No, you did it right – pressure cooking initially appears to INCREASE cooking liquids. That’s not what is happening, of course. There is no magic. What you see is all of the liquid the meat and veggies have released that with other cooking methods would usually evaporate.

      Think about this: An open pot of boiling water will evaporate up to a cup of liquid in a 10 minute time period. While, a pressure cooker will only evaporate about a tablespoon in that time period.

      Enjoy this flavorful, concentrated liquid and use it as a base to make couscous! ; )

      Ciao and welcome!


  11. I tried this last night and it was delicious. However, I have one question: the ingredients include “1 teaspoon Cumin powder”, but this is not mentioned in the Instructions. Did I miss something?

    1. No Laura did. It happens. And once she becomes aware of it she will fix it.

      Just add the cumin with the other spice powders. Or you could replace all of them with garam marsala.

      1. Oops. Sorry. Just noticed this is Moroccan not Indian. Try Ras el Hanout instead of the spice powders.

    2. Thanks for your comment Steve, and your help Greg. This was one of my early recipes and I wasn’t very good at listing the ingredients in the order they are used or ensuring that everything is mentioned as it should be. I corrected the first step in this recipe to include cumin in the list, and moved garlic up on the ingredient list so it’s listed when it’s used.




  12. Laura. so glad you posted this delectable and sumptuous recipe! I had been wanting to try a lamb tagine in my Instantpot, and your gorgeous rendition was a feast for the senses. BRAVA!

  13. I would like to make this recipe. However, I will make one important addition, my preserved lemons. They really make a big difference in the outcome, for those who are into authenticity or getting close to it. Just google Moroccan preserved lemons and you’ll find quite a few recipes. It makes quite a difference! I’ve always made the recipe with olives in it as well, your addition of apricots is interesting, the Moroccans have other recipes that call for different dried fruits. I can use your cooking instructions to make other similar recipes which will help speed things up as well as simplify them! Thanks for your experimentation and recipe result!

    1. The preserved lemons are a great addition. I would stir them in at the end along with the olives.

      PS We used preserved lemons on pizza too!

  14. WOW ! I just made this today… while the sauce was reducing, I made some couscous. Delicious! I like the idea of adding preserved lemons…. when I make it next time, I will certainly add them as well

  15. Just got my instant pot and this was the recipe I tried. Unfortunately, it was soupy and bland. :( I think I screwed something up by adding in extra vegetables. But not sure what else went wrong. I increased the seasoning to account for the extra veggies but it was so far off the mark. is there a good rule of thumb when it comes to adding extra ingredients to IP recipes?

    1. Esther,

      Please join me at the new Pressure Cooking School:

      Pay special attention to this part of the rice episode (this really applies to adding veggies to any pressure cooker recipe):

      BTW, adding the extra liquid from the veggies doesn’t just require more spices – it also dilutes the flavor of the meat and other ingredients.



  16. I made this for my moroccan husband. I was so nervous but it turned out great. Only change I made was I didn’t have veggie stick so I used beef. Also since we are in morroco, I don’t get the lamb in specific cuts. It was on the bone and I honestly have no idea the cut. Thank you for allowing me to cook something moroccan that actually tastes just like his families recipe .

    1. Welcome Calli, thanks for coming back to tell us about it. Can you share with us what kind of pressure cooker you are using in Morocco?



      1. I am sorry I didnt see this until now. I brought a Instant Pot from the US. I have been nervous to cook Moroccan becuase of my concern with using stove top pressure cookers. I now have two Instant pots (and a voltage convertor)

  17. I have a question about quantity of liquid. The recommended minimum for the IP is 1-1/2 cups. Is one cup of stock too little?

    1. Renee, all the recipes on this website will work with Instant Pot – good for you for being aware of your cooker’s minimum liquid requirement! The reason they work is because in some cases, such as this one, I calculate the liquid that will be released from the meat as veggies as part of the cooking liquid.

      Here’s a little explanation of how it works:



  18. Thank you! So grateful for the quick response. The IP is still in the box, and this will be my first effort with it.

  19. How many servings would you say this is?

    1. I tend to allow around 150-200g meat per person, so 6 to 8 people. Of course if there are teenagers at the table that number would plummet. Served with rice as suggested, or, more traditionally, with couscous

  20. I am sure you know but just in cas noting works in the forums now,

  21. Just yum!

  22. I am excited to make this based on my love for Moroccan cuisine. However, I am not a fan of lamb. If I made this with chicken or turkey, what would I need to adjust? Thank you in advance!

  23. If I wanted to double this recipe, how long would I have to cook for in the instapot?

    1. Ray, when you increase the quantity you don’t need to increase the pressure cooking time. You only have to do that if the cut of meat is “bigger” (like a roast vs a steak). Don’t miss my Pressure Cooking School -where I discuss how to double recipes for the pressure cooker as well! : )



  24. I ended up cooking for 45 minutes and that seemed to be about right. I did try to reduce the excess liquid by sautéing an extra 10 minutes. Next time I’ll use some of the excess sauce for the couscous when making it. That sounds like a good idea.

  25. What does this mean: “7. Yo the pressure cooker.” Also, when do you add the 1 tsp. pepper? Thanks.

    1. Thanks for catching that type-o. It should have been.. “7. In the pressure cooker”. I have corrected the recipe, too!



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