Sous Vide Lamb Shoulder Chop

How to cook lamb chops sous vide without a sous vide cooker.

You want a thick lamb shoulder chop that’s perfectly tender and medium rare all the way through, but you don’t have a sous vide cooker or any special equipment? I’ve found an easy way to cook sous vide on the stovetop with a regular pot. 

What you’ll need

  • A cooking thermometer
  • Stock pot
  • Small pot lid (smaller than your stock pot)
  • Zip-style locking bag with a strong seal
  • Pan and lid for searing


  • Thick lamb shoulder chop (pasture raised, grass-fed)
  • Sprigs of fresh thyme and mint
  • Prunes, I prefer French Agen plums
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar


Fill stock pot halfway or so with water, or at least five inches of water. Insert thermometer and bring to 130 F.  I use a clip on candy making thermometer, but any food thermometer will do.

In cooking bag: place fresh herbs, a dash of olive oil (a tablespoon is enough), a dash of balsamic vinegar.

Salt lamb shoulder on both sides, place in bag. Push all ingredients to the very bottom of the bag.

Take all the air out of the bag, or as much as possible (you can look at various youtube videos that show how to do this) and seal completely.

Place in the heated water.  Put the small lid upside down over the meat at the bottom of the stock pot. This will hold the bag completely under the water.

Once my water has reached the correct temperature and I’ve put the meat in, I usually turn off the heat source.  The lamb should sit in 130 F water for 20 – 30 minutes. Check every ten minutes to see if you need to turn the heat on low for a minute or two to bring up the temperature.  Don’t go over the suggested temperature. If for some reason that happens, remove your meat, put cold water in the pot or ice cubes, until you have your desired temperature.

After 20-30 minutes in this controlled temperature water bath, remove the bag.

Heat a skillet with some olive oil.

Using tongs, remove the meat from bag and place in pan to sear.  Put the fresh herbs in the pan as well. Cover and sear on one side. It doesn’t take long to sear and you don’t want to over cook, so just give it a minute or two.

Turn the lamb and sear the other side.  Add the prunes at this point. Cover and sear. You might have to add a tiny bit more olive oil to the prunes.  You don’t want to dry them out and you don’t want them to stick, just to give them a bit of a crisp on one side.

Throw away the herbs, plate your lamb chop and prunes.  You can sprinkle some fresh chopped herbs and finishing salt over the meat if you like.

Once you get this technique down, you’ll love how easy it is and how the results are guaranteed.  The meat is medium rare all the way through, never tough, dry or overcooked.

Cooking notes

Choose local, grass-fed, humanely raised lamb.  Check our meat buying guide for more information on understanding labels.

Please don’t even think of using standard plastic storage bags for this. Plastic + heat = leaching chemicals.

Use lead, BPA and phthalate-free sous vide bags (Supreme Zip Cooking Pouches).

Another option, which is better still, is to use a food grade silicon bag. The only downside is that it’s impossible to get all the air out of the silicone bag because of the shape and thickness.

You can use dried sour cherries in this dish if you prefer.  Some people just don’t like dried plums. Make sure your dried fruit does not have chemicals or additives in it (hint: most do).

I love Fruit Bliss Organic French Agen Mini Plums.

Don’t taste one while you are preparing this dish because they are so delicious you’ll have eaten a handful before you know it!

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