Slow Cooker Doner Kebab is an easy make at home version of the classic Turkish kebab. Perfectly seasoned lamb cooked until tender, sliced thinly and served in a flatbread with crunchy salad – delicious!
Slow Cooker Doner Kebab (Lamb Kebab)
Who says that the slow cooker is only useful for casseroles and curries? There are plenty of other recipes that work fantastically well in them. One of which is a kebab!
The word kebab actually describes the cooking method of skewering meat, fish or vegetables and cooking slowly over coals. There are several different types of kebab from various parts of the world, for example Middle Eastern Shawarma, Greek Gryos and Souvlaki, and of course one of the most popular, Doner kebab from Turkey.
Personally, I think the doner kebab’s reputation here in the UK of only being eaten at the end of a night out is unfair! It’s actually a really tasty meal and perfect for sharing.
As you may have seen, doner kebabs sold in shops are always cooked on a giant, slowly rotating skewer called a rotisserie. However, this is not a process that is possible to copy in the slow cooker!
My technique produces delicious results, is easy to prepare, and even better, works in the slow cooker.
What You’ll Need
Here’s what you need to make it.
- Lamb. Doner kebabs are traditionally made from lamb meat but it’s not unheard of to see beef, veal or chicken being used instead. If you want to be a purist you need to use lamb. Lamb is a fatty meat and you need this fat whilst cooking to keep the kebab tender, flavourful and moist. Look for 20% fat mince.
- Spices. A blend of cumin, cinnamon, chilli, paprika, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
- Onion and garlic. Finely grate a small onion and some cloves of garlic.
- Breadcrumbs. These aren’t a traditional ingredient for a doner kebab but they improve the texture of the kebab and impart flavour throughout the meat as they soak up the liquid.
- Milk. Again, you likely won’t find milk in traditional recipes but it’s great for softening and binding minced meat.
- Lamb stock. This is a trick that I do when making various minced meat dishes. Melt a stock cube into a little warmed milk, it’s a great way to transfer the flavour through the meat.
- Oil. Just a little to prevent the kebab from sticking to the foil whilst cooking.
How To Make It
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make a homemade Doner Kebab in the slow cooker.
- Milk and stock. Warm the milk in a microwave then crumble in the stock cube, stir well.
- Process. To create the tightly bound meat loaf that you see in the kebab shops, the lamb and seasonings need to be well mixed. This can be best achieved at home in a food processor.
- Blend. Blend all of the ingredients in the food processor until well mixed to the consistency of a thick paste.
- Foil wrap. Measure out some foil and then use the oil to paint a large rectangle in the centre where the lamb kebab will sit.
- Shape. Spoon the kebab mixture onto the centre of the oiled foil and mould it into a loaf shape. Bring the foil together tightly over the meat to seal (see the recipe card for detailed instructions).
- Trivet. Create a trivet for the kebab to rest on whilst cooking from two pieces of rolled up foil. If you already have a trivet for your slow cooker you can use this – providing it is wide enough.
- Cook. Place the kebab onto the trivet in the slow cooker and cook. When it’s cooked unravel it from the foil and allow to rest for 10-20 minutes before carving into thin slices and serving.
I serve a fakeaway doner kebab exactly as you would buy them from a shop, in a flatbread with crisp salad, pickles, and a creamy yogurt and garlic sauce drizzled over the top. I really enjoy the combination of the crunchy salad (I usually opt for iceberg lettuce and sometimes pickled cabbage) and the soft lamb and flatbread. It’s a very satisfying thing to eat!
This recipe will feed 6 people if sliced nice and thinly and served in pittas or flatbreads with salad and sauce. I also like some fries on the side!
If you do happen to have some kebab meat leftover, here are some alternative meal ideas.
- It makes a great filling for wraps with some hot chilli sauce!
- Throw some slices on the top of a pizza with some fresh sweet red chilli peppers.
Saying that, it’s so tasty that there is absolutely nothing wrong with simply having another kebab the next day!
Tips to make Crockpot Doner Kebab
- A food processor will really help to bind the meat and seasonings together and help with carving thin slices that do not crumble.
- When shaping the kebab make sure to roll it in the foil as tightly as you can (with care not to rip the foil whilst doing so) to create a well shaped kebab which will carve easily.
- A meat thermometer like this one is a great tool to check that the kebab (or any large chunk of meat) is cooked through.
- When slicing the kebab use a large, freshly sharpened knife to get perfectly thin slices.
It depends on how it’s made and what it’s served with! Slow cooker doner kebab is made with lamb mince which is naturally fatty. However, much of this fat is actually drained away during the cooking process. Similarly, the level of salt in the dish is kept to a minimum. Served with a crisp green salad and a garlic or chilli dressing, this homemade kebab can actually be quite a healthy option.
Yes, simply slice the kebab meat and then thoroughly reheat in either the microwave or in a frying pan.
Cover the leftover kebab in cling film and store in an airtight container. It’ll stay fresh for three days in the fridge.
Slow Cooker Doner Kebab
- 1 kg (2.2 lb) lamb mince 20% fat
- 35 g (1.25 oz) bread crumbs 1 slice of bread toasted or pre-bought. See recipe notes.
- 1 onion small white onion, grated.
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 50 ml (0.2 cups) milk warmed
- 1 lamb stock cube
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1½ tsp garlic granules use an extra clove of fresh garlic if you don't have these.
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp pepper ground black pepper
- ½ tsp chilli powder hot
- 1 tbsp oil vegetable or olive
- Warm the milk in a jug in the microwave and then crumble in the lamb stock cube, stir well until dissolved.
- In a food processor add the lamb mince, breadcrumbs (see recipe note 6), grated onion and garlic, salt, pepper and all of the spices (cumin, garlic granules, paprika, smoked paprika, chilli, cinnamon). Pour over the milk and lamb stock mixture and then blend for 1 minute. It may be necessary to remove the lid and stir half way through blending to ensure all the ingredients are mixed. Once blended the mixture should resemble a thick sticky paste. Set aside. If you don't have a food processor then mix all the ingredients in a large bowl with your hands and make sure that the meat is worked through well. See note 1.
- Now take a large piece of foil (40cm x 30cm / 16 inches x 12 inches) and place it flat on a worktop. Paint the foil all over with the oil, stopping 3cm from each edge. This will prevent the kebab from sticking to the foil wrap.
- Spoon the lamb mixture into the middle of the foil where the oil has been painted. Begin shaping it with your hands to form a cylinder shape. Pack the meat tightly and smooth over the surface as much as possible to prevent cracks forming whilst it cooks. The kebab should be thin enough that the foil can be brought over it to seal it length wise. Check that the kebab will fit in your slow cooker.
- Gently bring the edges of the foil together along the length of the kebab and then roll them down so you have a tight, neat seal running left to right along the the length of the kebab. Finally fold the foil at each end of the kebab inwards and upwards firmly (as you would wrap a present). See note 2.
- Now make a trivet in your slow cooker for the kebab to sit on whilst cooking. Take two sections of foil each 20 cm across and roll into tube shapes, place these in the bottom of the slow cooker. This will prevent the bottom of the kebab from cooking too quickly and also stop it sitting in any fat drained away during cooking.
- Place the kebab in the slow cooker resting on top of the foil trivet and cook for 5½ hours on low or 4½ hours on high.
- To test the the kebab is cooked, it will be firm when pressed, hot throughout and the juices will run clear. The most accurate test is using a meat thermometer; insert the probe into the centre of the kebab and check that the internal temperature is 75°C or over after 30 seconds.
- Remove the foil parcel from the slow cooker and place on a board or sheet pan, loosen the foil at the top of the kebab a small amount to allow steam to escape and then rest for 20 minutes. This will allow the meat to firm up ready for carving.
- Once rested, remove the kebab from the foil wrap and carve lengthways into into thin slices.
- A food processor is the best way to ensure that the ingredients are tightly bound to resemble an authentic style doner kebab that carves easily. You can mix the meat and seasoning through by hand if necessary, but you must ensure that it is mixed thoroughly and packed firmly to get the desired result. If the mixture is not bound together tightly enough it’ll crumble during carving.
- When wrapping the kebab the foil should be taught around the meat so that it retains its shape. Be careful not to tear it.
- A meat thermometer is the best way to test that the kebab is thoroughly cooked through. Insert the probe and check that the temperature reaches 75°C/165°F or over after 30 seconds.
- Lamb is a naturally fatty meat and lots will be released from the kebab during the cooking process. This will naturally seep out of the seams of the foil wrap meaning there is no need to pierce the foil in any places. The foil trivet lifts the kebab up from the bottom of the bowl so that it is not sitting in the fat whilst cooking.
- To achieve long thin slices of meat use a large sharp knife to carve the kebab.
- Breadcrumbs can be bought or easily made at home, the recipe requires 35g which is the amount of a slice of bread. Simply toast then grate the bread.