Braised Lamb Shanks

8 Servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes

Braised Lamb Shanks are fall off the bone tender and surprisingly easy with garlic, beef broth, red wine, and thyme to flavor the meat.

If you’ve tried Beer-Braised Pot Roast or Red Wine-Braised Chicken, then you already know what an amazing flavor and tenderness this cooking method gives meat. Now, you can use it to make the ultimate Dinner Recipe with lamb shanks.

Sabrina’s Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe

If you haven’t prepped lamb shanks before, they can seem intimidating. Many readers here cook more with chicken or beef recipes, and may avoid lamb because it is less familiar. However, there’s really nothing harder about preparing lamb meat, and if done properly it has an incredible taste.

This Lamb Shanks recipe just goes to show that you can easily prepare the perfect, hearty, and comforting family dinner with lamb. The steps are essentially the same as any braised beef recipe you’d try. All you have to do is sear the meat until it’s browned, then cook it at a low temperature in braising liquid to tenderize it.

Though braising is a little time-consuming, it’s also incredibly easy. After spending just a few minutes searing the lamb shanks, all you have to do is add the other ingredients to your dutch oven. Then pop it in the oven, and don’t worry about it until it’s time to take the dish out and serve.

Ingredients

  • Lamb: This recipe calls for 4 lamb shanks. However, you can always change up the ingredient amounts depending on how many people you need to serve. Generally, you’ll want about 1 pound of shank per person you’re serving and you’ll season simply, with just salt and pepper.
  • Oil: Browning lamb shanks in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil before braising it gives the recipe a richer, bolder flavor. Be sure to season the meat with kosher salt before searing.
  • Vegetables: Cooking the recipe with vegetables adds more flavor and variety to the meal. Add ½ cup sliced celery, 1 diced yellow onion, 2 pounds of red potatoes, and 1 pound carrot pieces to the dutch oven. They’ll cook and soften during the oven time.
  • Beef Liquid: The cup of beef broth gives a bold, but natural and earthy flavor to the braising liquid. Meanwhile, the 1 ½ cups of red wine and ¼ cup tomato paste give the recipe a brighter, tangy flavor. The red wine also does a great job softening the meat as it cooks. To further flavor the braising liquid, add 4 cloves minced garlic and 4 sprigs fresh thyme. You could also replace the minced garlic cloves with all-natural garlic powder.
Braised Lamb Shanks ingredients in bowls

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Large Dutch Oven: A dutch oven will be the place where your lamb shanks braise for hours in the oven. A dutch oven is a large heavy pot with a lid. It is often cast iron or ceramic and is ideal for braising. Make sure your dutch oven is large enough to hold all your lamb shanks and vegetables.
  • Measuring Cup and spoons: You need a measuring cup and measuring spoons for all of your ingredients to create the cooking liquid and add seasonings.
  • Tongs: Use tongs to turn the lamb shanks as they brown in the dutch oven on the stovetop. 
  • Cutting Board and Knife: Grab your favorite kitchen knife and a cutting board so you can chop the vegetables. You can chop them into big chunks so they can hold up to the long cooking time, while still absorbing all the flavor of the cooking liquid.
  • Thermometer: You can use a meat thermometer to make sure the lamb shanks are fully cooked.

How to Make Braised Lamb Shanks

Time needed: 3 hours and 20 minutes.

  1. Prep Time

    If your lamb meat is frozen, take it out of the freezer in time to thaw before starting the recipe. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Then season lamb shanks with salt and pepper.Raw Braised Lamb Shanks on a plate

  2. Sear Lamb

    Add butter and olive oil to the base of a large dutch oven, and put the dutch oven over high heat. Add lamb shanks to pot and sear on each side until the meat is browned. It should only take about 5-6 minutes on each side. Then turn off the stovetop.Braised Lamb Shanks browning in the pot

  3. Wine Sauce and Vegetables

    Top the lamb with potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, beef stock, red wine, thyme, and tomato paste.Braised Lamb Shanks and vegetables with cooking liquid being added

  4. Cooking Time

    Place the dutch oven in the preheated oven. Then cook lamb shanks for 3 to 3 ½ hours until the meat is tender. To check that the Braised Lamb Shanks are done cooking, you can use an internal meat thermometer. Lamb is safe to eat when it’s reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees. If it’s not quite done, continue cooking for an additional 4 or 5 minutes or so until it is.Braised Lamb Shanks fully cooked in the pot

  5. Serve

    Transfer lamb from pot to plates to serve with mashed potatoes or pasta. Then spoon sauce over the top.Close up of Braised Lamb Shanks on a plate

“Can Braised Lamb Shanks be made ahead?”

Making Braised Lamb Shanks ahead of time is very easy. Simply follow the recipe and then let the lamb and vegetables come to room temperature. You can decide to refrigerate or freeze the lamb for easy reheating later on. Heat the lamb in a covered baking dish at 350 degrees until bubbling. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer to make sure it has come to 145 degrees again before serving.

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Braised Lamb Shanks
Amount Per Serving
Calories 311 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Trans Fat 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 71mg24%
Sodium 898mg39%
Potassium 1122mg32%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 23g46%
Vitamin A 9747IU195%
Vitamin C 17mg21%
Calcium 59mg6%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

Enjoy huge depth of flavor by following these braising tips.

  1. Do not skip searing
    • Searing the lamb is a very important step in creating lots of flavor. Don’t skip this step and don’t skip the butter to opt for all olive oil. The butter is what will get the meat to start browning and the olive oil helps keep it from burning.
  2. Chop the vegetables in large pieces
    • You can chop your vegetables into big chunks for braising so they can hold up to the long cooking time, while still absorbing all the flavor of the cooking liquid.

What to Pair With Braised Lamb Shanks

Braised Lamb Shanks make the perfect comfort food, and you’ll love serving them over Mashed Potatoes or egg noodles to round out the meal. You could also try other sides like Brown Rice or Stick of Butter Rice. For vegetable sides, make some Roasted Broccoli or Delicious Root Vegetables.

How to Store Braised Lamb Shanks

  • Serve: Make sure you don’t leave Cooked Lamb Shanks at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Store: If you have leftovers, transfer shanks to an airtight container, or cover them in plastic wrap. The Braised Lamb Shanks can stay good in the fridge for 2-3 days. To reheat leftovers, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then cover the shanks in aluminum foil and heat in the warm oven.
  • Freeze: To store the lamb shanks in freezer, put them in an airtight plastic bag or another freezer-safe container. They can stay good frozen for 4-5 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are my lamb shanks turning out tough?

If your Lamb Shanks are turning out tough, it probably means you haven’t braised them long enough. Cooking them low and slow in a pot with wine sauce lets the meat absorb the liquid and flavor. That way, they’re perfectly tender.

Why is all the liquid cooking out of my dutch oven?

If your oven is running too hot, the braising liquid may evaporate before the end of the cooking time. In that case, whisk together more red wine, beef broth, and tomato sauce, and pour it over the lamb shanks to continue braising.

Recipe Card

Braised Lamb Shanks

Braised Lamb Shanks are fall off the bone tender and surprisingly easy with garlic, beef broth, red wine, and thyme to flavor the meat.
Yield 8 Servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds red potatoes , quartered
  • 1 pound carrots , peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup celery , sliced
  • 1 yellow onion , diced
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Season the lamb shanks with the kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Add the butter and olive oil to a large dutch oven on high heat.
  • Sear the lamb shanks on each side until browned, about 5-6 minutes on each side.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Top the lamb with the potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, beef broth, red wine, thyme, and tomato paste and cook for 3-3 ½ hours until tender.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes or pasta.

Nutrition

Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 898mg | Potassium: 1122mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 9747IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 3mg
Keyword: Braised Lamb Shanks

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Variations

  • Vegetables: You can add more vegetables into the dutch oven like sliced bell peppers, baby potatoes, mushrooms, or diced tomatoes.
  • Seasonings: Try experimenting with different spices and fresh herbs. Paprika, ground mustard, sage, rosemary sprigs, and oregano are all delicious options.
  • White Wine Sauce: You can make the cooking liquid with white wine instead of red for a lighter wine sauce. If you go with white wine you could also try using chicken broth because it will match the flavor better.
  • Wine Substitutes: Most of the alcohol will cook out of the recipe in the oven, but if you want to replace the red wine with a nonalcoholic option you could use cranberry juice, grape juice, or beef stock.
Braised Lamb Shanks Pinterest image

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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