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I first tried lamb shanks when working at a Greek restaurant while I was in college — and I was blown away at how juicy and tender the meat was, but it was only recently that I experimented with how to cook lamb shanks myself. I’m so glad I did. These have deep and bold flavor, and are fall-apart tender. While the braised lamb shank recipe ingredient list may look long, it’s a lot of pantry staples that you probably already have. And the luxurious red wine gravy? That just makes this dish.
The stovetop to oven cooking method I use for braising lamb shanks is a favorite of mine for many other meats as well, because it results in flavorful meat that’s cooked perfectly. Browning on the stove first browns the outside, while finishing in the oven makes the meat juicy. Be sure to try this method for lamb chops, juicy sirloin steak, and even New York strip, too.
What Is Lamb Shank?
Lamb shanks are a flavorful cut from the shin of the lamb. Because it’s a tougher cut, a long and slow cooking time (think braises and slow roasting!) is key for the best ever braised lamb shanks.
Why You’ll Love This Braised Lamb Shank Recipe
- Deep and rich flavor
- Tender, fall-apart meat
- Luxurious red wine gravy
- Simple to prep
- Naturally gluten free, low carb, and healthy
- Perfect for holiday meals or entertaining
Ingredients For Braised Lamb Shanks
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for this easy braised lamb shank recipe, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Lamb Shanks – You’ll need 4 lamb shanks for this recipe, which is about 6 pounds with the bone and yields about 3 pounds of meat. This cut of lamb is not meant to be lean, but if there are huge chunks of excess fat, you can remove these.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
- Olive Oil – For sauteing. Avocado oil is great, too.
- Tomatoes – I used roma tomatoes, but any type of tomatoes will work. Dice them.
- Onion – This recipe calls for red onion, but white or yellow is fine, too. Dice coarsely.
- Carrots – These are optional and a bit higher in carbs, but delicious in a stew. You can omit them if you like.
- Red Wine – Use a dry red wine like merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, pinot noir, malbec, or a tempranillo. Choose one that you can drink with the lamb! You could also use a beef broth or beef stock if you prefer to omit the wine.
- Tomato Puree – Don’t confuse this with tomato sauce, tomato paste, or other tomato products. The label should actually say “tomato puree” on it. However, if you have tomato sauce, that is fine to substitute, but know that the flavor is less developed.
- Beef Bouillon Cubes – Use low-sodium bouillon cubes if you can find them, otherwise regular will work.
- Garlic – Fresh cloves of garlic are the most potent, but it’s fine to use minced garlic from a jar for convenience.
- Fresh Herbs – We’re using a tablespoon each of fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, and fresh parsley. I highly recommend cooking lamb shanks with fresh herbs, but if all you have is dried, replace each tablespoon of fresh with one teaspoon of dried.
- Bay Leaves – Optional, for flavor. Remove these before eating.
P.S. I know I’m stretching the “10 ingredients or less” theme of this site a bit with this roasted lamb shank recipe, but I really found that all these ingredients make this dish. They are all simple staples and the process is very easy, so don’t let the long list deter you!
How To Cook Lamb Shanks In The Oven
This section shows how to make red wine braised lamb shanks, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Season. Pat shanks dry with paper towel. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Sear. Heat oil in a large skillet (or a large dutch oven) on the stove top over medium-high heat, until shimmering. Sear lamb shanks on both sides, until lightly browned. (Cook in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan.) Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Saute vegetables. Add tomatoes, onions, and carrots (optional, if using) to the skillet and cook for a few minutes. Add minced garlic and saute for about a minute.
- Simmer braising liquid. Stir in red wine, water, tomato puree, and bouillon cubes. Simmer for a few minutes, then remove from heat. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Add herbs. Transfer lamb back to the skillet. Add bay leaves and fresh herbs around lamb.
- Bake. Cover with foil and bake for 2.5 hours, basting lamb with tomato sauce occasionally, until the meat is very tender.
How Long To Cook Lamb Shanks?
The lamb shanks get a quick sear first to brown them, then they take 2 1/2 hours to braise in the oven. Including these steps plus the time to cook the sauce, the total lamb shank cooking time is about 3 hours.
Why Are My Lamb Shanks Tough?
Tough lamb shanks are a sign that they were not cooked for long enough. The good news is, you can simply cook them for longer. It’s virtually impossible to overcook them.
Other Cooking Methods
- Slow Cooker – Sear the lamb shanks and saute the vegetables on the stovetop, the same as above. Then, combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook lamb shanks in the Crock Pot for 7-8 hours on Low or 3.5-4 hours on High, until fall-apart tender.
- Pressure Cooker – Brown the lamb shanks and saute the vegetables in the Instant Pot on the Saute setting. Add the remaining ingredients. Cover, seal, and cook the lamb shanks in the Instant Pot at high pressure for 60 minutes, until fall apart tender.
- Store: Store leftover baked lamb shanks in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- Meal prep: To prep the lamb ahead, cut all veggies to speed up cooking process.
- Reheat: Reheat lamb together with the red wine gravy, covered in foil, in a 350 degrees F oven.
- Freeze: Freeze lamb in an airtight container for 2-3 months.
What To Serve With Lamb Shanks
Mashed potatoes and creamy polenta are traditional sides, but I like to serve these homemade lamb shanks with a veggie side:
- Mashed Cauliflower – Tastes just like mashed potatoes, but healthier!
- Riced Cauliflower
- Green Beans Almondine
- Oven Baked Asparagus
- Baked Feta – With roasted tomatoes and bell peppers.
- Israeli Salad
More Easy Lamb Recipes
If you like these oven braised lamb shanks, you might also like some of these other lamb recipes:
- Large Skillet – This one has tall sides and is perfect for going from stovetop to oven. You can also use a dutch oven instead, which is convenient because it has a lid, so you don’t need foil for covering.
- Baster – While you’re cooking lamb shanks, baste frequently. I like this baster because the tip is angled, making it easy to get hard-to-reach juices.
Braised Lamb Shank Recipe
Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe
Learn how to cook lamb shanks that are rich and fall-off-the-bone tender! This easy braised lamb shanks recipe has a delectable red wine tomato gravy.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Pat the lamb shanks dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper.
In a large oven safe skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, until shimmering. Sear lamb shanks for 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Remove lamb shanks from the skillet, leaving the juices behind. Set aside.
Add the tomatoes, onions, and carrots (if using) to the skillet. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Add the minced garlic. Saute for about a minute, until fragrant.
Stir in the red wine, water, tomato puree, and crushed bouillon cubes. Bring to a gentle boil, then simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
Transfer lamb shanks back to the skillet. Add thyme, rosemary, parsley, and bay leaves around the lamb.
Cover the skillet with foil and place in the lower part of the oven. Cook for 2.5 hours, basting the lamb with the tomato sauce occasionally, until the meat is very tender.
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Serving size: 1 lamb shank with sauce
Nutrition info does not include the optional carrots, and accounts for about 3/4 lb of meat on each 1.5 lb lamb shank.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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