Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe - True Comfort Food! (2024)

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These fall-off-the-bone tender braised lamb shanks cooked in a rich red wine sauce make for a deeply satisfying and comforting family meal.

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    Lamb Shank Recipe

    Certain combinations of sauces and marinades always resonate with me, particularly the blend of dry red wine, mushrooms, and fresh rosemary. This mix creates a braising liquid that is aromatic, flavorful, and the best way to unlock the richness of slow-cooked dishes—making it an ideal choice for preparing a lamb dish. Braising, especially suited for a tough cut of meat like these lamb shanks, typically involves cooking them low and slow in liquid, possibly for 3 hours at 250˚F. This technique ensures that the meat becomes incredibly tender and delicious, perfect for special occasions when you want to impress at the dinner table. However, my easy recipe offers a quicker braise for those short on time but still craving that deep, rich flavor. After some initial prep, like slicing and searing, you can let the oven take over and do the heavy lifting!

    What Are Lamb Shanks?

    The shank is the cut of meat taken from the lower section of the lamb’s legs. The meat of the lamb shank can be tough because it has lots of connective tissue – but this is what brings all that flavor. Lamb shanks are perfect for slow cooking and especially braising because the meat will just melt away from the bone and result in the most amazing meal.

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    Ingredients You’ll Need

    These ingredients work together to create a tasty braised lamb shank dish. The list may look extensive, but it’s most likely things you already have in the pantry.

    • Olive Oil: Substitute with avocado oil for a similar high-heat tolerance.
    • Lamb Shanks: Each one should be about 1 to 1-1/4 pounds.
    • Salt and Black Pepper: For seasoning the lamb to enhance its natural flavors. Use according to taste; kosher salt and freshly ground pepper are best for flavor.
    • Vegetables: Yellow onions, carrots, and celery ribs.
    • Button Mushrooms: Cremini mushrooms can be used for a deeper flavor.
    • Garlic Cloves: Minced garlic from a jar can work, but fresh is preferred for its brighter flavor.
    • Low Sodium Chicken Broth: Provides the liquid base for braising. Beef broth is a good substitute.
    • Dry Red Wine: For a non-alcoholic substitute, use additional broth with a splash of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar.
    • Fresh Rosemary & Fresh Thyme: If fresh is unavailable, dried herbs will also work.

    What is the Best Wine to Use?

    For this lamb recipe, use a dry red wine. Dry reds have a richness and depth of flavor that pairs nicely with the flavors of meat. Look for Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Pinot Noir. Don’t use a cooking wine. It doesn’t have to be an expensive wine, but my rule of thumb when choosing a wine for cooking is this: If you wouldn’t drink it, you shouldn’t cook with it.

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    How to Cook Lamb Shanks

    1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
    2. Sear: Heat the olive oil in a large oven-safe pot, skillet, or Dutch oven skillet. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper, then add them to the hot oil and sear until browned on all sides. Remove and set aside.
    3. Saute: In the same skillet, add more oil and cook the onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, and garlic for 4 minutes, stirring often.
    4. Deglaze: Stir in the chicken broth and wine, and scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil.
    5. Braise: Return the lamb shanks to the pot and pop it in the oven to cook for 1.5 to 2 hours, turning every 30-40 minutes, until the meat is tender and reaches 150˚F to 160˚F. Please use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness.
    6. Remove: Take the pot out of the oven, set the shanks aside, and keep them covered.
    7. Make the Sauce: Boil the remaining liquid in the pot until thickened, about 6-10 minutes. Skim off any additional fat that rises to the surface. Taste the sauce for salt and pepper and adjust it accordingly.
    8. Serve: Return the shanks to the pot, garnish with parsley, and serve.

    Slow Cooker Method

    A slow cooker makes an excellent choice for preparing lamb! Follow these steps:

    1. First, season and brown the lamb shanks in a pan on the stove according to the recipe, ensuring they’re seared on all sides.
    2. Transfer the shanks to your slow cooker.
    3. Add in the vegetables, pour 2 cups of red wine and 2 cups of broth, and toss in the rest of the ingredients.
    4. Secure the lid and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 5 to 6 hours, until the lamb shanks are thoroughly tender.
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    Recipe Tips

    • Braising or slow-cooking lamb shanks in the oven is ideal, turning them fork-tender as the marrow enriches the sauce. Time and low heat make them tender and the sauce is key to the dish’s taste.
    • Season the shanks thoroughly with salt and pepper before cooking to enhance their flavor. You could even add garlic powder and paprika to the seasoning mix.
    • Always sear the lamb shanks first. This crucial step adds flavor and creates a caramelized crust.
    • The magic of succulent lamb lies in the sauce. A simple red wine sauce, enriched with fresh herbs, complements the meat perfectly.
    • Lamb shanks are hard to overcook, needing long cooking times to become tender. If they are undercooked, the meat will be tough, so make sure they’re cooked until they easily fall off the bone. If they’re not tender after 2 hours, continue cooking, checking every 15-20 minutes and adding broth as needed to maintain sauce volume.

    Serving Suggestions

    • Potatoes: The rich sauce you’ll make with these wine-braised lamb shanks is so delicious that you will want every last drop. I like serving the shanks over mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower, polenta, or lemon rice.
    • Bread: Also necessary is a crusty loaf of no-knead skillet bread or naan bread for all that sauce-sopping you’ll be doing.
    • Vegetables: You can cook up any of your favorite veggie sides if you’d like – try my Oven Roasted Vegetables and Roasted Artichokes.
    • Salad: A nice big Mediterranean bulgur salad or this La Scala Chopped Salad served family-style alongside this easy recipe for shanks is perfect!
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    How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

    When you finish dinner, allow the leftovers to come to room temperature. Then, pop them in an airtight container—juices and all—and store them in your fridge for 3-4 days or in your freezer for 2 months. When you’re ready to reheat, simply place the (thawed) shanks and sauce in a baking dish in a 350˚F oven until they are warm.

    More Lamb Recipes

    • Rack of Lamb
    • Roast Leg of Lamb
    • Lamb Chops with Risotto

    Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe - True Comfort Food! (7)

    Braised Lamb Shanks

    Katerina | Diethood

    Delicious and tender melt-off-the-bone braised lamb shanks cooked and served in a flavorful, velvety wine sauce.

    4.82 from 27 votes

    Rate this Recipe!

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    Prep Time 20 minutes mins

    Cook Time 2 hours hrs

    Total Time 2 hours hrs 30 minutes mins


    • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    • 4 lamb shanks, each shank should be about 1 to 1-1/4 pound
    • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
    • 2 yellow onions, each cut into 4 wedges
    • 3 carrots, each cut into about 2-inch pieces
    • 3 celery ribs, each rib cut into about 2-inch pieces
    • 8 button mushrooms, each cut in half
    • 5 cloves garlic, cut in half, lengthwise
    • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
    • 2 cups dry red wine, like Merlot, Pinot Noir, or Cabernet
    • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
    • 3 sprigs fresh thyme


    • Preheat the oven to 425˚F.

    • Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large dutch-oven skillet or a high-sided oven-proof skillet or pot.

    • Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper and add them to the hot oil. Make sure the oil is hot because you want that immediate sear on the lamb shanks.

    • Sear the shanks on all sides until browned.

    • Remove the shanks from the skillet and set aside.

    • Set skillet back over medium-high heat and add in remaining oil.

    • Add onions, carrots, celery sticks, mushrooms, and garlic to the skillet; cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

    • Slowly pour in chicken broth and stir in wine; stir to loosen all the browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Bring to a boil.

    • Place lamb shanks back inside the pot. Add in the fresh herbs.

    • Put the pot in the preheated oven and cook for 1.5 to 2 hours, turning the shanks over every 30 to 40 minutes, until meat is tender and internal temperature registers between 150˚F and 160˚F.

    • Remove pot from oven.

    • Remove the shanks from the pot; set them aside and keep them covered.

    • Simmer remaining sauce that’s in the skillet over medium heat until thickened to a desired consistency, about 6 to 10 minutes.

    • Skim off any additional fat that rises to the surface.

    • Taste the sauce for seasonings and adjust accordingly.

    • Add lamb shanks back into the pot.

    • Garnish with fresh parsley and serve over mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower, polenta, or rice.


    • Lamb Shanks arefrom the bottom section of the leg just below the lamb’s knee. The meat of the lamb shank can be tough because it has lots of connective tissue, but this is also why they are so flavorful and perfect for slow cooking and braising.
    • Cooking Time: If the shanks are bigger, they may need extra cooking time. Don’t worry; the longer they cook, the more tender (and delicious) they will be. A safe internal temperature for lamb shanks should register between 150˚F and 160˚F.
    • Red Wine: You’ll want to look forMerlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Pinot Noir. Don’t use a cooking wine.


    Calories: 543 kcal | Carbohydrates: 19 g | Protein: 46 g | Fat: 22 g | Saturated Fat: 5 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13 g | Cholesterol: 127 mg | Sodium: 277 mg | Potassium: 1092 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 6 g | Vitamin A: 7817 IU | Vitamin C: 11 mg | Calcium: 77 mg | Iron: 5 mg

    Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

    Course: Dinner

    Cuisine: American

    Keyword: braised lamb shanks, comfort food, easy lamb recipe, lamb shanks recipe

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