Braised Lamb Shank Recipe - How The Pros Do It

Braised Lamb Shanks - How The Pros Do It

Quick Steps Overview: Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe

  1. Gather all the tools and ingredients required to get started 
  2. Heat oil in a pan on medium high heat
  3. Add the lamb shanks and sear
  4. Pour off excess oil
  5. Add stout beer
  6. Throw in the fresh herbs and garlic 
  7. Add beef broth and water
  8. Sauté vegetables and add to the shanks
  9. Cover and let it cook
  10. Remove shanks and let them rest
  11. Strain the broth base and reduce
  12. Add honey to the broth base 
  13. Cook the shanks in the reduced base 
  14. Throw in 3 cubes of cold butter
  15. Plate the shanks, pour the sauce, and serve! 
braised lamb shank on cutting board with offset knife
Offset Slicing Carving Knife 12" | Shogun Series ELITE

Table of Contents

  1. What is Lamb Shank?
  2. Tools You Will Need
  3. Recipe: Stout Braised Lamb Shanks
  4. Alternate Recipe: Lamb Shanks for Instant Pot
  5. Alternate Recipe: Lamb Shanks for Oven
  6. Nutritional Value for Lamb Shanks
  7. Serving Suggestions
  8. Frequently Asked Questions About Lamb Shanks

    Have you ever eaten a dish so good that you dreamed about it? Well, that kind of sums up my relationship with these tender, fall-off-bone braised lamb shanks.

    I don’t exaggerate when I say that lamb shanks are the king of all lamb cuts! 

    Lamb shank, a cut for the shin of the lamb, is one of the most flavorful cuts of lamb. However, the connective tissue, which is also the one responsible for all the flavor, can lead to toughness if not prepared correctly. Don’t worry, I have arrived once again with a lip-smacking recipe for braised lamb shanks, which is not only easy to make but will create the most delicious meal you ever had. 

    I know braised lamb shanks can sound slightly intimidating, but to be honest, it isn’t. After the shanks have been seared to perfection, the stock pot and the oven do the heavy lifting for you.

    One thing to keep in mind is that lamb shanks can get tough, so cooking them low and slow is the best method.

    Now that you know what we are going to be talking about today, let’s get straight into it! 

    1. What is Lamb Shank?

    raw lamb shanks on serving board

    This is a tough cut of meat from the leg of the lamb, shin to be precise. If cooked low and slow, this meat becomes fall-off-the-bone tender and juicy. The lamb shank (also known as foreshank) comes from the front legs and is smaller than the hind shank, which comes from the back legs. The hind shank is much meatier than the foreshank. 

    Just like all other hardworking muscles, the lamb shank is packed with connective tissue and collagen that requires stewing or braising to break these fibers down.

    Typically, the lamb shank is sold in the store already cut, with the center bone intact, and is cooked on the bone. Another reason I love this dish is that it demands very little prep work. 

    This cut of lamb is fairly inexpensive and often overlooked compared to more easily grilled beef cuts. This is also what makes lamb shanks an affordable option for cooks who love eating lamb but avoid it due to the high price. 

    While cooking lamb shanks normally requires a lot of patience, our lamb shank recipe will make it much easier.

    Now that you know exactly what a lamb shank is and what its texture is like, let’s get to the recipe, but before that, take a look at the list of tools you will need to make your cooking process smooth and hassle-free. 

    2. Tools You Will Need
    nomad xl knife bag in front of braised lamb shank on cutting board


    While preparing lamb shanks is not a very complex task, you need to keep these tools around as they will ensure your cooking time is efficient.  


    A 3-quart, 5-quart, or 8-quart stockpot should work well for this dish. You can also go for a bigger stock pot, it depends upon how many people are going to be cooking for.

    I recommend using a stockpot for this as there are too many liquids involved and you don’t want the base to splatter everywhere.

    A razor-sharp Knife

    You are going to need a razor-sharp knife to chop up vegetables and cut through the lamb shank tissues.

    For this dish, I recommend you keep a butcher knife or cleaver knife around as they will come in handy in the cooking process.

    Cutting board: A sturdy cutting board is required to be able to chop up vegetables and to rest the meat after cooking. 

    Sauté Pan

    Other than a stockpot, I also suggest you keep a sauté pan around because this will come in handy when it’s time for you to sauté the vegetables before adding this to the braising liquid.


    A reliable pair of tongs will act as an extension of your hands and make it very simple to flip the shanks while searing and to transfer the shanks from the pot to the plate.


    Keep a whisk around because you are going to need one when it's time to whisk in the butter into the sauce and give it a good mixing. 

    3. Recipe: Stout Braised Lamb Shanks

    Let's jump straight into the recipe. Let me tell you, I have tried cooking lamb shanks in many different ways but this recipe for Stout Braised Lamb Shanks by Chef Nathan Jones has my heart.

    Not only is this kickass recipe simple to cook up, but all the braising will also result in tender meat that's falling apart and absolutely delicious! 

    Stout Braised Lamb Shanks

    Cook Time

    1 hour 30 mins




    Lamb Shanks

    • 2 Lamb Shanks


    • 3 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
    • 3 Onions (sliced) 
    • 2 Carrots (roughly chopped)
    • 1 bulb of Garlic (cut in half)
    • 1 tablespoon Honey 
    • 1 can Stout Beer (as per preference)
    • 1 cup Beef Broth 
    • 1 cup Water
    • 3 fresh Rosemary sprigs  
    • 3 fresh Thyme sprigs
    • 3 cubes Butter (cold)

    Cooking Instructions

    Step 1: Gather all the tools and ingredients required to get started 

    • Make sure you have gathered all the tools and ingredients listed above and set up your cooking station before getting started. 

    Step 2: Heat oil in a pan 

    • Add oil to a tall pot or a stock pot
    • Let the oil heat up to a point where it starts sizzling.

    Step 3: Add the lamb shanks and sear

    • Place the lamb shanks in the pot. 
    • Sear the lamb shanks well from all the sides until they turn golden brown.
      Note: You want to use a pair of tongs for this task because the shanks will be very hot and if they are not flipped on time, you will end up with either uncooked lamb shanks or burnt lamb shanks. 

        Step 4: Pour off excess oil

        • Turn off the heat. 
        • At this point, you will notice that the shanks have started to release oil. 
        • Pour off all of this excess oil into a bowl but DO NOT throw it away. 

        Step 5: Add stout beer

        • While the gas is still off, pour in the stout beer to the pot.
        • This will help deglaze the lamb shanks and amp up the flavor profile. 

        Step 6: Throw in the herbs and garlic 

        • Add the fresh rosemary and thyme sticks to the pot. 
        • At this point, you will also add the 2 halves of the garlic bulb that you prepped earlier. 

        Step 7: Add beef broth and water

        • Pour in 1 cup beef broth and 1 cup of water to this pot. 
        • Let all the braising liquids heat up. 

        Step 8: Sauté vegetables and add to the shanks

        • On a separate pan, add some oil. 
        • Throw in the onions and carrots to this pan and sauté until fragrant. 
        • Once fragrant, add the sautéed vegetables to the shank pot. 

        Step 9: Cover and let it cook

        • Place a lid to cover the lamb shank pot and let it cook for an hour and a half. 

        Step 10: Remove shanks and let them rest

        • After an hour and a half you will notice that the lamb shanks will start to get fork-tender and easy to pull apart. This is when you know they are done. 
        • Using a pair of tongs, remove the lamb shanks from the stockpot and place them on a plate. 
        • Let the shanks sit for about 5 minutes. 

        Step 11: Strain the broth base and reduce

        • Strain the broth base into another pot. Now, it’s time to reduce this liquid and turn it into a sauce. 
        • Turn up the heat and bring the broth base to an aggressive simmer.

          Note: As the broth base starts to simmer, it will start releasing some fatty foam. Remember to keep scooping this foam out using a big spoon or it can ruin your sauce. 

        Step 12: Add honey to the broth base 

        • Add a nice big tablespoon of honey to this simmering sauce.

          Note: Adding dark stout beer to the base can make it a bit bitter. A nice dollop of honey will add sweetness and gloss to the sauce. 

        Step 13: Cook the shanks in the reduced base 

        • Once the sauce is reduced, add the well-rested lamb shanks to the pot. 
        • By now you will notice that the reduced sauce would have also gotten slightly thicker. 
        • After letting the shanks cook in this sauce for 5-7 minutes take them out and plate them on a bed of your favorite roasted or pan-seared veggies. 

        Step 14: Throw in 3 cubes of cold butter

        • Turn the heat off and whisk in a few cubes of cold butter to the boiling hot sauce. 
        • Continue whisking until the butter has completely melted and combined with the sauce. 
        • This will add creaminess and richness to the sauce. 

        Step 15: Plate the shanks, pour the sauce, and serve! 

        • Once ready, pour this rich sauce over the lamb shank that you plated. 
        • Don’t forget to throw in your favorite veggies or mashed potatoes on the side……. and voila, your Stout Braised Lamb Shank is ready! 

        4. Alternate Recipe: Lamb Shanks In The Oven

        Here is another banger! This slow cooked lamb shanks recipe is such a simple and delicious way to enjoy lamb shanks. All it requires is a few ingredients, some patience, and an oven. 

        However, you will need to plan a few hours for this recipe to allow the lamb to slow cook, but I promise, it will be worth it! 

        Lamb Shanks for Oven

        Prep Time 

        10 mins

        Cook Time

        2 hour 35 mins

        Total Time

        2 hours 45 mins




        Lamb Shanks

        • 4 Lamb Shanks


        • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
        • Salt (to taste)
        • Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
        • 6 cloves Garlic (unpeeled, skin pierced with the tip of a knife)
        • 6 sprigs of fresh Rosemary
        • 1 cup Chicken Broth

        Cooking Instructions

        Step 1:

        • Gather all the ingredients listed above and set up the cooking station. 
        • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. 

        Step 2: 

        • Place the shanks in a roasting pan. 
        • Make sure the pan is large enough to fit them in one layer. 
        • Rub with olive oil. 
        • Season generously with salt and pepper. 

        Step 3:

        • Roast for 20 minutes to get a nice brown color.
        • Remove from the oven and turn down the temperature to 325 degrees F. 

        Step 4:

        • While waiting for the oven to cool down. 
        • Spoon out any excess fat and scatter the garlic cloves and rosemary over and around the lamb. 

        Step 5:

        • Wrap the braising or roasting pan very tightly with several layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil and return to the oven. 
        • Slow cook the lamb for 2 hours now. 

        Note: Resist the temptation to keep checking on the roast by opening the foil again and again. This might cause the meat to get tough. 

        Step 6:

        • Remove the foil and pour in the chicken broth. 
        • Turn up the heat to 400 degrees F. 
        • Roast for 15 minutes and remove. 
        • By now the lamb shanks should be done. To know if they are ready to eat, you must make sure the meat has browned and is fork-tender. 

        Step 7:

        • Transfer the shanks to a serving platter and spoon over the juices, garlic cloves, and rosemary. 

        5. Alternate Recipe: Lamb Shanks in the Instant Pot

        Here is another way for you to cook up some mouthwatering lamb shanks. For this, you will need the list of ingredients that I add below and an Instant Pot. 

        Lamb Shanks for Instant Pot

        Cook Time

        1 hour 25 mins




        Lamb Shanks

        • 3-4 Lamb Shanks


        • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
        • 8 cloves Garlic (sliced)
        • 2 Tomatoes (quartered)
        • 1 larger Onion (sliced)
        • 1 cup Chicken Stock (unsalted - You can substitute beef stock if needed)
        • 2 teaspoons ground Cumin
        • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon Powder 
        • ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
        • ½ teaspoons ground Coriander Seeds
        • Salt (to taste)
        • Black Pepper (to taste)
        • Fresh Coriander (garnish)

        Cooking Instructions

        Step 1: Heat the Instant Pot

        • Heat the Instant Pot using the ‘Sauté More’ function.
        • Wait until it says hot. This should take about 8 minutes. 

        Step 2: Brown the lamb shanks 

        • Pat-dry the lamb shanks. Then season one side with salt and black pepper. 
        • Drizzle the inner pot with olive oil. 
        • Place the seasoned side of the lamb shanks in the Instant Pot. 
        • Season the other side with more salt and pepper. 
        • Brown each side for 5 minutes to develop some amazing flavors. 

        Step 3: Set it aside

        • Once the shanks have browned, set them aside. 

        Step 4: Saute Onion and Spices

        • Add in sliced onions, then sauté until soft. 
        • Add in sliced garlic, ground cumin powder, cinnamon powder, turmeric, and ground coriander seeds. 
        • Sauté this for 1 minute. 

        Step 5: Deglaze Instant Pot

        • Pour 1 cup of unsalted chicken stock in the Instant Pot.
        • Then deglaze by scrubbing the flavorful brown bits off the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. 

        Step 6: Cook the Lamb Shanks

        • Place the browned lamb shanks back in the Instant Pot and partially submerge them into the liquid. 
        • Layer the quartered tomatoes on top of this. 
        • Close the lid of the Instant Pot and make sure it is sealed properly. 
        • Use the pressure cooker at High Pressure (High Heat) for 36 minutes and then for 15 minutes on Natural Release. 
        • Once the remaining pressure has been released, open the lid carefully. 

        Step 7: Taste check and seasoning

        • Set aside the shanks. 
        • Use a fork to test if the lamb shanks are tender enough. 
        • Bring the sauce back to a boil with the Sauté function, and then let it thicken a bit. 
        • Taste and adjust seasoning. 

        Step 8: Serve the Instant Pot Lamb Shanks

        • Once seasoned properly, plate the lamb shanks, drizzle some sauce over it and serve with your favorite sides. 

        Note: This recipe is best made the day before serving.

        •  If this is what you are doing, once the seasoning is adjusted and you have achieved the desired flavors, place the shanks back in the sauce, submerging it.
        • Chill the whole inner pot and then place it in the fridge. 
        • To serve, palace the inner pot back in the Instant Pot and reheat. 

        6. Nutritional Value for Lamb Shanks

        Lamb is a delicious and rich source of protein that contains some very important vitamins and minerals. When enjoyed in moderation, it is a healthy addition to a well-balanced diet. Lamb is relatively lean meat that is packed with nutrition. 

        A three-ounce cut of cooked lamb provides roughly 25 grams of protein, plus good quantities of potassium and vitamin B-12.

        It is also a great source of iron, magnesium, selenium, omega 3, and fatty acids. 

        Lamb Shanks



        Total Fat


        Saturated Fat
















        Vitamin A


        Vitamin C






        7. Serving Suggestions

        Lamb shanks make a hearty meal. Typically, a single shank weighs over a pound and when cooked, can serve 2 people. If you plan on serving the shanks with bone, allow 1 pound shank per person. 

        You can also cook it ahead of time, remove the meat from the bone and freeze it in the braising liquid. You can later use the frozen lamb shanks for curries, stews, and casseroles. To make your lamb shank stand out, you must serve it with flavors that complement the meat and enhance its flavor. Here are some of my favorite pairings: 


        The tender qualities of lamb make it a natural for sweet-based sauces. The all-time classic companion to lamb is a mint sauce but if that is too basic for you, you can also flair on it by mixing it with cherry or strawberry preserves. Try serving your shanks with just the basic brown au jus from the cooking pot or make a heady gravy from the braising liquid. 


        Potatoes are versatile and also one of my favorite sides that complements most protein, even lamb. Garlic mashed potatoes can be made a day prior and re-hydrate with a touch of milk and butter. You can also make some potatoes tossed with olive oil and dry ranch seasoning mix that you can roast beautifully in the oven. 

        Sautéed or roasted asparagus drizzled with butter also makes a delicious side dish that takes barely any time to prepare. If you are grilling the shanks, also grill an eggplant, some zucchini, peaches, and red onion. Serve this with buttery couscous and your guests will be more than pleased with the meal. 


        Given lamb’s natural inclusion with Mediterranean-based recipes, try a simple platter of hummus, pita-triangles, grape tomatoes, brined olives, and roasted peppers. If you want to give your lamb a slightly uptown feel, serve with juicy pear, gorgonzola, and romaine salad tossed with a creamy dressing or blush-wine vinaigrette. 

        8. Frequently Asked Questions About Lamb Shanks

        What cut of lamb is a shank?

        Shanks come from the bottom section of the leg, just below the knee. These can be ‘French trimmed’ which is where a small bit of meat is removed from the bone to make the shank look more pleasing. 

        Is lamb shank a good cut?

        Lamb shank is a meaty cut from the lower end of the lamb leg. It is excellent for slow cooking, great value for money, and the bone running through the center adds a lot of flavor to the meat by releasing collagen as the joint cooks and tenderizes the flesh. 

        Are lamb shanks expensive?

        Lamb shank falls among the least expensive cuts of lamb. Only the breast of lamb is likely to sell for less. 

        What is a lamb shank vs leg of lamb?

        The leg of lamb is sold both on the bone and boneless; the latter is more convenient because it makes for easier carving. If you buy a half-leg, you might get the choice of the sirloin or shank half. You must remember that the sirloin half is more tender and the shank half is higher in connective tissue, making it chewier. 

        Check Out Dalstrong Butcher Knives Today

        Written by Himani Vaid
        Toronto-based food nerd turned food storyteller, Himani is a connoisseur of all things delish. Currently, busy thinking about what to eat next.

        Braised Lamb Shank Recipe - How The Pros Do It

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