Cooking Perfect Lamb Shanks: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re a fan of lamb shanks, then learning how to cook them correctly can be a game-changer. These cuts of meat can be tough if not cooked properly, but when done right, the result is succulent and flavorful meat that falls off the bone. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to cook perfect lamb shanks every time. From choosing the right ingredients to preparing, seasoning, and cooking the shanks, we’ve got you covered. So dig in and get ready to impress your friends and family with your newfound lamb-shank-cooking skills.

Cooking Perfect Lamb Shanks: A Step-by-Step Guide | Eat Urban Garden
Cooking Perfect Lamb Shanks: A Step-by-Step Guide

Why Lamb Shanks are Worth the Effort

If you’re looking for a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth meal, it’s hard to go wrong with lamb shanks. Lamb shanks are an incredibly flavorful cut of meat that are well-suited for slow-cooking methods such as braising or roasting. Although they take a bit of extra effort and time to prepare, the end results are well worth it. Here are some reasons why lamb shanks are worth the effort:

  • Lamb shanks are rich in flavor: The meat is tender and juicy, with a slightly gamy flavor that pairs well with bold herbs and spices. Because lamb shanks come from the leg of the lamb, they’re a working muscle, which results in meat that’s bursting with flavor.
  • Lamb shanks are versatile: While lamb shanks are delicious on their own, they’re also incredibly versatile and can be combined with a wide range of flavors and ingredients. Whether you’re in the mood for Moroccan spices, Mediterranean herbs, or something more traditional, lamb shanks can handle it all.
  • Lamb shanks are impressive: If you’re looking to impress dinner guests or a special someone, lamb shanks are the way to go. Plated up with some delicious sides, a well-prepared lamb shank is a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds. Plus, the fact that they take a bit of extra effort to prepare shows your guests that you really care about the food you’re serving.

How to Choose the Perfect Lamb Shank

When it comes to cooking lamb shanks, selecting the right cut of meat is essential. Here are some tips for choosing the perfect lamb shank:

Look for the right size

The size of your lamb shank will impact cooking time and the end result. Look for 1 – 1.5 lb. lamb shanks that are evenly sized for consistent cooking. Avoid shanks that are too small or too large.

Choose the right cut

There are two main cuts of lamb shank – foreshank and hindshank. The hindshank is larger and meatier, while the foreshank is smaller and usually has more connective tissue. Depending on your recipe and preference, choose the cut that suits your needs.

  • For slow-cooking recipes that involve braising or stews, foreshank is a good option. The smaller size makes it easier to fit multiple shanks in a pot, and the connective tissue breaks down during cooking to create a tender, flavorful result.
  • For grilling or roasting recipes, the hindshank is a great choice. It is larger and meatier, with a bone that makes it perfect for presentation.

Check for freshness

Make sure to choose lamb shanks that are fresh, with bright pink meat and white fat. Avoid meat that is discolored or has a foul odor.

The Best Cooking Techniques for Lamb Shanks

If you want to cook lamb shanks that are juicy, tender, and packed with irresistible flavors, it’s important to use the right cooking techniques. Here are some techniques you can use to transform your lamb shanks into a culinary masterpiece:


Braising is a cooking method that involves browning the lamb shanks first in a hot pan with oil and then cooking them slower over low heat in a covered pot with a small amount of liquid. Braising not only tenderizes the lamb shanks but also infuses them with flavor. Here are the steps to braise lamb shanks:

  1. Heat some oil in a heavy-bottomed pot on medium-high heat.
  2. Sear the lamb shanks on all sides until they’re browned.
  3. Add chopped onions, garlic, and herbs to the pot. You can also add some chopped carrots and celery if you like.
  4. Pour in some liquid, such as red wine, beef broth, or tomato sauce, until it comes up halfway up the lamb shanks.
  5. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the lamb shanks simmer for 3 to 4 hours until they’re tender.
  6. Take out the lamb shanks and keep them warm. Pour the cooking liquid through a strainer to remove any solids and return it to the pot.
  7. Simmer the cooking liquid over medium-high heat until it’s thickened into a sauce consistency
  8. Pour the sauce over the lamb shanks, garnish with fresh herbs and serve.


Slow-cooking lamb shanks is another popular technique that requires minimal effort but produces deliciously tender and flavorful meat. Here’s how to slow-cook lamb shanks:

  1. Season the lamb shanks well with salt and black pepper.
  2. Heat some oil in a large pot on high heat.
  3. Sear the lamb shanks on all sides until they’re browned.
  4. Transfer the lamb shanks to a slow cooker.
  5. Add any aromatics or flavorings, such as onions, garlic, fresh herbs, and tomato sauce.
  6. Cook the lamb shanks on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or until they’re tender enough to fall off the bone.
  7. Remove the lamb shanks from the slow cooker and keep them warm.
  8. If you like, you can strain the cooking liquids and simmer them on the stove until they’re reduced and thickened, then pour them over the lamb shanks. Alternatively, you can serve the lamb shanks with the cooking liquids straight from the slow cooker.


Oven-roasting is a dry-heat cooking method that involves cooking the lamb shanks in a hot oven. It’s a great way to get crispy skin and juicy meat. Here’s how to oven-roast lamb shanks:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Season the lamb shanks well with salt, black pepper, and herbs.
  3. Heat some oil in an oven-safe skillet or roasting pan on medium-high heat.
  4. Sear the lamb shanks on all sides until they’re golden brown.
  5. Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and roast the lamb shanks for about 1 hour or until they’re cooked to the desired doneness.
  6. Take out the lamb shanks and let them rest for a few minutes before carving.

Try out these three cooking techniques for lamb shanks to marvel everyone at the dinner table with your delicious culinary creations!

Seasonings and Spices to Bring Out Lamb Shank’s Unique Flavor

If you’re looking for a hearty and flavorful meal, lamb shanks are a perfect choice. However, knowing which seasonings and spices to use can take this meal to the next level. Here are some of the best seasonings and spices to use to enhance the unique flavor of lamb shanks:

1. Rosemary

Rosemary has a strong and distinct flavor that pairs perfectly with lamb shanks. This herb is easily recognized by its pine-like flavor with hints of lemon and mint. When using rosemary, be sure to use fresh sprigs for optimal flavor. To increase the depth of rosemary flavor in your lamb shanks dish, try chopping up the rosemary and rubbing it onto the shanks before cooking.

2. Garlic

Garlic is another popular seasoning when cooking lamb shanks. Its strong and savory flavor helps to bring out the natural taste of the meat. When cooking lamb shanks with garlic, it’s important to use fresh garlic cloves instead of garlic powder, as fresh garlic adds a more complex and dynamic flavor profile.

3. Thyme

Thyme has a unique and slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with lamb shanks. This herb is recognized by its mildy minty and earthy scent. When using thyme for your lamb shanks dish, use fresh sprigs and try adding it to the cooking liquid for maximum flavor infusion.

4. Curry Powder

If you’re looking for a more exotic and unique flavor profile for your lamb shanks dish, curry powder is a great option. Curry powder typically contains a blend of various spices, such as turmeric, coriander, and cumin, which bring a slightly spicy and warm flavor to your lamb shanks.

TIP: If you don’t have curry powder available, try making your own blend with spices you already have at home.

What is the Ideal Temperature and Time to Cook Lamb Shanks?

Lamb shanks are a classic and delicious cut of meat that is perfect for a hearty dinner. But, knowing how to cook them properly can be a bit tricky. To achieve the perfect lamb shanks, the cooking temperature and timing must be just right. Here’s what you need to know to cook the best lamb shanks ever.

What is the Ideal Temperature to Cook Lamb Shanks?

The ideal temperature to cook lamb shanks is 160-170°C. This temperature allows the meat to slowly cook and become tender while locking in all the flavors. Cooking at too high temperature will result in dry meat, while low temperature will make for tough meat that falls apart. The key is to maintain a steady, moderate cooking temperature.

What is the Ideal Time to Cook Lamb Shanks?

The ideal cooking time for lamb shanks is 2-3 hours. Slow cooking the meat is essential to allow the connective tissue and collagen to break down, making the meat tender and flavorful. Cooking for too long can cause the meat to be overcooked and dry, so it is essential to keep an eye on the time, as well as the temperature.

Pro Tip: To achieve the perfect tenderness and flavor, braise the lamb shanks by searing them in a hot skillet and then slow cook them in a sauce or liquid. This process locks in all the flavors and creates a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

How to Serve Lamb Shanks

Now that you’ve learned how to cook the perfect lamb shanks, it’s time to take your meal to the next level with some impressive presentation styles and serving suggestions. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. The Classic Plating

The most straightforward way to plate your lamb shanks is by placing them in the center of a plate and spooning the sauce over them. You can sprinkle some chopped parsley or cilantro on top for some freshness and color. You can serve them with some mashed potatoes, polenta, risotto, or bread to sop up the sauce. Don’t forget some green veggies to balance out the richness of the dish.

2. The Family-Style Platter

If you want to go for a more relaxed and cozy vibe, you can present your lamb shanks on a large platter and spoon the sauce all over. Place some herbs or citrus slices around them to add some flavor and aroma. Serve them with some rustic sides that you can pass around, such as roasted root veggies, grilled corn, or crusty bread. This is a perfect serving style for family gatherings or casual dinners with friends.

3. The Fancy Restaurant Style

For a more impressive and elegant presentation, you can plate your lamb shanks on a long rectangular plate and pour the sauce in a zigzag pattern over them. Sprinkle some microgreens or edible flowers for some visual appeal. Serve them with some sophisticated sides, such as truffle mashed potatoes, sautéed wild mushrooms, or grilled asparagus. This plating style is perfect for a romantic dinner or a dinner party where you want to impress your guests.

4. The Mediterranean Spread

You can take your lamb shanks to a Mediterranean level by serving them with some pita bread, hummus, and tzatziki sauce. Place the lamb shanks in the center of a large dish and surround them with the dips. You can add some tabbouleh salad, roasted eggplants, or stuffed grape leaves for some variety. This serving style is perfect for a summer barbecue or an outdoor party.

5. The Fusion Twist

If you want to experiment with some global flavors, you can serve your lamb shanks with some fusion sides, such as miso-glazed carrots, coconut rice, or Korean slaw. You can plate them on a colorful dish and drizzle some soy-ginger sauce or peanut dressing over them. This style is perfect for a culinary adventure with friends or a date night with your partner.

6. The Leftover Makeover

Don’t let your leftovers go to waste and turn them into a brand new dish. You can shred the leftover meat and mix it with some BBQ sauce or tomato sauce to make a lamb shank chili or stew. You can add some beans, corn, or veggies to stretch it further. Serve it with some cornbread or tortilla chips for a comforting meal.

Thanks for Reading and Bon Appétit!

We hope this step-by-step guide has helped you in cooking the perfect lamb shanks. Follow these easy tips and you’ll be serving the most delicious lamb shanks in no time! Don’t forget to share your experience with us and leave a comment below. And if you want more great recipes and cooking tips, be sure to visit us again later!

Cooking Perfect Lamb Shanks: A Step-by-Step Guide

Learn how to cook the perfect lamb shanks with our step-by-step guide. Follow our easy tips and have the most delicious lamb shanks in no time!

  • 4 lamb shanks
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the lamb shanks.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  4. Sear the lamb shanks on all sides until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
  5. Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pot and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
  6. Pour in the beef broth, red wine, and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  7. Add the bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme to the pot.
  8. Cover the pot and braise the lamb shanks in the oven for 2 to 3 hours or until the meat is tender.
  9. Remove the lamb shanks from the pot and serve with your favorite side dishes.
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