Fall-off-the-bone tender braised lamb shanks in a rich red wine sauce with vegetables. This one-pot lamb recipe tastes fancy, but it is easy to make! All you need is a bit of time for the best slow-cooked lamb shanks!

one lamb shank served with vegetables and orzo

Lamb shank 

Lamb shank is a cut of meat that comes from the well-exercised lower section of the lamb leg. It's a tougher, more budget-friendly cut of lamb, but it is also one of the most flavorful. It is usually sold bone-in (the bone imparts flavor and keeps the meat tender as it cooks). 

Cooking lamb shanks is easier than most people think! All you need is a bit of time for the perfect tender slow-cooked lamb shanks. 

Today, I’m sharing my favorite rosemary lamb shanks recipe + the perfect combination of spices to season your meat for a delicious, never-gamy lamb dinner. 

Tips for cooking lamb shanks

  • Braised or slow-cooked is best way to cook lamb shanks. Because they are a tougher cut, the best way to cook lamb shanks is by braising or slow-cooking them in the oven until the meat is fork-tender and the marrow has melted into the rich sauce. A bit of time in the oven (or slow cooker) will do all the hard work of tenderizing the lamb shanks until they are fall-off-the-bone tender. Plus, the meat has enough time to absorb all the delicious flavors of the sauce (and yes, the flavorful sauce is a big deal!) 
  • Season well. Build flavor right away by generously seasoning the lamb shanks before searing. I season lamb shanks with garlic powder, sweet Spanish paprika, nutmeg, and kosher salt and black pepper because lamb takes well to warm, bold flavors.
  • Sear the meat before braising for big flavor and a crusty caramelized exterior. Don’t skip the searing step; it imparts such big flavor and good texture. 
  • Braise in a flavorful sauce! The secret to rich, addictive slow-cooked lamb shanks is in the sauce. My go-to is a red wine based sauce that has very few ingredients, but is also loaded with flavor. The slight sweetness and acidity from the wine pairs perfectly with the umami-rich broth. Add in some fresh herbs and spices, and you’ll have a sauce you’ll want to slurp!
  • Don’t worry about overcooking lamb shanks. This is a forgiving cut of meat that can withstand quite a bit of overcooking (in fact, it needs it!). But undercooked lamb shanks are tough and chewy – not fun to eat! The meat should fall off the bone at the touch of your fork, so budget the time to get to that point. If you notice that the lamb is not as tender as you would want after around 2.5 hours in the oven, simply keep cooking it and check it every 15 to 20 minutes or so. Add a little more broth so you still have enough sauce at the end.
Mediterranean-Style Wine Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Braising and slow cooker instructions included! Spiced lamb shanks cooked in a red wine and tomato sauce with vegetables, aromatics and fresh herbs! A family favorite for Easter or your next special dinner! See it on TheMediterraneanDish.com

What wine to use in the red wine sauce?

So about the secret sauce. A dry red wine and beef broth make the base of this robust sauce. Red wine will evaporate as it cooks, while adding richness and amplifying the flavors in these braised lamb shanks. Keep in mind that the alcohol in red wine will cook off, so the sauce will not taste boozy.

Now, as far as the kind of wine to use, I’ve made this recipe with a variety of dry red wines, at different price points, and did not notice a difference in the flavor. I will say I prefer a soft, fruity Merlot above all other dry reds in this red wine sauce. But if you don’t have a Merlot, a Cabernet Sauvignon would give you a delicious sauce as well. 

If you don’t use alcohol in your cooking, substitute an equal amount of beef broth. Vegetable broth works in a pinch, but beef broth has a stronger flavor and is a better alternative.  

ingredients for lamb shank recipe. Lamb shanks, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions and spices

Ingredients: What you’ll need for this lamb shank recipe

Here's what you'll need to make this oven-braised lamb shank recipe:

  • Lamb shanks - You’ll need 6 lamb shanks, one per person.
  • Spices - Lamb meat is rich and can be a bit gamey, so it’s a good idea to apply a spice rub to build flavor before searing. But the spices don't need to be complicated. All you need is a simple spice mixture of paprika, garlic powder, nutmeg, kosher salt, and black pepper.
  • Vegetables - Onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, and whole peeled canned tomatoes. (I like San Marzano tomatoes. I find them to be less sour than other whole canned tomatoes). 
  • Fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, and cinnamon sticks - Flavor-makers to add to the complex taste of these lamb shanks. 
  • Beef or vegetable broth and red wine - For the red wine sauce. Red wine adds acidity and a very subtle sweetness, while broth adds more “meaty” flavor and umami.

How to make this lamb shank recipe

  • Season the lamb shanks. Mix together 2 ¼ teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg. Season both sides of the shanks.

    Lamb shanks seasoned before cooking
  • Sear the lamb. In a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven, heat some extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shanks and brown on all sides. Do this in batches so all the shanks get a good sear on them. Remove the lamb shanks from the pot and set aside for now. 

    Browned lamb shanks
  • Add vegetables. To the same Dutch oven, add 1 chopped yellow onion, 2 chopped celery ribs, 3 carrots that have been peeled and cut into pieces, and 1 pound scrubbed baby potatoes. Toss in the EVOO for a bit. 

    Vegetables in pot with braising liquid
  • Make the red wine sauce. Pour in 2 cups dry red wine (my favorite is Merlot!) and cook to reduce by about ½. Be sure to carefully scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. These add amazing flavor to the red wine sauce!

    l

    Add 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, 3 cups low-sodium beef broth, 2 cinnamon sticks, 4 sprigs fresh thyme, and 2 sprigs fresh rosemary. Season with a little kosher salt and black pepper. Return the seared lamb shanks to the Dutch oven and press them down to submerge as much as possible. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes and then turn off the heat.

    Lamb shanks added in with the liquid and vegetables
  • Braise the lamb shanks. Cover the Dutch oven and transfer to a 350 degrees F heated oven. Braise for about 2 ½ hours. Check the shanks occasionally, and add more liquid if you notice the sauce reducing too much. If after 2 ½ hours the lamb is still tough, simply add more braising liquid and continue to cook, checking every 15 minutes or so until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. You should be left with about ⅓ of the red wine sauce that you started with. Remove the lamb shanks from the oven and serve.
Braised lamb shanks with potatoes, carrots and rosemary in Dutch oven

Slow cooker lamb shanks option

The slow cooker is a great option for cooking your lamb shanks. Here is how:

  • Season and sear the lamb shanks on the stove-top per recipe instructions until a nice brown crust forms on all sides of the lamb.
  • Transfer the lamb shanks to a large Crockpot or slow cooker.
  • Add the vegetables, 1 cup of red wine instead of 2, beef broth, and the remaining ingredients.
  • Cover and set the Crockpot to Low for 8 hours or High for 5 to 6 hours or until the lamb shanks are cooked through to tender.

Make-ahead tips

To work ahead, chop up the onions, carrots, and celery and store them in separate airtight containers in the fridge. You can also make the lamb shank seasoning mix in advance. 

Braised lamb shanks in red wine can also be cooked completely a night in advance. The luxurious sauce will thicken a little overnight and the flavors will meld and deepen even more. (Reheating tips below!)

Serve shanks with

There is very little needed to complete this impressive one-pot feast. But because I don’t like to waste any of the delicious red wine sauce, I think a bed of plain couscous, Lebanese rice, or orzo pasta is a good idea. A piece of warm pita or your favorite bread is also a great way to enjoy every last drop of the braising liquid. 

And since this is a rich, meaty dinner, I recommend you start with a big bright salad such as lemony arugula salad, white bean salad, or tabouli.

Leftovers and storage

This rosemary lamb shank recipe makes superb leftovers because lamb shanks stay moist and juicy after reheating – no dry lamb here! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 

Reheat lamb and vegetables in a 350 degrees F heated oven in an oven-safe pot for about 30 minutes. If the sauce has reduced too much, add a little more beef broth.

More lamb recipes to try

4.82 from 66 votes

Easy Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe

Suzy Karadsheh
Mediterranean-Style Wine Braised Lamb Shanks Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Braising and slow cooker instructions included! Spiced lamb shanks cooked in a red wine and tomato sauce with vegetables, aromatics and fresh herbs! A family favorite for Easter or your next special dinner! See it on TheMediterraneanDish.com
Super tender, perfectly spiced braised lamb shanks and vegetables in a rich red wine sauce. Cooking lamb shanks is easier than you might think. Simply season, sear, and braise! It's the perfect lamb shank recipe for a small gathering! A dry red wine is your best bet for the red wine sauce. (Merlot is my favorite here, but a Cabernet Sauvignon would work well, too.) Serve rosemary lamb shanks with couscous, Lebanese rice, or pita to soak up all the delicious sauce. Start this rich, meaty dinner with a big bright salad like arugula salad or white bean salad.
Prep – 30 mins
Cook – 2 hrs 30 mins
Total – 3 hrs
Cuisine:
Mediterranean
Serves – 6 lamb shanks
Course:
Entree

Ingredients
  

For Spice Mix

For Lamb 

  • 6 American lamb shanks
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 1 pound baby potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 cups red wine like Merlot
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 28- ounce can peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a small bowl, add all the spice mix ingredients and mix to combine.
  • Pat the lamb shanks dry and season with the spice mix on all sides.
  • In a large Dutch oven pot like this one, heat 2 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the lamb shanks on all sides (about 8 mins or so). Transfer the lamb shanks to a large tray or bowl for now. Carefully dispose of extra fat in a separate heat-safe bowl, and return the pot to heat.
  • Now add the onions, celery, carrots and potatoes. Saute for 5-7 minutes on medium-high, or until the vegetables gain some color. Add red wine, scrape the pot of brown bits.  Cook briefly so that the wine reduces a bit.
  • Add the broth, tomatoes, cinnamon sticks, thyme, and rosemary. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper. Return lamb shanks back to the pot; press down to submerge. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn heat off.
  • Cover the pot and transfer to the 350 degrees F-heated oven. Cook in the oven for 2 ½ hours (It's a good idea to check periodically through cooking just in case you need to add a little more liquid. When the shanks finish cooking, the liquid will have reduced to about ⅓ of what it was when you started.)
  • While the lamb shanks are cooking, prepare rice according to this recipe, or prepare 2-3 cups of orzo pasta according to package instructions.
  • Serve the lamb shanks hot with a little of the veggies and braising sauce on top of rice or orzo pasta. You might also like to prepare a side salad like this 3-ingredient Mediterranean salad or Fattoush. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • What wine to use in the red wine sauce? Dry red wine works best. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are good options. If you do not use alcohol in your cooking, substitute an equal amount of beef broth. 
  • Slow cooker lamb shanks: Follow the recipe instructions for seasoning and browning the lamb. Transfer the lamb to a large slow cooker. Add the vegetables, then add 1 cup wine (instead of 2), add broth and remaining ingredients. Cover the slow cooker. Set on Low and cook for 8 hours or on High and cook for 5 to 6 hours or until the shanks are fully cooked to fall-apart tender.
  • Make-ahead tips: Chop up the vegetables and store them separately in the fridge. You can also make braised lamb shanks completely a night in advance. 
  • Leftovers and storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat lamb and vegetables in a 350 degrees F heated oven in an oven-safe pot for about 30 minutes. If the sauce has reduced too much, add a little more beef broth.
  • Visit our Online Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including spices (like the paprika and nutmeg used in this recipe) and extra virgin olive oils. 

Nutrition

Calories: 447.5kcalCarbohydrates: 27.8gProtein: 44.4gFat: 11.3gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5.9gCholesterol: 127.3mgSodium: 974.4mgPotassium: 1512.9mgFiber: 5.3gSugar: 6.6gVitamin A: 5461.5IUVitamin C: 31.5mgCalcium: 107.8mgIron: 6.1mg
Tried this recipe?

*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2017 and has been recently updated with new media and information for readers' benefit.

 

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this dish tonight. OMGoodness! It was absolutely the most tender, tastiest braised lamb shanks we have ever had. And the scent in the house as it cooked, was heavenly. I did cut back on the garlic power for the rub. Replaced it with a couple cloves of fresh garlic from this year's crop. Worked well and did not overpower the other spices in this dish. Absolutely recommend it to anyone, who wants an easy to prepare, delicious dish for a cold winter night.

  2. 5 stars
    Didn't hear one word peep out of my husband - all I heard was, "Num, num, num...!"

    I had to decrease the serving amount to 2 because I only had two shanks and followed the recipe exactly. It was wonderful!

    Thank you for putting together a great meal...

  3. I’m going to make this for Father’s Day and will be sure to give reviews. Can you tell me if an instant pot on slow cooker would be ok to use? Would you make any suggestions.

    1. Hi, Chavonne. Although we haven't tested this here, using the Instant Pot on the slow cooker setting should work. I would would double check the user manual for your Instant Pot and compare it with the slow cooker instructions here in the article and make any necessary adjustments. Hope you have a wonderful Father's Day :).

  4. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe. My husband LOVES it! Question, I'm not a big fan of potatoes. Is there anything I can use to replace potatoes in this recipe?

    1. Hi, Yanna! I think really any veggies you and your hubby enjoy would work here... especially other root vegetables.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this for a small dinner party over the weekend and it was a huge hit! Everyone raved about the flavorful lamb. I served the shanks over mashed potatoes, and had a simple fresh salad on the side.

  6. I am off to store for some of my missing spice rub and I am excited to try this. All the comments have made me very excited to cook this for a lamb aficionado tonight.

  7. Hi, are your oven temperatures fan-forced or for conventional? Where I live fan forced is the norm, but I know that isn't often the case elsewhere. I would hate to overcook this 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! My niece's Greek MIL always brings lamb shanks for Christmas and I wanted to make them though her spoken recipe (she doesn't have it written down) wasn't the least bit clear. I found your recipe and now I have delicious lamb shanks any time I want. We're actually having them for Thanksgiving this year. We love this recipe!

  9. 2 stars
    I was really disappointed with how this recipe turned out. I cooked the shanks using every single ingredient in a slow cooker for 6.5 hours. I don’t think the cinnamon was a good idea as it made all the vegetables taste like cinnamon... There wasn’t much flavor to the lamb meat and I had even followed the seasoning recipe to the tee, also seared them before putting into slow cooker. Maybe it was the type of lamb shanks I used but either way I thought the meat would’ve had more flavor with all the ingredients used. The aroma was way too strong and I think it was due to the 2 cinnamon sticks.

    1. I always make my shanks the day before. I salt and pepper the shanks and let them ist in the fridge overnite. Take them out of the refer at least a. 1/2 hr before you want to cook them. Refrigerate them overnite. Defat the stew. Warm it in an oven until it bubles. Serve with whatever you want....pasta, orzo, etc. Flavor of the meat and your seasoning comes out like the stars at night. Try some dry oregano while your cooing the shanks at the end of cooking fresh oregano works great with shanks. . I tend to use Cento peeled plum tomatoes. For more flavor, take the shanks from the sauce and reduce it to bring more flavor to the pot, then add the shanks to incorporate the meal! ENJOY!!

    2. I think it's unfair to blame Suzy and give a low rating if we don't like a certain ingredient, like cinnamon. I find the recipe to be great

  10. Hi there

    So happy to come across this recipe - it’s in the oven as I write as a matter if fact. What I’m wondering is - if I need to add more liquid what do I actually use to do that without spoiling the flavour?
    Would I use extra Beef broth ? Hoping my question might be answered before I need to take the action haha

  11. About how many lbs of lamb shank would this be. My butcher has small shanks and very large ones.

    1. Hello, Rahma! The average lamb shank in my area weighs something between 12 ounces to just over 1 pound. Hope that helps!

  12. Do you have to use a Dutch oven pot or is there an alternative (besides a slow cooker)? I don’t own either yet.

    1. Hi, Ana! A dutch oven is recommended, but you can use another large pot with a lid as long as it is stovetop AND oven safe.

  13. I wanted to cook lamb chops but the grocery store sold lot. Only lamb shank was available, so I Googled recipes. This one came up. This recipe was easy to follow and the end result was amazing.

    I cooked this meal for my family on Valentine Day. The lamb was fall off the bone tender and the vegetables were seasoned to perfection. I will be adding this recipe to my cooking rotation.

    1. Hi, Jen! Yes, you can use shoulder chops here.Depending on the size of the shoulder chops, I think it'll actually take a similar amount of time. Enjoy!

  14. 5 stars
    I...love...flavor...

    This recipe is, by far, the BEST I have ever tasted. I live in a food Mecca..Houston. I have had lamb.

    This recipe is full of rich, beautiful flavor. I enjoyed making this {and my wife and I enjoyed eating this}. Many of my friends don’t realize that lamb is mostly cheaper than beef and more flavorful.

    I have never used a spice rub before I sear the lamb shanks...I will always do this from now on. Your recipe is great!

    I look forward to your e-cookbook (I just subscribed) and your food blog.

    Thank you so very much for this recipe.

    Much respect..,Jeff in Houston

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Jeff! And welcome to The Mediterranean Dish :). I can't wait to hear what else you try!