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.

And, for a dinner party or special occasion, use a few extra sprigs of rosemary to start with blood orange cocktails with vodka and rosemary.

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

4.86 from 104 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 minutes
Cook – 2 hours 30 minutes
Total – 3 hours
Cuisine:
Mediterranean
Serves – 6 lamb shanks
Course:
Entree

Ingredients
  

For Spice Mix

  • 2 ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg

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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4.86 from 104 votes (29 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. Jana says:

    5 stars
    Amazing

    1. Suzy says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Leah Beatty says:

    Hello

    I am using my instant pot/pressure cooker a lot these days. This looks like a perfect candidate. Just concerned about the volume of liquids and cooking time. Can you advise? Looks amazing!! And hubby and teen boys LOVES lamb shanks.

    Cheers
    Leah

  3. JR says:

    I don't have a dutch oven, but I doin have a slow cooker. Could I do this in that and cook low for (approx) 8hrs instead?

    1. JR says:

      Apologies-- just saw your note further down in recipe about slow cookers! Great - can't wait til try!

      1. Suzy says:

        enjoy!

    2. Suzy says:

      Yes! Please see notes above.

      1. Leah says:

        Hi. My original question was about an instant pot/pressure cooker. As opposed to a slow cook. Any.tips

      2. Suzy says:

        I have not personally tried this in an Instant Pot, but you may be able to find some answers in the instructional manual that came along with your Instant Pot.

  4. Ally says:

    5 stars
    Hi Suzy, can you recommend a wine for this recipe? This sounds delicious and I want to get it right.

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Ally! A full-bodied red wine would work well here. I'd try a Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. Thanks!

  5. Aiman says:

    5 stars
    I just made this for my family and we LOVED it. Awesome recipe! Best part was that it was easy to prepare.

    I have followed your other recipes as well and they are all great. Thank you for sharing your recipes!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Thank you so much! So glad you enjoyed this one.

  6. Merima says:

    Let’s start off by saying I’m a terrible lamb cooker!
    My husband came home with lamb shanks and asked me to cook it, immediately I googled recipes and thank the heavens above I came across this recipe. Let me tell you my family devoured this meal! My whole house smelled amazing while it was cooking, a really delicious meal!!

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Merima, I am so glad you happened upon this recipe! It's a family favorite here too! so glad you enjoyed it.

  7. Christy says:

    Planning to make this tomorrow! What kind of Spanish paprika did you use? Smoked? Sweet? Thanks so much!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Hello, Christy. Apologies that I just saw this question. Sweet Spanish paprika is what is used here (I believe we've linked to it). If a different kind is used, then we typically qualify that by sharing "smoked" or "hot."

  8. Mary says:

    Hi, Can I use a leg of lamb with this recipe?

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      You can use the same spices etc. Mary, but I would adjust your cooking time.

  9. Greg says:

    This recipe looks fantastic! I will be trying it this week.
    How large of a Dutch oven would you use for 6 lamb shanks?
    Greg

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Hi Greg! This one used here is 7-qt oval Dutch oven like this: https://amzn.to/2KztIJ1

      1. Greg says:

        Awesome! Thanks.

  10. Michele says:

    Hi, I’m not a big fan of cinnamon in savoury foods, especially in lamb, is there a substitute I could use? Same goes with the nutmeg.

    Thanks

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Hi Michele, you can omit cinnamon and adjust the remaining spices to compensate. Enjoy!

  11. Megan says:

    5 stars
    I have always been intimidated by the thought of cooking lamb but after success with ALL of your recipes I have tried I decided to make this braised lamb shank recipe. It did not disappoint. Very easy to assemble, made the house smell wonderful and tasted amazing. Husband and son agree. Thanks so much...love your recipes and the weekly meal ideas!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Megan, thank you so much for sharing! Makes my day to know that my recipes are working for your family. Thank you.

  12. David says:

    5 stars
    I have made lamb shanks many times and this is the best recipe ever. Five stars. My family loved it.

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Love hearing this, David! Thank you!

  13. Stan says:

    Suzy,

    Awesome lamb shank recipe !!

    Love the cinnamon and nutmeg, subtle yet the taste comes through just enough. I’m Greek so I am definitely well versed on lamb dishes, and this is one of the best I’ve ever had. Definitely the best I’ve ever made.
    Thanks !!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Stan, this means a ton to me! Thank you for sharing!

  14. Fahd says:

    Hello, could you give an approximation of how large the shanks in this recipe are? I just bought a shank weighing 3 lbs and 6 of those would seem to require an industrial style pot!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Hello, Fahd. The average lamb shank in my area weighs something between 12 ounces to just over 1 pound.

  15. Nayla Bejjani says:

    Hi Suzi I'm a good cook and I've done this lamb shanks before as my own recipe and I don't. Mind to have some of your recipes as they look fabulous .

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Thanks, Nayla! Enjoy!

  16. Michelle says:

    Could I use short ribs for this recipe? We don’t eat lamb or veal but the recipe looks delish!