Braised Lamb Shanks

Perfect for a hearty meal! Lamb shanks braised with onions, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, raisins and mint, and seasoned with oregano, thyme, and rosemary.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 2 lamb shanks (3 to 3 1/2 pounds total), trimmed of excess fat
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3-4 medium potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken or beef stock
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf

Optional, and highly recommended:

  • 3/4 cup raisins, soaked in 1/2 cup sherry for a couple hours
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves



1 Preheat oven to 350° F. Season lamb shanks with salt.

2 Brown the lamb shanks: Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or an oven-proof, thick-bottomed, pot with a tight fitting cover on medium high heat on the stovetop. Working in batches if necessary, brown the lamb shanks in the pot on all sides. Remove shanks to a dish.

Browning lamb shank in dutch oven pot

3 Sauté the onion, carrot, celery: Add onion, carrot and celery and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Sautéed onions, carrots, and celery for braised lamb shanks recipe

4 Add potatoes, then garlic, lamb, herbs, sherry, raisins: Add potatoes and cook another 2 minutes. Add the garlic, lamb shanks, and herbs (except for the mint). If using, add the sherry and raisins; bring the sherry to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.

Lamb shank cooking with potatoes, carrots onion and celery in oven proof pan

5 Add stock, bring to simmer, put in oven: Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover the pot and bake in the oven for 1 1/2 or 2 hours or until shanks are tender.

Lamb shank with potatoes baked in oven Braised lamb shanks in oven safe pot

6 Strip meat from bones: Remove the shanks, strip the meat from the bones and return the meat to the pan.

Serve with fresh mint leaves as garnish.

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  • Mary

    Question. How much should the 2 lamb shanks weigh? I have small shanks, two together weigh 1 lb 8 ounces.

    Thanks for anyones help.

    • Carrie Havranek

      The weight will vary, but since you can see that yours are smaller, Mary, I would suggest you check them for doneness after about an hour and see how tender they are. Thanks for your question

  • Amanda

    Excellent recipe! So easy and delicious!


  • Ravenna

    Wow – fantastic lamb recipe. The sherry soaked raisins really make the dish. If your stock isn’t salty, you’ll need to add additional salt to the vegetables. This is now a go to lamb dish for me.


  • Lori

    Make this often. Amazing flavor!


  • Grace

    I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful recipes. Your recipes are my go-to-first every time and they never fail me! Last night, we had a couple of friends over for dinner both of whom have had extensive travels around the world both for business and pleasure and they love to eat and explore international cuisines. Again, I made braised lamb shanks…and they kept talking about how good it was and that it’s the best they’ve ever had even the day after the dinner. Sadly, I haven’t taken any photos but will do so next time.

    Thank you once again for your never-fail, wonderful and delicious recipes!


  • Grace

    Prepared this dish last Passover. My apologies for the delayed comment…just wanted to share my husband’s reaction: “This is just stupendous”…his words! And I loved it too! Thank you for putting an end to my quest for the best braised lamb shanks recipe.


  • Sherrie Au

    This was amazing! I substituted turkey leg for the lamb shank and fennel for the carrot… NOT! Just joking! ! I made it according to the recipe, except I did use parsnips instead of potatoes and I did include the sherry-soaked raisins and the mint garnish. It was heavenly!


  • CatN

    This turned out wonderful, and I’m hoping to make it again for friends at Thanksgiving with a leg of lamb. Would that work and what if adjustments should I expect to make? Thank you for this keeper!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Cat, I do not recommend braising leg of lamb. You braise tough meat to make it tender and leg of lamb is already incredibly tender. Also the tough meat is tough because the muscles got a work out, and they have more flavor as a result. This is why braised lamb shanks are so good. The meat is more flavorful and the braising is the gentle cooking needed to tenderize it. If you want leg of lamb, I recommend roasting it. See our Roast Leg of Lamb recipe.

  • RachH

    I made this yesterday and it turned out so well we practically licked our plates clean! I did not have any sherry to soak the raisins in, so I used some homemade cherry bounce instead (a bit less though since it’s very strong–about 1/3 cup), and we had no fresh mint, but otherwise I was able to follow the recipe. We enjoyed it with Pinot noir and hot potato rolls. Thank you for another winner, Elise!


  • Sandra

    On a stormy day recently, I was looking for a recipe to cook a lamb shank I bought and found this one. It was so easy and tasted as if I was a gourmet cook – absolutely delicious and a big hit with my husband who loves lamb. I’m not a big fan of lamb, but this was very tasty. Just a few modifications: I used a spice bag for the herbs and garlic which made it easy to remove after cooking. I also used the sherry alone without the raisins, used homemade beef broth and cooked it for 2 hours at 350 in a Le Creuset pot. This has a very rich taste that pairs well with a dry red wine and French bread.


  • amanda

    oh man, elise this was amazing. we used the raisins and sherry and it left this incredibly sweet and rich flavor. i love lamb shanks, but this was the best recipe ive used. so simple, too. i let it go for a bit longer in the oven, and i used a full pint of homemade beef stock. really awesome. thanks again!

    ps. i love digging back in your archives for the olden days! look how far you have come since 2003!


  • James

    I’ve slow cooked lamb a few times, trying different recipes each time. This one is by far my favorite. The sherry soaked raisins are a brilliant idea. I served mine with a dipping sauce that was a blend of rasberry jam and chili sauce. Its a great looking dish as well.

    I’ve used many recipes from this site and each one has been excellent.


  • Sandra

    I made this dish but didn’t include the raisins and sherry as I didn’t have any sherry and I couldn’t think of a suitable substitute in my pantry. I was looking for a straightforward lamb shank recipe, one which used what I on hand and didn’t require a trip to the store, when I came across this one. It turned out perfectly! Next time, I’ll try it with the raisins and sherry, especially after reading the positive comments about including them.

  • Lew

    I tried these a few weeks ago and it turned out fantastic! I’m pretty new to cooking (at least, beyond pasta and steaks ;) and was very happy with how it turned out.

    One thing I did do differently was to cook the shanks longer at a lower temperature with hopes that they would have a better chance of staying tender. The results were great. I left them at 300 for about 4 hours, and didn’t need to use a knife during dinner. Anybody else have recommendations for the ideal cook time (if you have the time to spare?)

  • ash

    I subscribed to your feed a few months back; my boyfriend and I are obsessed with anything food, food network, food books, etc. He is a wonderful cook, grown up on Georgian comfort food, and I grew up in Maryland with a much more new-england style of cooking. The only problem is I’m a horrible cook. It takes a while for me to get something right, so when I decided to impress him with a great dinner one night, he was apprehesive. He’s never had lamb (country boys don’t have the opportunity too often for lamb) so I decided on this recipe because it was a nice combination of what he’s used to back home, and a couple twists….the raisins and the lamb. I substituted ribs for shanks, because the store I went to didn’t have shanks. I did all the same things except lowered the oven time–I only left them in there for about thirty minutes. But can I just say that it was SO GOOD. My boyfriend raved on my cooking skills! And the sherry soaked raisins were definitly the best additive!! We actually took pictures of our plates because it was so pretty. The flavors were fabulous and we put it in our scrapbook of things to cook again, and I also made that Eggnog pound cake, which was just the perfect end to the night. Thanks for making my date night so great! Now I just have to live up to it on our next date!

  • John M.

    One thing to keep in mind with something like lamb shanks: If you are impatient, they come out wonderfully from a pressure cooker in, like, 20 minutes instead of 90. Brown them first of course.