Lamb Curry


Lamb curry recipe, lamb shanks and shoulders braised in curry sauce with potatoes, apples, raisins, and lemon. Serve with chutney, yogurt, and rice.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

What a blessing it is to have friends, and parents of friends, who cook. I had this dish at my friend Elizabeth Abbott’s parent’s house and begged her mother Maria for the recipe, which, thankfully, she gave me.

I changed it ever so slightly – added some raisins to the mix, and upped the spices. When at their house again recently, I showed Maria her recipe on the site. Delighted yet also surprised, she remarked, “But I don’t use raisins!,” and then added, “but that’s not a bad idea.”

Whew. Saved by the spirit of experimentation. Maria is one of those people who is such a good cook, you are inspired to learn how just by being around her. Thank you Maria!

Lamb Curry Recipe

  • Cook time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 6


  • 2 lamb shanks AND 2 lamb shoulder steaks (yielding about 2 lbs of meat without the bone)
  • 1 large onions, chopped, about 3 1/2 cups
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter) or 1 Tbsp olive oil with butter
  • 2-3 Tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1/2 Meyer lemon sliced (with rind)
  • 2 peeled and chopped apples (tart green granny smith if possible), about 2 cups
  • 1/4 cup of raisins (my addition to Maria's recipe)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth*
  • 8-12 small potatoes, quartered, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • Chutney, yogurt, rice

*If cooking gluten-free, use homemade chicken stock or gluten-free packaged broth.


1 Brown the lamb shanks on all sides: Preheat oven to 300° F. On stovetop, add the ghee or the butter-and-oil mixture to a large covered pot or Dutch oven and turn the burner to medium-high. Brown the meat well and remove it from pan.

2 Add curry powder: Add curry powder to the ghee or oil, turn the heat down to medium and cook gently for a minute or two.

3 Add onions and garlic and cook 5 minutes. Return lamb to pan.

4 Add coriander, black pepper, cumin, rosemary, thyme, sliced lemon, apples, raisins, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Cover the pot and put it in the oven. Cook for 2 hours. Check at 2 hours to see if the meat is falling off the bone. It should be starting to do so.

5 Add the potatoes and cook for another 45 minutes.

6 Serve: To serve, you can pull the meat off the bones or leave it on. Taste for salt and add some more curry powder or cayenne if you want things spicier. Serve over rice with chutney and yogurt.

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Here's Maria with a batch of lamb curry on the stove in her brand-spanking-new kitchen.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

21 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • vivek

    By far the best recipe I’ve come across. I’ve made it several times over the past few years and it’s always a hit. Try smoking the lamb. I use a Big Green Egg. Then prepare as directed. Fantastic. Smoky rich but not over powering.


  • Stacy R

    Just added the potatoes and the entire house smells amazing. Thanks for posting; I can’t wait to eat!

  • mo

    this might seem like a stupid question. but how do you eat the yogurt chutney? do you pour it on the rice and then pour the curry on top of that?

    You would serve the curry over rice, with the chutney and the yogurt on the side. ~Elise

  • Reesha

    I am a South African Indian. Indian cooking does not use lemons/lemon juice/vinegar in a lamb curry recipe. We add the acid to a salad as a side dish. Half a large ripe fresh tomato (or a whole small fresh tomato) is usually added to the curry well after the meat has softened. The addition of tomato results in a beautiful thick gravy. Due to the fact that we eat curries often, we prevent the addition of acid, except tomatoes, as this causes gout and numerous other acid related maladies.

  • Taya

    This was just beautiful ! I’ve never cooked with curry powder before (always used curry paste) and am now going to try currying all sorts of vegetables and meats. Thanks for a really delightful dish.

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