This easy oven Braised Lamb Shanks recipe yields fall-off-the-bone tender lamb braised in a rich herbed tomato and red wine sauce. The hardest part about making this recipe is waiting for those delicious smells to come out of the oven and onto your plate!
Includes 3 different cooking methods!
Can you really go wrong braising lamb shanks with a full bottle of red wine? I don’t think so! I love making a gorgeous dinner like this because it is just so easy. Throw everything in a pot and let it mingle for a few hours. Now that’s a fool-proof recipe!
Making a beautiful dinner is typically associated with long hours in the kitchen and a big ol’ mess. But, why? It doesn’t have to be that way anymore! You’d be surprised at how many of these meals we only dare to order in a restaurant are in fact not only easy to make at home, but use simple every day ingredients.
What Are Lamb Shanks?
This cut of meat comes from the leg of the lamb. Because of this, it is pretty tough and absolutely perfect for a nice slow braise! This will give us fall-off-the-bone tender lamb. Another big plus for lamb shanks is that they are also pretty inexpensive.
- Olive oil – You can also use avocado, vegetable, canola, or sunflower oil.
- Lamb shanks – This recipe works best with 4-6 shanks.
- Salt & pepper – Season to taste. I suggest seasoning the meat generously to help build flavor.
- Onion, carrots, and celery – I used a red onion, but any type you have on hand will work. You can dice as large or small as you like – this will all be strained out after braising.
- Garlic – The more garlic the merrier for me! You can use as much or as little as you like.
- Tomato paste – This ingredient is very thick and usually comes in a small can. It’s great used in small amounts to add some deep and rich tomatoey flavor!
- Passata – This is an uncooked puree of tomato that has been strained of any seeds or skin. It’s very smooth and will help us create a nice rich sauce. You can use tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes instead.
- Beef broth – You can use any type of broth that you have handy. Using beef or lamb broth will create a deeper flavor.
- Red wine – The best types of wine to use for this recipe are dry reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, or a Shiraz. You can use extra broth to make this recipe alcohol-free.
- Thyme, rosemary and bay leaves – I definitely suggest using fresh thyme and rosemary for this recipe! You can use either fresh or dried bay leaves.
- Cinnamon sticks – Using sticks over ground cinnamon is much better for this recipe. You can strain them out at the end and they’ll add a subtle flavor without being overpowering.
How to Make Oven Braised Lamb Shanks
- Sear the shanks: Preheat oven to 350°F. Get yourself a nice and big oven-safe pot with a lid. I used a 6-qt dutch oven. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the shanks with salt and pepper, and sear them on all sides in batches. Set the shanks aside.
- Make the sauce: Saute the veggies until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and tomato paste, stir well, and cook for another minute. Pour in the passata, broth, wine, and stir everything to combine. Add the herbs, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks, then add all the shanks back to the pot ensuring they are fully submerged.
- Braise: Cover the pot with a lid and cook in the oven for 2 hours. Remove the lid, and let it cook for another 30 minutes uncovered.
- Make the sauce: Remove the shanks from the pot and strain everything into a saucepan through a sieve. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until reduced by half. You can add a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce further if you prefer! Spoon a small amount of sauce over the shanks to serve and leave the rest in a gravy boat on the side.
Other Cooking Options
This recipe would work best if you own a large pressure cooker such as an Instant Pot or slow cooker to fit the shanks in nicely. Otherwise, you can cut the recipe in half to accommodate for what tools you have.
Follow steps 2 to 4 using the searing function of your pressure cooker. Add the lamb shanks back to the pot of your pressure cooker, close the lid, cook on high pressure for 35 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Quick release and remaining pressure, remove the lid and continue to follow steps 5 and 6 of this recipe to make the sauce.
Follow step 2 and 3 of this recipe in a large pot. Transfer the sautéed veggies to your slow cooker, and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well with a large spoon or whisk and add the lamb shanks to the slow cooker. Make sure they are fully submerged. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours. Follow steps 5 and 6 of this recipe to make the sauce.
How To Serve
I served these braised lamb shanks over my favorite creamy polenta! It was a match made in heaven. You can also enjoy it over mashed potatoes, rice, or some mashed or riced cauliflower for a low-carb option!
Trying to think of some veggies to go with this dish? Try these recipes!
- Italian Roasted Mushrooms and Veggies
- Balsamic Parmesan Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes
- Garlic Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
How To Store Leftovers
Cooked lamb will last 3-4 days refrigerated. Keep these shanks in an airtight container. You can store them with the sauce or you can store the sauce in a separate container, but I would definitely suggest reheating them all together. That will prevent the meat from drying out!
You can reheat these lamb shanks in the microwave. If you aren’t a microwave fan, reheat either in a pot over medium heat on the stovetop or you can use an oven-safe pot covered with a lid. Bake at 300 F or about 15-20 minutes.
You can also freeze these braised lamb shanks up to 4-6 months. Reheat using either the microwave, stovetop, or oven method. It will take about 30-35 minutes in the oven.
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Braised Lamb Shanks
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 6 lamb shanks
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 tsp pepper or to taste
- 1 large red onion diced, or regular white or yellow onion
- 2 large carrots sliced 1/2"
- 3 stalks celery sliced 1/2"
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 24 oz passata 1 bottle
- 4 cups beef broth low sodium
- 3 cups red wine 1 bottle
- 6 sprigs thyme fresh
- 2 sprigs rosemary fresh
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Prep the oven: Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Sear the shanks: Heat ½ the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add as many lamb shanks as can fit on the bottom of your pot and season them with salt and pepper. Sear for about 5 minutes or until browned. Flip, season with salt and pepper, and sear the other side. Remove the shanks from the pot and set aside. Repeat with remaining oil and shanks.
- Add veggies: Add the onion, carrots, celery, season with salt and pepper, and saute for 3-5 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent. Mix in the garlic and tomato paste well, then saute for another minute.
- Make the sauce: Pour in the entire bottle of passata. Add about ½ cup of beef broth to the passata bottle, screw the lid back on, and shake to get all the excess passata from the sides of the bottle. Add this to the pot along with the remaining beef broth. Pour in the bottle of wine and stir everything to combine. Add the thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and let everything come to a simmer.
- Add shanks back and cook: Add the shanks back to the pot and arrange them so they are fully submerged. You can top them with more broth if needed. Cover the pot with a lid, and braise in the oven for 2 hours. Remove the lid, and braise for another 30 minutes.
- Finish the sauce: Remove the shanks from the pot. Strain the liquid into a saucepan using a sieve. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce by half, about 10 minutes. You can add a cornstarch slurry (equal parts cornstarch and water) to the sauce, 1 tsp at a time, if you want it to be thicker. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve: Spoon a small amount of sauce over the shanks to serve and leave the rest in a gravy boat on the side.
- Cooked lamb will last 3-4 days refrigerated. Keep these shanks in an airtight container. You can store them with the sauce or you can store the sauce in a separate container, but I would definitely suggest reheating them all together. That will prevent the meat from drying out!
- You can reheat these shanks in the microwave. If you aren’t a microwave fan, reheat either in a pot over medium heat on the stovetop or you can use an oven-safe pot covered with a lid. Bake at 300 F or about 15-20 minutes.
- You can also freeze your leftovers up to 4-6 months. Reheat using either the microwave, stovetop, or oven method. It will take about 30-35 minutes in the oven.