Lamb Recipes

It’s a shame that lamb is typically reserved for special occasions like Easter and Passover dinner. This versatile protein can be cooked in any number of styles and makes an easy weeknight meal. Do you like pork chops? Try lamb chops—tender cuts from the rib, shoulder or loin that can be roasted or pan-cooked just like a pork chop or steak. Try subbing in ground lamb for ground beef, or use it to make Mediterranean favorites like moussaka and lamb meatballs. Looking for a make-ahead meal? Try stewing lamb. It holds up well in slow cookers and makes delicious, freezable stews and braises. Whether you’re making lamb the star of your holiday feast or you simply want to change up your weeknight routine, the F&W guide to lamb has you covered, with recipes for fast lamb chops, leg of lamb, grilled lamb and more.

Most Recent

Banana Leaf-Wrapped Lamb Shank Tamales with Morita Chile Salsa

These smoky braised-lamb tamales, favorite at event producer Paola Briseño González's holiday tamale parties, get a pop of freshness from bright cilantro-onion relish, while a wrapper of banana leaves perfumes the masa with a softly sweet aroma as they steam. The banana leaf wrappers also yield tamales with a dense, custard-like texture. The rich, slow-cooked flavor of lamb shanks is the perfect partner for the intense smokiness of morita chiles; substitute chipotles in a pinch.

Lamb Martabak

This martabak is one of Lara Lee’s favorite snacks from her Indonesian cookbook Coconut & Sambal. The traditional version is made with a thin, translucent sheet of oiled homemade dough that is pan-fried in a cast-iron pan, but for easy entertaining, Lee recommends using spring roll wrappers. Lamb martabak is a fantastic canapé or appetizer to kick-start a dinner party. It’s best eaten immediately and served with sambal on the side for dipping.

Roasted Lamb Chops with Brown Sugar-Rum Glaze

With plenty of garlic and rubbed sage to brighten savory, gamey lamb, these roasted chops are bold and balanced. If the glaze begins to set before serving, gently warm it over low heat. Chef and cookbook author Alexander Smalls serves these lamb chops at his epic dinner parties at his apartment in Harlem.

Grilled Rack of Lamb with Demi-Glace Butter

A thick paste of garlic, shallots, and herbs infuses this lamb with bold flavor; marinate overnight for best results. Don’t skip the Demi-Butter and the Balsamic Glaze; both recipes come together quickly, can be made ahead, and add game-changing flavor to this epic summer feast.

Crispy Grilled Lamb Pitas with Radish-Watercress Salad

With the weather warming up, I’ve found myself dusting off the grill and doing more outdoor cooking. And I’m reminded of the magic that happens when smoke and char make their indelible mark on my food. I simply love unsubtle flavors—which are at the core of this hearty spring recipe that combines the meaty-oily richness of lamb, the pungent kick of garlic, the kiss of fire from the grill, and the peppery bite of radishes and watercress.First things first, the lamb-stuffed pitas—based on the Middle Eastern dish arayes—were a runaway hit with my family. And that’s because of the lamb. It’s seasoned with a good amount of za’atar (my brother-in-law brought me a 2-pound bag of it from Jordan!), parsley, onion, and garlic, so it ends up with a flavor akin to both gyro meat and kofta. Soft pitas are each split into two rounds, spread with the spiced ground lamb mixture, reassembled, and grilled. As they spend time over the coals, the meat juices soak into the bread and then crisp up in the most irresistible way. If you’re not a big fan of lamb, you can use ground beef instead—but choose grass-fed beef so that it has a richer, gamier flavor that will stand up to the seasonings.I serve these pitas with a sauce of tahini, lemon juice, and raw garlic. Even though the sandwiches have plenty of flavor on their own, they get even better when adorned with a creamy sauce. One quick tip: Don’t worry if the tahini seizes up when you first start to stir in the liquid. This happens because tahini, made from ground sesame seeds, is carbohydrate-rich. Adding liquid to it is almost akin to adding liquid to flour in that the carbohydrate holds onto the liquid. But when you add a little more liquid, it all thins and smooths out. If you need a little more liquid to get your sauce to the right consistency, just keep adding water a teaspoon at a time.The robust, fatty lamb needs a fresh, zippy counterpoint, so I serve the pitas with a salad featuring my all-time-favorite spring ingredient: radishes. I used three types: watermelon radishes for their gorgeous magenta hue, green daikon for softer color but more pungent bite, and cherry radishes for their crisp, juicy texture. This trio gets tangled in a pile of also-peppery watercress and dressed with the simplest combo of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. That way, the flavors of the main salad ingredients are the star—just given a little bit of bright embellishment.

Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Shallots and White Wine

Pre-salting the lamb (the longer the better) will deepen its flavor and increase moisture and tenderness in the meat. Afterward, a simple sear then braise renders fork-tender shreds of meat. A spoonful of garlicky gremolata heightens those long-cooked flavors.

More Lamb

Lamb and Butternut Squash Tagine with Apricots

The natural juices from the lamb and onion create steam that bastes the meat as it cooks over a low flame. The gentle heat ensures that the environment inside the tagine remains moist and does not dry out or burn. Savory lamb, salty olives, and ras el hanout (a North African spice blend of coriander, cumin, and warming spices) are balanced by sweet butternut squash, apricots, and a touch of honey.

Pan-Seared Lamb Steaks with Anchovy Butter

When I'm looking to put on the Ritz for a fancy dinner party, I often center the menu around a majestic lamb roast, either a whole bone-in leg of lamb or a rolled-and-stuffed shoulder. But when I crave lamb on a weeknight, it's lamb steaks all the way. Depending on where you shop, lamb steaks can be harder to find than other cuts, but their tender meatiness makes them worth seeking out. The best cuts for quick-cooking are sirloin and leg steaks (the sirloin, basically the upper leg or hip portion, will be boneless, while leg steaks contain a single round bone).The ideal thickness for lamb steaks is 3/4 to 1 inch, but thicker steaks are no problem, especially boneless sirloin ones. Just butterfly them by cutting the steaks almost in half horizontally and folding the meat open like a book to make thinner, quicker-cooking steaks. If the steaks have a thick cushion of fat around the edges, trim it down to a modest 1/4 inch, and, to keep leg steaks from curling during cooking, make shallow incisions every couple of inches around the perimeter to break up the membrane that will shrink and buckle in a hot skillet.Much of the excellence of lamb steaks comes from their natural tenderness, but if there's time, pre-seasoning the meat (anywhere from 1 to 8 hours ahead) will further enhance the texture and flavor. I keep the seasoning simple to allow the sweetness of the lamb shine through, but I do kick things up at the finish by slathering the hot steaks with a lusty anchovy butter. The flavored butter takes advantage of two things I learned about lamb long ago: lamb loves butter, and lamb loves anchovies. There's some magical alchemy that happens when the meaty lamb juices blend with the richness of the butter and the funky brine of the anchovy. A bit of fresh lemon zest and parsley provides the perfect counterpoint.Lamb steaks are best cooked to medium-rare, or medium, if you prefer; the most effective way to get it right is to brush the surface with olive oil and sear the steaks in a hot skillet or grill pan (cast iron works well). Once the surface develops a handsome crust, lower the heat and continue cooking until they reach the desired internal temperature (125°F to 130°F for medium-rare and 135°F to 140°F for medium). Transfer the steaks to plates or a carving board and immediately smear the tops with the flavored butter (the heat of the steaks melts the butter into an instant sauce), and let the steaks rest for 3 to 5 minutes before cutting into them. Of course, if it's grilling weather (or you’re one of those intrepid cooks who likes to grill no matter the forecast), by all means, cook them outdoors. A slight kiss of smoke will only make them better.

Cold Roasted Leg of Lamb with Cilantro-Jalapeño Yogurt

Cold slices of lamb are a fail-safe dinner party main. A tangy yogurt sauce laced with lime and cilantro takes it to the next level.