Our Best Lamb Recipes
When you think about lamb you might picture a traditional roasted rack or leg, served with mint jelly. Why stop there? These delicious lamb recipes include garlic-crusted roast rack of lamb and juicy braised lamb with potatoes, as well as a Turkish-style pizza with ground lamb and a luscious Rogan Josh.
Red Wine-Braised Lamb Shanks
Jeremy Silansky uses maple syrup, Vermont's most famous export, to glaze root vegetables, employing a novel (and simple) technique: He reduces the maple glaze in a small skillet, then tosses it with the roasted vegetables right before serving. He likes to serve the lamb shanks with creamy polenta made from local cornmeal and a local cheese: Thistle Hill Farm's complex, nutty Tarentaise.
Garlic-Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb
Kenny Rochford's favorite way to prepare a rack of lamb is to simply rub it with plenty of garlic, rosemary, olive oil and salt before roasting.
Grilled Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary
Instead of butterflying a boned leg of lamb and cooking it whole, Cal Peternell carefully cuts along the four natural muscle separations (they're easily visible) and pulls the four pieces apart with his fingers. Grilling the lamb this way is quicker, makes it easier to determine doneness, and simplifies carving. Plus the meat develops a mellow flavor and lots of delicious crust.
Rosemary-Garlic Lamb Chops with Pimentón and Mint
Chef Nancy Silverton adores the grilled, herb-flecked lamb chops scottadito (“burnt fingers”). Here, she adds a kick to the lamb by garnishing it with smoky pimentón de la Vera and little mint leaves.
Braised Lamb Neck with Turnip
Lamb necks, an underappreciated cut, are fantastic when braised, such as in this homey stew from Boston chef Tony Maws. The meat gets succulent and tender as it cooks in the slightly sweet braising liquid flavored with white wine and fresh herbs, while the neck bones, in turn, intensify and flavor the broth.
Lamb Roast with Mustard Pan Sauce
In this twist on traditional porchetta (Italian roast pork), a boneless saddle of lamb is wrapped around a delicious filling of ground lamb and fennel. The stuffing mixture is very versatile; use the leftovers for all kinds of dishes.
Rack of Lamb with Pasilla Chiles
Often, lamb gets the herbaceous treatment, with mint being one of the star ingredients. This recipe takes things in a slightly spicier, smokier direction with the addition of Pasilla Chilies.
Lamb Burgers with Green Harissa
Harissa, a staple in Tunisian and Moroccan cooking, ordinarily contains dried red chiles. Grace Parisi makes her green version with Anaheim and serrano chiles to add bright flavor to grilled lamb burgers.
Braised Lamb with Herb-Scented Jus
At Haven’s Kitchen, this tender braised leg of lamb might be served at a private dinner party. Chef David Mawhinny then sandwiches any extra meat and meat juices with pickled vegetables and focaccia for lunch.
Suzanne Goin (an F&W Best New Chef 1999) is beloved in Los Angeles for Lucques and AOC. She'll expand her reach at the upcoming Tavern in Brentwood, which will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and sell house-made breads and prepared foods like this leg of lamb, which she serves with a Meyer lemon salsa.
Rack of Lamb with Rosemary Butter
Chef David Kinch grills his lamb racks “low and slow” because it gives him full control of the cooking. The gentle heat keeps the meat juicy, while the rosemary-infused butter he periodically spoons over the racks adds flavor. He sprinkles the lamb with chopped herbs just before serving; the warm meat makes the herbs especially fragrant.
Lamb Chops with Rosemary and Grapes
You’d expect to find lamb chops grilled with rosemary, but the sauce, a fruity mixture of grapes, white wine, and just a touch of honey, is a delightful surprise. You’ll want to choose seedless grapes for this recipe.
Slow-Cooked Leg of Lamb with Spiced Yogurt and Herbs
“We have wood-burning ovens that retain a lot of heat after a day of cooking pizzas,” explains Travis Lett. “So we often use them overnight for things like this slow-cooked leg of lamb.” While Lett cooks his lamb for up to 10 hours, this version in a conventional oven cuts the cooking time by more than half.
Braised Lamb with Potatoes
Yogurt-Marinated Lamb Kebabs With Lemon Butter
At Shahpura Bagh, a luxurious guesthouse in the Rajasthani countryside, chefs marinate lamb in yogurt to make it exceptionally tender, then give it an extra burst of tangy flavor with a basting of lemon butter just before serving.
Lemon-and-Fennel-Roasted Lamb with Polenta
Chris Cosentino serves roasted lamb necks with polenta cooked in a combination of sheep-milk whey and whole milk. For the home chef, marinated boneless leg of lamb is tender and incredibly delicious alongside creamy polenta with mascarpone.
Lamb Chops with Frizzled Herbs
Frying herbs like rosemary, parsley and sage for less than 45 seconds in a half inch of oil makes them ultracrispy; they are delicious with tender lamb chops.
Grilled Lamb Chops with Garlic, Chiles and Anchovies
This is one of Ethan Stowell’s go-to dishes when he entertains, because he can do almost all of the work in advance. The marinade is super-flavorful, but if you don’t like very spicy food, cut back on the red jalapeños.
Lamb Tagine with Green Olives and Lemon
When making most stews, cooks typically brown the meat before braising it; here, Ethan Stowell skips that step, which simplifies the Moroccan recipe and gives the lamb a buttery, melt-in-the-mouth texture. The dish is vibrantly flavored with ginger, cumin, coriander, olives and lemon; the broth is delicious over couscous.
Zinfandel-Braised Lamb Chops with Dried Fruit
A jammy Zinfandel and dried fruit lend a ton of flavor to lamb-shoulder chops.
Oven-Roasted Lamb Chops with Mint Chimichurri
For this playful twist on British roast lamb with mint jelly, Luke Mangan serves lamb chops with a piquant condiment of fresh mint and jalapeño.
Turkish Ground-Lamb Pizzas
At her takeout shop in Istanbul, Kantin Dükkan, Semsa Denizsel tops her pizzas with ground lamb (flavored with sweet sun-dried tomatoes and a little spicy red pepper), but you can substitute ground beef instead. To make the pizza even more substantial, bake it with an egg on top; the runny yolk is terrific with the whole-wheat crust.
Pappardelle with Lamb Ragù
Use store-bought pappardelle, ground lamb and chicken stock, then top the dish with fresh ricotta and mint.
Merguez-Spiced Lamb Shanks with Chickpeas
Butcher Tanya Cauthen likes flavoring supremely tender braised lamb with a North African spice blend that includes cumin and fennel seeds. Lamb shanks are great for serving at dinner parties, since they look so dramatic, but lamb stew meat—cut from the shoulder or the leg—is equally delicious. Or, for a less gamey flavor, substitute beef short ribs.
Lamb Rogan Josh
Vikram Sunderam relies on plenty of spices, like cardamom, cloves and cumin, to flavor this succulent lamb stew (the name translates roughly into “red lamb”).
Lamb Meatballs with Cumin, Mint, and Tomato Sauce
Mint, cumin, and chopped almonds give these delicious meatballs their Middle Eastern flavor. There’s plenty of mint and cumin in the tomato sauce, too. Serve the meatballs and sauce over steamed couscous to be authentic. We think they’re great over rice too.
Leg of Lamb Shawarma
Shwarma, thin slices of roasted meat and condiments that are often wrapped in a pita, is a popular street food throughout the Middle East. Chris Hanna loves making shwarma for casual parties. In fact, she once prepared it for 30 people to inaugurate her outdoor kitchen. Rather than roasting meat on a spit in the traditional style, Hanna simply grills a butterflied leg of lamb. The lamb should sit overnight in a spicy, garlicky marinade before grilling, though three days would be ideal.
Fiery Moroccan Lamb Merguez
Hank Shaw likens sausage-making to jazz: “You have all these standards, but there’s room for improvisation.” With this spicy merguez from North Africa, adjust the seasonings to vary the flavor intensity and heat.
Spicy Sichuan-Style Lamb with Cumin
Cooking pieces of lamb shoulder in a superhot cast-iron skillet makes them wonderfully browned and tender.
Iraqi Lamb and Eggplant Stew with Pitas
This sweet and tangy Middle Eastern stew, with falling-apart-tender lamb, is one of wordsmith and perfect host Jesse Sheidlower’s favorites. He found it in Nawal Nasrallah’s Delights from the Garden of Eden: A Cookbook and a History of the Iraqi Cuisine.
Rack of Lamb with Artichokes, Purple Potatoes and Licorice
Roast lamb with potatoes feels like a New American dish, but chef Marco Mattana adds Roman flavor by including garlicky braised artichokes.
Double-Cut Lamb Chops with Garlic-Caper Rub
Garlic and capers add a layer of briney umami to the naturally sweet lamb, and reverse searing ensures that the temperature of these chops is exactly right.
Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Green Goddess Sauce
Cooking lamb for a crowd? these merguez-inspired meatballs make a great appetizer, particularly with a cooling, creamy Green Goddess Dip
Banana Leaf-Wrapped Lamb Shank Tamales with Morita Chile Salsa
Another excellent use for lamb? These tamales, which event producer Paola Briseño González makes for holiday gatherings, have a dense, custard-like texture thanks to the banana leaf wrappers, and are stuffed with unctuous, rich lamb.,