Our Best Lamb Recipes

Roast Leg of Lamb
Photo: Con Poulos

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 spicy lamb meatballs with green goddess sauce, as well as yogurt-marinated kebabs, and a luscious Rogan Josh.

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Red Wine-Braised Lamb Shanks

Pumpkin Cheesecake
© Con Poulous

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.

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Garlic-Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb

Garlic-Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb. Photo © Ingalls Photography
© Ingalls Photography

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.

03 of 16

Grilled Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary

Grilled Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary. Photo © Thomas Heinser
© Thomas Heinser

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.

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Rosemary-Garlic Lamb Chops with Pimentón and Mint

Rosemary-Garlic Lamb Chops with Pimentón and Mint
© John Kernick

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.

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Braised Lamb Neck with Turnip

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.

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Braised Lamb with Herb-Scented Jus

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.

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Rack of Lamb with Rosemary Butter

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.

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Yogurt-Marinated Lamb Kebabs With Lemon Butter

Yogurt-Marinated Lamb Kebabs With Lemon Butter
© Kana Okada

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.

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Lamb Tagine with Green Olives and Lemon

2008 Boom Boom! Syrah

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.

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Zinfandel-Braised Lamb Chops with Dried Fruit

Zinfandel-Braised Lamb Chops with Dried Fruit
© Lucy Schaeffer

A jammy Zinfandel and dried fruit lend a ton of flavor to lamb-shoulder chops.

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Pappardelle with Lamb Ragù

Pappardelle with Lamb Ragù

Use store-bought pappardelle, ground lamb and chicken stock, then top the dish with fresh ricotta and mint.

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Lamb Rogan Josh

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").

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Spicy Sichuan-Style Lamb with Cumin


Cooking pieces of lamb shoulder in a superhot cast-iron skillet makes them wonderfully browned and tender.

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Double-Cut Lamb Chops with Garlic-Caper Rub

Double Cut Lamp Chops with Garlic Caper Rub
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer/ Prop Styling by Heather Chadduck Hillegas

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.

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Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Green Goddess Sauce

Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Green Goddess Dip
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Cooking lamb for a crowd? these merguez-inspired meatballs make a great appetizer, particularly with a cooling, creamy Green Goddess Dip

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Banana Leaf-Wrapped Lamb Shank Tamales with Morita Chile Salsa

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.,

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