16 Best Lamb Recipes

Lamb may not be the first protein to come to mind when it comes to whipping up a weeknight dinner, but it certainly offers a welcome change from the likes of beef, chicken, or fish. Not only does lamb offer a deliciously savory flavor with an extra gamey flair, but it also has an air of elegance that many other proteins seem to be missing. After all, there are fewer dishes more impressive than a beautiful rack of lamb, and with the right recipe, there are fewer dishes more delicious, either.

Of course, a lamb dinner doesn't have to be reserved for those special occasions or dinner parties, and it's also possible to fit the protein into just about any budget. Not everyone can afford to splurge on a Monday night lamb chops dinner, but a pasta dish featuring ground lamb is much more budget-friendly. 

There are many cuts of lamb out there, and this roundup highlights some of the best varieties and recipes that will please the family or guests at a dinner party. The next time you want to give beef a rest and switch things up in the kitchen, allow lamb to swoop in and become your new favorite protein.

Lamb souvlaki

If you like to serve lamb with all sorts of adornments, then this lamb souvlaki recipe is perfect. You'll use meat from a leg of lamb to make the souvlaki itself, and you'll serve it with a bright and fresh Greek salad to round out the dish. The juicy lamb pairs quite nicely with the refreshing salad, making for a dish that feels casual yet refined all at once.

You will need to get going early on this recipe as the lamb will need at least an hour to marinate, but the Greek salad comes together in a breeze and features complimentary flavors thanks to tomatoes, green bell pepper, feta cheese, and kalamata olives. Oh, and be sure to pair the souvlaki with pita or potato wedges for a most authentic dining experience.

Recipe: Lamb Souvlaki

Grilled lamb chops with white beans

Ideal for a more refined meal or a date night dinner, these lamb chops are marinated in dry red wine, resulting absolutely tender and succulent meat. Plan ahead so you have plenty of time to marinate the meat (at least 2 hours), and in the meantime, you can focus on making the side dish of Peruvian white beans, which also need a decent amount of time to cook themselves.

Once the meat is marinated, you'll grill them to a perfect medium-rare then serve with the beans and perhaps some sprigs of herb for garnish. This dish is incredibly simple but the results are oh-so impressive and absolutely worth the time it takes to get there. The gamey meat pairs nicely with the earthy flavor of the beans, and you'll be wondering why you didn't think to pair lamb with beans long, long ago.

Recipe: Grilled Lamb Chops with White Beans

Mediterranean lamb Bolognese with fettuccine

For those who aren't prepared to roast a whole rack of lamb but still want to enjoy the meat, this recipe is a great compromise. Featuring a ground lamb and harissa Bolognese along with some fettuccine pasta, this savory dish makes for an ultra-comforting meal that packs just the right amount of frills.

When it comes time to serve, top your bowl of pasta off with Parmesan curls, fresh mint, and lemon zest for a Mediterranean flair. This pasta strikes an ideal balance between richness and freshness, with the garnishes especially pulling through and adding just the right levels of brightness. This recipe serves up to six people, so it's ideal for weeknight family dinners.

Recipe: Mediterranean Lamb Bolognese with Fettuccine

Slow-braised lamb shanks

As the slow-braised nature of this lamb shanks recipe suggests, you'll be cooking these lamb shanks in a 300-degree Fahrenheit oven for 3 hours to get them nice and tender. While this recipe may not be ideal for this in a time crunch, it is ideal for those who want to let their oven do all of the work — everything comes together in one pot, and aside from giving the chops a quick sear, the oven will slowly roast them to tender perfection.

Along with the lamb shanks, you'll also roast some carrots which work well as a side dish. To round out the meal, pair the meat with mashed potatoes to help sop up some of that extra cooking liquid — the acidic nature of it works especially well alongside a starchy side like potatoes. That said, you can't go wrong serving these lamb shanks all on their own.

Recipe: Slow-Braised Lamb Shanks

Best lamb burger

If you prefer to eat lamb in sandwich form, then there really is no better option than a juicy burger. While beef burgers may be the most common variety, lamb makes for an excellent alternative and comes together just as quickly. Plus, lamb pairs especially well with bright toppings like red onion, spinach, and an herby sauce, which you'll whip up alongside the burgers. 

While many lamb recipes tend to take hours to either marinate the meat or slowly roast it, this recipe is great for those who have procrastinated on dinner plans. The burgers will cook in less than 10 minutes, then you'll top them off with a creamy, herb-infused sauce that will have you questioning why you ever thought a beef burger with ketchup was the superior combo.

Recipe: Best Lamb Burger 

Mustard-crusted rack of lamb

You may find it hard to believe that it's possible to make a show-stopping protein in just over 30 minutes, and that disbelief is pretty understandable. Nevertheless, your wildest lamb dreams will become reality with this mustard-crusted rack of lamb recipe, which roasts in just 25 minutes and only requires an extra 10 minutes of resting time. The prep time is but a mere 5 minutes, all of which will be taken up by seasoning the rack and getting it ready to go in the oven.

Speaking of that mustard-crusted part, you'll rub the lamb with a Dijon some dried herbs to pack in a simple but irresistible flavor. If you're looking for the ideal dinner party centerpiece that only looks like it took all day to prepare, this rack of lamb recipe will definitely do the trick.

Recipe: Mustard-Crusted Rack of Lamb

Slow cooker leg of lamb

Slow cookers are the appliance gift that truly never stops giving, and it's especially useful for cooking meat. Many meats turn out much more juicy and tender when they're cooked slowly, and conversely, they may turn out tough or dry if they're cooked too quickly. Leg of lamb is a type of meat that you don't want to rush, especially when you're trying to cook a big cut of it. So, the slow cooker really comes in handy, as is the case with this slow cooker leg of lamb recipe.

As the name suggests, this lamb will be cooked slowly — 8 hours slowly, in fact. With a little bit of planning ahead, however, that 8 hours will feel like no time at all. Get the meat going in the morning and by evening, you'll have a juicy, tender leg of lamb ready to go for dinner.

Another big perk to this recipe is the fact that the ingredients list is minimal. Aside from the large leg of lamb, you'll only need simple additions like chicken stock, onion, and seasonings to round out the dish. 

Recipe: Slow Cooker Leg of Lamb

Red wine-braised lamb neck

If there's one thing that many recipes on this list prove, it's that lamb and red wine are a match made in heaven. This recipe is no different, featuring red wine-braised lamb neck in a delightful stew that is bursting with an abundance of flavor. This isn't your typical stew, featuring olives and whole cherry tomatoes, but it's one that certainly looks just as appealing as it tastes.

Between the red wine lamb neck, carrots, tomatoes, and kalamata olives, there's no shortage of savory, salty, and acidic flavors in this stew. This is another recipe that requires a few hours of cooking time, but the tender results are absolutely worth the test of patience. And, if you're lucky enough to have leftovers (this recipe yields four servings, so there's a good chance you will), this stew will taste just as good when you reheat it the next day.

Recipe: Red Wine-Braised Lamb Neck

Moroccan lamb shanks

Infuse some Moroccan flavors into your next lamb dinner with this lamb shanks recipe, which starts with a cumin, coriander, and harissa-infused paste. You'll take the flavor complexity a step further by throwing in a cinnamon stick for warmth and a touch of honey for some subtle sweetness, truly rounding out the flavors of the paste and giving it a truly unique profile.

Once you've built the paste, you'll add chicken stock, carrots, and chickpeas before submerging the lamb shanks and slowly roasting them for several hours. This recipe does require some planning ahead, but the warm, spiced flavors in these lamb shanks will have you returning to it again and again. Between the tender vegetables and the fall-off-the-bone meat, this recipe is also ideal because you don't need to worry about any side dishes — it's a full meal all on its own.

Recipe: Moroccan Lamb Shanks

Lamb saag

Fans of any type of curry will love this comforting lamb saag, which features lamb shoulder and an abundance of spices including cumin, garam masala, and turmeric. Spinach rounds out the dish and makes it a true saag, also providing some greens in an otherwise very meaty, savory dish.

Like any curry, this saag is best served with rice and perhaps a garnish of cilantro. You may also want some naan on hand to scrape up any extra bits of stew — and trust us when we say you'll be savoring every last drop.

Recipe: Comforting Lamb Saag

Lamb biryani

Biryani is a classic Indian dish that features quite a few layers. There are plenty of variations out there, but traditionally, biryani includes basmati rice, vegetables, nuts, and a protein — in the case of this recipe, that protein is lamb shoulder.

This recipe stays true to classic biryani and features basmati rice, lots of spices, tender lamb, almonds, and even some dried cranberries for a hit of sweetness and tartness. Garnish your bowl of biryani with a drizzle of yogurt, which will provide some cool creaminess in contrast to the warm, savory flavors that the dish has to offer.

Recipe: Celebratory Lamb Biryani

Lamb shanks with grilled lettuce and peas

It may not be your first thought to pair lamb shanks with grilled lettuce and peas, but we can assure you that the combination is one that surprisingly works quite well. The meaty lamb shanks are just begging for some sort of brightness to counterbalance them, and what vegetable provides more brightness than some good old vibrant peas? As for the grilled lettuce, it naturally takes on a softer texture after being grilled, and the subtle charred flavor works well on the otherwise neutral vegetable. 

Aside from the peas and lettuce, there's another slightly unusual aspect of this dish: An anchovy rub. Before you let that scare you, keep in mind that these lamb shanks don't taste fishy. In a similar way that anchovies enhance the flavor of Caesar dressing, the anchovy-garlic rub adds a remarkable savoriness to the lamb without overpowering them. 

These lamb shanks are not something to be thrown together on a whim; this recipe will take some planning and sourcing of the hefty ingredients list, but if you're looking for a dish that's going to stun, it's this one. And, ultimately, there are no particularly challenging aspects of this recipe, but a strong dose of patience will certainly make things a bit easier.

Recipe: Lamb Shanks with Grilled Lettuce and Peas

Garlic pan-seared lamb chops

Put your trusty cast-iron skillet to good use with this garlic pan-seared lamb chops recipe, which has a refreshingly short ingredients list and an even shorter cook time. The beautiful, natural flavor of the lamb chops is what really shines in this recipe, with simple inclusions of garlic, lemon zest, and rosemary really helping that flavor pop. 

This recipe will especially appeal to those who want an elegant dinner but don't have hours to spare. These chops require a mere 5 minutes of cook time and another 5 minutes to rest, then voila — perfectly tender lamb chops with delicious garlicky flavor.

Recipe: Garlic Pan-Seared Lamb Chops

Roast leg of lamb

We've seen plenty of lamb shanks and racks of lamb on this list, but a leg of lamb is a delicacy all on its own. Just one glance at this roast leg of lamb and you'll notice a beautifully golden crust on the outside, which is made from scratch but in a deceivingly easy way. A quick few pulses of white bread in a food processor will provide the base for the crust, then you'll mix some herbs in with the breadcrumbs to create a delightful coating for your lamb. Dijon mustard will serve as a binder for the breadcrumbs while also providing some tangy flavor all on its own.

The outside of this lamb is impressive enough, it's easy to forget that the inside is the real showstopper. You can count on your oven to do the heavy lifting here as it roasts the lamb to juicy perfection, all while ensuring that herby crust gets a nice golden crispiness to it as well. 

All told, this recipe is far from the easiest or quickest one on this list, but it is without a doubt one of the most impressive. Even your pickiest of dinner guests will be impressed by this roast leg of lamb, which sets the tone for an elegant and refined evening. 

Recipe: Roast Leg of Lamb

Lamb burger with herbed yogurt and pickled onions

This lamb burger manages to strike the perfect balance between simplicity and elevation. At first glance, it may just look like your typical burger with onions and yogurt sauce. But upon closer inspection, you'll notice that those aren't just any onions, they're pickled onions (ones that you'll quick-pickle from scratch), and that isn't just any yogurt sauce — it's an herbed yogurt sauce featuring cilantro, parsley, mint, and oregano.

You'll start by mixing up the herbed yogurt sauce, which is as simple as mixing the ingredients together in a bowl. Then you'll let the onions soak in a sherry vinegar and honey mixture for about 20 minutes, and in the meantime, you'll whip together the flavorful lamb patties. No grill is necessary, just a heavy-bottomed pan (ideally a cast-iron) and a stovetop, and once the burgers are cooked, you'll layer them onto buns along with the sauce and pickled onions. It's not easy to make a bright and refreshing burger, but this recipe captures that essence with ease.

Recipe: Lamb Burger with Herbed Yogurt and Pickled Onions

Lamb pilau

Rounding out the list of lamb recipes is this lamb pilau, which is absolutely overflowing with hearty, nourishing ingredients. Similar to a rice pilaf, this dish features basmati rice, brown lentils, currants, toasted almonds, and of course, lamb — in this case, tender lamb shoulder, cut into bite-sized chunks. 

This recipe certainly isn't the quickest or least involved on this list, but it is without a doubt one of the most comforting. It also covers all of the flavor bases, between the savory rice, lamb, nutty almonds, and subtly sweet currants. Garnish your serving of pilau with some cilantro for a pop of freshness and herbaceousness in an otherwise rich, warming dish.

Recipe: Lamb Pilau with Lentils, Currants, and Almonds