You won’t believe how stunning this simple recipe is, making it the perfect dish to serve anywhere from weeknight meals to photo-ready get-togethers (hello, holiday dinners!).
Herby, tender, and seasoned to perfection, pressure cooker lamb shanks are one of my favorite Instant Pot recipes. However, pressure cookers make restaurant-quality meals so easy that I have countless tasty dishes for you. My rich and veggie-packed Pressure Cooker Roast, creamy Instant Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, and hearty Instant Pot White Bean Chili will keep your pressure cooker fired up all year long.
Ingredients You’ll Need
For this Instant Pot lamb shanks recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients: lamb shanks, kosher salt, black pepper, olive oil, onion, carrots, celery stalks, ground cumin, paprika, tomato paste, minced garlic, beef broth, dry red wine, bay leaves, cornstarch, and fresh herbs (such as fresh parsley or thyme). You can also add pomegranate arils for garnish if desired.
How to Make Lamb Shanks in Instant Pot?
Looking for a five-star main that comes together effortlessly? Making braised lamb shanks in an Instant Pot is one of the fastest, most dependable methods of getting tender lamb every time.
- Dry and season the meat: Use a paper towel to pat dry the lamb shanks on all sides. Then, season them with salt and pepper and set the meat aside.
- Sear the lamb: Set the Instant Pot to its saute mode and heat one tablespoon of oil in its inner pot. Sear two lamb shanks on both sides until lightly browned (8 minutes). Transfer the browned shanks to a plate, cover them with aluminum foil, and repeat the process with the remaining lamb shanks.
- Sauté the veggies: Once you have removed the lamb, add the onion, carrots, ground cumin, and paprika to the Instant Pot. Saute the ingredients, frequently stirring, until the vegetables soften (5-7 minutes). Use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits left at the bottom of the pot.
- Cook the tomato paste and garlic: Add the tomato paste and garlic to the Instant Pot, stir them into the veggies, and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the broth and wine: Pour the beef broth and wine into the mixture, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the seared lamb shanks: Transfer the lamb shank to the Instant Pot, add the bay leaves, and stir the mixture.
- Cook the lamb shank in the pressure cooker: Secure the lid of the Instant Pot to the “Sealing” position. Press “Cancel” to reset the cooking program, select the “Pressure Cook/Manual” setting, and set the cooking time to 60 minutes at high pressure.
- Release pressure: Allow the pressure cooker to reach full pressure, which will take about 15 minutes. Once the cook time completes, let the remaining pressure release naturally. You can also do a quick release about 10 minutes after the cooking time is completed but be sure to exercise extreme caution.
- Strain the sauce: Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and carefully strain the sauce, pressing the vegetables into the strainer with the back of a spoon to extract all their juices. Transfer the liquid back into the pressure cooker and discard the veggies. Select the “Saute” function and cook until the sauce reaches a gentle simmer.
- Make a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce: While the sauce reheats, whisk the cornstarch with a few tablespoons of the sauce until it forms a paste.
- Thicken the gravy: Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce and whisk it until thoroughly combined. Cook the gravy until it thickens (12-15 minutes), taste it, and add seasoning as necessary.
- Serve: Place the lamb shanks on a plate, drizzle them generously with gravy, and garnish the dish with fresh herbs and pomegranate arils (if using). Serve immediately.
How to Serve
Making lamb shanks in an Instant Pot is one of the most versatile mains in my recipe book. Though any of my tasty side dishes would work, you’ll find some of my favorite pairings below.
- Mashed potatoes: No one can resist a plate of succulent, gamy lamb and creamy mashed potatoes. Serve this saucy main on top of my Garlic Rosemary Mashed Potatoes for a classic side, or serve it with Mashed Potato Casserole for a side worthy of a special occasion. You can even whip up Mashed Sweet Potatoes to balance out your savory main with a sweet and colorful dish.
- Whole grains: If you want a side that perfectly complements your Mediterranean lamb shanks, these seaside classics are just what you need. Simple Wild Rice Pilaf will compliment your lamb with earthy, veggie-packed ingredients. You can also try my flavorful Lemon Herb Quinoa or Bulgur Wheat Pilaf for simple, 30-minute solutions.
- Roasted or Sauteed Vegetables: Serve it with simple veggies like Baked Shiitake Mushrooms, Sauteed Swiss Chard, or this Spanish Spinach recipe.
To give your lamb a tender texture, I recommend cooking it slowly in a Dutch oven over low heat. If you don’t want to spend such a long time in the kitchen, you could also cook your meat in a pressure cooker, such as an Instant Pot, to speed up the cooking process while still getting soft, bone tender lamb shanks.
If you cook your lamb shanks in a Dutch oven or on the stovetop, you won’t need to cover them in liquid because the meat will naturally release its own juices while cooking. However, covering your shanks in liquid is a good idea if you cook them in a pressure cooker, as this extra liquid will help cook the shanks faster and result in a fall-off-the-bone texture.
It’s up to you whether you want to wash your lamb shanks before cooking. Though there’s nothing wrong with giving your meat a rinse before cooking, it’s most important to trim any excess fat before beginning the cooking process.
Other Show-Stopping Meat Dishes You Might Also Like
Once you make this lamb shank recipe, you won’t be able to resist these other protein-packed mains. Satisfy everyone at your dinner table with these easy recipes.
If you try this Instant Pot Lamb Shanks recipe or any other recipe on Foolproof Living, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.
Instant Pot Lamb Shanks Recipe
- 4 lamb shanks ~ 12 ounces each- trimmed from excess fat
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium-sized onion chopped (~ 1 ½ cups)
- 2 medium-sized carrots chopped (~1 cup)
- 2 celery stalks chopped (~1 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups beef broth or chicken stock
- 1 cup red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Chianti
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons fresh herbs as garnish such as fresh parsley or thyme
- A handful of pomegranate arils for garnish – optional
- Pat dry lamb shanks with paper towels on all sides. Season with salt and pepper. Set them aside.
- Select Saute setting on the Instant Pot. Heat 1 tablespoon oil. Sear two of the lamb shanks on both sides until lightly browned, for about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate, cover with foil and repeat the same process with the remaining lamb shanks.
- Into the now-empty Instant pot, place onion, carrots, celery, ground cumin, and paprika. Sautee, stirring frequently, until all the vegetables are softened, for about 5-7 minutes. Make sure to scrape the brown bits at the bottom of the pot.
- Stir in the tomato paste and garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Pour in the beef broth and wine and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Put the lamb shanks back into the pot. Add the bay leaves and give it a good stir.
- Secure the lid and set the pressure release to the Sealing position. Press the cancel button to reset the cooking program, then select the Pressure Cook/Manual setting and set the cooking time to 60 minutes at high pressure.
- It should take about 15 minutes for Instant Pot to come to full pressure. Once the cooking time is complete, let the pressure release naturally.
- Carefully remove the lid and transfer the lamb shanks onto a large plate. Cover with aluminum foil to keep them warm.
- Set a strainer over a bowl. Carefully strain the sauce pressing with the back of a spoon to extract all the juices out of the vegetables. Transfer the liquid back into the pot and discard the veggies. Select the Saute setting and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer.
- Meanwhile, make the cornstarch slurry by whisking cornstarch with a few tablespoons of the sauce until it forms a paste.
- Pour the cornstarch slurry into sauce and whisk until fully combined. Cook until the gravy is thickened for about 12-15 minutes. Give it a taste and add more seasoning if needed.
- When ready to serve, place lamb shanks on a plate and drizzle them with a generous amount of gravy. Garnish with fresh herbs and pomegranate arils (if using) and serve right away.
- Non alcoholic option: If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can substitute the wine with additional beef broth.
- Equal-size lamb shanks: When selecting meat for this recipe, choose roughly equal-sized lamb shanks.
- Optional Seasoning ideas: I wanted to keep this lamb shank recipe simple with paprika and ground cumin. For an alternate take on this classic recipe, you can also incorporate Indian spices, such as cinnamon (or one cinnamon stick), ground coriander, garam masala, or even your favorite curry powder.
- Do not skip on browning: Be sure to take the time to brown your lamb shanks on all sides (4-5 minutes) before setting them in the pressure cooker. Browning your lamb will give it a deep, meaty taste and help lock in other flavors during the cooking process. However, remember that we’re only browning the meat’s exterior during this step. The pressure cooker will finish cooking the insides of each lamb shank.
- Be patient when making the gravy: It takes 12-15 minutes of cooking for the gravy to thicken, so be patient during the process. I also recommend tasting the sauce and adding seasoning as necessary before serving your meal.
- Storage: Let the leftovers reach room temperature and store them in an airtight container for up to three days. I also recommend storing the gravy in a separate container to keep the meat from turning soggy and to allow for easier reheating.
- Freezing instructions: To freeze your lamb shanks, first bring them to room temperature. Then, individually wrap each lamb shank with stretch film (to prevent freezer burn), and store them in an airtight container or a freezer bag with as much air removed as possible.