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Persian Lamb Shanks

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If good things come to those who wait, this Savory Persian Lamb Shanks recipe is proof. The lamb shanks braise in an aromatic broth infused with warm Persian spices like cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, turmeric, and ground dried rosebuds. The result is ultimate perfection: meaty, buttery, fall-off-the-bone tender lamb shanks with bold flavor.

A serving of Persian Lamb Shank with rice pilaf, mint and lime wedge

Serve these ultra-tender, succulent lamb shanks sprinkled with chopped, roasted pistachios on a bed of rice pilaf to complete the meal.

This Persian lamb shank recipe creates an impressive and delicious main course with savory flavor as the headliner. It’s similar to our Braised Greek Lamb Shanks, and Moroccan Lamb Shanks but with a slightly different flavor profile.

The warm Persian spice mixture enhances the unique flavor of lamb, and since these are braised lamb shanks, they’re oh-so-tender. Fork tender. Fall-off-the-bone kind of tender that’s only possible by slow-cooking this cut of meat for several hours.

But don’t be intimidated. While this Middle Eastern lamb shank recipe may sound complex, it’s quite simple to prepare as long as you plan ahead. If you want similar results in less time, try our instant pot lamb shanks.

Why You’ll Love It

Persian Lamb Shanks make a hearty, savory, memorable meal that’s perfect for enjoying with close friends for a special occasion, a quiet date night in, or around the Sunday dinner table with family.

Middle Eastern lamb shanks are:

  • beautifully tender, succulent, and infused with bold, Persian spices
  • simple to prepare (but give yourself ample time for braising!)
  • hearty and satisfying
  • a delicious main course that’s sure to impress

A serving of lamb shank showing the meat

The Ingredients

For this Persian-inspired braised lamb shanks recipe, you’ll need a variety of spices, all of which are available at nearly any grocery store.

Our Persian lamb shanks recipe also calls for rosewater, which you can typically find at a Middle Eastern market or even on Amazon. Don’t skip it- rose water lends delicate floral notes to the lamb that sets Persian and Middle Eastern cuisine apart.

The main ingredients you will need are:

  • Lamb shanks– about 4-1/2 to 5 pounds of bone-in lamb shanks
  • Seasonings and spices- Salt, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ground rosebuds (optional), black pepper and ground turmeric
  • Aromatics- Onion, rosewater, lime, orange, fresh thyme sprigs, bay leaves and fresh mint
  • Chicken broth- A key ingredient for braising!
  • Roasted pistachios- For serving.

Recipe Highlights

4 uncooked meaty lamb shanks

Trim excess fat from the lamb shanks and season them with salt.

Spices for Persian Lamb shanks

Combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, dried rosebuds, black pepper, and turmeric. Rub the mixture of spices onto the lamb shanks.

4 seared lamb shanks on a plate with a serving fork

Cover with plastic wrap, let the mixture sit for an hour. Brown the lamb shanks in batches in a large Dutch oven.

Persian lamb shanks

Braise the lamb shanks for 1-1/2 to 2 hours until the lamb is tender and beginning to fall off the bone.

When the lamb shanks are done, place them on a platter and set them aside. Strain and reduce the braising liquid, simmering it down to about 2 cups.

Serve each lamb shank on basmati rice or wild rice drizzled with the braising liquid, sprinkled with chopped pistachios, and garnished with lime wedges and fresh sprigs of mint. Make raspberry lamingtons or caramelized figs for dessert.

Braised Persian lamb shanks on a plate with mint sprigs

Tips for the Best Results

  • Ask your butcher for lamb shanks from the back legs, as they are much meatier than the shanks from the front legs.
  • For more flavorful Persian lamb shanks, cover the seasoned lamb shanks with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before browning them.
  • Rosewater is a common ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking. The delicate floral aroma and taste can bring out and balance the flavors in the recipe ingredients. Rosewater brands vary in their perfume strength, so we suggest using it sparingly at first and adding more to taste.
  • Store leftover Persian lamb shanks in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Frequently Asked Questions

What sides go with lamb shanks?

We love these Persian lamb shanks paired with Basmati rice pilaf or Sprouted Brown rice pilaf. Since braised lamb shanks are a hearty meat dish, it also goes well with a potato side and a variety of vegetables. We’re particularly fond of serving lamb shanks with Glazed Sauteed Rainbow Carrots and Homemade Naan.

How do you eat lamb shanks?

This braised lamb shanks recipe creates fork-tender lamb shanks that are juicy and succulent. Enjoy them served on rice pilaf, mashed potatoes or brown rice.

Is lamb shank healthy to eat?

Absolutely! Lamb shanks are a wonderful lean protein and our Persian lamb shank recipe makes a nutritious meal that is high-protein and low-carb.

Are lamb shanks tough?

Lamb shanks are naturally a very tough cut of meat which is why slow-cooking them is the best method for preparation. Allowing the lamb shanks to braise for a long duration is crucial.

A serving of lamb shank showing the meat

This simple, Middle Eastern lamb shanks recipe results in Persian lamb shanks that are irresistibly tender and flavorful. Each bite is infused with warm Persian spices and the meat just melts in your mouth.

While it requires a bit of prep-work and a longer cook time, you’ll find that braised lamb shanks are well worth the wait!

Some Other Recipes We Are Sure You Will Love:

Lamb Sugo is an Italian sauce made with lamb chunks, onions, garlic, fresh tomatoes, beef broth, and red wine.  The sauce is braised in a low-temperature oven until tender. Serve it over strands of pasta along with some crusty spelt bread and a garden salad. Finish dinner with a chocolate ganache cake.

If your guests are lamb lovers then you will never go wrong by serving Pan Seared Lamb Chops as the main entree! These chops are tender and juicy with an amazing flavor from the garlic-herb marinade. Serve it with some glazed carrots and truffle mashed potatoes, then finish dinner with a red velvet bundt cake.

This recipe for Sous Vide Rack of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary is almost hand-free cooking! The garlic and rosemary add an amazing flavor to this restaurant-quality entrée! Add some baba ganoush, einkorn naan bread, and tabbouleh salad to the menu.

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knife and fork digging into a lamb shank

Persian Lamb Shanks

Savory Persian Lamb Shanks are braised in a broth with warm, aromatic spices including cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, turmeric and ground dried rosebuds. The fork-tender, succulent shanks are served sprinkled with chopped roasted pistachios on a mound of rice pilaf.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 419kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger


  • 4 meaty lamb shanks about 4-1/2 to 5 pounds
  • Salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground rosebuds optional
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 3 teaspoons rosewater available from Middle Eastern grocery shops
  • 1 fresh lime juiced
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Fresh thyme sprigs tied into a bundle
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoon chopped roasted pistachio nuts
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped mint for garnish
  • Mint sprigs for garnish
  • Lime wedges


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Trim excess fat from the lamb shanks and season generously with salt.
  • Combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon, ground dried rosebuds, black pepper and turmeric. Rub the mixture into the lamb shanks. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Set a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat, add the oil and when it is hot sear half of the lamb shanks. As the shanks brown, remove them to a plate and repeat with the remaining lamb shanks, about 10 minutes.
  • Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the accumulated fat in the pan and sauté the chopped onion until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour the chicken broth to the pot and stir in the rosewater, lime juice and the orange zest. Add the bundle of thyme sprigs and the bay leaves.
  • Place the reserved lamb shanks, and the accumulated juices into the pot, snuggling them down into the braising liquid so that the liquid covers two-thirds of the shanks. Increase the heat to high and bring the pot to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Braise covered for 1-1/2 to 2 hours until the lamb shanks are tender and beginning to fall off the bone.
  • Remove the lamb shanks, place on a platter, cover and keep warm.
  • Strain the braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a saucepan, discarding the thyme, bay leaves and onions.  There will be about 3-4 cups of liquid remaining.  Skim off and discard the fat that rises to the top. 
  • Bring the braising liquid to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer to reduce to 2 cups.  
  • Taste the braising liquid adding another teaspoon of rosewater and salt if needed.  Transfer the braising liquid to a pitcher. 
  • Serve in shallow bowls with a lamb shank on a mound of basmati rice drizzled with the braising liquid and sprinkled with chopped pistachio nuts. Garnish each serving with lime wedges and mint sprigs.


  • Ask your butcher for  lamb shanks from the back legs as they are much meatier than the shanks from the front legs.
  • For more flavor, seasoned lamb shanks, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • Rosewater is a common ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking.  The delicate floral aroma and taste can bring out and balance the flavors in the recipe ingredients.
  • Rosewater brands vary in their perfume strength.  Use sparingly at first, then add more according to taste.
  • Dried rosebuds and rosewater can be purchase in Middle-Eastern markets, craft stores or online.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 419kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 1614mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 12g

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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Recipe Rating


Wednesday 8th of February 2023

Those lamb shanks look so tender and flavourful with all the wonderful spices.

Dahn Boquist

Wednesday 8th of February 2023

They are so good. I'm planning to make this again for Easter dinner.

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