The best slow-roasted lamb shanks I have ever had in my entire life was at Yassmine's house. Yassmine is an excellent cook, and luckily she shared with me her secret recipe. These lamb shanks are wrapped tightly in foil packets, and cooked low and slow in the oven resulting in the most tender and moist lamb shank recipe ever.
You can add potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and/or onion below the lamb shank. The vegetables cook slowly and soak up the juice from the lamb. Even the vegetables are incredible. And if you like low and slow roast recipes, check out this slow-roasted bone-in ribeye roast recipe and this Mediterranean pot roast.
What I Love About This Recipe
Not only is this recipe so easy to do, but it is one of my top 5 recipes! These tender, moist, slow-roasted flavorful falling off the bone lamb shanks are unbelievable. They need the full 4 hours to cook properly, so make sure you set aside enough time for this recipe. The time you wait is worth it.
- Lamb Shanks: This recipe is ideal for lamb shanks, but other similar size cuts of lamb work too. When picking lamb shanks at the store, go for the lamb shanks around 1.5 pounds. Lamb shanks have a good amount of fat already in the cut, so we will not be using any additional oils or fats. The quality and freshness of the lamb matter.
- Vegetables: This recipe works great with any type of starchy vegetable like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc. The starchy vegetable soaks in all of the juices from the lamb as the lamb is being slow-cooked. The vegetables are my favorite part of the dish honestly!
- Garlic & Onions: What is life without some garlic and onions? I add the garlic directly into slits within the meat. The onions are added to the vegetables for extra flavor. Sometimes, I add some whole shallots too.
- Yogurt: I use yogurt to marinate the lamb (I know sounds weird), and as a side dish when eating the lamb. If you've never tried marinated meat with yogurt, please try this at least once. Sweet yogurt or flavored yogurt do not work. You need plain yogurt or Greek yogurt. The yogurt can be either full fat or fat-free.
- Spices: I change up my spices literally every time I make this dish. The recipe is written very simply so as not to overcomplicate things with only dried oregano, salt, and pepper. You can add dried thyme, ground cumin, or ground coriander.
How to Make Lamb Shank Foil Packets
Make 1" slits (about 3 or 4 for each) into the meat and stuff halved garlic cloves. Marinate the lamb shanks. Heat the oven to 300℉ or 150℃. Chop the vegetables.
On the countertop, lay a large foil sheet with parchment paper on top. Add the chopped vegetables. Sprinkle the vegetables with some salt and pepper.
Hint: Each lamb shank will be individually wrapped in parchment paper and foil. The food will directly sit on the parchment paper, and the foil will be used to lock in the moisture.
Add the marinated lamb shank on top of the vegetables. Wrap the parchment paper around the lamb shanks and vegetables.
Tightly wrap the aluminum foil around the parchment-wrapped lamb shank. Using the second sheet of aluminum foil, tightly wrap the lamb shank.
Place the lamb shanks in the oven at 300 ℉ or 150 ℃ for 4 hours. No more, no less. They need 4 hours to cook, so they are falling off the fork-tender.
Once the lamb shanks have roasted covered for 4 hours, unwrap them. Fold back the parchment paper and foil so that they are tucked into the sides of the meat. Roast the lamb foil packets for a few minutes in the oven at 450 ℉ or 230 ℃. Keep an eye on those shanks so they don't dry out.
Tips and Tricks
- The most important tip for making roasted lamb shanks in the oven is to make sure they are wrapped extremely well with foil. That's why I wrap the shanks with 2 layers of foil because we don't want any moisture to escape. I recommend wrapping each shank individually rather than adding a foil on top of a baking pan. It makes a difference, trust me.
- I prefer to use parchment paper AND foil for my foil packets. The parchment paper is what's in contact with the food, and the foil is creating an airtight enclosure where the moisture can't escape.
- Slice 1" sections into the lamb shank and stuff the meat with garlic cloves. I add about 3 to 4 slits to each and stuff with a half garlic clove.
- This recipe takes about 4 hours of cooking, so you will need to plan ahead time-wise before starting. You can marinate the lamb shank the night before, or 15 minutes before putting it in the oven.
The lamb shanks can be marinated with ANYTHING. My favorite recipe for the marinade is yogurt, dried garlic flakes, salt, pepper, and oregano.
What to Eat Roast Lamb Shanks With?
I normally cook this dish with a golden raisin and caramelized onion rice dish. Or if you add enough vegetables below, you can eat it as is. Another side I enjoy with this meal is garlic cucumber yogurt. If you'd like a light side dish to accompany this, I'd recommend Lebanese rice with vermicelli or some tabbouleh.