Pressure cooker
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Pressure Cooker Lamb Shanks

Pressure Cooker Lamb Shanks

Pressure Cooker Lamb Shanks

I love lamb shanks: tender, flavorful meat falling off the bone. Now, I can hear some of you out there, saying: “Lamb? It’s so gamy!” I have family members who say the same thing. This is the recipe I make when I want to change their minds. 2

Shanks need long, slow cooking to tenderize; undercook them and they’re tough and chewy. In the pressure cooker, high pressure stands in for the long cooking time – 45 minutes under pressure, plus a 15 minute natural pressure release, replaces three to four hours of gentle simmering. This is why I love pressure cooking, even when it doesn’t give me a 30 minute meal – in this case, I can squeeze an all day recipe down to a little over an hour.

No pressure cooker? No worries. See the notes section for dutch oven instructions.

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Lamb Shanks


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Pressure Cooker Lamb Shanks

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Pressure Cooker Lamb Shanks recipe, Provencal style. Tender lamb shanks in about an hour, thanks to the pressure cooker.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or water)
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes (with juices)


  1. Sear the lamb shanks: Season the shanks with the 2 teaspoons of salt. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in the pressure cooker pot until shimmering. Brown the shanks in 2 batches, 2 shanks at a time. Sear the shanks for 3 minutes per side, or until well browned, then remove to a bowl and sear the next pair of shanks.
  2. Saute the aromatics: Add the onion, garlic, tomato paste, and Herbes de Provence to the pot. Sprinkle with the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute for five minutes, or until the onions soften and the tomato paste is starting to brown. Add the wine to the pot, bring to a simmer, and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits. Stir in the chicken stock and tomatoes, then add the lamb shanks and any lamb juices from the bowl. Push the lamb shanks into the liquid as much as possible.
  3. Pressure cook for 35/45 minutes: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure, then cook at high pressure for 35 minutes (45 minutes for an electric pressure cooker). Remove from the heat, allow the pressure to come down naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any pressure left in the pot.
  4. Defat the sauce: Remove the lamb shanks to a platter. Strain the sauce into a fat separator and let the fat float to the top, about five minutes. Pour some of the defatted sauce over the shanks, and pass the rest at the table.
  • Category: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: French
Shanks in the pot...barely

Shanks in the pot…barely


Saute the aromatics and herbs

Saute the aromatics and herbs


Everything in the pot

Everything in the pot





  • Pressure cookers are tall and narrow, and lamb shanks have a long bone. (Kind of the point of the whole shank thing, after all.) The lamb shanks I got for testing this recipe were too long for my pressure cooker pot; I had a rough time getting them browned, because they wouldn’t fit flat in the bottom. In the end they turned out fine, even with minimal browning, but if you have your choice of shanks, look for shorter bones. Also, don’t worry if the bones are poking up past the “max fill” line when you’re ready to cook – just make sure the liquid is below the line, and the lid will close.
  • No pressure cooker? No worries. Use a dutch oven with a heavy lid, and follow the instructions as written. When you get to the “lock the lid” part, add enough chicken stock or water to cover 3/4 of the lamb shanks. Put the lid on the pot, bring the pot to a simmer, then move the pot to a preheated 350°F oven for three to four hours, until the lamb shanks are tender and falling off the bone. Continue with the “defat the sauce” step.

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts

Pressure Cooker Lamb Stew with Guiness and Barley
Pressure Cooker Persian Lamb Shanks with Eggplant and Tomatoes (Khoresht Bademjan)
Pressure Cooker Beef Shank (Osso Bucco)
My other Pressure Cooker Recipes


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Filed under: Pressure cooker


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. I used to go to a local Lebanese restaurant because they had the best lamb shanks they charged a fortune. This recipe beats theirs, hands down. Not only is it less expensive, but it is fall off the bone tender. They cook theirs with carrots, so I added them the second time I made the recipe. It adds a little sweetness, and complements the lamb nicely. This is now one of my favorite recipes, as well as a go to if we have company.

    • No – but I had short shanks. If your shanks are too long, you can brown them in another pan, then transfer them to the pressure cooker.

  2. Tamra says

    Made this for my ex-boyfriend/roommate. I personally can’t stand lamb. He made the best cooing sounds while eating it, did the dishes, and has been nice to me all week. Props!

  3. Fabulous recipe! Used quantities as directed but added only two shanks. I did add green beans as one reader suggested and they were excellent. Served over orzo. Yum!

  4. Lisa says

    Going to try this soon — looks/sounds wonderful— and will follow up after I do. Question — I have an 8-quart Instant Pot; do your think I can make 1 1/2 times this recipe (6 shanks) at once? The IP is still new to me and I cannot (yet) rely on my own judgment. Thanks!

      • Lisa says

        I ended up cooking just for 4 of us, so I did not end up increasing the yield. But last night I made this and it was incredible! Easy, delicious, and I can’t even describe how amazing the entire house smelled from the moment I started to saute the aromatics. Browning the shanks took longer than I expected and I wasn’t sure whether to use the default saute setting or adjust to “more;” I know many instant pots have only one setting for saute, but for people like me (not quite a novice anymore I guess, but….close!) it would be great if the directions could specify. (I ended up switching back and forth from the default setting to the “more” setting on my IP). Both kids (12 yrs old) raved, insist I make it again, and were most disappointed that there weren’t enough leftovers to send them both to school with today for lunch. I removed the meat from the bones for logistical reasons (next time I will leave the shanks untouched for that impressive presentation!), and served over soft polenta. After straining the liquid/sauce, my husband and I enjoyed spooning the cooked aromatics on top of our own servings (the kids would have loved them too, but we were not feeling over-generous at that point, the flavors were that good). The combination was a bit rich for me but that would have been less of an issue if 1) I’d remembered to cook the vegetable side and 2) I’d eaten less of it, instead of getting carried away by the flavors!

  5. Steve says

    Awesome…but cheated a bit..added Red capsicum (red pepper) to the recipe for a bit more sweetness!

  6. Steve says

    Awesome result..thanks..not a Dad but that didnt matter..Used my Raco pressure cooker on an induction cooking surface..Able to safely now that the temperature was accurate. ..Have done shanks before in a slow cooker..but using a pressure cooker sure does beat that as it rams the flavour into the meat..Thanks very much!

  7. Roger McNair says

    I have yet to make this recipe; I just want to mention that most butchers, even in the large stores, will crack the shank bones for you. And that will make them easier to fit in the pot.

  8. Shubhra Aurita Roy says

    This was incredible! Great for busy week nights.
    thank you!

  9. Erica says

    Excellent result! I cooked 3 lamb shanks (1.2kgs total weight) in a 5 quart pressure cooker and left the rest of the ingredients the same as the recipe and the same cooking time.
    The meat fell off the bones which was a bonus so I could make smaller servings and have some leftovers!
    The sauce was so tasty I had to make an effort not to keep on eating it!
    I’m looking forward to trying the Persian lamb recipe.
    thanks for your website.

  10. David Alston says

    A good receipe. I thickened the liquid for serving and added a little Anji Marin (sweet rice wine) to counteract some bitterness in the herbs. Timing was right on.

  11. Pkay says

    Hi Mike, i am wondering if the same amount of time applies to 2 inch thick lamb loin chops, i have instant pot pressure cooker. Thanks.

    • Lamb loin chops are not a good choice for pressure cooking – they are too lean. Roast them or grill them instead.

  12. Eva W. says

    Just finished making this recipe in my electric pressure cooker and WOW was it say, quick and delicious. I’d neve made lamb shanks before and had been unsure because I knew they could be tough. These were great; very tender. The sauce was also great. Will make this again.

  13. Cynthia says

    One thing that trips me up about the pressure cooker is adjusting recipe size. If I have 2 shanks instead of 4, do I do less time?

    • No, same time. The cooking time is based cooking a shank through; more or less shanks won’t change the time it takes to cook each shank.

  14. George says

    Tried this last night. WOW!!!! Absolutely delicious!!! This is now my favorite lamb shank recipe. Thank you, Mike!

  15. Aaron Friedman says

    Have you ever tried youvetsi? You braise the lamb shanks then throw in orzo near the end to soak up all the drippings. It’s really good.

  16. Michelle C. says

    I’ve found an overnight brine with kosher salt and buttermilk (salt the shanks then put in a container or zip bag and cover with buttermilk) really tones down the gaminess of lamb. I even use it for chops if they’re the thick-cut ones. Just rinse and pat the shanks (or chops) dry before you proceed with a recipe.

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