15 Lamb Recipes You'll Be Raving About

Lamb plays an integral role in cuisines around the world, but in the U.S., its popularity has been declining for more than a century. According to the USDA, Americans ate a high of 5 pounds per capita in 1912, but by 2011, it was only 0.6 pounds. In contrast, there were more than 56 pounds of beef per capita consumed in 2021, and 68 pounds of chicken (per the USDA). When people do opt for lamb, it's usually for a special occasion, such as Easter or Christmas, which further cements its status as a rarity. Some consumers also steer clear of lamb because they find the idea of eating baby animals objectionable.

Despite its low profile on American menus, however, lamb is a versatile meat with a distinctive flavor that sets it apart from more conventional options. Like wild animal meats such as venison and pheasant, lamb has a gamey taste, defined by a sharp, even tangy, earthiness that you won't find in beef, pork, or seafood. This makes it a standout feature of a meal. Its flavor won't disappear in a soup or pasta dish like chicken, and though ground lamb may look similar to ground beef, it only takes one bite to dispel any confusion. 

So whether you're planning a meal for a special occasion or looking to step outside your culinary comfort zone, here are 15 delicious lamb recipes to get you started.

1. Moussaka

If you like lasagna, you will love moussaka. Usually associated with Greece and the Middle East, this dish is like the classic Italian casserole but with layers of roasted eggplant instead of sheets of pasta. The modern Greek version contains bechamel sauce as well, adding a dimension of creaminess.

Lamb gives moussaka an earthy, robust flavor, while the unique blend of mint, paprika, cinnamon, and nutmeg adds a deep, complex taste that sets it apart from lasagna. When you're looking for a casserole that is fancier and more flavorful than your go-to weeknight meals, moussaka will not disappoint.

Recipe: Moussaka

2. Classic Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's pie is the best type of comfort food. It's a complete meal in one dish, loaded with mashed potatoes, juicy meat, and colorful veggies. You can use beef or lamb, but we prefer the latter due to its powerful flavor.

It might seem like an intimidating recipe to undertake given its many components, but if you feel comfortable sauteing veggies and making mashed potatoes, you'll excel. Rosemary and thyme elevate the earthy flavor, and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs gives the mashed potato topping a crunchy golden allure.

Recipe: Classic Shepherd's Pie

3. Greek Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are a great way to jazz up a weeknight meal or dinner party without requiring unhealthy ingredients like gooey cheese, cream, or copious amounts of salt. This recipe packs in the vegetables, from zucchini and tomatoes to the peppers that hold everything together. Meanwhile, feta and oregano add flavor alongside the lamb.

To capitalize on the visual potential of the dish, make sure to get several colors of peppers and select ones that are tall with flat sides that will stay balanced even when weighed down with filling.

Recipe: Greek Stuffed Peppers

4. Easy Greek Meatballs

Classically Greek flavors dial this meatball recipe up a notch from the usual fare. Mint, oregano, parsley, and red onion provide a zesty kick, and the combination of half beef and half lamb makes this recipe ideal for those who are still getting used to the taste of lamb.

For anyone looking for lots of flavor, the herb mixture provides plenty of intensity. You can serve these meatballs over spaghetti or in a meatball sub, but they are so delicious on their own that you might want to serve them as finger food.

Recipe: Greek Meatballs

5. Tender Slow-Cooker Leg Of Lamb

It can be tempting to stick with ground lamb because it can easily be swapped one-to-one with beef, but this recipe for leg of lamb is surprisingly straightforward, thanks to the slow cooker. Red wine and fresh sprigs of rosemary and thyme provide depth to the gamey flavor, and a low, steady heat ensures the meat falls off the bone.

For best results, you'll need to cook the leg for eight hours. That might seem long, but trust us, it's worth every minute.

Recipe: Tender Slow-Cooker Leg Of Lamb

6. Simple Spiced Lamb Chops

Aside from ground meat, chops are probably the most common form of lamb sold in the U.S. They are also blissfully easy to make; just season and bake them in the oven for about 20 minutes.

What sets this recipe apart, however, is sumac, a spice that recipe developer Susan Olayinka describes as having a "sour, citrusy flavor that's a bit sweet." When paired with the earthy flavor of lamb, it elevates the dish, making it bright, intensely flavorful, and one you'll want to make again.

Recipe: Simple Spiced Lamb Chops

7. 30-Minute Lamb Stew

For anyone who loves moussaka but doesn't have all the time required to roast the eggplant and painstakingly assemble the ingredients into a casserole dish, this 30-minute lamb stew is the solution. Lamb, eggplant, tomato, cinnamon, brown sugar, and feta make this dish a close cousin of moussaka, requiring only a fraction of the time.

You can use any type of lamb, but ground meat is more affordable than other options. If you're making this recipe as a quick weeknight meal, there is no reason to splurge — the results will be just as tasty.

Recipe: 30-Minute Lamb Stew

8. Tender Rack Of Lamb

Like filet mignon, a rack of lamb is a premium cut of meat that doesn't need much dressing up to be delicious and worth every penny of its steep price tag. But as with all expensive cuts, it can be intimidating to make. You don't want to drop a significant amount of money only to overcook it until it's tough or turns into char.

Our recipe takes only 35 minutes and, with a simple herb and garlic rub, ensures you won't fall into the trap of adding too many bells and whistles.

Recipe: Tender Rack Of Lamb

9. Easy Greek Moussaka

As much as we love moussaka, we can't deny that it can be a hassle to make. You might spend hours in the kitchen before you can reap the benefits, and not everyone has time for such an involved process. With this in mind, recipe developer Ting Dalton comes to the rescue with a simplified version.

Instead of roasting thin sheets of eggplant and layering them over sauce, you'll be throwing most of the ingredients into a single pot before adding them to a casserole dish and topping it with a yogurt cheese sauce.

Recipe: Easy Greek Moussaka

10. Red Wine-Braised Lamb Shanks

Gamey meats taste particularly delicious with red wine, which usually has the robustness to compete with their strong flavor. Lamb is no exception. When braised with a sauce made of red wine and tomato puree thickened with cornstarch, these shanks are bursting with intense flavors and tender enough to fall off the bone.

Make sure to serve the dish with crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce. It's rich and delicious, and you won't want to let a single drop of it go to waste.

Recipe: Red Wine-Braised Lamb Shanks

11. Lamb Kofta Kebabs

If you go to a Greek restaurant, the menu will most likely have some variation of lamb kofta kebabs. They are unmistakably Mediterranean thanks to the unique blend of spices, and this version of the beloved dish tastes just like what you'd find at a restaurant in Greece.

Lamb is the star of the show, along with cilantro, cumin, paprika, nutmeg, cayenne, cinnamon, and onion. The mixture is shaped around kebab sticks and baked in the oven, where the meat forms a crust without losing its juicy center.

Recipe: Lamb Kofta Kebabs

12. Rosemary-Grilled Lamb Chops

If you have a grill, you're probably accustomed to making steaks and burgers, but if you've never applied your skills to lamb, you're missing out. These rosemary-grilled chops will have your mouth watering as you prepare them and are sure to be hit with friends and family.

The standout feature of this recipe is the herb brush. You'll wrap twine around fresh rosemary and thyme stems and dip the leaves in melted butter to periodically brush the chops for added moisture. The results are juicy, buttery, and tender, with an intoxicating, herbal aroma.

Recipe: Rosemary-Grilled Lamb Chops

13. Greek-Style Lamb Burger

Hamburgers are made with ground beef, so it stands to reason that you could make burgers out of ground lamb, too. These Greek-style patties aren't just any burgers, though. Filled with mint, cumin, oregano, and red onion, they are packed with flavor and look more enticing than a standard beef patty.

Burgers don't taste particularly exciting on their own, so make sure you have buns, mustard, mayo, and ketchup available along with all of your favorite fixings. There's nothing like a side of fries or salad to complete the meal.

Recipe: Greek-Style Lamb Burger

14. Irish Stew

Stew is the perfect meal for cold winter evenings when it's dark and damp outside, or even for cool fall days when you're not ready for the chill in the air. There are many types of stew, from oyster to pumpkin and everything in between. When you're craving classic flavors, this deliciously hearty Irish stew fits the bill.

In addition to lamb, it's made with potatoes, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and herbs. It's filling and so comforting you'll forget the nasty weather outside. Serve it with crusty bread to enjoy every drop.

Recipe: Irish Stew

15. Instant Pot Lamb Shoulder Chops

Lamb can be expensive, leading many people to purchase shoulder chop, which is often the most affordable option. However, this cut is notoriously tough due to connective tissue, which makes for a pretty unpleasant eating experience. You can force the tissue to break down with many hours of slow cooking, or as per this recipe, cut that time to six minutes in an Instant Pot.

That's right, these chops take six minutes to cook, and with a preparation time of about five minutes, they're ready in just over 10 minutes.

Recipe: Instant Pot Lamb Shoulder Chops