Braised lamb shanks in the Instant Pot? Yes! Cut out at least an hour of cook time with this recipe for Instant Pot lamb shanks. Instead of braising in the oven for two hours, cook the shanks in the Instant Pot for just 60 minutes. Not only do you save time, but the results are some of the most juicy, tender American lamb shanks you’ve ever had!

Overhead image of lamb shanks covered with sauce set over a bed of polenta on blue plates

Braised lamb shanks with red wine

American Lamb and red wine are a perfect pairing. Not only do I recommend serving them together, but for this recipe I’m cooking the shanks in red wine too. As Ina Garten would say, cook with wine you would drink. So for these American lamb shanks, I opted to braise them in a delicious dry red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, or Côtes du Rhône. Use what you like—this recipe calls for 1 cup, so you’ll have leftovers to sip on! 

Why use red wine? Red wine adds a wonderful depth of flavor and a slight touch of acidic tang. That acid balances the fatty shanks beautifully. Likewise, it’s also why I finish the sauce with a splash or red wine vinegar, the thick sauce and fatty meat benefit greatly from a bit of fresh acid. 

Side angle of a sliced lamb shank covered with sauce set over a bed of polenta on blue plates

Finding American lamb shanks

Depending on your grocery store or butcher options, it can be somewhat hard to find American lamb shanks. I’ve had good luck finding them at specialty grocery stores and Whole Foods. To save time, I recommend calling around to local grocery stores to see if they have any on hand. If not, ask your butcher or meat market to order some for you, and be sure to ask for American lamb!

If you’re a lover of lamb, be sure to check out @fanoflamb in Instagram. Plus, February is Lamb Lovers Month and the American lamb Board will hosting a new giveaway each week! Check out the giveaway.

Side angle of lamb shanks covered with sauce set over a bed of polenta on blue plates

Instant pot lamb shanks cook time

Using an Instant Pot is a great way to cut down on cook time. I like to pull out the Instant Pot for certain cooking methods that traditionally take hours, such as braising. This recipe for braised lamb shanks can easily be done in the oven, but with the Instant Pot you can cut out at least an hour of the cook time. 

The basic method for cooking lamb shanks in the Instant Pot: 60 minutes on high pressure, 15 minutes natural release then quick release any remaining pressure. 

Overhead image of ingredients for lamb shanks on a gray table: lamb shanks, red wine, carrots, celery, onion, spices, salt, olive oil

How to make Instant Pot Lamb Shanks

American Lamb shanks are known for being a slow-cook cut of meat. They have a lot of connective tissue, which means they require a long cook time to soften and break down those tissues into juicy, tender meat. The challenge with American lamb shanks lies in having enough time to cook them long enough—otherwise you end up with a tough piece of meat.

To cut down on the braising time while also achieving the textural characteristics of a long braise, I turned to the Instant Pot. This method really is the best of both worlds, praise pressure cooking!

Here are the steps for braising lamb shanks in an Instant Pot—you’ll save time and enjoy perfectly tender meat. 

  1. Brown shanks in the Instant Pot.
  2. Sauté veggies in the Instant Pot until starting to soften. 
  3. Add tomato paste, garlic and Herbs de Provence; cook 1 minute. 
  4. Add wine, scraping up any browned bits. 
  5. Nestle shanks in pot, lock lid, close pressure valve, and cook 60 minutes on high pressure. 
  6. Naturally release pressure for 15 minutes then manually release any remaining pressure. 
  7. Transfer shanks to a plate.
  8. Skim fat from braising liquid then transfer braising liquid and vegetables to a blender and blend until smooth.
  9. Serve shanks with sauce over polenta, mashed potatoes, lentils or pasta. 
grid of step shot images of making lamb shanks: patting meat dry, seasoning meat, searing meat, sauteeing veggies, simmering veggies in red wine

How to braise lamb shanks in the oven

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, or would rather braise the shanks in the oven, here is how to modify the recipe: 

  • Ingredient change: Increase red wine to 1½ cups and add 1½ cups low-sodium chicken broth to the braising liquid. 
  • Heat oven to 350-degrees with rack set in middle position. 
  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until smoking; brown shanks as directed in recipe. Transfer shanks to a plate.
  • Add vegetables to Dutch oven and cook until starting to soften. Add tomato paste, garlic, herbs de Provence and salt; cook 1 minute. Add wine, scraping up any browned bits, then nestle shanks in pot. 
  • Bring to a simmer, cover pot, and transfer to the oven; cook 1½ hours. Uncover pot and cook until tops of the shanks start to brown, about 30 minutes. Flip shanks and continue to cook until all sides are browned, about 30 minutes more. 
  • Follow recipe instructions for making the sauce. 
overhead angle of a sliced lamb shank covered with sauce set over a bed of polenta on blue plates

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Side angle of lamb shanks covered with sauce set over a bed of polenta on blue plates

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Side angle of lamb shanks covered with sauce set over a bed of polenta on blue plates

Instant Pot Lamb Shanks with Red Wine

  • Author: Lauren
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1½ hours
  • Total Time: 2¼ hours
  • Yield: 4 servings (3 cups sauce) 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American/French

Description

Easy Instant Pot Lamb Shanks! Braised in red wine, veggies, and herbs de Provence, these lamb shanks come together quickly and easily. Serve the lamb shanks and silky sauce over creamy polenta, mashed potatoes, or pasta.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 (10- to 12-ounce) American lamb shanks, trimmed
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
  • 1 cup dry red wine (Côtes du Rhône, Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Black pepper
  • Celery root mashed potatoes or polenta
  • Chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

Pat lamb shanks dry with paper towels; sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt.

Set Instant Pot to high sauté function, add oil to pot and heat until smoking, about 5 minutes. Brown 2 shanks on all sides, 8–10 minutes. Transfer shanks to a plate; repeat with remaining shanks.

Add onion, carrots, and celery to pot; cook until vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, herbs de Provence, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and cook 1 minute. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits.

Nestle shanks into pot; adding any accumulated juices. Lock lid in place and close pressure release valve. Select high pressure cook functions and cook for 60 minutes.

Turn off Instant Pot and let pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Quick-release any remaining pressure, then carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you. Transfer shanks to a serving dish, tent with foil, and let rest while preparing the sauce.

Skim fat off top of braising liquid in pot. Transfer de-fatted braising liquid and vegetables to blender, add vinegar and blend until smooth; season with salt and pepper taste.

Serve braised lamb shanks with mashed potatoes or creamy polenta.



Notes

If you have trouble finding lamb shanks, ask your butcher or meat market to order you some!

Find instructions in the recipe article for braising lamb shanks in the oven.

Keywords: Instant pot lamb shanks, braised lamb shanks, red wine braised lamb shanks,

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This post was sponsored by the American Lamb Board, as always the thoughts, opinions, recipes, photos, and content are all my own.

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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Comments

  1. THIS is an amazing recipe. I love my Instant Pot and had not used it for lamb. So glad I followed your recipe to a T. It was perfection.

  2. Had no idea you could make these in the Instant Pot. Thanks for the great recipe!!

  3. This was a delicious lamb shank recipe. It needed a bit more salt in my opinion and maybe a kick of heat from hot sauce or pepper flakes. Really yummy comfort food! I’ll make it again for sure!

    1. Hi Caire! I am so happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe. Great tip for adding some red pepper flakes, that would be delicious. Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Learning to be brave with the Instapot, but this recipe was a huge payoff! Perfect for Easter dinner, over creamy polenta, with a glass of Monterey Pint Noir. Only change I madie was balsalmic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar. Worth it just for the “gravy”!!

  5. For those of us who are COUPLES and only want to cook TWO shanks, how would the cooking time (or anything else in the recipe) need to be adjusted?

    1. Hi Bret, I haven’t tested this using two shanks, but I would stick to the 60 minute cook time. If anything the meat will be so tender it will fall off the bone. As for ingredients, you should be safe with just halving everything. The only reason to keep the rest of the ingredients as listed is if you want a lot of sauce! I hope that helps!