Sticky spiced lamb shanks

Sticky spiced lamb shanks

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(17 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 3 hrs


Serves 2
This hearty, slow-cooked lamb dish is perfect for two to share as the nights start drawing in

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal1114
  • fat55g
  • saturates23g
  • carbs64g
  • sugars52g
  • fibre10g
  • protein95g
  • salt1.93g
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  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 lamb shanks



    A lamb is a sheep that is under one year old, and is known for its delicate flavour and tender…

  • 3 onions, sliced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp each cumin and coriander seeds, crushed
    Coriander seeds

    Coriander seed

    kor-ee-and-er seed

    The small, creamy brown seeds of the coriander plant give dishes a warm, aromatic and slightly…

  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 4 dried apricots, chopped



    A relative of the peach, nectarine, plum and cherry, apricots are fragrant, with a soft, velvety…

  • 4 dried figs, chopped



    Although not juicy, the fig is an incredibly luscious fruit, with a delicate aroma and sweet…

  • handful coriander, chopped


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Add 1 tbsp oil to a small, tight-lidded casserole and brown shanks for a couple of mins, turning as you go. Remove and set aside.

  2. Add remaining oil and onions to the pan and cook for about 10 mins until soft. Add garlic and spices and cook for 4 mins more. Tip in tomatoes and stock, then nestle the shanks back in on their sides. Bring to a boil, cover and put in the oven. Cook for 2 hrs: turn the shanks now and then.

  3. Remove the lid and stir through the molasses, apricots and figs. Cook, uncovered, for 30 mins more or until the meat is falling away from the bone.

  4. Remove shanks from the dish and wrap in foil to keep warm. Put the dish back onto the heat and cook down the juices until thick and saucy. Season, then serve the shanks, scattered with coriander, alongside the rice (see 'Goes well with', right).

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Comments (21)

mkouimtzi's picture

Made this is my slow cooker and ended with lamb shanks swimming in tomato soup! I had to empty the sauce in a saucepan, blend it a hand blender and boiled on a high heat for a good 45 minutes without a lid on to reduce to a sauce consistency. I agree with other reviewers that the tomato overpowered everything, so I added more spices to the sauce and a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly to make it sweeter. After this, the dish was absolutely DIVINE and restaurant quality. Everyone loved it, including a picky fussy 6 year old.
So, next time I won't bother browning the lamb shanks, I will add either 2 tbsps. of tomato puree and 150ml of chicken stock OR 1/2 tin of chopped tomatoes and no stock. Also, you don't need all that oil, the lamb shanks are fatty enough, just add 1 teaspoon of oil for the sauce. I will also add some redcurrant jelly or a tbsp of sugar and more cumin, more coriander, and more apricots (because everyone loved them, they swelled up in the sauce and were divine). Fish out the apricots after the lamb is cooked and blend everything together with a hand blender.

cshobbs's picture

Very good! I didn't have any pomegranate molasses so replaced with a little black treacle.
Easily made gluten-free.

lahelapixie's picture

Lovely! Made this in the slow cooker - the lamb was very tender so i pulled it and stirred into the sauce to make a stew. Served with the jewelled rice which was also delicious!

suebri53's picture

Excellent and very tasty easy to make

sarahf82's picture

I didn't like this at all. I made it in the slow cooker and the lamb was very tender but the tin of tomatos overpowered everything and i didn't like the taste. This recipe was an expensive mistake for me.

pamonline's picture

This is a fab recipe. The lamb just fell off the bone and the sauce was delicious. Will definitely make again.

ninanikarsov's picture

Like a number of other commentators, I couldn't find the pomegranate molasses so left it out but can't help feeling it lacked something as a result.

irenevandertop's picture

one of my favorite recipes. the pomegranate molasses really makes it.

irenevandertop's picture

absolutely a hit. The pomegranate molasses makes it.

nicola3460's picture

Really loved this. Didn't put the molasses in as other half doesn't really do sweet and it was still lovely.

theboycalledsacha's picture

I bought one large lamb shoulder and followed the recipie apart from cooking it for four hours and using tinned chickpeas. It turned out beautifully tender and sticky and sweet. Next time I will leave out the carrots as (although they tasted amazing) they didn't work with the dish. Also make sure you add a generous amount of chilli as with the sweetness you need a kick of heat. As it was shoulder I cooked it for longer and baisted it occasionally. Really great dish in general as you can leave it until you are ready and a lot of the prep work too.

janiden's picture

loved by all my family. made a brilliant start to xmas as an xmas eve meal. absolutely delicious. will certainly use this recipe again.

rparnell's picture

I'm looking to make this is a couple of days but like a few people have found, pomegranate molasses isn't the kind of thing you'd find in your local supermarket so I've found a recipe and made some myself to use. Try 1L pomegranate juice (I've used 250ml concentrate topped up with water), 4 oz sugar and 125ml lemon juice. Heat together on a medium/high heat until sugar has dissolved then simmer for about 1 1/4 hrs until you have approx 200/250ml syrupy liquid. Pour into a jar and cool. A bit of a chore but probably easier than searching the world for the real thing. Hope this helps :-)

raspberryfool's picture

I cooked lambshanks but did not have molasses or figs. I found this to be a good spicy tomato sauce and the shanks took on the cinnamon flavour well. I served it with saffron rice.

emabell's picture

Absolutely gorgeous. I usually don't like lamb much because of the fat but my partner loves it so we gave this recipe a go. The lamb was beautifully cooked and the sauce tastes amazing. Thank you

pcodur's picture

I wasn't so keen on this...the lamb cooked beautifully and the sauce was a nice consistency, I just found it too rich.
I made the jewelled rice to go with it and that was gorgeous.

philinbrighton's picture

Really nice was of doing lambshanks. This is an awful lot of food for two though, it would easily do three if you stripped the meat off the bones. I didn't have any figs so just doubled the apricots and it was fine. I also added some tomato puree to enrichen it a bit.

bryangarvie's picture

Where can you get pomegranate molasses? Not something you see often in the supermarket and we're a bit short of good delis round our way.

bethocallaghan's picture

This was nice but next time I wouldn't add the pomegranate molasses as I thought it made it too sweet. Also had to add extra water as it had dried out a bit after 2hrs (even though it was covered).

andymay's picture

This is going to become a favourite. Delicious, one of the best lamb shank recipes I've cooked.
It's worth cooking the jewelled rice recipe to accompany it.


Questions (2)

ecarlyle's picture

Can I do this recipe using a pressure cooked? Thanks.

zagebo's picture

why does the print button end up with a print of the whole bloody webpage?
come on bbc, we just want the recipe, not reams of extra pages printed that bear no relation to the recipe.

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