Lamb Osso Bucco Recipe with Caramelized Onions

Meltingly tender lamb shank osso bucco with a rich sauce of caramelized onions and pan drippings is a take on the classic Italian osso bucco you won’t want to miss. In Italian cuisine, slow-cooked shanks are known as osso bucco or “bone with a mouth” referring to the marrow bone in the center. This version is different than classic Osso Bucco Milanese, where tender veal shanks are served with saffron risotto.

Grass fed lamb or goat shanks braised with onions
Lamb osso bucco with caramelized onions.

Here I simmer shanks with a generous amount of sweet caramelized onions, spooning them and the tender shanks on top of a simple, creamy white risotto.

Lamb Osso Bucco Ingredients

You’ll need lamb shanks, a little bacon, brandy, stock, spices, and a few yellow onions. The most important thing to make sure you have is time, since this recipe requires carefully browning the meat, and then slowly browning the caramelized onions.

Lamb osso bucco ingredients: lamb shanks, sliced onions, brandy, bacon and spices.
ingredients for our lamb shank osso bucco.

Grass fed lamb osso bucco cut shanks
Cut shanks will make the best osso bucco.

How to Make Lamb Osso Bucco

First you season the shanks with salt and pepper and brown them in a heavy pot. Then you remove the shanks, render some bacon and add onions to the pan, cooking until caramelized. When the onions are browned, you add some brandy and stock and cook the shanks until tender. The images below describe the process, and the full method is shown in the video.

Chef Alan Bergo
Chef Alan Bergo

While the shanks are cooking you put together the rice and gremolata. I use orange zest and hickory nuts, but parsley, lemon zest and pine nuts are traditional. Both of these are optional but make the dish a special occasion treat. If you want, you could make the shanks in a crock pot and serve them with some mashed potatoes for a simpler meal.




This recipe is by James Beard Award-winning Chef Alan Bergo. He’s a chef from Minnesota and author of The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora. Learn more about Chef Alan at 

Shepherd Song Farm: Grass to table. We raise lambs & goats traditionally, humanely and sustainably. 100% Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Never Confined, no Hormones, Grains or Animal Byproducts. Born, raised and processed in the U.S.A. Good for you and good for the environment.

More Slow Cooked Lamb Recipes

Braised Lamb Sugo (Sunday Gravy)

Braised Lamb Italian Sausages

Braised Lamb Neck Chops with Chickpeas and Harissa 

Grass fed lamb or goat shanks braised with onions
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5 from 1 vote

Lamb Osso Bucco Recipe with Caramelized Onions

A rich dish of tender braised lamb shanks with sweet caramelized onions. Serves 2 as an entrée, with leftovers.
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Lamb Shanks, Onions
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 400kcal


  • 1 Dutch oven
  • 1 Chef knife
  • 1 Cutting board


For the Shanks

  • 1 pack lamb osso bucco 2 shanks cut into 3 pieces each
  • 1.25 lbs sweet yellow onions finely sliced
  • 2 ounces lamb bacon (optional) diced small
  • 1 tablespoon lamb fat or cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 inch stick of cinnamon
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 2.5 cups lamb or chicken stock

For the Gremolata (optional)

  • 1.5 tablespoons toasted nuts like pine nuts, sunflower seeds, or hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup Italian Parsley
  • ½ Tablespoon lemon zest

For the White Risotto (optional)

  • ½ cup risotto rice
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • Lamb chicken, or vegetable stock, as needed, a few cups
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons lard or cooking oil


Osso Bucco

  • Separate the shank pieces with a heavy knife if needed or still attached to each other. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. In a braising dish, render the bacon in a tablespoon of the fat or oil until crisp, then reserve, keeping the fat in the pan. Add the shanks to the pan and brown, then remove.
  • Add onions to the pan and cook for 30 min, stirring and deglazing with some stock occasionally if they threaten to burn, until the onions are browned and nicely caramelized.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, bacon, bay leaf, remaining stock, cinnamon stick and shank pieces back to the pan, cover with parchment, then a lid, and bake at 300 F for 1.5-2 hours, or until the shank meat moves from the bone. Watch the shanks and don't overcook them-they shouldn’t fall apart.
  • Chill the shanks and skim off the fat (optional). To serve, reheat the shanks gently, stirring and adding spoonfuls of stock to create a natural jus.
  • When the shanks are hot, adjust the seasoning for salt then divide some of the risotto between two heated bowls, spoon 2 shank pieces on top of each, spoon some of the onions and sauce over each one, garnish with a sprinkle of the gremolata, and serve immediately.


  • Toast the nuts and cool. Very finely dice or grate the citrus zest. Chop the parsley and the nuts together roughly, then mix with the citrus zest and reserve.

White risotto

  • Sweat the onion in the oil but do not color. Add the rice and cook for a few minutes, then deglaze with the wine, cook down, add a ¼ cup of stock at a time and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is cooked.
  • When the rice is just done, add the butter and cheese and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, then double check the seasoning, adjust as needed, and serve immediately.



Lamb, goat, or venison shanks can be used here. 


Serving: 2pieces | Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 392mg | Sodium: 250mg | Potassium: 544mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 350IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 392mg | Iron: 11mg