Lamb Osso Bucco is a hearty family meal that is satisfying, juicy and delicious. With meat that falls off the bone and a rich flavour tomato sauce fragrant with wine and stock this dish will tantalise your tastebuds. This lamb osso bucco recipe (sometimes spelt lamb osso buco) is one where your time and efforts result in a delicious dish that has an amazing aroma to match. Grab a spoon for the yum in the marrow hole!
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Easy Italian: whilst there are a number of steps involved, they are all super easy and the delicious recipe comes together with ease.
- Locked in flavour: braising the lamb (cooking it on both sides in olive oil) is a method to seal the flavour into the meat. It takes only a few short minutes but ensures delicious, juicy results!
- Leftovers taste amazing: storing the leftovers in the fridge and then having for a non cook simply heat and eat dinner the next night is easy, plus the flavours will be even more delicious!
- Fall off the bone meat: as we cook the dish for 1 hour and 30 minutes in the oven, the results are fall off the bone meat that simply melts in your mouth.
- Taste and texture: the combination of white wine, bouillon cubes and chicken stock help to create a depth of flavour to the recipe. The vegetables and diced tomato delight with the variety of textures, as does slurping the marrow from the bones.
- Lamb shank osso bucco: an alternative way of bringing the dish together is by purchasing more readily available lamb shanks and using them as opposed to the cut lamb legs. My substitutions and variations section gives you this and more options 😉👍.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Lamb: you will likely need to get this from your local butcher. Most supermarkets these days don't sell it cut in the manner you need for the recipe.
- Carrots: peeled and cut into small pieces. This is one of the 3 key traditional vegetables for osso bucco.
- Celery: rinsed and chopped into small pieces, the second of our key vegetables for the dish.
- Onion: peeled and finely diced or you can use a food processor or other vegetable chopper to help with this if you want to save your tears.
- White wine: I use pinot gris and recommend you stick with white not red for the recipe.
- Chicken stock (chicken broth): you can also use beef stock if you wish too.
- Diced tomatoes: try and get the ones from the grocery store that don't have any additional herbs and are simply plain tomatoes (no need for 'Italian style diced tomatoes').
- Thyme: you can use fresh thyme if you like. Although dried is most likely easiest for most of us.
- Bay leaves: these get added to the top of the dish and provide an aromatic flavour. They need to be discarded before serving.
- Salt and pepper: we season both sides of the lamb with these before browning.
- Olive oil: added to the pan before we add the lamb.
- Parsley: finely chopped for the gremolata.
- Lemon zest: from a fresh lemon, this is an excellent garnish ingredient for the dish.
- Garlic: combined with the parsley and lemon zest for the gremolata.
Tasty Tip: I like to offer a number of substitutions and variations to give you options when making the recipe. If in doubt of any of the above ingredients, or wanting alternatives (eg for the combination of vegetables), read this section before diving into the instructions on how to make the recipe below 👍😉.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by seasoning the lamb with salt and pepper (both sides) then we brown it in a pan. A Dutch oven is also great for the recipe and a chopping board is handy to start with.
- Season lamb with salt and pepper (Photo 1)
- Brown both sides (Photo 2)
- Add carrot, celery and onion to pan and cook (Photo 3)
- Add garlic, thyme and tomato paste (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Lamb Osso Bucco
To make the osso bucco, start by placing the lamb onto a chopping board. Season lamb by sprinkling both sides with salt and pepper.
Next add olive oil to a sauté pan (or large Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid). Use kitchen tongs to place the lamb into the pan and brown on high heat for approximately 3 minutes each side. Once done, transfer to paper towel, resting on a chopping board.
Without rinsing or cleaning the pan add the chopped carrot, celery and onion. Cook these for 2 to 3 minutes using a wooden spoon to fry off until the onion is translucent. Once that is done the next step is to add the garlic, thyme and tomato paste. These ingredients help add the rich flavour to the sauce and fresh herbs can be used if you prefer to dried.
- Add the diced tomatoes and crushed bouillon cubes on top (Photo 5)
- Then add the browned lamb (Photo 6)
- Pour in the white wine (Photo 6)
- Then pour in the chicken stock
Next add the 2 tins of diced tomatoes and use your fingers to crush the bouillon cubes. Sprinkles these over the top of the diced tomatoes and keep stirring the dish with the heat on medium low.
🍖 How To Cook Lamb Osso Bucco
Next, use the tongs to add the browned lamb back to the pan and turn the heat to low. They should sit in one flat layer. Pour in the white wine, followed by the chicken stock.
- Add bay leaves to centre of dish, lid on, into oven (Photo 9)
- Gather gremolata ingredients (Photo 10)
- Add to bowl (Photo 11)
- Stir to combine (Photo 12)
Once you have placed the bay leaves into the pan, you can put the lid on and place the dish into the oven (middle shelf), where it needs to cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. You can use this time to make the gremolata (optional) but a lovely way to finish the dish if you have time.
The gremolata uses parsley, garlic and lemon zest. You can simply add them to a bowl and combine. As the garlic is raw and not cooked I tend to add a little less of this than if I was cooking it in a dish.
- Oven bake for 1 hr 30 mins (Photo 13)
When you have put the dish into the oven, you may find you want to check it, which you can do at 30 minute intervals.
Use the oven mits to remove the dish, steer clear of the piping hot steam that will waft out of the oven, place on a heat proof surface and use tongs to flip the meat to the other side. This is optional, however, it allows you to still have some hands on during this part of the cooking.
Once the cook time is up, again you can use oven mits to remove the dish from the oven, place on a heat proof surface and remove the lid.
If serving simply with chopped parsley you can wait 1 to 2 minutes and then sprinkle this over the top of the dish.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
Traditionally ossoc bucco is served with saffron rice. But mashed potatoes and polenta are other common (and easier sides). The polenta will have the instructions for cooking it on the back of the packet.
This is usually as simple as adding water, polenta and salt. But I also like to add a little bit of butter as I find it tastes a bit creamier!
You can cook this towards the end of the oven time for the lamb osso bucco and it is (the polenta) best served straight away fresh and hot once cooked.
Generously garnish the dish with the gremolat and black pepper.
It is not common to serve the dish with a bread side, however, I think it would be remiss of me not to offer these suggestions if that is your preference.
Whilst white wine is my preference and recommendation for in the dish, serving with red wine, (Pinot Noir) is a lovely way to enjoy the meal 👌!
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftovers of the dish in sealed, air tight containers or plates with lids. They will last for 3 days and they can be frozen also.
How to Freeze
Allow the dish to fully cool. Then portion into containers and seal with lid. They can be frozen for up to 3 months and are best thawed prior to reheating. ie not reheating from frozen.
How to Reheat
The microwave is the quickest and easiest way to reheat leftovers. Simply cover and heat on high for 2 to 3 minutes or until the dish is heated through. You can also add leftovers back to a pan on the stove, if doing this a coupe of drops of oil will help to ensure they don't stick and the clean up is less time consuming!!
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- If you want to use whole lamb shanks as opposed to cut lamb, you can as an alternative. This is also more than likely always readily available at your local supermarket. It would be more of a 'lamb shanks recipe -osso bucco style', but the flavours will still be there.
- Veal shanks, pork shanks or beef can be used in place of the lamb if you please.
- Rosemary is a herb that can be switched in place of the thyme. (Again either dried or fresh will work) This is more of a Greek style lamb osso bucco. Or fennel seed works with this and pork osso bucco.
- Some people like to dredge their meat in flour before browning, it is not my preference for this recipe, however you can if you have the desire to.
- Strips of orange zest can be used in place of the lemon rind for the gremolata.
- You can use fresh garlic finely chopped in place of the jarred minced garlic (although this can sometimes be easier!).
- You can sauté some spinach or kale if you want to serve additional greens with the dish or switch up the vegetables in the recipe.
- Couscous is another alternative that you could pair with the dish in place of the polenta. Rice is very rarely used, but if you have it and want to use it as it is convenient, it will still pair well.
- Cooked lentils are another serving idea if you want to stay away from starchy carbs.
- If making the gremolata seems a bit too involved for you time and energy levels, you can simply served the dish with finely chopped fresh parsley.
- Or you can drizzle a little lemon juice over the top if zesting a lemon is not on your agenda the night you want to cook the dish 😉👍.
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- A pair of kitchen tongs are super handy for the recipe. You can use them to handle the lamb and move them around easily when needed to transfer them in and out of the pan.
- A large pan with lid or Dutch oven is ideal as we pack quite a lot into the dish!
- You can use a large skillet if it is oven friendly as an alternative baking vessel.
- Crushed tomatoes can be used in place of the diced tinned tomatoes, they will add a little less texture but will still do the job.
- The bouillon cubes will crush easily, so ensure you are doing this over (into) the pan, not to the side then trying to add the powder in.
- If you notice that the liquid level is quite high before placing in the oven, don't worry too much. There is nothing in the pan to make the dish 'rise' so to speak, so it will simply bubble away in there.
- Or if it is maxed out full ¾ cup of stock instead of the full cup can be used. Don't skip on the full cup of wine though😉👌 !
- You might want to run a little olive oil with paper towel around the sides of the pan also before adding the lamb as this will aid clean up of the pan.
- Oven mits are necessary and super handy. The pan will be hot, hot, hot, so these help to save your hands and you can simply then place the pan onto a heatproof surface once removed from the oven.
- You can check the meat at 30 minutes intervals during the 1 hour 30 minute cook time. When you open the oven door, be prepared to be met with a wall of heat, so don't stick your face right in there!
- A mini grater or zester is helpful to zest the lemon for the gremolata.
- I use a glass jar and kitchen scissors to chop the parsley.
- Leftovers taste better the next day as the flavour continues to develop and deliver 😉👌.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
Is osso buco made from lamb or beef?
Osso Buco is traditionally made with veal. It is common however, for the protein to change and you will easily find recipes using beef, pork or lamb instead.
What is traditionally served with osso buco?
Mashed potatoes, polenta and saffron risotto are the 3 most commonly served side dishes served with osso buco.
Do you eat the marrow in osso buco?
Yes, eating the marrow from the bone in osso bucco is part of the delight of the dish. You may need a small teaspoon to help get this out.
What vegetables go into osso buco?
The vegetables that go into osso bucco are onion, carrot and celery. It is also common to use either crushed or diced tomatoes.
😍 More Easy Dinner Recipes
Getting dinner on the table can be fuss free and almost effortless if you have some easy recipes to turn to that deliver delicious results. Here are some more recipes that I think you will enjoy:
- Slow Cooker Lamb Stew
- Easy Basil Pesto Fettuccine
- Spaghetti Alla Bolognese
- Spaghetti Gorgonzola
- Honey Glazed Pork Chops
- Pork Chops in Mushroom Soup
- Fettuccine Bolognese
- Linguine Al Pesto
- Pasta Alla Gorgonzola
- Rigatoni Gorgonzola
It is time to feel like we are in Italy my friends, but from the comfort and joy of home.
Lamb Osso Bucco
- 1 Chopping board
- 1 Kitchen Tongs
- 1 Large saute pan with lid
- 1 Paper towel
- 1 Wooden spoon
- 2 Oven Mits
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1.5 kg/ 3 pounds lamb osso bucco Note 1
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (cooking salt)
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 carrots peeled and finely chopped, Note 2
- 1 cup celery finely chopped, Note 3
- 1 cup onion peeled and finely chopped, Note 4
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 800 grams/ 28 oz diced tomatoes Note 5
- 2 cubes beef bouillon cubes crushed with your fingers
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves discard before serving
- 2 tablespoon parsely finely chopped
- ½ tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- Preheat the oven: preheat the oven to 180°C / 350-375°F / Gas Mark 4-5.
- Season: use kitchen tongs to place lamb onto chopping board in one flat layer. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Sear: add olive oil to pan, turn heat to high, place lamb into the pan and sear for at least 3 minutes each side to brown the meat. Once browned, remove and transfer to a chopping board with layer of paper towel.
- Vegetables: without rinsing the pan, add carrot, celery and onion, fry for 2 to 3 mins on high heat. Then add the garlic and thyme, stir to combine and allow to cook for a further 2 to 3mins.
- Sauce: add the tomato paste and diced tomatoes to the pan. Crush the boullion cubes with your fingers and sprinkle over the combined tomato vegetable mixture. Turn the heat to low and allow the dish to simmer.
- Lamb: use kitchen tongs to place the seared lamb back into the pan on top of the tomato vegetable mixture.
- Stock and wine: pour in the wine, followed by the chicken stock. Place the bay leaves in the middle of the dish.
- Bake: place a lid on the pan and transfer to the middle shelf in the oven. Cook for 1 hour 30 mins. You can remove during this time at 30 minute internals, place on a heatproof surface and use tongs to rotate the lamb to the other side.
- Gremolata: add the chopped parsley, minced garlic and lemon zest to a small bowl and stir to combine.
- Polenta: cook the polenta according to the packet instructions, add 2 teaspoons of butter and stir to combine.
- Serve: portion the polenta onto plates. Place the lamb osso bucco onto a heatproof surface in the centre of the table and provide serving utensils.
- Garnish: place the gremolata in a small bowl on the table for garnish, alternatively provide finely chopped parsley and cracked black pepper for serving. Enjoy!
- Note 1 - Lamb: you will likely need to get this from your local butcher and request that they cut this for you. Or you can use lamb shanks which are more commonly available from the supermarket meat section. Also, you can reduce this to 1kg/2 pounds for my American friends, yet keep the rest of the dish the same. (It will cut down the cost slightly and works if you are feeding less people).
- Note 2 - Carrots: this is 2 x medium to large sized carrots, measured it is 2 cups.
- Note 3 - Celery: this is about 4 stalks or half stalks once you cut the leafy tops and wider white bit off the end.
- Note 4 - Onion: this is 1 medium sized onion peeled and chopped.
- Note 5 - Diced tomatoes: opt for the plain tins of these ie the ones that don't have additional herbs or spices. You can use crushed tomatoes, however they will have less texture.