Overhead view of a plate with mashed potatoes topped with a lamb shank with tomato sauce sprinkled with parsley.
Easy,  Entrées,  Gluten Free,  Instant Pot®,  Recipes

Instant Pot Braised Lamb Shanks with Tomato

Beautifully tender, fall-off-the-bone lamb shanks are possible in a fraction of the time thanks to an electric pressure cooker!

This Instant Pot Braised Lamb Shanks with Tomato recipe takes just a few ingredients and minimal effort. Serve it over mashed potatoes or polenta for a perfect comfort food dinner.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Today is Valentine’s Day and I.am.not.ready.

Not that we had any big plans for today, but the last few weeks have been eventful, to say the least.

Overhead view of a plate with mashed potatoes topped with a lamb shank with tomato sauce sprinkled with parsley and fork and knife off to the side.

I was out in California for a conference (and it was AWESOME!!), and had some unexpected travel hiccups on my way home.

Let’s just say that now I can check “spend Super Bowl Sunday on a cot at O’Hare airport” off of my bucket list of things I never knew I’d get to experience. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have caught some of that fun in my IG story.

After recovering from the jet lag and trying to get back into the swing of things, I wound up in the emergency room for a severe allergic reaction that had me one step away from anaphylaxis.

As someone with no known allergies, this was terrifying, and I’m still fairly worked up about it. I’m pretty sure I know what caused it, but I need to see an allergist to get some solid answers so I can hopefully avoid ever being in that situation again.

Then, to top it off, my kiddo got sent home from school yesterday for conjunctivitis. Ugh.

So with the bevy of doctor visits, Benadryl, steroids, and worrying, Valentine’s Day hasn’t really been on my radar.

But I couldn’t NOT share this recipe in time for you to make it for your Valentine! And, in fact, if I can make it to the grocery store this afternoon, I may just make it again!

Overhead view of a plate with mashed potatoes topped with a lamb shank with tomato sauce sprinkled with parsley.

Lamb shanks are definitely a labor of love. To get that gorgeously melting off the bone meat takes time. And it’s so worth it!

But what if you’re short on time? Or, say, you’d just like this whole process to take a lot less of it?

It’s time to break out the electric pressure cooker. I love my Instant Pot – I’ve been using it a LOT lately. In fact, I served these lamb shanks over the Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes that I had made a few days earlier.

I’m not saying that this should justify me getting a second one, but I am saying I’d definitely use them both!

Overhead shot of lamb shanks with tomato sauce in an Instant Pot.

While this is a perfect meal for 2, I decided to buy 4 lamb shanks so we could have leftovers, and wrote the recipe to serve 4. Dishes like this hold up so well in the fridge, that it’s perfect to eat again later in the week. And I’m all about utilizing leftovers!

The sauciness from the crushed tomatoes makes this dish great to serve with something to soak it up. Aside from mashed potatoes, it would be fantastic over polenta, or even shredded and tossed with some pasta.

I served our leftovers alongside some macaroni and cheese that I made in the Instant Pot (recipe coming soon!), and it was great together, too.

3/4 view of a plate with mashed potatoes topped with a lamb shank with tomato sauce sprinkled with parsley. A fork is pulling the meat off the bone.

Depending on the size of your Instant Pot, you’ll need to sear your lamb in batches. I did mine 2 at a time to make sure they got enough contact with the heated pot to brown all over.

After you have them seared, you pop a few more ingredients into the pot, cover it, and leave it alone for an hour.

If for some reason your meat isn’t tender enough, you can always close the lid again and cook it for another 10-15 minutes.

Overhead view of a plate with mashed potatoes topped with a lamb shank with tomato sauce sprinkled with parsley.

When I’ve done lamb like this on the stovetop, I’ve reduced the sauce at the end, which can be nice. I didn’t bother here, but if you want a thicker sauce, you can certainly remove the lamb and tent it with foil to keep it warm while you reduce the sauce.

Just set your Instant Pot to Sauté and be sure to stir it so the sauce doesn’t burn onto the bottom of the pot.

3/4 view of lamb shanks with tomato sauce sprinkled with parsley in a serving bowl.

One of my husband’s favorite parts of lamb (or beef) shank is the marrow. This cooking method allows the marrow to get nice and gelatinous, so it’s perfect for marrow lovers.

This recipe is guaranteed to be a big hit for your next romantic dinner. It’s a great way to have a comforting meal that has that cooked all day flavor in a fraction of the time.

What are your favorite romantic recipes? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!

Overhead view of a plate with a lamb shank and tomato sauce next to macaroni and cheese with a fork on the plate.

Looking for more ways to use lamb? Check out some of our favorite recipes:

Want more Instant Pot recipes? Here are some of our favorites:

2 photos - one Overhead shot of lamb shanks with tomato sauce in an Instant Pot and one of lamb shank on top of a plate of mashed poatotes.
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Overhead view of a plate with mashed potatoes topped with a lamb shank with tomato sauce sprinkled with parsley.

Instant Pot Braised Lamb Shanks with Tomato

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli (adapted from Cooking Light)
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Category: Entrées, Lamb
  • Method: Instant Pot

Description

Beautifully tender, fall-off-the-bone lamb shanks are possible in a fraction of the time thanks to an electric pressure cooker! This Instant Pot Braised Lamb Shanks with Tomato recipe takes just a few ingredients and minimal effort. Serve it over mashed potatoes or polenta for a perfect comfort food dinner.


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 lamb shanks (around 1 pound each)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3/4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Set Instant Pot to Sauté and adjust to “More” and add oil.
  2. Pat lamb shanks dry and season with salt and pepper. Once the Instant Pot is hot, add lamb and cook until browned all over, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from pot and place on a plate. (You’ll likely need to do 2 at a time, adding more oil in between if needed, so you don’t crowd the pot).
  3. Add garlic to pan and sauté, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add wine and cook 2 minutes, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen browned bits. Stir in tomatoes, basil and oregano; cook 2 minutes.
  4. Return lamb to pot, place the lid on and seal. Little sauce on top. Cook high pressure for 45 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 15 min before manually releasing the remaining pressure.
  5. Serve lamb over polenta or mashed potatoes, sprinkling fresh parsley over top if desired.

Notes

If desired, you can remove the lamb shanks from the Instant Pot after cooking, and use the Sauté function to reduce the sauce for a few minutes to get a thicker sauce. Be sure to stir so the sauce doesn’t burn!

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.

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24 Comments

  • Loreto Nardelli

    Hi Ashley, I love lamb,I love the distinct richness and tenderness of the meat if cooked well. I haven’t done lamb in a long time but I used to do lamb roasts I would fill any loose pocket with a herb mix, garlic, olive oil and red wine to braise it. It always came out so tender anf flavorful. The use of the instant pot is great because the flavors really intensify especially with the tomatoes in their to creat a wonderful sauce. I have a pressure cooker and I love it aand I think that very soon some lamb shanks and the inspired passion from this post will grace the emptiness of the cooker, lol.
    Great recipe and what an adventure for Super Bowl Sunday!
    Cheers!
    Loreto

    • Ashley

      I don’t know that I’ve ever done a lamb roast, but the way you flavor it sounds absolutely delightful, Loreto! I definitely enjoy the shortcut of using the Instant Pot pretty often, but there’s also something about simmering a dish all day long that’s just downright comforting!

  • Patti @Patty Cake's Pantry

    Don’t you just love how the pressure cooker tenderizes what could be a tough cut of meat into fall of the bone goodness in so much less time? My father was a marrow person, too. He would love the gelatinous marrow in these shanks. Since I’ve never really cooked a lot of lamb, I’m going to try this the next time I find lamb shanks on sale.

    • Ashley

      Yes! I love the shortcut that pressure cooking provides. I think this recipe would work well with beef or pork shanks, too. Definitely, let me know what you think of it if you give it a try, Patti 🙂

  • Monica | Nourish & Fete

    First off, this recipe looks amazing – one more reason to finally invest in an Instant Pot. I am loving the tomato accompaniment! Second, and more important, I’m so glad you’re OK after that ER visit – that sounds terrifying! I’m glad you think you know what caused it, and I definitely hope you can avoid it happening again – so scary. Take care of yourself!

    • Ashley

      I’m at no shortage of reasons to recommend the Instant Pot! This one was definitely one of our favorite recipes using it so far. And thank you! Terrifying is definitely the way it felt. I really feel for people who have severe allergies and deal with this fear on a regular basis!

  • Anne Murphy

    My grandmother used to cook lamb shanks – but for some reason I never have. I guess I should remedy that! They look and sound so delicious. (And I certainly hope your life has calmed down!)

  • Leslie Haasch

    Oh god, I can’t tell you how much I empathize with the “sleeping on a cot in an airport” scenario! I hope you at least got to eat some delicious pizza, popcorn and italian beef while you were stuck in Chicago (it’s my hometown, so I might be a little biased ;))

    As for this recipe, my mouth is WATERING!

  • AC

    Just cooked this for dinner (cut the recipe in half for 2) and it was delicious, rich flavor and very tender – and so simple, even by instant pot standards!

    • Ashley

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this dish – it’s one of our favorites! We loved having leftovers from this meal, but it’s totally easy enough to make another batch whenever you want. 🙂

  • Karen M

    I admit I am an Instant Pot novice.
    The shank was still tough after 45 mins. I extended another 15 min which helped make it fork tender, falling off the bone partially.
    I made the sauce per instructions, however, it was too runny. It did not thicken to look like the pic after another 10 mins. So I had no thick sauce.

    • Ashley

      Hi Karen,

      The amount of time to get that perfect degree of tenderness definitely depends on how meaty the shanks are. Glad that a little extra time helped. Sorry that it didn’t thicken enough to your liking – again, that’s something that can vary with the texture of whatever brand of tomatoes you use, but it definitely can take a bit of time to really thicken a lot if you’re letting it bubble away afterward. Thanks for the feedback, and I hope you enjoyed the lamb!

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