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11 Easy Ways to Start Cooking Lamb

In the United States, lamb tends to be skipped over for chicken or steak. But it's rich and realllly good—so here are the vest ways to put lamb on your menu!

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greek lamb meat gyros with tzatziki sauce, feta cheese and french friesJoshua Resnick/Shutterstock

You might not usually buy lamb at the butcher counter, but it’s worth a second look. Don’t miss out on these other meats you didn’t know you could ask your butcher for. Lamb can be ground for burgers or cooked bone-in, baked or grilled, boldly spiced or delicately herbed. The best methods for cooking lamb have been perfected by home cooks around the world.

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Homemade Irish Shepherd's Pie with Lamb and PotatoesShutterstock / Brent Hofacker

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s pie might be the most well-known lamb dish here, most likely because it originated in the United Kingdom. It traditionally consists of ground lamb cooked in a rich gravy with vegetables like onions, peas, celery and carrots, and it’s topped with creamy mashed potatoes (or creamy mashed parsnips like this).

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Arabic cuisine: meat appetizer kibbeh close-up on a plate. Shutterstock / AS Food studio

Kibbeh

Kibbeh is a Middle Eastern dish made of ground lamb, bulgur and onions flavored with warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. (See what spices will boost your mood!) Its preparation can range from baking to boiling or deep-frying. Kibbeh is often shaped like little footballs, but can also be formed into round balls or patties.

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Irish stew made with beef, potatoes, carrots and herbs. Shutterstock / Slawomir Fajer

Irish Stew

Irish stew is a popular dish that has very specific traditional ingredients: neck mutton chops, potatoes, onions and water. They’re the only things included, as this is what the Irish farmers had on hand. Modern cooks might add things like peas, carrots or barley.

Here’s our best Irish Stew recipe.

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Tandoori MeatsShutterstock / pick

Tandoori Lamb

To make this Indian favorite, lamb is marinated in a mixture of yogurt and spices like ginger, garlic, garam masala, cumin, paprika, cayenne and nutmeg. Turmeric is sometimes added to give a particular color (plus it’s a superfood). The meat is skewered and cooked in a heated clay oven, known as a tandoor.

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Appetizing kofta kebab (meatballs) with sauce and tortillas tacos on black backgroundShutterstock / Timolina

Kofta

Kofta is a beloved meatball-type dish in Middle Eastern cuisine, and lamb kofta is particularly popular in Egypt. There, a mixture of ground beef and lamb is blended with onions, garlic, parsley, green cardamom, sumac, nutmeg and paprika, pressed around a skewer and cooked.

(Try these other meatball recipes from around the world!)

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Easter lamb soup and a red eggShutterstock / Athina Psoma

Greek Easter Soup

Greek Easter Soup, also known as magiritsa, is a dish that’s usually eaten to break the 40-day fast of the Greek Orthodox Great Lent. It’s a hearty and filling lamb soup that’s flavored with onions and dill.

Love Greek dishes? Here are 64 more ideas for a Mediterranean celebration.

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bobotie and yellow rice, south african cuisineShutterstock / bonchan

Bobotie

Bobotie is a complex South African lamb dish that consists of an egg topping, milk-soaked bread and minced meat. Recipes also include ginger, marjoram and lemon rind, though more modern cooks simply use curry powder to achieve the right bold flavors.

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Roasted Rectangle Rack of Lamb Chops on Wooden Cutting Board Surrounded by Herbs and Fresh IngredientsShutterstock / stockcreations

Rack of Lamb

This method of cooking lamb is something nearly everyone has seen before. It’s usually been “Frenched,” which means the rib bones are exposed by cutting off the fat and meat covering them. This dish is surprisingly quick and easy–perfect for dinner.

See the recipe for Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb.

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top view of indian dum biryani lambShutterstock / Odua Images

Lamb Biryani

Lamb biryani, which translates to “spicy rice,” is a South Asian mixed rice dish with its origins in India. The spices and herbs used in biryani may include nutmeg, mace, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, garlic or saffron. Learn how to make biryani.

(Here’s how to save $$ when you’re buying lots of spices.)

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Lamb kebabs with flatbread, lemon and tzatziki sauceShutterstock / Elena Veselova

Shish Kebabs

The true origins of shish kebabs are unknown, though the term comes from Turkish words literally meaning “skewer” and “roast meat,” and it’s a signature Turkish meal. Hunks of lamb are marinated, skewered and roasted over a fire.

Do this at home on your grill–here’s how to make a tasty marinade from scratch.

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Moroccan Tagine with lamb, pumpkin and red pepper on a wooden table.Shutterstock / Grezova Olga

Tagine

Tagines are common in Morocco, and are named after the oddly-shaped piece of pottery used to make them. Lamb tagine is a slow-cooked savory stew full of pieces of tender meat and vegetables. Spices, nuts and dried fruit are all included in the mix to give the stew extra flavor and texture.

Get our Lamb Tagine recipe.

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.

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