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11 Ways to Start Cooking Lamb

Skip the beef! We found delicious ways to cook lamb in your own kitchen.

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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, either). Lamb can be ground for burgers or cooked bone-in, baked or grilled, boldly spiced or delicately herbed. We introduce you to some of the best ways to cook lamb in your own kitchen.

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

Shepherd’s Pie

One of the most popular ways to cook lamb, Shepherd’s pie 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). Test your knowledge with these unusual shepherd’s pie facts.

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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.

Get Our Recipe for Feta-Stuffed Kibbeh with Harissa

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The musical "Waitress"

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. Enjoy these classic Irish recipes.

Get Our Recipe for Traditional Lamb Stew

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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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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!

Get Our Recipe for Mediterranean Kofta Meatballs

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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 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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Taste of Home

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 way to cook lamb is surprisingly quick and easy–perfect for dinner.

Get Our Recipe for Rack of Lamb with Figs

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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.

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Taste of Home

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.

Get Our Recipe for Honey-Mint Lamb Skewers

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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 Recipe for Pear and Pomegranate Lamb Tagine

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.