The Ultimate Guide To Lamb Shanks In The Air Fryer

lamb shanks air fryer recipe

If you’re a fan of tender and succulent meat with a rich and flavorful sauce, then you must explore the world of lamb shanks cooked in an air fryer. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process, from selecting the perfect lamb shanks to achieving the ideal doneness. Get ready to elevate your cooking skills and treat yourself to an indulgent and mouthwatering dish!

Food Science: Why Cook Lamb Shanks in an Air Fryer?

Before diving into the details, it’s essential to understand the science behind cooking lamb shanks in an air fryer. Air fryers use rapid air circulation, promoting a crispy texture on the outside while keeping the inside perfectly tender. This method allows for a healthier alternative to deep-frying while still achieving that desirable crunch.

The choice of lamb shanks is ideal for this cooking technique due to their high connective tissue content. The long, slow cooking process helps break down this collagen, resulting in a moist and fall-off-the-bone texture. Combined with the intense heat of the air fryer, the flavors are sealed in, creating a heavenly dish.

Selecting the Perfect Lamb Shanks

When it comes to selecting lamb shanks, quality is key. Look for shanks that are well-trimmed with a deep red color and a good distribution of fat. The meat should be pliable yet firm to the touch. While size can vary, aim for shanks that are around 1 ½ to 2 pounds each, as this ensures even cooking.

Cleaning and Preparation

lamb shanks

Once you’ve chosen your lamb shanks, it’s crucial to prepare them properly before cooking. Follow these steps to ensure the best results:

  1. Cleanse The Shanks: Rinse the lamb shanks under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. This removes any unwanted debris and excess moisture.

  2. Marinating: While not necessary, marinating the lamb shanks can further enhance their flavor. You can use a simple marinade of olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and lemon zest. Allow the shanks to marinate in the fridge for at least one hour, or overnight for maximum flavor.

  3. Seasoning: Just before cooking, season the lamb shanks generously with salt and pepper. Don’t be shy with the seasoning, as it helps to enhance the taste of the meat.

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Tips for Cooking Lamb Shanks in the Air Fryer

To ensure your lamb shanks turn out perfectly, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Preheating: Always preheat your air fryer for a few minutes before adding the lamb shanks. This helps to create a crispy exterior.

  2. Use a Rack: Placing a stainless steel rack in the air fryer basket allows for better airflow around the shanks, resulting in a more even cook.

  3. Cook in Batches: Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket. Allow space between each lamb shank to ensure proper air circulation, resulting in an evenly cooked and crispy dish.

  4. Flip Occasionally: Halfway through the cooking time, gently flip the lamb shanks using tongs. This ensures an even browning on all sides.

  5. Baste with Juices: For an extra layer of flavor, occasional basting with the juices will help to keep the lamb shanks moist and tender.

Doneness Checks

close up view of air fried lamb shanks

Determining the doneness of lamb shanks is essential for achieving the perfect texture. Follow these suggested cooking times as guidelines, but always rely on internal temperature for accuracy:

  • Medium-Rare: Cook for 25-30 minutes at a temperature of 375°F (190°C) until the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C).

  • Medium: Cook for 35-40 minutes at a temperature of 375°F (190°C) until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C).

  • Well-Done: For fall-off-the-bone tenderness, cook for 40-45 minutes at a temperature of 375°F (190°C) until the internal temperature reaches 170°F (77°C).

Using an instant-read thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the lamb shank without touching the bone to get an accurate temperature reading.

Recipe: Lamb Shanks in the Air Fryer

Now that you have all the necessary knowledge, here’s a delicious recipe to try:


  • 2 lamb shanks, approximately 1 ½ to 2 pounds each
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C) for 3-5 minutes.

  2. In a small bowl, mix olive oil, minced garlic, chopped rosemary, and lemon zest. Rub the mixture evenly over the lamb shanks, ensuring all sides are coated.

  3. Season the lamb shanks generously with salt and pepper. Place them on a stainless steel rack inside the air fryer basket.

  4. Cook the lamb shanks according to your desired doneness using the suggested cooking times as guidelines.

  5. For medium-rare, cook for 25-30 minutes. For medium, cook for 35-40 minutes. For well-done, cook for 40-45 minutes.

  6. Halfway through the cooking time, flip the lamb shanks using tongs to ensure even browning.

  7. Baste the lamb shanks with the juices that collect in the air fryer basket every 10 minutes for added moisture.

  8. Once the lamb shanks reach the desired internal temperature, remove them from the air fryer and allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving.

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Serve the succulent lamb shanks with your favorite sides or over a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes for a truly indulgent meal.


While the recipe provided is a classic and delicious option, feel free to experiment and add your own twist. Here are a few variations to consider:

  1. Spices: Add a pinch of paprika or cumin to the marinade to infuse the lamb shanks with a hint of smokiness or earthiness.

  2. Wine Braised: Substitute some of the olive oil in the marinade with red wine for a deeper, more robust flavor.

  3. Asian-inspired: Instead of rosemary and lemon zest, use ginger, soy sauce, and a splash of vinegar for an Asian-inspired twist.


Cooking lamb shanks in an air fryer is a fantastic way to achieve a mouthwateringly tender and flavorful dish. By following this comprehensive guide, you now have the knowledge and tools to master this culinary delight. Remember to select quality lamb shanks, marinate properly, and follow the cooking tips for best results. Whether you’re cooking for a special occasion or simply treating yourself, this recipe is sure to impress! So grab your air fryer and get ready to indulge in a taste sensation like no other. Enjoy!

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  • FAQS On Lamb Shanks Air Fryer Recipe

    What Is An Air Fryer?

    An air fryer is a kitchen appliance that uses hot air circulation to cook food, similar to a convection oven.

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    Can You Cook Lamb Shanks In An Air Fryer?

    Yes, you can. Cooking lamb shanks in an air fryer is a quick and convenient way to prepare this delicious dish.

    How Long Does It Take To Cook Lamb Shanks In An Air Fryer?

    It usually takes about 40-45 minutes to cook lamb shanks in an air fryer, depending on the size and thickness of the shanks.

    Do I Need To Marinate The Lamb Shanks Before Cooking In An Air Fryer?

    It is not necessary to marinate the lamb shanks before cooking in an air fryer. However, marinating can enhance the flavor and tenderness of the meat.

    Can I Use Frozen Lamb Shanks In An Air Fryer?

    Yes, you can use frozen lamb shanks in an air fryer. However, be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

    What Temperature Should I Set My Air Fryer To For Cooking Lamb Shanks?

    It is recommended to set the air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for cooking lamb shanks. However, this may vary depending on your specific air fryer model.

    Can I Add Vegetables To The Air Fryer With The Lamb Shanks?

    Yes, you can add vegetables to the air fryer with the lamb shanks for a complete meal. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure all ingredients are cooked evenly.