Braised Rosemary Lamb Shoulder Chops

Nancy Lopez-McHugh finds herself coming home with a bag of lamb shoulder, and decides to put her braising skills to good use.
Text And Photo By Nancy Lopez-McHugh

Braised Rosemary Lamb Shoulder

Braised Rosemary Lamb Shoulder

When it comes to choosing cuts of meat I’m not that great. Okay, okay I do know breast, thighs, loins and minced meat, that’s a start no? But hear me out before you judge please, I promise I have good excuses. First excuse, language barrier. I have yet to learn all the cut names in Czech, they just don’t stick in my brain. Excuse number 2, I never learned about cuts and their names in either English or Spanish. That is because I only started cooking since we moved to Prague. Last excuse is that the cuts are different in Prague than they are in the states, and I think Mexico. My husband who worked at a butcher shop as a teenager, in the states, verified that the cuts are indeed different. See all good excuses and now you can judge me for not working harder at learning the names in Czech.

Lamb Shoulder Chops

Lamb Shoulder Chops

You can imagine that one of the good reasons my husband and I do our grocery shopping together is to make sure we have decent cuts of meat to eat. When I go off by myself to pick up some meat its best to stick with fish and the few cuts I know, unless I’m feeling adventurous. Sadly for my husband I’m very curious about food. The other day I saw lamb at the grocery store and it’s not an every day occurrence, woohoo happy dance! Plus it was organic meat, double happy dance! Without much more thinking I took the lamb home. On the walk home I was daydreaming about how soft, tender and juicy it was going to be. I showed my hubby what I bought and he broke the news to me that is was Lamb shoulder. Of course I looked at him completely perplexed and said yeah but it’s going to be good right? Oh.

Searing Lamb

Searing Lamb

We both started doing some research online about the best methods to prepare this cut and site after site suggested braising. Braising is a great technique to use on cuts that are tougher or chewier, aka cheaper cuts. But it is also a technique I like to use with other more expensive cuts. Of course good spices must be used and the results are always tender and juicy meat. We ended up with succulent lamb shoulder chops that were so tender, juicy, and the meat just fell off the bone. No chewy or fatty taste at all, Just awesome!

4.9 from 20 reviews
Braised Rosemary Lamb Shoulder Chops
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
Turn an inexpensive cut of meat into a delicious meal.
Recipe Type: Main Course
Serves: 2
  • 2 lamb shoulder chops, weighed 550 grams or 1.21 lb
  • 1 medium onion, cut into ⅛ths
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1½ tbsp dried rosemary
  • 6 whole allspice, crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup or 118 ml vegetable broth, low sodium and no MSG
  1. Preheat the oven to 150c / 300f. Over medium heat melt the butter in a frying pan, saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes then add the spices and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the pan contents and set aside. Turn heat to high, Pat dry the lamb then place in frying pan. Brown on both sides. Turn heat off. Mix the onion spice mixture back with the lamb.
  2. Place the lamb and pan contents into a baking dish and pour the broth over the lamb then place the dish into the oven. The lamb will need to cook for 3 - 4 hours or until the meat is very tender and breaks up easily. Do not let the baking dish dry out and add a little more water or broth as needed.
  3. Reserve the pan juices and serve as a sauce over the meat.

I served our lamb with some mashed potatoes, from scratch, and so wilted baby spinach. Enjoy and try my recipe with any lamb cut of your choice. See mistakes always have a way of working themselves out and a cheap cut of meat can still be tasty.

Nancy Lopez-McHugh

Nancy Lopez-McHugh

Nancy Lopez-McHugh is a food blogger, photographer and published author. Most recently she has published "Yummy Pics: A Food Blogger's Guide To Better Photos".

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Originally Published: May 4, 2011

46 Responses to Braised Rosemary Lamb Shoulder Chops

  1. Tamara Novakoviç

    Tamara Reply

    May 5, 2011 at 6:00 am

    I love lamb and I really like the spices you used in this dish, the meat looks great!

  2. Joan Nova

    Joan Nova Reply

    May 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Looks like you braised it to perfection…the meat looks fork-tender. I often buy lamb shoulder and I’m definitely going to remember your recipe for the next time.

    • Nancy Lopez-McHugh

      Nancy Lopez-McHugh Reply

      May 7, 2011 at 10:25 am

      It was so tender you hardly touched it and it came apart, perfect. Please let me know how you like it.

  3. Alisha Randell

    Alisha Randell Reply

    May 15, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Beautifully prepared Nancy! And I think all of your excuses are quite valid :)

  4. Kurtis McSwain Reply

    September 30, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Going to try the recipe today…just thought you should know that the pictures posted are of lamb leg chops not shoulder.

    • tjm Reply

      June 15, 2013 at 2:31 am

      Yeah, lol. The chops in these pictures are beautiful (and no doubt expensive) lamb leg chops that would be wonderful, tasty and tender with just a little bit of seasoning (garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper) and simple pan frying in a cooking quality olive oil blend. Long slow cooking of chops like these is a sad waste.

      Even so, this sounds like a great recipe for preparing shoulder chops, if you do happen to have them at hand.

  5. Jenn Reply

    December 14, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    So yummy! I had thinner chops than what you have here, but it came out so good nonetheless! Bravo!

  6. Marianne Reply

    December 21, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Very good basic recipe, it was delicious with egg noodles and braised cabbage and carrots. I’ve always liked lamb, and the allspice gave a great flavor note.

  7. Touhcè84 Reply

    January 21, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I tried this recipe once my wife loved it and my stepdaughter who a very picky eater liked it as well. Extremely easy to make, great template to start with and add things to it, to make your own creation. I’m making it for dinner to note again at my wife’s request. Thanks!

  8. Anastacia Reply

    February 10, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    This was outstanding! I did not have allspice so I added some dried mint and about 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. We had it with mashed cauliflower, and the sauce worked with that too. Great recipe!
    Sorry- can’t get the 5th star to light up.

  9. Marilyn Sparnicht Reply

    February 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    What a great recipe!! I originally bought the shoulder chops for a stew recipe but kept thinking “too much meat to waste in a stew”. So I prepared the meat exactly the way you described and am SOOO GLAD that I did. Turns out I was right that there was too much meat for a stew!! Tasted every bit as good as any leg of lamb I have ever cooked or tasted for that matter. Thanks!!

  10. Agatha Reply

    February 20, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    My future husband loves this dish and I make it a regular in our household, served with mashed garlic potatoes and glass of really good French red wine.

    He describes the dish as “making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” It’s that delicious.

  11. Shirley Anne Roy Reply

    February 25, 2013 at 1:03 am

    Amazing. Planned on eating alone and ended up sharing with a neighbor. Served with quineo simmered with apples and and an apple Fennel salad dressed with a maple syrup vinegar and olive oil dressing.
    AMAZING. Will keep this recipe as a “tried and true”.
    Thank you.

  12. Mona Reply

    March 30, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Hi Nancy ~

    I have a question for you: I am cooking half a lamb in the oven already pre-sliced by the butcher. With an excessive amount of meat, obviously I will not be able to saute every piece of meat on high first, and then braise it on low. Am I able to get the same affect and end result of tenderness by roasting it in the oven on high and then turning the temp down to braise?


  13. Ashley Reply

    March 31, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    I absolutely love this recipe! My husband wanted Lamb for Easter dinner and he loved the final outcome. This was my first time cooking Lamb and it came out fork tender! I made it with parmesan mash and sauteed zucchini. I also took pictures because I was so proud! Thank you!

  14. Jessica Reply

    April 16, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    My hubby and I just made this for dinner. It’s hard to wait the three hours for it to cook…but believe me, it is WORTH IT. This was an amazing recipe and the meat really did just fall off the bones. Great taste, really helped tone down the strong flavor of the lamb. Make sure to make potatoes with it so you can spoon some of the yummy sauce onto it.

  15. donna Reply

    May 13, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    the recipe looks wonderful and I am going to try it, but do you cover it in the oven

  16. gomathi Reply

    June 2, 2013 at 10:03 am

    tried this tonite; it was utterly delicious, the meat was tender & did fall off the bones. YUMMY!
    my youngest son loves lamb; and no how i try to marinate and cook it; it always turns out tough. so i had almost given up on cooking shoulder chops.. that is, until i came across your recipe. thank you so much. this is going to be one of our regulars – tried & tested as they say.

  17. Anonymous Reply

    June 15, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Really good recepie. Came out amazing

  18. Marilyn Sparnicht Reply

    June 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Making this recipe for the 3rd time since my first post!! Can not believe how fantastic this dish is!! I always follow your recipe to a “T”. Thank you ever so much for sharing this!!

  19. Davidson Reply

    June 29, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    I bought the lamb shoulder chop from the local grocery store but wasn’t sure how to prepare it. I then did a Google search for the best recipe for the meat. Your recipe came up among several others bit upon reading the reviews I opted to go with your yours. I’ll let you know how it turns up. Thanks everyone.


  20. Kevin Reply

    August 9, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    This was very tasty (and super easy). I didn’t have vegetable broth, so I used chicken broth, which worked fine. I also served it over redskin mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach. I strained the reserved juices and poured the liquid over the top of everything, which was a nice touch.

  21. Karen Reply

    October 22, 2013 at 10:40 am

    I love lamb shoulder. I did a really great lamb stew a couple of weeks ago but was looking for something without tomato this time. Looks like I found my match! If you are interested in lamb shoulder, might I suggest my Lamb and Farro stew?


  22. Chris Reply

    October 28, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    this recipe is awesome!

  23. Dave Reply

    October 28, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks for a great recipe. I don’t cook lamb that often, so I always have to search online for ideas when we do have it. Your braise is definitely a keeper!

  24. Betsy Reply

    December 7, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Thanks for info on this cut that I was not familiar with. I have them in oven right now. I do have a suggestion as I hate having all these extra pans and dishes. Use a cast iron frying pan then you can just stick it in the oven. Plus it gives extra flavor to the dish.

  25. AL Reply

    January 24, 2014 at 8:56 am

    i was wondering, after i did the onions etc and then browned the lamb, etc. into a baking dish etc. the recipe said ‘check to make sure the dish doesnt dry out and add water/broth if necessary. i presume this is for the oven braising. should i cover the dish in tinfoil or left it open. seems it might dry out quicker if i do not cover it?

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  28. Carol Reply

    March 8, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    I’m making the dish right now but with fresh rosemary and thyme since I had them on hand. Very easy prep and I’m using a roasting pan (uncovered) since I’m making four (though I might use a cast iron pan when I make two). It’s been cooking for two hours so far and smells amazing, and there is still plenty of liquid, even as the lamb continues to brown. I’m looking forward to eating it tonight, alongside mashed potatoes and an asparagus/tomato/black olives from Jamie Oliver

  29. Michaela Harris Reply

    April 11, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    Thanks so much for the technique. My husband and I love lamb but it’s obviously pricey and so hard to find around my area, so I was happy to get some shoulder chops. I will probably cook these in a dutch oven. Do you think that would decrease the cooking time? I have found that it does for other meats, but I’m not sure how to tell as it will be cooked so slow. Just until it falls apart easily? Thanks!

  30. Jennifer Reply

    April 20, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    I made this dish for Easter Sunday and it was a huge hit! Easy and fast to prep, 3 hours in the oven, perfect lamb.I served it with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots. Thanks for the recipe, will definitely make it again.

  31. Daniel O'Leary Reply

    May 30, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Lovely, lovely recipe. Just finished my supper in Barbados with fresh local thyme and rosemary. The lamb is from NZ. Cooked up beautifully in 3.25 hours at 300. Mine turned out a darker colour but the meat was lovely and tender. Added a bit of hot pepper to spice it up. Delicious. Thank you for adding this.

  32. Lauren @ Dash of Soul Reply

    June 5, 2014 at 1:41 am

    Made this for my husband tonight and he said it was delicious! Thanks for the great recipe!

  33. Vicky Reply

    June 22, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    I just put this in the oven, my house smells wonderful. I didn’t have whole allspice, so I used 1/4 tsp. of ground allspice. I will complete this meal by serving roast yams, salad and french bread. I can already taste this meal, Yum.

  34. Fan Reply

    October 1, 2014 at 8:51 am

    After seeing the picture and all the wonderful comments I made this with the lamb shoulder chops that I bought to grill. I also did not have all spice at home but did have mint and cinnamon and it turned out great- thanks for the suggestion Anastacia. Since my oven is being repaired right now I put everything in a crock pot instead of the oven for 4 hours on high. I may have had too much liquid left compared to the oven but it was delish. Everyone loved it and smell was incredible with the fresh herbs. Thank you Nancy for this wonderful recipe!!!

  35. Elaina Reply

    November 11, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    this is my lamb shielded recipe always now. I play with the spices sometimes for a different flavour but the method is divine. So soft so juicy so tasty. Kudos

  36. Anonymous Reply

    November 13, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Tried this but tweeted it just a bit. My husband loves it!
    Thank you

  37. Anonymous Reply

    January 6, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Best lamb chops I ever had! Thank you

  38. Joni Reply

    January 27, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Did anyone turn the lamb halfway through?

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  40. Brittany Kilby Reply

    May 30, 2015 at 12:19 am

    So…..I had some forequarter chops in the fridge and really felt like something different…..this recipe worked a treat with them! Exceeded my expectations :-)

  41. reen b Reply

    October 23, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    I got a steal on lamb shoulder at my university’s Ag department meat sale, but have never had or made lamb. Stumbled on your recipe, made it with colcannon on the side last night, and it was delicious perfection! Mine could’ve used more oven time, but we were starving…still came out so flavorful and juicy. A keeper!…Thanks!

  42. Janet olson Reply

    December 5, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    Didn’t have the allspice the way you requested, but I had the powder..used1/4 tsp….was really very very good. Thank you, will do it again.

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