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Hi! I'm Ari, photographer and recipe developer behind Well Seasoned. As a former NYC chef, I'm spilling all my tips and tricks from the restaurant industry with you! To learn more about me click here.

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Lamb tacos with onion and cotija

Braised Lamb Tacos

Posted by: Ari Laing

Beer braised lamb tacos are an instant upgrade to taco night! The oven does all the work while lamb shanks cook low and slow until the meat falls off the bone, keeping the lamb unbelievably juicy and tender. Serve pulled lamb on corn or flour tortillas with minced onion, radishes, cotija, and fresh cilantro for an elevated Mexican-inspired dinner!

recipe +-

Posted by: Ari Laing
Lamb tacos with onion and cotija
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Beer Braised Lamb Tacos

Braising lamb shanks low and slow creates fall off the bone meat that is unbelievably juicy and tender. Serve lamb tacos on corn or flour tortillas with minced onion, radishes, cotija, and fresh cilantro.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
Resting Time15 mins
Total Time4 hrs
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: braised lamb shanks, shredded lamb
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 372kcal
Author: Ari Laing


  • Dutch oven


For the lamb

  • 4 lamb shanks about 3-4 lbs
  • 3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 3 cups beer
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large onion peeled and quartered
  • 1 orange halved
  • 1 cup water

For serving

  • Small corn or flour tortillas
  • 1 cup radishes thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion minced
  • ½ cup cotija cheese
  • Cilantro
  • Lime wedges for serving

Additional topping suggestions

  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Hot sauce


To make the lamb

  • Preheat oven to 325 F. Pat lamb shanks dry with a paper towel, then season on all sides with kosher salt.
  • Combine chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl, then whisk to combine.
  • Heat canola oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add lamb shanks and sear until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer lamb to a plate.
  • Add beer to the hot pan, then use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any brown bits at the bottom. Add vinegar, tomato paste, and spice blend, then whisk to combine.
  • Return seared lamb shanks to the pot, then add garlic, bay leaves, quartered onion, and halved orange. Pour water on top.
  • Cover and cook until meat is fork tender and falls off the bone, about 3 - 3 ½ hours. Uncover and allow lamb to rest about 15 minutes until cool enough to handle.
  • Transfer lamb to a plate, then pull meat by shredding with two forks or using your hands. Discard fat and bones.
  • Optional: strain braising liquid into a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium-high heat until reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes. Can serve on the side.

To assemble tacos

  • Place a spoonful of lamb on top of two stacked tacos. Garnish with radishes, onion, cotija, and cilantro. Serve immediately with lime wedges (and reduced sauce, if using).


  • If making ahead, store pulled lamb in an airtight container in cooking liquid to keep moist.
  • Cooked lamb can be frozen for 3 months in a freezer safe container. 
  • If you can't find lamb shanks readily available at your market, call ahead to order. Alternatively, boneless shoulder is a great substitution. Cooking instructions are the same; the shoulder will need about 3 hours at 325F to be fall apart tender.


Serving: 1taco | Sodium: 1385mg | Calcium: 138mg | Vitamin C: 15mg | Vitamin A: 740IU | Sugar: 6g | Fiber: 3g | Potassium: 519mg | Cholesterol: 72mg | Calories: 372kcal | Saturated Fat: 4g | Fat: 13g | Protein: 26g | Carbohydrates: 31g | Iron: 4mg
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