Simple Osso Bucco

Simple osso bucco recipe. Slow cooked beef or veal shanks, braised to absolute fall-off-the-bone tenderness.

Yes, I said simple. Despite what prices at fancy restaurants might tell you, Osso Bucco is not hard to make at all. It really is a fix it and forget it type of dish.

I had never had these tender fall-off-the-bone shanks before until a few years ago. When we were living in Tennessee the hubby and I went to Valentino’s in Nashville for a super romantic dinner on our second anniversary. Being his favorite dish, the whole reason we picked that restaurant was because they had Osso Bucco on the menu. Needless to say it was love at first bite for me.

Fast forward a year…

We had just arrived in Monterey, California and I wanted to make the hubby Osso Bucco for his birthday. Well the only place I could find veal shanks was at Whole Foods, and they were selling them for $20 a pound! I just didn’t understand that price…shanks are supposed to be a cheap cut of meat–it’s the method used to cook them that makes them so good. So I made him these braised short ribs instead (which were still delicious!).

Fast forward another year (now!)…

We’ve just arrived in Ljubljana, Slovenia. (See 10 things you’ll learn on a trip to Ljubljana that are different in the US). I went to the grocery store and there they were…these beautiful red beef shanks with a huge bone full of delicious marrow!!! I bought 1.4 kilograms (3 lbs) for 9 euro ($12). So now I’m sitting at home while the hubby is at work, with these babies braising on low heat. He’s sure in for a treat tonight! Osso Bucco is normally made with veal shanks, but beef is used frequently as well, and is probably easier to find.

I’m a huge fan of braising meat and braised lots of pork roasts when we bought a pig from the farmer, as well as lots of beef roasts. The overall process is the same every time-sear meat, sauté veggies, deglaze, then cook on low heat in liquid for several hours. If you want the basics you can check them out in one of my previous posts, how to braise meat.

By the way, we just moved into our awesome apartment a few days ago (you can check out some pics and a story about our landlord here), and we don’t have all our household stuff yet. I only brought the very basics for our first few weeks here…a few dishes, a knife, a small cutting board, and of course our 13 inch cast iron skillet. I should have brought a pot holder…oops! If I could only cook with one piece of equipment ever again I would choose cast iron. It can go on the stove or in the oven, and you can make so many different things in it.

Simple osso bucco recipe. Slow cooked beef or veal shanks, braised to absolute fall-off-the-bone tenderness.

Simple Osso Bucco

This recipe is really more like a guide, as it is highly forgiving and easy to customize. For example, I couldn’t find celery at the market so I didn’t use it. Just cook it low and slow and you’ll be good.

Simple Osso Bucco
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Simple slow cooked beef or veal shanks, braised to absolute fall-off-the-bone tenderness.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2 (with leftovers to spare)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 beef or veal shanks (look for ones with a lot of marrow)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
For the Gremolata (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  1. Generously season meat with salt and pepper.
  2. Add oil to dutch oven or deep cast iron pan. Sear meat on high heat-a couple of minutes each side. Remove meat from pan and set aside.
  3. Finely chop onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and saute on medium heat until browned. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add wine to deglaze pan. Cook for a few minutes until wine is reduced by half. Add tomato paste and stir.
  5. Return meat to pan, add bay leaf, thyme, and add enough stock to cover meat most of the way (doesn't have to be submerged).
  6. Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to a light simmer. Cover pan and leave the lid slightly ajar.
  7. Simmer on low heat for 3-4 hours (or even more), until the meat is falling off the bone.
  8. Remove meat and continue simmering the liquid, uncovered, until it has reduced into a sauce. Maybe 15 minutes or so.
  9. Serve Osso Bucco with the reduced sauce and optional Gremolata.
For the Gremolata
  1. Mince garlic and parsley. Then mix them together along with the lemon zest. Sprinkle on top of the meat.
-Add pancetta to the pan before the first step and cook. Remove and then use the fat to sear the shanks. Add pancetta back when you add the stock.
-Use white wine instead of red.


Have you ever had Osso Bucco before? If not, you’re missing out…better make this recipe ASAP!

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33 thoughts on “Simple Osso Bucco

  1. Tania

    Great blog you have here and loads of information as well 🙂
    As for the celery. You won’t really find celery like you know it in US (where you use the stalks) here in Slovenia or Europe in general. Usually you can find it in larger supermarkets like Interspar/Merkator/Leclerc, though it might not be the freshest as we’re not used to using it. When Slovenians think of celery, they think of the variety – celeriac, where you use the underground bulb. It should be fine for osso bucco or anything else you make with beef. We make beef soup every Sunday (at least) and celeriac is vital part of the veggies in the soup.

    1. Christine Devlin Post author

      Thank you Tania! I’ve never had celeriac before, I’ll have to look for that at the market. I love trying new foods and it does sound like the perfect vegetable for this recipe 🙂

      1. erin

        Hi Christine! Could you do this recipe in the slow cooker? I made it on the stove not too long ago and it was freaking delish!! But it would be nice to use the slow cooker, so I could leave it while I am at work.

        1. Christine Devlin Post author

          Hi Erin! Some people have had success in the slow cooker. I tried it once, but it didn’t work out for me. I’m not sure what the proper way would be, but I don’t think I seared the meat first (but I’m having trouble remembering). If you try it, please let me know how it turned out!

  2. Everyman

    Love osso bucco. Easy short prep and then stick it in the oven or simmer for 3 to 4 or 5 hours.This gives you lots of time to prep and cook anything else for the meal. Fills the home with a wonderful aroma and tastes most unctuous(I serve it with a zinfindel). A bonus is that your dog gets a very hard bone to worry for many hours.

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  4. joannabanana21

    My mom made this for me today while I was at work and I was thrilled to have it for dinner! The flavor was so amazing. I could drink a bowl of this sauce every day. The wine really stood out and the meat was like buttah!

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    1. Christine Devlin Post author

      Oh I hope you like it Raeann! It’s one of my favorites. I’ve never had any problems with cooking acidic foods in my cast iron pan, but I’ve had it for a long time so it’s really well seasoned 🙂

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  7. carla

    Would it be possible to bake this in the oven? Probably 300 is what I was thinking and for the same amount of time yes? I find my oven more evenly cooks and maintains heat than the ceramic cooktop I thought I would love and don’t. These beef shanks however, I know I will love.

    1. Christine Devlin Post author

      You can definitely do it in the oven and 300 should work just fine for the same amount of time. It should be at a gentle simmer. Be forewarned, it’ll make your place smell divine 🙂 Let me know how it goes and if you have to adjust the temp at all. Enjoy!

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  9. Ilona

    Making this as we speak and the smells coming from my kitchen are to die for! Can’t wait to taste it. I’m pairing it with a panzanella salad for a fresh note.

  10. Jenny

    This was great! I made it in my pressure cooker – 30 min @ 15 lbs with natural release. But followed the other directions exactly! was amazingly tasty and addicting sauce! Served with smashed seasoned sautéed cauliflower and asparagus spears. YUMMMMMM!

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  12. Alisa V.

    I used my slow cooker on this one, and it works like a charm. I followed your instructions on the stove top up to the point of turning it down to a simmer. For this, I transferred the boiling liquid and shanks into my slow cooker (set on high to quickly get back to simmering temp., then switched to low for the remaining time). I poured the liquid back into a stove top pan to reduce the sauce at the end. I would say you definitely need both stovetop and slow cooker to get the right flavors and consistency, but the slow cooker let me spend the 4 hour braising time using less electricity, releasing less heat and steam into my kitchen, and feeling free to leave the house while it simmered. For me, that was worth washing the extra pan.

    1. Christine Devlin Post author

      I really appreciate you sharing your experience! I’ll try this out next time I make it. I tried putting it in the slow cooker without the stove top once and it didn’t turn out quite right, so I agree that you need both the stove top and the slow cooker. It’s always nice to be able to put something in the slow cooker and have the freedom to leave the house. Thanks again!

  13. KC

    This is my new favorite recipe! The whole family loves it. Thank you so much for sharing this! I will try it in the oven as well.

  14. Mark

    Great recipe! Fed it to a Sicilian here in Australia and it went down a treat. I used local meat only needed 3 hours but the Flavours were excellent, I cooked it on a stove top in a vas sole but the marrow cooked out, how do you manage to keep it intact.? It’s my Favourite close to scoop it out onto toast

    1. Christine Devlin Post author

      I’m not really sure how to keep the marrow intact. I’m always nervous that it will cook out, but it never has for me. Maybe try to keep the meat flat in the pot and not lopsided/stacked? I’m not sure, but I’m sad that happened to you. The marrow is the best part!

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