What is mutton meat?

In this brief article we will answer the question, “What is mutton meat?” We will also discuss the differences between mutton and lamb meat. We will finally briefly explain if goat meat is the same as lamb and mutton meat.

What is mutton meat?

Mutton is meat from mature sheep that are one year or older, preferably 3 years old to produce mutton cuts. It has a more robust and gamey taste with an intense red color that possesses a considerable good amount of fat.

Mutton also has a strong and intense flavor and you might need to first acquire the taste before you fully get to enjoy it and this is true for most Americans.

What is the difference between mutton and lamb?

Age of the sheep

The main difference between mutton and lamb is that mutton is meat that has been harvested from sheep that are one year and older. On the other hand, lamb is raw meat that is from sheep that is less than a year old. 

Texture of the meat

Lamb meat is usually more tender and leaner as compared to mutton. Lamb is actually tender enough to be cooked using the same methods used to make beef. Mutton on the other hand is much tougher, fattier and gamier compared to lamb. When cooking any cut of mutton you are better off braising it irrespective of the cut.

Color of the meat & Fat content

Lamb meat usually varies in its color from a tender pink to a pale red and has little fat content. On the other hand, mutton takes on an intense and rich red color and contains a considerable amount of fat.

Taste of the meat

Lamb meat has a very delicate, mild and slightly sweet flavor. It takes on a natural clean grass-fed taste. On the other hand, mutton meat tends to be more intense and gamey.

Smell of the meat

Raw lamb meat possesses a rather sweet and fresh smell and you can almost feel the smell of the grass coming from the meat. Raw mutton on the other hand has a strong smell with an aged gamey scent that wafts the nose.

If mutton is harvested from a wool producing sheep that is 2 years old and above then it will possess an oily smell because of the presence of lanolin in the sebaceous glands.

Price differences between lamb and mutton meat

Mutton is more affordable compared to lamb. In fact lamb is among the most costly meat cuts at the store. If you intend to buy some cuts such as lamb rib chops and the rack of the lamb they will even be much more costly because of the skilled process of trimming to remove the excess meat.

Lamb cuts cost anywhere between 18 USD ro 40 USD per pound for some high quality lamb. Mutton on the other hand costs about 9 USD to 12 USD per pound.

Cooking methods differences between mutton and lamb

Lamb is much more versatile because of its tender texture and can be prepared in many different methods as compared to mutton depending on the cut.

For instance, lamb loin chops take on a fantastic taste when prepared quickly and served pan-fried, air fried and grilled. Lamb has a good balance of lean and fat and is perfect for enjoying any lamb leftovers as lamb reheats evenly making it juicy unlike other types of meat such as pork.

You can check out a recipe for preparing some delicious lamb shanks here.

Is goat meat similar to lamb and mutton meat?

No, goat meat is not the same as lamb and mutton meat. Goat meat is harvested from goats whereas both lamb and mutton are harvested from sheep. 

When it comes to tenderness and the taste profile, goat and mutton are more similar. They are both gamey and tough as compared to lamb which has a softer mouthfeel which is more refined.

In countries like India, meat from a goat can also be called mutton or sheep interchabley however this does not apply in the US or Europe.


In this brief article we have answered the question, “What is mutton meat?” We have also discussed the differences between mutton and lamb meat. We have finally briefly explained if goat meat is the same as lamb and mutton meat.



Leave a Comment