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Lamb Bites with Fig Balsamic Glaze

Lamb Bites with Fig Balsamic Glaze is a sweet and savory lamb appetizer. Pecorino Romano cheese garnish combines both flavors with a subtle salty finish.

Top view of a round white platter filled with endive lettuce leaves and phyllo cups filled with lamb bits, pecorino cheese and fresh thyme

Serving Lamb Bites with Fig Balsamic Glaze elevates any holiday gathering. It can be dressed up for a black-tie event or casual enough for sitting around the fire with a bottle of your favorite red.

The holidays are upon us. As you know, we love to entertain. That can mean casual get-togethers or an elegant dinner party.

Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to be difficult. Serving Lamb Bites with a sticky balsamic reduction is going to look like you went to a lot of work to make your guests feel special.

No one needs to spend days in the kitchen in order to make their guests feel special. And, who wants to stay chained to the stove while everyone is visiting and wishing you were too?

There’s something about a thick, smooth, and luxurious balsamic glaze infused with delicious figs that automatically elevates anything you use it with.

top down view of 3/4 serving tray of endive lettuce leaves filled with pieces of lamb and sprinkled with pecorino cheese and fresh thyme.

With just a few tips, I want to show you just how easy it is to make. You don’t have to tell anyone that you didn’t spend $30 for a bottle of Fig Balsamic Reduction either.

If you’re not accustomed to cooking lamb, I’ll be showing you step-by-step instructions on how to prepare this lamb bite appetizer recipe so you can serve it this holiday season.

When I want to make people feel special, Lamb is usually the first thing that I plan on serving.

We served our Greek Lamb Burger with Lemon Herb Sauce at a casual barbeque this last summer and everyone loved it, and it wouldn’t be Christmas in my house if I didn’t make Lamb Ragu over Cheesy Polenta at least once.

This post is sponsored by True Aussie Beef & Lamb but the opinions here, and love I have for their products and their story are all my own.  

I’ve always purchased Australian Lamb for my recipes. When I had the opportunity to work directly with True Aussie Beef & Lamb, I learned that I was making an excellent choice and that they do so much more than just producing quality lamb for the consumer.

The True Aussie Beef & Lamb Company produces lamb that is free-range and naturally fed on Australian pasturelands, so it’s mild tasting and naturally lean and tender. Aussie Lamb is free of artificial additives and hormone growth promotants.

Aussie cattle producers have also committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

This locator can help you find True Aussie Lamb in your area.

Is Lamb good for me?

Aussie Lamb is a good choice because it is a grass-fed lamb making it a leaner protein, as well as naturally containing 13 essential nutrients required for good health, including Iron, Zinc, Omega-3 and B vitamins. 

This Lamb Bite appetizer is easy enough to make ahead and the perfect starter for casual or elegant entertaining.

Top down view of ingredients to make lamb bites with fig balsamic glaze including lamb, brown sugar figs, thyme, pecorino cheese, balsamic vinegar, butter, salt, pepper and cardamon.

Ingredients for Lamb Bites with Fig Balsamic Glaze:

  • True Aussie Lamb
  • Spices – Cardamom, Salt, and Pepper
  • Dried Figs – I’ve used Mission and Smyrna
  • Brown Sugar – I use dark but the light is fine
  • Balsamic Vinegar – Good quality
  • Butter – I used unsalted. If you use salted omit the salt in the glaze
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Cooking Oil – Any variety
  • Cheese – I used Pecorino Ramano
  • Phyllo cups or Endive Lettuce

As you can see, I’ve presented this lamb appetizer in a couple of different ways. The first one uses endive lettuce leaves and the second one uses phyllo cups with the Lamb Bite filling.

John liked the endive leaves which added a slight bitterness to the sweet and savory filling.

I liked them both but the crunch of the phyllo cups appealed to me. They were a lot easier to fill too!

You could even put the filling in a decorative bowl with some decorative picks. All I would need is a fork! This filling is that good!

Collage of how to prepare fig balsamic glaze 1 cook balsamic glaze ingredients on low 2. strain 3. spatula showing right consistency
How to make Fig Balsamic Glaze

Tips for making Fig Balsamic Glaze:

  1. Cook on low. Don’t be tempted to speed cook this glaze. It will harden the sauce!
  2. Strain the fig mixture in a fine-mesh strainer. The fig is loaded with seeds and no one wants to be picking them out of their teeth all night.
  3. Glaze thickens as it cooks down and will continue to thicken as it cools.
collage of the steps to make lamb bites. 1. mix seasoning with lamb 2. brown meat 3 add glaze.
How to prepare the Lamb Bites

Tips for cooking Lamb Bites:

  1. Cut the pieces of lamb into pieces that you could eat without cutting with a knife. It’s a lean meat so don’t expect much shrinkage when cooked. Stir in the spices.
  2. You want each piece of lamb to touch the pan in order for it to brown and not steam or poach so cook in batches if necessary.
    • Make sure that the pan is hot before you add the lamb pieces. This is a very quick sear over medium-high heat. Don’t overcook the meat. We want a crisp brown exterior and tender juicy interior.
  3. Stir in the Fig Balsamic Glaze.
Tongs placing bits of lamb on endive lettuce leaves on a white serving platte with a cup of cheese in the center of the platter

Tips for assembling Lamb Bites – Make sure the lamb filling has cooled just a bit before filling the endive leaves. If it’s too hot, it will wilt the leaves. You can also lightly shave the bottom of the leaves so they’ll sit up.

Items you may need to make the perfect Aussie Lamb Bites with Fig Balsamic Glaze:

  • Stainless Steel Skillet – I prefer stainless steel cookware. It allows me to see how my food is cooking and browning. It cleans up beautifully and durable.
  • Strainers – I like these fine mesh strainers. The smallest of seeds or lumps don’t get into my sauce.

So, which one of these serving ideas appeals to you? Do you have other ideas for this delicious filling? John said it would make an amazing stir-fry too!

Top down view of 3 phyllo cups stuffied with lamb bits drizzled with fig balsamic glaze and sprinkled with pecorino and fresh thyme on a white plate.

Hashtag any recipes you make from Hostess At Heart #hostessatheart or tag me @hostessatheart on Instagram to be featured on our stories!

Lamb recipes for entertaining:

Top view of a round white platter filled with endive lettuce leaves and phyllo cups filled with lamb bits, pecorino cheese and fresh thyme

Lamb Bites with Fig Balsamic Glaze

Author: Julie Menghini
Lamb Bites with Fig Balsamic Glaze is a sweet and savory lamb appetizer. Pecorino Romano cheese garnish combines both flavors with a subtle salty finish.
4.67 from 9 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, Australian
Keyword: Fig Balsamic Glaze, Lamb appetizer, Lamb Bites
Servings: 10


Fig Balsamic Glaze

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp butter unsalted
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 4 dried figs chopped, about 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar Light or dark
  • 1/8 tsp salt omit if using salted butter

Lamb Filling

  • 1-1/2 lbs Lamb cut into 1/4" pieces
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil


  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Fresh Thyme sprigs

Phyllo cups or Endive leaves


    • Using a small saucepan, combine the Fig Balsamic ingredients. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until reduced and thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool. The glaze will thicken further as it cools. If it gets too thick, warm it up slightly on the stove.
    • Stir the cardamom, salt, and pepper into the cubed lamb.
    • Heat a skillet drizzled with oil until hot. Cook lamb in small batches until browned. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
    • Add fig balsamic glaze to cooked lamb. Stir to combine.
    • Fill Endive leaves or phyllo cups with lamb. Garnish with pecorino romano cheese and fresh thyme sprigs.


    Don’t fill endive leaves with hot filling. It will cause them to wilt.
    Glaze can be made ahead and slightly heated to a pouring consistency when needed.


    Calories: 169kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 5gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 205mgPotassium: 101mgFiber: 1gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 55IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 1mg

    Nutritional Disclaimer

    This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

    Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

    I hope that I’ve shown you just how easy preparing lamb for your holiday season can be! I have a couple more recipes in the works so if you liked this Lamb Bites with Fig Balsamic Glaze recipe, you’re going the love them too.

    Recipe Rating

    Mtnrd Redux

    Sunday 5th of February 2023

    I made this tonight. The fig glaze is wonderful but it needs more of a counterpoint. The parmesan does not go at all. But worst of all, I should have looked more closely at the picture. If you go thru the (very tiresome) process of cutting your lamb in 1/4" dice, the results looks like dog kibble! It is an *awful* presentation. Good thing I tried this on my family first.

    Julie Menghini

    Monday 6th of February 2023

    I'm sorry this didn't work for you. We actually love the salty contrast of the parmesan versus the sweetness of the fig glaze.


    Thursday 16th of January 2020

    What cut of lamb do you recommend for tenderness for this delicious looking appetizer?

    Julie Menghini

    Friday 17th of January 2020

    I actually had a piece of a boneless leg of lamb that I used but you could use lamb shoulder as well. Thank you for the heads up! I'll update my post to help others with the same question.

    jennifer stewart

    Thursday 19th of December 2019

    These were absolutely delicious and the first thing to completely disappear!

    Julie Menghini

    Thursday 19th of December 2019

    Thank you, Jennifer!


    Tuesday 17th of December 2019

    These were a hit at my ladies party this weekend! Everyone loved them!

    Julie Menghini

    Wednesday 18th of December 2019

    Thank you, Nikki! So glad you enjoyed them!

    Deb Clark

    Sunday 15th of December 2019

    These look so spectacular! I love lamb and I bet this is the perfect bite!!

    Julie Menghini

    Sunday 15th of December 2019

    Thank you, Deb!

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