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Lamb vs Mutton: What is the Difference Between Lamb and Mutton?

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Harissa lamb with lemon mint chickpea salad
Iain Bagwell/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Question: Lamb vs Mutton: What is the Difference Between Lamb and Mutton?
What is the difference between lamb and mutton?
Answer: Both are sheep, but have distinct differences, mainly in age. As you may know, the age of an animal can affect how tender their meat is and the flavor.

Lamb is a sheep that is typically under one year of age. There is little fat on lamb and the meat can vary in color from a tender pink to a pale red. Lamb under 3 months of age is called Spring lamb. Most sheep meat sold in the U.S. comes from lambs simply because mutton isn't as popular.

Mutton is meat from a sheep that is older than a year, ideally 3 years of age. It is an intense red color and contains a considerable amount of fat. Its flavor is very strong and many have to "acquire" the taste before enjoying mutton. Mutton is much more popular in the Middle East and in Europe than in the United States.
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