Braised Oxtail

braised oxtail

The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 3 hrs 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1493 Calories
82g Fat
40g Carbs
132g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 1493
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 82g 105%
Saturated Fat 28g 142%
Cholesterol 425mg 142%
Sodium 824mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 14%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 132g
Vitamin C 8mg 40%
Calcium 150mg 12%
Iron 11mg 61%
Potassium 2379mg 51%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you are lucky enough to find oxtail at your butcher or grocery store, you are in for a treat. Although back in the day oxtail was literally the tail of an ox, nowadays it refers to any tail coming from a cow—male or female. Oxtail is a singular and wonderful piece of meat that takes beautifully to braising, which turns this tough cut into meltingly tender, extremely flavorful meat.

Oxtail has long been prized for its succulence and rich flavor in Jamaica, other Caribbean countries, Latin America, Spain, and South Africa—to name just a few locales. What was once considered a leftover cut from butchering has rightfully earned its place as the main event on dinner tables across the world.

Why Braising Is One of the Best Ways to Cook Oxtail

Thick at one end and skinny at the other with a bone running down the center, oxtail is sold cut into sections, which means you'll usually get a few big meaty pieces and a few really little ones. The oxtail has a lot of cartilage and connective tissue, so it needs to be cooked low and slow for a long time using moist heat. One such method is braising, which melts away all those sinewy bits and turns them into gelatin, yielding flavorful meat and a very rich and delicious sauce.

How—and Why—to Brown Oxtail Before Braising

This recipe starts with browning the meat before braising it, which improves its flavor and appearance. To achieve perfect browning, simply:

  • Allow the meat to sit at room temperature for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Dry it thoroughly with paper towels.
  • Sear it in a very hot pan—if your pot isn't wide enough to hold all of the oxtails in one layer with space in between, sear the meat in batches.

Click Play to Learn How to Make Savory and Delicious Braised Oxtail

Let It Sit

Like most meaty braises, this oxtail dish gets better as it sits, so feel free to make this recipe ahead and transfer it to the fridge to serve up to four days after you prep it.

How to Serve Braised Oxtail

Oxtail is best served with something to soak up the sauce, like pasta or noodles, rice, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, creamy polenta, and crusty bread.

"I loved this recipe and so did my family. All quantities and times are on point. My finishing sauce came out with a great consistency." —Lauryn Bodden

Braised oxtail garnished with parsley and served on a white oval platter
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 3 to 4 pounds oxtail, cut into pieces

  • 1/4 cup canola oil, or other vegetable oil

  • 2 to 3 medium onions, diced

  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1 cup red wine

  • 4 cups beef stock

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

  • 2 to 3 bay leaves

  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary

  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, or to taste

  • 1 dash freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make braised oxtail

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  2. Preheat the oven to 300 F. Pat dry the oxtail pieces well with paper towels to help the exterior achieve better browning when searing.

    raw oxtails on a plate

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  3. In a heavy, cast-iron Dutch oven or brazier, heat the oil over high heat. Add the oxtails and sear them thoroughly, turning to brown on all sides. Once they've developed a nice brown crust, remove the oxtails from the pan and set them aside.

    seared oxtails in a pot

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  4. Lower the heat to medium and add the onions and garlic to the pot. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onions are slightly translucent.

    sautéd onions in a pot

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  5. Add the wine. Using a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, scrape all the browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pan.

    onions and wine in a pot

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  6. Return the oxtails to the pot along with the stock. Add the tomato paste, bay leaves, peppercorns, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    stock, vegetables, and oxtails in a pot

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  7. Bring the heat to high until the liquid boils. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and carefully transfer the pot to the preheated oven. Cook for 3 hours.

    braised oxtail in a pot

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  8. Remove the pot from the oven, take off the lid, and let the meat cool in the braising liquid while preparing the sauce. Ladle out about 2 cups of the braising liquid and pour it through a mesh strainer into a liquid measuring cup. Skim off any fat from the top.

    oxtail braising liquid in a measuring cup

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  9. Heat the butter in a separate saucepan over medium-high heat, then gradually stir in the flour until a paste forms. Heat for a few minutes, stirring until the roux is a light brown color.

    roux in a pan

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  10. Whisk the strained hot cooking liquid into the roux a little at a time. Simmer the sauce for about 15 minutes until thickened. Pass it through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any lumps and season to taste with salt and pepper.

    gravy in a pot

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  11. Remove the oxtails from the pot, place them on a deep serving platter or individual plates, and spoon over a generous portion of the sauce. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy.

    braised oxtail

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

How to Store

Cool the oxtail to room temperature, transfer it it to an airtight container, and store in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat.

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