Braised Oxtails Recipe

Braised oxtail with carrots in a Dutch oven, a bowl with white rice on the side

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 20 mins
Total: 2 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1042 Calories
60g Fat
11g Carbs
109g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 1042
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 60g 77%
Saturated Fat 23g 114%
Cholesterol 366mg 122%
Sodium 882mg 38%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 109g
Vitamin C 10mg 52%
Calcium 126mg 10%
Iron 8mg 42%
Potassium 1631mg 35%
*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.)

Contrary to their name, nowadays oxtails do not come from oxen as they did in the past. They are actually the tail of the common cow and are one of the most flavorful beef cuts you can purchase and cook. However, it takes some time to coax the best flavor and texture out of oxtails because the cut can be a little tough. Slow cooking and steady heat is the best approach to tenderize the multiple connective tissues in the tail; stove, slow cooker, or oven can yield amazing results as long as you give the meat enough time to soften up, soak up the flavors, and fall off the bone.

Long braising the tail makes it so tender that it's the method of choice for many home cooks and expert chefs. It also happens to create its own rich stock as the tail cooks, which is delicious on rice or mashed potatoes. Although oxtail preparations typically stem from sustenance days of eating when no parts of the animal went to waste, lately, and ironically, this cut of meat has gained favor and has become a more expensive item to purchase. You'll find oxtail dishes in Italian, Russian, and British cuisines, as well as Asian, African, Jamaican, and Spanish. Regardless of the cuisine in question, braised oxtail is a rewarding, comforting dish with a deep, rich flavor, especially as the weather turns a bit colder.

This braised oxtail recipe appears in "The All New Good Housekeeping Cook Book" (Hearst Books) , reprinted with permission.


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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 1/2 pounds oxtails

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 (14-to-16-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 3/4 cup chicken broth

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for braised oxtail recipe gathered

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  2. Heat the oven to 275 F. In a nonreactive 5-quart Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat until very hot, but not smoking. Brown the oxtails in batches, for 5 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer oxtails to a bowl once they've browned.

    Seared oxtails in a Dutch oven with other ingredients in bowls

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  3. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook until tender, or about 7 minutes.

    Onions and garlic added to Dutch oven

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  4. Stir in the carrots and the tomatoes with their juice.

    Carrots and tomatoes added to the Dutch oven

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  5. Add the broth, ginger, salt, ground red pepper, and allspice. Bring to a boil.

    Broth and seasonings added to tomato mixture in the Dutch oven

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  6. Stir in the browned oxtails.

    Seared oxtails added to the tomato mixture in the Dutch oven

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  7. Cover the pot and place it in the preheated oven. Bake until the meat is tender, about 2 hours.

    Dark brown oxtails in gravy in a Dutch oven

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  8. With a slotted spoon, transfer oxtails to a warm platter. Skim and discard fat from pot liquid. Pour juice over meat and serve. Enjoy!

    Braised oxtails served over plain white rice on a dinner plate

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Why Is Oxtail So Expensive?

The meat one can obtain from a cow and all its cuts is plentiful, but retrieving the meat from the tail requieres time and skill, and what you get is barely a few pounds. Thus, the price. Although back in the day, tail was eaten as a way of utilizing the entire animal, in what is known today as "nose to tail" eating, oxtail is now a commodity. As the oxtail craze took over high-end restaurants, the spike in price at butchers and grocery stores was the obvious consequence.

For a Succulent Oxtail Dish

  • Trim off any excess fat and pat the meat dry with paper towels before you sear it. This will help you get a nice brown crust on the meat.
  • Oven braising is best because the meat is cooked with indirect heat. But if you don't have an oven-safe pot, you can braise on the stovetop over low heat. Just check periodically to make sure the liquid is simmering, and not boiling.

How to Store Braised Oxtails

While cooling and storing braised oxtail, it's best to leave the meat in the braising liquid so that it doesn't dry out. Keep it covered in the refrigerator for three to four days, and reheat in a saucepan over medium heat until it's hot all the way through.

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