Jamaican Oxtail Recipe - Roxy Chow Down

Jamaican Oxtail Recipe

This Jamaican Oxtail Recipe is what you need to get perfectly juicy and tender oxtails that delights the soul. Come discover all the delicious details of this tantalizing and captivating dish!

Sunday Dinner Favourite

Stewed oxtails is a big part of Jamaican culture. For many Jamaicans, oxtail is the ultimate comfort food and is a Sunday dinner favourite. Growing up, it’s what my mother would prepare as a treat. That means we never got it often, but when we did, it was delightful and satisfying. On those special occasions, we would look forward to our plate of oxtail with rice and peas, piece ah fry chicken and wid likkle oxtail gravy on the side. Now that I’m a mom, I find joy in carrying on this Sunday dinner tradition. Even though cooking oxtail requires a bit of work, believe me when I say that all the love you get in return makes it all worth it.  

How many hours does it take to cook Oxtail?

The time it takes to cook oxtail depends on the method used. There are two main ways to cook oxtail. One way to cook oxtail is to slow-cook it on the stove top for approximately 3 – 3.5 hours or until the meat is tender. The other way is to use a pressure cooker to speed up the cooking process. Some people prefer to pressure cook oxtails because it makes the oxtail tender in a shorter time. Using a pressure cooker to cook your oxtail reduces the cooking time to about 1 hour and makes meal time less demanding.

How do you make Oxtail tender on the Stovetop

Jamaican Oxtail is one of my favourite recipes because it is flavourful and filling. I often slow cook my oxtails on the stovetop not only because my mother did it that way, but I find the stovetop method gives my oxtails a deeper flavour. However, it takes over 3 hours to get oxtails tender on the stovetop. If you’re pressed for time, not enthused about hanging over a hot pot for hours, eager to ‘dig-in’ to your meal and also have a pressure cooker at your convenience, then I’ve added some special tips below to help you with that.

Quick & Easy Pressure Cooker Method

To make sure you get the best results when using a pressure cooker, here are my TOP recommendations –

  • Always start by searing the seasoned oxtails on the stovetop before moving on to the pressure cooker.
  • Add just enough water to cover the meat before you pressure cook it.
  • Cook the oxtails for just enough time to get perfectly tender meat. My oxtail is usually perfectly tenderized in 25 – 30 minutes. However, you may need to adjust the time to determine what works for you. 

Oh-So-Good Right Down to the Bone!

If the oxtail bone ain’t succulent, then you know that oxtail just ain’t cutting it! Here’s how I cook my Jamaican oxtail recipe so that it’s ‘Oh-So-Good’ right down to the bone. My technique is self-dubbed the ‘Double Layer of Flavour’. This simply means that I add a delicious blend of herbs, spices and seasoning at the start, and then again at the end of the cooking process. As a result, the seasoning is richly infused into the meat as it cooks. 

How to Make the BEST Oxtail Gravy!

It’s actually quite simple to make the best oxtail gravy. The key is to balance the flavours and to find the right consistency. My secret formula is to add lots of fresh seasoning along with some tomato ketchup, broad beans (or butter beans), carrots or spinners (skinny Jamaican-style dumplings), after the oxtail has cooked. 

Even though the beans, carrots and spinners are optional, they help to thicken your gravy. They also give your oxtail great flavour. If you choose to omit those ingredients there are two other ingredients that can help you to thicken the oxtail gravy.

How to Thicken Oxtail Gravy

There are two simple ways to thicken your oxtail gravy. You can use either cornstarch or flour mixed with a little water, and then add it to your stew. Here’s how it’s done: First, dilute 1 – 2 teaspoons of cornstarch or flour in 3 – 4 tablespoons of cold water then add it to the pot and stir in well. Next, cook the oxtail on high heat with the pot partially uncovered, until the desired gravy consistency is achieved.

Why is Oxtail so Expensive? 

If you’ve ever gone to the grocery store or a restaurant and asked yourself “Why is oxtail so expensive?”, then don’t worry, you’re not alone. This question has stumped many people. It’s because when you think about it, oxtails are quite boney and should cost less. However there’s an interesting ‘Rags to Riches’ story behind how oxtail became an expensive, world famous dish. In the past, butchers would either discard the tails (of cows or bulls), or sell them at a low cost to people unable to afford the ‘preferred’ cuts of beef. At that time, oxtails were the least desired cut of beef and seen as ‘poor people food’ (food only eaten by the poor).

Things changed however, when word spread about how those ‘poor people’ created a culinary masterpiece using oxtails. Cooks stewed the oxtails to sweet perfection, resulting in a captivating dish with a rich and tantalizing taste. Demand then grew for this delectable cut of beef and vendors quickly took note of its value. As the demand for oxtail grew, so did its price. Today, oxtail is no longer viewed as ‘poor people food’ but somewhat a delicacy, with the premium price to match.

How to Cook the Best Jamaican Oxtails

Here are some tips to help you to cook the best Jamaican Oxtails:

• Rinse the oxtails in vinegar or lime or lemon juice before seasoning it.
• Trim the fat from the meat to make your gravy less oily.
• Season the oxtail and let marinate for 6 – 8 hours  (if possible) before cooking to infuse flavours into the meat.
• ‘Brown’ or sear the meat on both sides to ‘lock-in’ the juices and flavour.
• Cook the oxtails until soft and tender then add another layer of fresh seasonings.

If you’d love to see how I cook my oxtails, I’ve added a step-by-step Jamaican Oxtail recipe video below to make the cooking process even easier for you.

Do you have to clean Oxtails before cooking?

Whether I’ve bought oxtail from a grocery store or the butcher, I prefer to rinse my meat before I season and cook it. To clean your oxtails, place them in a large bowl then add cool water mixed with some vinegar or lemon juice. Rub the pieces of meat thoroughly to remove any debris which may be stuck to them. Rinse and drain the oxtails well before seasoning it. Go ahead and watch my Jamaican oxtail recipe video below to see exactly how it’s done!

The Perfect Treat

Tender, juicy, stewed Oxtail is the perfect treat for beef-lovers the world over. Spice up this dish by pairing it with some delicious sides. Try it with some authentic Jamaican rice and peas, some freshly tossed salad, and then wash it all down with a refreshing drink of carrot juice, pineapple ginger juice, or soursop juice.

Jamaican Oxtail and Beans Recipe - by RoxyChowDown.com

Juicy & Tender Jamaican Oxtail Recipe! - Stovetop & Pressure Cooker Method

You'll love this delicious and authentic Jamaican Oxtail recipe that's juicy, flavourful, tender, and seasoned 'right down to di bone'! Whether you plan to cook your Oxtails on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker, this recipe is the perfect one for you. Cook up this mouth-watering, lip-smacking, finger-licking Sunday dinner favourite for someone you love nuff-nuff, or just treat yourself to the whole yummy pot. We recommend that you share but honestly, this Jamaican Oxtail recipe is sooo good it may be hard to! lol (Enjoy my Step-by-Step Recipe Video attached)
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine African, Caribbean, International, Jamaican, southern, Spanish
Servings 5


  • 2 kg oxtail stew
  • 2 - 3 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp allspice powder
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder unsalted
  • 2 tsp garlic powder unsalted
  • 1 tsp paprika optional
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 - 2 tbsp soya sauce msg-free
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce msg-free, optional
  • 1 - 2 tsp scotch bonnet pepper chopped, (to taste)
  • 4 - 6 cloves garlic peeled, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 small white or yellow onion chopped
  • 1 inch ginger root crushed
  • 8 - 10 pimento seeds
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ¼ green bell pepper chopped
  • ¼ red bell pepper chopped
  • 3 stalks scallion (green onion) chopped
  • 1 small tomato diced
  • ½ cube Knorr chicken bouillon or 1 tsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 1 can broad or butter beans drained, optional
  • 2 - 3 tbsp ketchup

Precook (To make the browning)

  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar to make the browning


How to Clean the Oxtails

  • In a large bowl, add the oxtails then add enough tap water to cover it.
  • Add ¼ cup vinegar or lime juice or lemon juice to the bowl.
  • Rub each piece of the oxtails to remove any unwanted debris.
  • If there is any excess fat on the oxtails, use a kitchen scissors or sharp knife to remove it.
  • Rinse then drain all the liquid from the oxtails.

How to Season the Oxtails

  • In the same bowl, season the oxtails with salt, black pepper, paprika, allspice, onion powder, garlic powder, ginger powder, dried thyme leaves, soya sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Thoroughly rub the seasoning into the oxtails by hand or using a large fork or wooden spoon.
  • Prepare (cut) the fresh seasoning (onion, garlic, ginger, thyme, tomato, scotch bonnet pepper, bell pepper, scallion, and pimento seeds) then divide them into half.
  • Add half the portion of the fresh herbs and spices to the oxtails and rub in well.
  • Set aside the remaining half of fresh seasoning until later on in the cooking process.
  • Cover the seasoned oxtails and let it marinate for 6 - 8 hours or move immediately to the cooking method of choice.

How to Cook Oxtails on the Stovetop

  • In a large skillet, heat the cooking oil on medium heat. Add the brown sugar, stirring quickly and thoroughly for about 1 minute or until the sugar melts and turns dark brown.
  • Immediately add the seasoned oxtail and allow each side of the meat to brown for 3-4 minutes.
  • Using the same bowl used to season the oxtail, add 1 cup water and mix well.
  • When both sides of oxtail have browned, add the water from the bowl, stir the pot then cover it and let the meat cook for 10 - 15 minutes.
  • Next, add enough water to cover the meat. Stir the pot then cover it and let the oxtail cook on high heat for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Remember to stir the pot every 10 minutes.
  • Check the pot regularly to make sure there is enough water to cover the meat and top it up each time it runs low. After about 3 hours, taste a small piece of the meat to check if it's fully cooked. If the meat is not as tender as you'd like it, cook it for another 15 minutes.

How to Cook Oxtails in a Pressure Cooker

  • Add 3 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp cooking oil in an uncovered pressure cooker until it caramelizes. Add the seasoned oxtails to the pot and cook each side for 3-4 minutes or until the oxtails have completely 'browned' on both sides. Add only enough water to cover the meat (about 1 inch high). Cover the pot and pressure cook the oxtails for 25 - 30 minutes. (Test the oxtail in 25 minutes to determine if it has the desired texture.) If necessary, pressure cook it for 5 - 10 minutes more.

Making the Oxtail Gravy

  • When the oxtails are fully cooked (tender), add ½ of the chicken bouillon cube, ketchup (or 1 tbsp. brown sugar) and the remaining portion of chopped fresh seasoning.
  • Drain and discard the liquid from the can of beans, then add the beans to the pot.
  • If the water has dried out, add enough water to cover the meat.
  • Stir the pot and let the oxtails cook on medium heat for 10 - 15 minutes, stiring occasionally.
  • Check the gravy for the desired consistency and taste.
  • If the gravy is too thin, leave the pot uncovered to allow the gravy to thicken (approximately 10 minutes). OR - add 1 tsp. of cornstarch/flour diluted in 2 tablespoons of cool water to thicken the gravy.
  • If your sauce needs more salt, you can add a bit more (to taste), stir the pot and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Bless up and enjoy it!
  • Did you love my Jamaican Oxtail recipe? If you did, please remember to come back to give it a 5-STAR Rating & Review. Your support means a lot. Thanks in advance! Nuff Love, Roxy 🙂
Keyword authentic Jamaican oxtail recipe, best Jamaican Style Oxtails Recipe, braised oxtail recipe, how to cook oxtail, How to cook oxtails in a pressure cooker, How to cook tender oxtail, how to make Jamaican oxtail, Jamaican oxtail and beans recipe, jamaican oxtail recipe, Jamaican Oxtail Stew, jamaican oxtail with butter bean recipe, Jamaican oxtails recipe, oxtail recipe, oxtail recipe jamaican, oxtail recipe stew, oxtail recipe stovetop, oxtails recipe
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    20 thoughts on “Jamaican Oxtail Recipe”

    1. 5 stars
      Right just tried this and it’s amazing, my first time just reading a recipe. You honestly did a good job thank you.

      1. Roxy Chow Down

        Hi Abi! I’m so happy to hear your oxtail came out amazing. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review to let me know that my recipe helped you. Please try some more of my recipes and let me know how they work for you. Just so you know, I’ve lots of delicious recipe videos on YouTube. Check those out too. My channel is ‘Roxy Chow Down’. All the best 🙂

    2. I’m experienced in cooking Indian, Mexican, Korean and Italian cuisines, but this was my first time both eating oxtail and cooking Jamaican food. I very much appreciated the cultural back-story to the dish, as well as the preparation and cooking tips, including the comments about the possible need to further brown up and thicken up the gravy.
      Your list of ingredients and steps however were not always aligned or complete. For example you listed dried thyme leaves as an ingredient, but didn’t include them in the step 2, where I imagine they belonged. Similarly, you listed the ingredients green and red bell pepper, and pimento seeds, but they are not specifically included in any of the steps. Since I was using a slow cooker, after browning the oxtails, I sauteed all the peppers plus the crushed garlic and ginger root (plus I threw in some carrots and minced celery for good measure), then added back in the oxtails. I substituted beef broth for the water and Knorr beef bouillon combination. Since you did not indicate when to add the 3 stalks chopped scallions, I did that right before serving. It is very helpful for novice cooks (and even experienced cooks who are new to the cuisine) to have ingredients listed in the same order in which they are used in the recipe. All in all, the end result was delicious, finger licking good; it was a hit with my husband (and that is really important!) and I look forward to making the stew again, with a bit more confidence and perhaps a larger portion of the scotch bonnet pepper! Your step #19, “bless up” was a most endearing touch. Thanks for sharing your culinary cultural heritage!

      1. Hi Theresa! Thank you so much for your thoughtful feedback. I really appreciate that you took the time to offer me advice on how best to share this recipe with others. I’ve gone ahead and updated the recipe considering your feedback. I’m glad the oxtail was a hit with your husband and it’s great that you put your own spin on it 🙂 Really looking forward to you trying more of my recipes and getting delicious results! Bless up every time my dear.

    3. 5 stars
      Well, I was so excited to try this recipe. I am mourning a great loss in the family and I thought a complicated dish would be exactly what I need to feel good. Comfort!! I watched your YouTube video then headed to the market, lol. That’s when things took a turn “What??” look at the price of oxtails. I decided to make the same recipe on neck bones. AMAZING RESULTS!! YOU HAVE PERFECTED THIS RECIPE. Full transparency, I modified the recipe and used granulated Knorr tomato and chicken bouillon in the rub and as needed when adding water during cooking. I didn’t need to use the ketchup.

      I have been vegetarian for over 15 years, so no tasting for me. This dish was so pleasing to my eyes and nose. Most of the time, the smell of raw and cooked meat is not pleasing to me as a vegetarian. This dish was different. Searing with the brown sugar, and, the fresh herbs smelled amazing throughout the house.

      So, if I don’t eat any meat, you’re probably wondering how you got your rating, lol. My husband is a very good cook and gives me, sometimes, painfully honest feedback. I wanted to leave a review and asked him what rating I should give… he said 10 stars.

      Ms. Roxy I can’t wait to try this recipe on short ribs and of course oxtails. Thank you so much for sharing and caring about our emotional health.

      1. 😭😭😭 Oh my goodness Shannon! I don’t know exactly where to start but let me firstly say a big “THANK YOU”🥰❤️, to you and your husband for this beautiful review and 5 star…no….10 STAR rating!!(BIG UP to your huzzy for that)😆. I must also say CONGRATS on a job well done!! Your tweaks to the recipe were creative and I could feel the love that went into preparing it. You amazed me by taking on a non-vegan dish, and acing it without tasting it!! That’s LOVE! May your marriage continue to be blessed my dear.
        My deepest condolences goes out to you for your loss. I’m so happy that cooking has offered some therapy and pray that the Holy Spirit comforts you daily. Thanks again for showing your support through this review. It encourages me to continue sharing my recipes and love for cooking with others. Bless up every time🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️.

      1. Hi Michele, Happy New Year!! Thanks so much for leaving this sweet review 🙂 I’m happy to hear my recipes work well for you. Could you please a 5-star rating for those recipes you love to help support my page? Really appreciate it!

    4. Richard Paulsingh

      5 stars
      Roxy chow down your recipes are amazing i tried the oxtail and rice and peas today and my God it was absolutely amazing.

      1. Hey Richard!
        Thanks so much for taking the time to leave your 5-Star rating and this awesome review. I’m happy you enjoyed my Oxtail & Rice and Peas recipes and hope you try out the others soon 🙂 Bless up every time!!

    5. Good evening Roxy i appreciate that oxtails and rice recipe. I made this dish on Monday my family ate the whole pot. Thank you very much you Rock.

      1. Good evening Vern! You’re very welcome 🙂 It’s such a joy to hear how well my recipes work for you, and how your family members enjoy them!! Please help to support my website by taking the time to give these 2 recipes a 5-Star rating. Thanks in advance 🙂

    6. 5 stars
      Hands down the best oxtail recipe I’ve ever tried!! I used a pressure cooker after the browning step, and it was still wonderful.
      10 stars!!

      1. Roxy Chow Down

        Hey Nikki, you truly made my day by coming back to leave your 10-STAR rating and review.
        I’m happy your oxtail turned out so well.
        I look forward to you trying more of my recipes and letting me know how they went.
        Bless up every time!!

    7. 5 stars
      This was my first time making oxtail and I will admit I was intimidated lol. I browsed many recipes but I settled on Roxy’s because it seemed more like the genuine Jamaican style I love. I opted to cook on the stovetop (because there’s nothing like slaving over a hot stove and watching your creation evolve haha). I reached out with a question In the middle of cooking thinking I wouldn’t get a response until a day or two later and was grateful she replied IMMEDIATELY! Let me tell you… this dish came out amazing! It’s officially in my recipe collection and I HIGHLY recommend this recipe if you’re going to make oxtail. Roxy thank you again I look forward to trying more of your recipes!

      1. Hi Alicia!
        You put a BIG smile on my face and warmed my heart when I saw your review. Thank you so so much for taking the time to leave one, and to give it a 5-STAR rating as well!! It’s awesome to hear how well your oxtail came out. Your success on your very first try makes me happy. I love that you were a bit nervous, yet pushed past that to create a masterpiece using the ‘long’ authentic stovetop method…that’s impressive!:))). I’m always available to help and look forward to you trying and enjoying more of my other recipes.

        Lots of Love & Blessings,
        Roxy xoxo

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