The oxtail recipe shared below is an authentic Jamaican recipe. This deeply flavoured oxtail dish starts with the oxtail intensely marinated in a variety of Jamaican spices then braised down in the tastiest savoury sauce. Oxtail stewed cooked in Jamaican spices and butterbean makes this recipe so mouthwatering.
Jamaican Style Oxtail
Jamaican style oxtail stew cooked with butterbean and flavoured with browning sauce, pimento (allspice), ginger, thyme and scotch bonnet pepper.
Firstly, the oxtail is sear on all sides before it’s put to cook. There are two methods Jamaicans use to enhance the brown colour of the oxtail, melted brown sugar in the pot before adding the oxtail or coating the oxtail with browning sauce before cooking. In the recipe below, I used both methods.
Depending on who is cooking, sometimes carrot and bell pepper are added. I only add bell pepper.
Cooking time can be up to 3 hours, but I pressure cook the oxtail to reduce the time.
How To Make Oxtail Tender
Oxtail takes a long time to cook and gets tender. It takes more than 2 hours of cooking before the oxtail softens.
My strategy is to pressure cook the oxtail for 30 minutes to reduce the number of hours it takes to cook.
However, if the oxtail is brown well, it can start to break apart during pressure cooking. The key is to brown the oxtail on all sides, don’t add too much water to the pressure cooker (just enough to cover the meat) and pressure for no more than 35 minutes.
With that said, the best way to make oxtail tender is to slow cook it on medium to slow heat for 2 to 3 hours.
What Goes In Jamaican Oxtail
Looks like a lot but this is why Jamaican oxtail stew taste so delicious.
- Oxtail: Get oxtail with very little fat on it.
- Butterbeans: Butterbean always goes in oxtail stew.
- Dry seasoning: I used all-purpose seasoning, but meat seasoning or oxtail seasoning will also do. For more flavour, I also use salt and a Maggi stock cube.
- Green seasoning: Onion, scallion, garlic, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, ginger, pimento (allspice) are a must in every Jamaican cooking, especially the scotch bonnet pepper and pimento.
- Sugar: The sugar is to help brown the oxtail but also add a hit of sweet taste.
- Browning: Is traditionally used in Jamaican cooking to darken the food.
- Ketchup: This is optional.
How To Cook Oxtail
- Clean: Clean the oxtail in water with lemon/lime and white vinegar.
- How to season oxtail: Add the salt and the dry seasoning. You can use either meat, oxtail or all-purpose seasoning. Add the scotch bonnet pepper, garlic, thyme and the browning. Marinate the oxtail for extra flavour.
- Brown the oxtail: You should brown the oxtail before cooking it. It
- Cooking the oxtail: I pressure cook the oxtail to save time on cooking because it can take over 2 hours to cook without pressure.
- Simmer: After pressure cooking, add all the other ingredients and more water if needed to the pot and cook until the water reduce and pepper softened.
Cleaning The Oxtail
What To Serve With Oxtail
Serve oxtail with rice and peas or hard food. Plain boiled white rice also goes well with oxtail
Try your hands at the recipe below and let us know how you get on in the comment section.
Other Meat Recipes
Let’s stay connected! Find me on:
- Also subscribe to my newsletter for recipe updates!
THANK YOU for all of your support, for visiting my blog, commenting, and sharing my recipes with your friends and family. I am SO thankful for you!
If you tried this oxtail recipe, then don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below. I would LOVE to hear about your experience and your comments just make my day!
Authentic Jamaican oxtail recipe
- 2 lbs (907.18 g) Oxtail chopped into 2 to 3cm chunks
- 1 Cup (236.59 g) Butterbean
- 1 tbsp (1 tbsp) Oxtail or all-purpose seasoning
- 1 tsp Browning
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 ½ tbsp (1.5 tbsp) Dark brown sugar
- 1 Maggi stock cube
- 1.8 oz (51.03 g) Onion Sliced
- 2.5 oz (70.87 g) Bell pepper Sliced
- ½ Scotch bonnet pepper Seeds remove and finely chopped
- 2.1 oz (59.53 g) Tomato Diced
- 1.5 oz (42.52 g) Stalks scallion (green onion) Chopped
- 4 (3) Cloves garlic Crushed
- 5 (3) Sprig thyme
- 0.28 oz (7.94 g) Freshly grated ginger
- 7 Pimento barriers (allspice)
- 2 tbsp Ketchup
- 3 tbsp Cooking oil
- 1 Small lime To wash the oxtail
- 1 tbsp Vinegar To wash the oxtail
- Wash the oxtail in water with vinegar and lime juice. Drain away all the water, getting the meat as dry as possible.
- Season the oxtail with salt, oxtail/all-purpose seasoning, garlic, ginger, browning and scotch bonnet pepper. Mix the ingredients until the oxtail is completely coated with seasoning. If you like, leave to marinate for at least an hour.
- Add the cooking oil and the brown sugar to a pressure cooker pot on high heat.
- Make the oil hot and the sugar melt, then add the oxtail. Sear the meat so that all sides are brown.
- Add 2 ½ cups of water to the pressure cooker, close with the pressure cooker lid and cook at high pressure for 30-35 minutes.
- Make sure the pressure cooker cool off, then carefully remove the lid. Check that the meat is soft and falling off of the bone.
- Put to continue cooking on medium-high heat. Add the onion, thyme, scallion, tomato, bell pepper, butterbean, ketchup and Maggi stock cube.
- Cover the pot with a normal pot cover and let it cook for another 30 minutes.
- Try getting oxtail that have very little fat on it. Too much fat on the oxtail makes the gravy fatty.
- You can use more are less scotch bonnet pepper if you like your oxtail stew more or less spicy
What is oxtail seasoning please?
Hi Mike, if you can’t find oxtail seasoning you can use any meant seasoning. It will work just the same.
It was excellent, I made sure I had all of the seasoning handy, I added crushed red pepper flakes, and I ordered the oxtail seasoning off of Amazon, I will be making it again
Hello i am also a Jamaican in the U.K. where can I find oxtail seasoning
Hello, you can pick it up in most shops that sell seasonings. Dunno River do a good 1.
Jamaican living in upstate New York and this recipe is almost identical to mumi. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Lesa, great looking oxtail. Can I use tomato paste instead of ketchup for this recipe?
Sure you can
It must be hard sometimes to have created such a great free resource for people to learn new recipes, only to be critiqued and picked apart.
Like asking “what is butterbeans is that butter beans?” Ever heard of a typo? Or “What is the purpose of butter beans?” Really, you are making slow cooked pot meal, beans of some type usually go in pot meals or stews. Or asking “What is Green seasoning” When she has clearly listed what the green seasonings are.
I’m all for getting clarity but some of this is more than just that Whew! Please take your time and review the entire page of recipe information, go watch some videos and say thank you!
Thank you Lesa I truly appreciate your recipe, time, and effort. It’s awesome!
Urbanlyric, you are awesome. Thanks for the appreciation and encouragement!!!!
Ok do you use the seasoning from the marinade? And do the tomatoes go into the marinade?
Hey Sagirah, Yes I use seasoning from the marinade, I put it in with the oxtail when it is nearly cooked. No don’t put the tomato in the marinade only when Im about to put it into the pot
You state that the oxtail can be eaten with “hard food”, what is hard food?
Can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for building this web page and sharing your knowledge.
This recipe looks great.
1… if using a slow cooker
-what setting..and -how long to cook
2. If want to add broad beans do I put them in at end for 10mins?
I’m trying your oxtail recipe tonight. I have been making oxtail most of my life but wanted to try a new way. Your recipe looks great!!
One thing that really upset me is that one of the advertisements features a rodent in someone’s hands. I’ve seen this on other sites and it’s very disturbing. I don’t know if you have any control over this but it really would be great not to have this on recipe sites.
I tried this for Thanksgiving in a slow cooker and my family loved it. From one island not used to cooking your amazing food I am grateful and thankful. Wonderful recipes, best one I have found.
What is 1 tbsp of browning
Its a brown liquid use to darken gravy, its found at the grocery store near the gravy. Or you could just use brown sugar for the carmilization. I’ve done both ways.
What is the purpose of the butterbeans?
Hello there thank you for sharing your recipe! I am married into a jamaican family and this is almost exactly the way my MIL taught me how to make it. Even with the addition of the Maggi. However I think the MSG in the Maggi is causing my husband’s headaches. Would you be able to suggest an alternative to this? I have yet to find one. Thanks so much! ❤
Hi can I use this recipe in a dutchee pot as I don’t have a pressure cooker or slow cooker. And if so do I cook for 5 hours as I usually would?
Sure you can use a dutchee pot. Just cooking time will be longer.
I have made oxtail like this always and it is always amazing – except I don’t use either browning or sugar. The gravy might not be as dark, but it is plenty good enough – in fact, we find it more delicious as my husband and I don’t like sugar in our protein dishes. I don’t use ketchup either in oxtail.
Thank you for this recipe I’ve tried so many different ones and this ny far is the best!
Happy to hear that Brigette. Thanks for stopping by and trying the recipe.
Hi I can only find ground allspice? Like a powder. Can I use this if so how much?
Your recipes use generic names for critical seasoning that are not found in Us Grocery stores
Can you supply brand name and common names for these to make your Oxtail and Brown Chicken stew.
Examples- Browning, meat seasoning, chicken seasoning, Thick Soya Sauce, Pimento Barriers, you list all spice, is this for powered all spice-need a measurement , if ground berried again need a measurement. If you list and ingredient and measurement, you need to list a name common in this country or a common subsitute.
Hi, I’m a Jamaican and I live in the US. Most of these ingredients are found in US grocers. The only ingredient you would get from a Caribbean store is oxtail seasoning and browning.
Browning can be found in Keyfood if you are up north or Publix if you are down in Florida. I have also found Browning in Winn Dixie and Kroger. Browning is just burnt sugar with water.
You don’t need oxtail seasoning. I cook mines with any meat seasoning. Every US grocery has meat seasoning.
Pimento berries are found in most US grocers. They are Allspice berries, check your spice aisle. Berries are better than the ground spice because they have more flavor, just font eat them. They are strong. Most Jamaicans don’t have measurements for spices and since you are making a Jamaican recipe why not do like the ancestors did and just use your discretion, start with 2 tsp. When the oxtail is stewing taste your pot and see if it needs more spice. If so, add another tsp. You can also Google the conversations of pimento berries to tsp.
But most of the ingredients are found in US grocers. I have lived in a small town in Arkansas, New York, Georgia, and Florida and have found the ingredients easily in US groceries.
This was amazing. Doubled up the scotch bonnet. Quite spicy. Fantastic recipe. Depth of flavour…. Unbelievable. Absolutely loved it.
The recipe looks great, going to try this week but is butterbean, actual butter beans?
What about slow cooker recipe , this is for a pressure cooker.
Thank you for sharing sis….I’m going to make curry goat as well….
Please keep giving us the real deal.q
Hi, Lisa. I have always enjoyed the different flavors of West Africa and the Caribbean. I want to make a big pot of oxtails today. Do you have any recipe so that I may impress my friends?
Hard food is green plantains, ripe plaintain, white or yellow yam, dumpling And green bananas. All ingredients can be found at your farmers market.
Big up Lesa!!!! You go girl!!!!!
Big up yourself too Cherisse!
Excuse my ignorance, but what is “green seasoning”? You mentioned it in step 3.
Hi. Can you put recipe as if you’re using a slow cooker. Thanks
I tried this recipe over the weekend and I can say this is the best one I have tried!!! I will be keeping this on file and using on a regular
I’m definitely going to try your oxtail recipe. It looks delicious. Do you have a printed cookbook that I can buy with all your amazing recipes ?
With this recipe I made the best oxtail of my life and I been cooking many years. I printed it out and it will be my go-to recipe from now on.
Great recipe, made it and it was delicious. Thank you
Hi! I’ve tried a few different recipes for oxtail stew and this a really good one. Previously, i’ve added Worcestershire sauce and it’s quite tasty, as well. I also like to add celery. I’m going to try this for dinner tomorrow! Thanks!
Lesa, I appreciate you. Don’t let the stupid questions and the bay sayers deter you. My father was from the islands. That’s where I get my appreciation for all the Jamaican dishes. Keep doing what you’re doing.
Appreciate you Troy! Comments like these keep the website around. Nuff love
I can’t wait to try. I am Bahamian our recipes are similar.
Thank you for this recipe! I am living in an area where I can’t get scotch bonnet peppers at any of the grocery stores. Can I use dried peppers or a powder? If so where could I get them?
First time cooking oxtail ,your recipe is wow 👏😋. Thank you so very much my heart is so much bigger now ♥.
First time cooking oxtail, your recipe is wow 👏😍😋, the way to a man’s heart is your oxtail .thank you so very much.
Thank you hope it comes out as good as yours
Hi Lesa, I live in France and I cannot get Scotch Bonnet anywhere! (The good news is oxtail CHEAP inna France!) Can you please recommend a substitute? I want to try your awesome-looking recipe this week!
i haven’t had oxtail stew since i was a child, when it was a part of my life all the time. this recipe brought back so many memories. absolutely wonderful. thank you thank you for this site and the work in creating it.
Thanx Lesa – I loved your recipe! I had seen oxtail stew during the Toronto Caribbean Carnival 2022, and was longing to try it out once I returned home to India where oxtail is easily available at the local butcher’s shop. When I found your recipe online, I thought, aha! This one’s for me! We ate it with great relish along with dosa (South Indian rice pancakes). Since some of the ingredients are not available, I just used some local substitutes (avarekai similar to butter beans), yet it was the best oxtail recipe I have ever had. Will definitely be part of my repertoire going forward.
I’ve only just found your website. Wow the smell in my kitchen reminds me of my MILs kitchen before she went back to Jamaica 20+ years ago.
My husband is going to be so pleasantly surprised.
Good evening Lesa
I cooked a pot of oxtail last night for dinner tomorrow night. Well I ate the hole pot with the cabbage and red beans and rice. It was so delicious that I went to the supermarket and got another bag of ingredients for tomorrow nights dinner.
I cooked on the stove since I don’t have a pressure cooker. I put all of the ingredients into the pot with the water and simmering now… for 2.5 hours… should I have waited to put the ingredients and just cook down in the water? hhmmmm wondering if I messed it the flavor….
Turned out really great!