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Authentic Jamaican oxtail recipe

The oxtail recipe shared below is an authentic Jamaican recipeThis 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.

Authentic Jamaican oxtail recipe

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.

Jamaican food

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.

Oxtail stew

What Goes In Jamaican Oxtail

Looks like a lot but this is why Jamaican oxtail stew taste so delicious.

Oxtail ingredients
  • 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

how to cook oxtail stew
  • 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

Oxtail and butterbean recipe

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

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Authentic Jamaican oxtail recipe

Authentic Jamaican oxtail recipe

Authentic Jamaican oxtail recipe. One of Jamaica's most delicious cuisines, you must try this recipe
4.70 from 110 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Jamaican
Keyword: Jamaican oxtail recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 3 Servings
Calories: 103kcal
Author: Lesa


  • 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
  • Water
  • 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


Nutrition Facts
Authentic Jamaican oxtail recipe
Serving Size
308 g
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  1. What is oxtail seasoning please?

    • Jamaican Foods and Recipes

      Hi Mike, if you can’t find oxtail seasoning you can use any meant seasoning. It will work just the same.

    • Sheryl Major

      5 stars
      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

  2. Hello i am also a Jamaican in the U.K. where can I find oxtail seasoning

  3. Shatia Powell

    5 stars
    Jamaican living in upstate New York and this recipe is almost identical to mumi. Thanks for sharing.

  4. 5 stars
    Hi Lesa, great looking oxtail. Can I use tomato paste instead of ketchup for this recipe?

    • Jamaican Foods and Recipes

      Sure you can

      • Urbanlyric

        5 stars
        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!

  5. Sagirah Thomas

    Ok do you use the seasoning from the marinade? And do the tomatoes go into the marinade?

    • Jamaican Foods and Recipes

      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

    • Bertha Lewis

      You state that the oxtail can be eaten with “hard food”, what is hard food?

  6. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for building this web page and sharing your knowledge.

    • 5 stars
      This recipe looks great.
      2 questions.
      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?

      Thank you

  7. 4 stars
    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.

    • 5 stars
      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.

  8. Jessica Tillis

    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.

    • Myreon Roberts

      5 stars
      What is the purpose of the butterbeans?

      • 5 stars
        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! ❤

        • MSG does not cause headaches that’s a myth created by a “journalist” who invented the myth around Chinese restaurant syndrome.

    • Charlotte Blane

      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?
      Thank you

  9. 5 stars
    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.

    • 4 stars
      This recipe is great, I just turned the heat down a bit after pressure cooking was complete to allow it not to burn.

  10. Brigette Booker

    5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe I’ve tried so many different ones and this ny far is the best!

  11. Hi I can only find ground allspice? Like a powder. Can I use this if so how much?

  12. 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.

  13. 5 stars
    This was amazing. Doubled up the scotch bonnet. Quite spicy. Fantastic recipe. Depth of flavour…. Unbelievable. Absolutely loved it.

  14. 5 stars
    The recipe looks great, going to try this week but is butterbean, actual butter beans?

  15. What about slow cooker recipe , this is for a pressure cooker.

  16. Denise Francis

    4 stars
    Thank you for sharing sis….I’m going to make curry goat as well….

  17. Cynthia Djirackor

    5 stars
    Please keep giving us the real deal.q

  18. Nathan Ragland

    5 stars
    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?

  19. Hard food is green plantains, ripe plaintain, white or yellow yam, dumpling And green bananas. All ingredients can be found at your farmers market.

  20. 5 stars
    Big up Lesa!!!! You go girl!!!!!

  21. Excuse my ignorance, but what is “green seasoning”? You mentioned it in step 3.

  22. Hi. Can you put recipe as if you’re using a slow cooker. Thanks

  23. 5 stars
    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
    Thank you!!

    • Hello Lesa,

      Thank you for sharing this beautiful recipe. I don’t have a pressure cooker… I would prefer to use the oven. I’m going to try your recipe but I’m going to use the oven. Will follow each step . I will let you know how everything turns out 😊

    • I have been cooking oxtail for yrs. I love them but I don’t go thru all that bother. You brown them in oil the beans white beans they are 1in pimento scallions pimento peppers crushed and whole on slices you can add okra onions red yellow or green pressure cooker is good but I like my home to smell of the oxtail people run to my door. THE RED BEANS AND RICE IS WHAT I NEED WORK ON CAN YOU HELP? MY DAD IS JAMACIAN HE WAS THE COOK. MY MOM FROM N.C she make them too love you get back. But I never use sugar or catsup that’s blasphemy. Do you have a printed recipe book or phamlet.

  24. 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 ?

    • 5 stars
      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.

  25. 5 stars
    Great recipe, made it and it was delicious. Thank you

  26. 5 stars
    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!

  27. Troy Thompson

    5 stars
    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.
    Thank you.

  28. Sandra Edgecomb

    5 stars
    I can’t wait to try. I am Bahamian our recipes are similar.

  29. Hello,

    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?



  30. Wayne briscoe

    5 stars
    Hi Lesa,
    First time cooking oxtail ,your recipe is wow 👏😋. Thank you so very much my heart is so much bigger now ♥.

  31. Wayne briscoe

    5 stars
    Hi Lisa,
    First time cooking oxtail, your recipe is wow 👏😍😋, the way to a man’s heart is your oxtail .thank you so very much.

  32. 5 stars
    Thank you hope it comes out as good as yours

  33. 5 stars
    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!

  34. john sheoard

    5 stars
    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.

  35. Tasqeen Macchiwalla

    5 stars
    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.

  36. 5 stars
    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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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….

  39. 5 stars
    Turned out really great!

  40. I’m searching for an oxtail recipe that’s different and yours popped up and sounds like it’s delicious. I’ve ordered my oxtail- so hard to source where I live and it will be here on Friday I was going to cook this Monday. So looking forward to it. Just one question, dried or tinned butter beans.? I’m new to the pressure cooker and usually just tip a tin of beans in anything come the end of cooking

  41. 5 stars
    I love the recipe and I am going to try.

  42. Is it possible to start this recipe in the pressure cooker and then put it in a regular stove pot if I don’t have a regular covering for the pressure cooker?

  43. 5 stars
    I made this recipe and we were rubbing in our hair, as my Mom used to say. With a celiac in the house, I did not use browning (caramel coloring=gluten). Instead , used brown sugar.

  44. Lenny Tucker

    5 stars
    Made it. It was so easy any delicious.

  45. 5 stars
    No matter how many recipes I try, THIS is my favorite., I follow to the tee and I swear everyone thinks it’s straight from the Caribbean. I rarely use any salt as most seasonings are salt based. I’ve found that garlic butter adds a bit more flavor and a tinge of coconut milk

  46. Jenn Punsalan

    Hi Lesa, sorry if you’ve answered these questions already but can you let me know the following:

    1) do i crush the pimento barriers and add to the other spices to season the oxtail before browning?
    2) do you have ‘slow cooker’ instructions for this recipe?

    I’ve tried a couple of oxtail recipes and so excited to try yours!

    Thank you,

  47. 5 stars
    I’ve used this recipe for the past 9 years I’ve been making oxtails absolutely delicious. I prefer slow cooking to pressure cooking, which is why I wait to have the necessary time needed.

  48. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful recipes.

  49. David Greene

    5 stars
    Very authentic. A nice blend of flavours and very savoury.

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