You’ll love this authentic Jamaican Oxtail Stew recipe, friends! Heavily marinated oxtail cooked until meltingly tender and falling apart in a rich, aromatic stew loaded with big, bold Caribbean flavors. So filling, cozy, and comforting is this oxtail stew with butter beans in the tastiest gravy. So very easy to make with stovetop, slow cooker, and pressure cooker instructions provided. Video tutorial included, too!

oxtail stew in large white pot with wooden serving spoon on the side

Loveee myself a big ole pot of delicious oxtail stew, y’all. Goodness gracious, it really is one of the best dishes. The price of oxtails has been stupidly inflated for a while, yes, but I just cannot let them go. Oxtail and short ribs are some of my favorite cuts of beef to braise for all sorts of cooking adventures. My oxtail stew is the recipe you need to make, stat, because it’s that dang good. Periodt, ha!

The Best Jamaican Oxtail Stew!!! 🇯🇲

Meaty and hearty oxtail is stewed until meltingly tender with the meat practically falling apart, yeee. There are tons of authentic Caribbean elements found here with big, bold flavors all throughout. Just like a West Indian mom or grandma would make, this oxtail stew does not miss a beat. The oxtail is slowly braised with a rich, lip-smacking stew gravy with classic butter beans and more. It’s a recipe that’s so easily versatile with 3 different cooking methods and their instructions provided for you: stovetop, slow cooker, and pressure cooker.

⇢ Other recipes: braised short ribs, saucy chicken piccata meatballs, my fave red beans and rice, crispy parmesan crusted chicken, delish shrimp and grits, the best southern black-eyed peas, and filipino chicken adobo– yum!

jamaican oxtail stew with rice and peas in speckled bowl with gold for on the side

What Is Oxtail Stew?

So, oxtail stew has a Jamaican-influenced origin, and it encompasses deeply marinated, browned, and then stewed oxtail pieces. As mentioned earlier, the oxtail braises in a ton of spices, herbs, aromatics, broth, and more. Which results in a pot full of fall-apart tender oxtail in rich gravy with filling beans.

Ingredients Needed For Oxtail Stew

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Fresh beef oxtail: Yes indeed, the main star. You’ll need fresh beef oxtail pieces. I always recommend getting pieces that are super meaty with not an obscene amount of fat on them. Sometimes you’ll find oxtail in the grocery stores or Caribbean markets that are measly looking with barely any meat on the tail. Real talk, the thick and meaty pieces are clutch here!
  • Browning sauce: This is a Caribbean-centered bottled ingredient that gives a boost to so many dishes to enhance the color and flavor. I use the Grace brand and it can typically be found in Caribbean markets or maybe in the international aisle of your local grocery store.
  • Worcestershire: A pantry staple, bottled condiment that gives a boost to so many dishes, like soups and stews. It has a unique combo of flavors from various ingredients. Also, it kinda acts like an umami flavor bomb, too.
  • Brown sugar: This helps provide some balance among the bolder flavors.
  • Spices: We’re using seasonings like Jamaican curry powder, Jamaican allspice, smoked paprika, salt/pepper- to taste, and bay leaves.
  • Onion & carrots: All stews need some flavor agents/veggies.
  • Garlic: You can use cloves, minced- or garlic paste.
  • Ginger: Freshly grated ginger or ginger paste.
  • Scallions: You might know ’em as green onions.
  • Oil: Used to brown the oxtail pieces for a nice, deep sear.
  • Tomato paste: A must for that robust tomato-y flavor.
  • Tomato sauce: More tomato flavor and to help thicken the stew.
  • Scotch bonnet pepper: For flavoring, we’re using just one pepper that’ll go into the pot whole (not cut open!)- trust, you don’t want that 😆❌
  • Fresh thyme: When making a stew, herbs are lovely. I use fresh thyme which is a Caribbean staple in so many of our dishes.
  • Beef broth: You’ll need liquid to cover the oxtail for braising. Beef broth for that beefy flavor to be all up and through this oxtail stew!
  • Butter beans: A classic element of an authentic Jamaican oxtail stew dish. Alternatives include navy beans, great northern beans, and cannellini beans.
ingredients for jamaican oxtail stew laid out on beige surface

What Is Oxtail: Where Does It Come From?

While it was once referred to as only the tail of an ox, it is now widely known to refer to the tail of any cattle. Oxtail tastes just like beef with an extra amount of fat and a gelatinous bite to it, kind of like english-cut short ribs. Additionally, because of the fat/meatiness, oxtails are perfect for stews and braises alike; cooking down until the meat is practically coming apart.

How To Make Jamaican Oxtail Stew

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. Season oxtail: Add the oxtail pieces into a large bowl. Then add in the browning sauce, worcestershire, brown sugar, curry powder, allspice, paprika, salt/pepper- to taste, onion, garlic, ginger, and scallions. Massage all the aromatics and spices into the oxtail pieces to thoroughly coat.
  2. Marinate: Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and transfer oxtail into the refrigerator to allow flavors to marinate for at least 2 hours or- more preferably, overnight (for the best results!).
  3. Brown oxtail pieces: Remove the oxtail pieces from the marinade mixture, shaking off excess onion/scallion bits- but do not discard the marinade, set aside. Set the oxtail aside on a large plate/platter.
  4. In a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven; heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add a few oxtail pieces into the pot, working in batches. Sear the oxtail on all sides until a deep brown crust appears, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer the browned oxtail onto a clean, large plate/platter and repeat the process until all the oxtail pieces are browned. Then set the browned oxtail aside and reduce the heat to medium.

How To Make Jamaican Oxtail Stew: II

  1. Add the flavor agents & assemble the stew: Add all the reserved marinade mixture into the same pot along with the tomato paste. Use a wooden utensil to sauté until lightly tender, scraping up any caramelized bits on the bottom of the pot and stirring the paste to coat the marinade, about 4-5 minutes. Then add all browned oxtail pieces back into pot. Add the carrots, tomato sauce, bay leaves, scotch bonnet pepper, fresh thyme, and beef broth- stir everything together until well combined.
  2. Stew the oxtail: Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a lid. Allow the oxtail to stew for 2 – 2 1/2 hours, covered- until oxtail pieces are meltingly tender and falling apart.
  3. Add butter beans: Empty the drained can of butter beans into the pot, gently stirring to combine. Let the butter beans cook in the oxtail stew for another 30 minutes until tender.
  4. Adjust stew gravy, if needed: Discard the herb stems, bay leaves, and scotch bonnet pepper from the pot. Skim any fat off the top of the liquid, if needed. To thicken the stew gravy in the pot, place over medium-high heat until the liquid reaches your desired consistency.
  5. Serve this Jamaican oxtail stew immediately. I love serving my oxtail stew with side items like rice and peas and plantains. YUM!

⇢ This Oxtail Stew recipe comes together so easily. I love how straightforward and simple it is yet loaded with flavor-filled goodness that you’ll swoon over! It’s a 1-pot recipe that everyone with good taste will enjoy! 🙌🏾

jamaican oxtail stew in large white pot with wooden serving spoon on the side

Cleaning/Rinsing Your Meat

I know cleansing meat is a highly controversial topic lol. I will say that I notice that it often gets pushback among non-Caribbean folks. A lot of West Indians cleanse their meat in some way prior to cooking it. Growing up, I always saw both my mom and grandma cleanse meat beforehand, and it’s always stuck with me. This is *totally optional* but including my tips, if interested.

There’s a lot of goop/debris on packaged meat. Cleaning the oxtail is a way to remove any impurities/debris (hair is common w/ oxtail) prior to cooking. >> In a large bowl, add the oxtail pieces. Cover them in water with a touch of vinegar and a few lemon slices or a splash of lemon/lime juice. You can let that sit for 5-7 minutes and then rinse the oxtail, pat dry with paper towels, and proceed.

A common misconception about cleaning meat is that germs will get everywhere since your handling raw meat. If you’re not touching various things, you wash your hands, and sanitize the area afterwards, all is well.

What Is Browning Sauce?

This is quite a popular Caribbean household ingredient that we use for a so many recipes- like brown stew chicken. It contains cane sugar, water, caramel color, and more. It deepens flavor and contributes to a big, bold coloring on this oxtail stew. You can find it in your local Caribbean market and even some grocery stores in the international aisle. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find a sub for this.

black hands with gold fork and knife taking piece of oxtail stew in bowl

Personally, I love oxtail stew on the stovetop, however, you can also achieve the same results in a pressure cooker and in a slow cooker. Here’s how:

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Oxtail Stew

  1. Follow the same instructions in the recipe card, below, to prep and marinate the oxtail, steps 1-2.
  2. Set the pressure cooker to the “sauté” function and once hot, add the oil. When the oil is shimmering, working in batches, brown the oxtail pieces as noted in steps 3-4. Set browned oxtail aside.
  3. Add the reserved marinade and tomato paste into the pressure cooker and sauté together, as noted in step 5. Then add the browned oxtail pieces into the pot along with the carrots, tomato sauce, bay leaves, scotch bonnet pepper, fresh thyme, and beef broth- stirring to combine.
  4. Press “cancel” on the pressure cooker and cover the cooker with lid. Place the cooker on high pressure for 45 minutes.
  5. When time is done, allow the cooker to naturally release its pressure. Then open lid and remove the oxtails/vegetables. Adjust the liquid in the pot by setting the cooker to the “sauté” function and add in the drained butter beans. Simmer the beans in the liquid until the liquid thickens (see cornstarch slurry note in recipe card) and the beans are tender. Then add the oxtails/vegetables back into the cooker. Serve warm, enjoy!

Slow Cooker Oxtail Stew

  1. Follow the same instructions in the recipe card, below (steps 1-5 on the stovetop). Then carefully transfer everything into your slow cooker vessel. Cook on low setting for about 8-10 hours, stirring every so often. *Note: if your slow cooker has a browning/sear function, you can execute browning the oxtail and sautéing the marinade mixture in it (steps 3-5).
  2. About 30 minutes before serving, add in the butter beans. You can thicken the gravy in the slow cooker by adding in a cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water).
closeup of jamaican oxtail stew with rice and peas in speckled bowl

What To Serve Alongside This Recipe?

Love a good pairing! This Jamaican oxtail stew recipe pairs well with many things:

  • Rice and peas (the best pairing imo!), coconut rice, rice pilaf
  • Plantains or fried/steamed cabbage (Island favorites 👌🏾)
  • Roasted veggies: broccoli, green beans, asparagus, brussels sprouts
  • Mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower

Leftovers & Storing Oxtail Stew

This recipe stores/reheats like a dream, plus the flavors deepen + meld even further, amen! Keep all leftovers stored inside of an airtight container. This oxtail stew will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. To reheat: heat in the microwave until the oxtail is warmed through or heat on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through. You may need to add a splash more stock/water to help loosen or rehydrate the stew gravy.

oxtail stew with rice and peas in speckled bowl with gold utensils on the side

This Jamaican Oxtail Stew is comfort food at its finest, friends. It’s such a wildly popular staple among West Indian recipes. Whether you’re new to Caribbean cuisine, an oxtail stew lover, or just looking for a flavorful, cozy meal to add into your rotation…you’ll love this one. Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

Print
clockclock iconcutlerycutlery iconflagflag iconfolderfolder iconinstagraminstagram iconpinterestpinterest iconfacebookfacebook iconprintprint iconsquaressquares iconheartheart iconheart solidheart solid icon
jamaican oxtail stew in large white pot with wooden serving spoon on the side

Jamaican Oxtail Stew (3 Ways To Cook!)

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 20m
  • Cook Time: 3hrs
  • Total Time: 3hrs 20m
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main Dishes
  • Method: Braise
  • Cuisine: Jamaican

Description

You’ll love this authentic Jamaican Oxtail Stew recipe, friends! Heavily marinated oxtail cooked until meltingly tender and falling apart in a rich, aromatic stew loaded with big, bold Caribbean flavors. So filling, cozy, and comforting is this oxtail stew with butter beans in the tastiest gravy. So very easy to make with stovetop, slow cooker, and pressure cooker instructions provided. Video tutorial included, too!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 lbs (meaty!) fresh beef oxtail, already cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon browning sauce, I use the Grace brand
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire 
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Jamaican curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon Jamaican ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced, or 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger or ginger paste
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, left whole- do not cut!
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can butter beans, liquid drained

Instructions

  1. Prep & marinate oxtail: Add the oxtail pieces into a large bowl or gallon-sized ziplock bag. Then add in the browning sauce, worcestershire, brown sugar, curry powder, allspice, paprika, salt/pepper- to taste, onion, garlic, ginger, and scallions. Use your hands to massage all the aromatics and spices into the oxtail pieces, massaging very well to ensure the oxtail pieces are thoroughly coated.
  2. Cover the bowl with a lid/plastic wrap or seal ziplock bag and transfer to refrigerator to allow flavors to marinate for at least 2 hours or- more preferably, overnight (for the best results!). If marinating overnight, just be sure to go back and stir/massage the oxtail pieces at least once. This will ensure even flavor marination throughout.
  3. Brown oxtail pieces: Remove the oxtail pieces from the marinade mixture, shaking off excess onion/scallion bits- but do not discard the marinade, set aside. Set the oxtail aside on a large plate/platter.
  4. In a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven; heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, gently swirl the pot around to evenly coat the bottom. Add a few oxtail pieces into the pot, working in batches, careful not to overcrowd. Sear the oxtail on all sides until a deep brown crust appears, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer the browned oxtail onto a clean, large plate/platter and repeat the process until all the oxtail pieces are browned- adding a slick more of oil in between batches, only as needed. Then set the browned oxtail aside and reduce the heat to medium.
  5. Add the flavor agents & assemble the stew: Add all the reserved marinade mixture into the same pot along with the tomato paste. Use a wooden utensil to sauté until lightly tender, scraping up any caramelized bits on the bottom of the pot and stirring the paste to coat the marinade, about 4-5 minutes. Then add all browned oxtail pieces back into pot, nestling them right on top of the marinade mixture, along with any residual juices that have collected. Add the carrots, tomato sauce, bay leaves, scotch bonnet pepper, fresh thyme, and beef broth- the oxtail pieces should be almost completely submerged under the liquid. Gently stir everything together until well combined.
  6. Stew the oxtail: Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a lid. Allow the oxtail to stew for 2 – 2 1/2 hours, covered- until oxtail pieces are meltingly tender and falling apart.
  7. Add butter beans: Empty the drained can of butter beans into the pot, gently stirring to combine. Let the butter beans cook in the oxtail stew for another 30 minutes until tender.
  8. Adjust stew gravy, if needed: Discard the herb stems, bay leaves, and scotch bonnet pepper from the pot. Skim any fat off the top of the liquid, as needed. If you’d like to thicken the stew gravy in the pot (see notes directly below for cornstarch slurry option), place over medium-high heat. Cook, gently stirring, for a bit until the liquid reaches your desired consistency. Afterwards, taste and adjust with more salt/pepper, as desired.
  9. Serve this Jamaican oxtail stew immediately. I love serving this oxtail stew in shallow bowls with a helping of extra stew gravy and alongside side items like rice and peas and plantains, too. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. For best recipe success, please read the blog post & notes in its entirety with video tutorial before beginning; slow cooker + pressure cooker instructions provided in blog post.
  2. Alternate way to thicken stew gravy: Remove the oxtails/vegetables, leaving the liquid in the pot. Make a cornstarch slurry in a small bowl (1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water, mixed until combined). Stir mixture into stew liquid and simmer until gravy thickens, about 5 minutes.

Keywords: oxtail stew, jamaican oxtails, oxtail recipe, beef stew, jamaican food