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Jamaican oxtail is a favorite to make. The dish is full of hearty flavors and sits in a long braise resulting in meat that easily falls off the bone. 


​​Jamaican oxtail is a simple recipe with big, bold flavors. It is made with hearty, wholesome ingredients by simmering and stewing oxtails with root vegetables, herbs, scotch bonnet pepper, and spices.

It results in perfectly cooked oxtails, incredibly juicy and tender that it falls apart and melts in your mouth. One bite will make all the time put into making this dish worth it with a big, bold flavor.


Oxtail is seasoned with a mixture of allspice, paprika, minced garlic, onion powder, garlic powder, Worcester sauce, and soy sauce, and cooked alongside scallions, diced onions, and bell peppers. Each bite gives off super strong flavors and bursts of spice. 

This is probably my favorite way to eat oxtails. It requires gently braising the meat over slow heat. This process will not only soften the connective tissues of the meat but will also brown the meat nicely and give the stew an extra flavor boost. Oxtails definitely deserve more attention than they get! 

The flavor is hearty and delicious thanks to the spices and herbs, and the oxtails are succulent and melt-in-your-mouth good. But the real star of the show here are the OXTAILS

Another spicy, hearty, and flavorful Jamaican dish I love is the Jamaican Curry Goat, typically flavored with curry and spices and cooked with potatoes. It’s a good choice when you are in the mood for something warm and comforting.


Oxtail is the tail of the beef cattle. The beef is very rich in gelatin and results in a luscious and juicy flavor. The cut of meat is super rich in gelatin, which is why it is typically slow-cooked or braised. The gelatin, along with the bones, produces an incredibly flavorful stock and broth. 


Jamaican oxtails are tail portions of beef cattle cooked together with root vegetables, herbs, scotch bonnet pepper, and spices and stewed in their own fat until the meat is tender and succulent and literally falls off the bone. The meat is often served with rice and peas, with plantains. 


This oxtail stew is an uncomplicated one-pot recipe. It turns up in many different versions that slightly vary in spicing by different families. Here is how to make it:

  • Prep the meat: Cut the additional fat off the cut of meat using a knife, kitchen shears, or scissors. You’ll want to keep some fat on the meat, but not an excessive amount. Too much fat will leave everything very greasy. 
  • Wash: Once the oxtails are trimmed, I like to wash them using lemon, lime, and salt and rinse with water and vinegar until the water runs clear. This is optional but recommended. When all ready, pat the meat dry with a paper towel to catch the excess water. 
  • Season and marinade: In a bowl, add in all of the spices and sauces to create the marinade. Add in the scallions, diced onions, and bell peppers. Give everything a thorough mix to fully combine the ingredients. In order to achieve a flavorful result, give the meat enough time to marinate
  • Braising Time: When the meat is done marinating, heat a large pan with oil on the stove. When the oil is hot, add in the oxtail one piece at a time, making sure to braise each side for about 10 minutes. Flip to ensure beautifully caramelized browning and even cook. 
  • Additional items: Add in the additional veggies from the marinade and let cook for about 10 minutes. Cover the beef and leave the oxtail to braise for 2-3 hours or till the meat becomes tender.
  • Finishing it off: Just before the oxtail is ready, stir in the butter beans and let cook for about 5 minutes. 


The elevated dish is typically served with Jamaican rice and peas with plantains but can be served alongside pretty much any side. Try it with rice and beans, spaghetti, or couscous.


It takes about 2 to 3 hours, but the results will be well worth the wait.


In order to achieve those wonderful and mouthwatering flavors, I recommend marinating the pieces of meat for 6 to 8 hours (overnight). If you are in a rush, the oxtail can be marinated for a minimum of a half-hour but will taste best if left in the marinade for maximum time. 


Oxtail isn’t like your typical cut of steak. The elevated beef has such a powerful and rich flavor due to its higher fat and gelatin content. The bones in the middle of the cut of meat also add to the flavor of the dish, as the bone marrow is cooked off slowly and melts into the dish. 


Yes! Oxtail is good for you. It’s a gelatin-rich meat and it’s also rich in protein and iron.


I prefer to shop for oxtail at the Mexican meat market. African or Caribbean markets are also good places to try. However, it is typically available in other specialty markets or a local grocery store. Shop around and make sure you are getting a solid price on the cut of meat. The cut tends to run on the pricer side, although it used to be very cheap meat before it gained popularity.


If you decide not to cook the oxtail immediately, you can store it in the refrigerator for about three to five days or simply wrap it well and store it in the freezer for up to a year.

  1. Oxtails are fatty, which means more flavor. However, you still want to make sure the fat is trimmed off as much as possible so that your stew will not end up being too greasy.
  2. Jamaican oxtail uses scotch bonnet pepper which brings up the heat in the stew. If you are not a fan of spice, feel free to reduce the quantity of scotch bonnet.
  3. It’s best not to skip any of the ingredients listed in this recipe. However, if you choose to skip any, please don’t skip allspice!
  4. I love to use chicken bouillon to give the stew a little oomph but if you don’t have that, you can also use all-purpose seasoning.
  5. It’s best to make more than you need for this recipe because you can keep any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, and it also freezes very well. Just store in freezer-safe containers with a tight-fitting lid and use as needed.

Love this oxtail dish and want something just as delicious? Try my favorite:

Jamaican oxtail stew garnished with parsley

Jamaican oxtails – Soft, Juicy, and Mouthwatering Cowtails!

Jamaican oxtail is a favorite to make. The dish is full of hearty flavors and sits in a long braise resulting in meat that easily falls off the bone.
5 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Lunch/Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: jamaican
Keyword: oxtail recipe, oxtail stew
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 526.6kcal
Author: Lola Osinkolu


  • 3 lb oxtails

Seasoning and spices

  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ginger minced
  • ½ teaspoon chicken bouillon or 1 tsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt or add to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper or add to taste

Veggies and herb

  • ½ cup red bell pepper finely chopped
  • ½ cup green bell pepper finely chopped
  • 3 stalks green onion chopped
  • 1 onion medium size [finely chopped]
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • ½ teaspoon scotch bonnet pepper to taste
  • 1 tomato small size [diced]
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme

Cooking the oxtails

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 can butter beans or broad beans [optional]


  • ut off excess fat: Use a kitchen shear or scissors to cut off the excess fat. The fat is good, but too much will leave your stew greasy. Trust me; you will not like it!
  • Wash the oxtails: Wash the oxtails with lemon or lime and salt and rinse out with water or vinegar (optional) until the water runs clear.
  • Pat dry: Pat the oxtails dry with a paper towel to dry any leftover water.
  • Season: Place the oxtails in a large bowl and season with allspice, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, minced ginger, chicken bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, salt, and pepper.
  • Throw in the veggies – red and green bell peppers, green onion, diced onion, garlic, scotch bonnet, tomatoes, carrots, and thyme.
  • Mix well: Mix the oxtails, veggies, and seasoning together very well so that the seasoning touches every part of the meat and veggies.
  • Marinate: Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes. It’s best between 6 to 8 hours.


  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan and gently remove the oxtails one at a time from the marinade. Keep the marinade and veggies.
  • Carefully place each oxtail in the pan (don’t crowd them) and braise each side for about 10 minutes on low to medium heat. Be sure to braise on all sides. This helps to build flavor and lock in the juice.
  • Add the marinade with the veggies in the pan and leave to cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat.
  • Now add the beef broth, cover, and leave to cook for 2 to 3 hours or until the oxtails become super soft.
  • Stir in the butter beans, adjust seasoning if necessary, and leave to simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Serve hot with Jamaican rice and peas or white rice.


  • Oxtail is the tail of a cow!
  • Oxtails are fatty, which means more flavor. However, you still want to make sure the fat is trimmed off as much as possible so that your stew will not end up being too greasy.


Calories: 526.6kcal | Carbohydrates: 13.6g | Protein: 57.5g | Fat: 26.6g | Saturated Fat: 9.7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13.2g | Cholesterol: 187.1mg | Sodium: 1527.6mg | Potassium: 431.5mg | Fiber: 3.9g | Sugar: 3.7g | Vitamin A: 3195.3IU | Vitamin C: 26.1mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 8.4mg

Thanks for stopping by. Let’s connect!

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Recipe Rating


Thursday 21st of December 2023

i made this stew and it was wonderful. thank you!


Saturday 21st of May 2022

Minced or crushed garlic? Your ingredients say “crushed”

Do you marinate the vegetables with the oxtail together then pull the oxtail out to braise?

Habanero or scotch bonnet? You mention both but then never call for either in the directions.

Were you drunk when you wrote this recipe?

Lola Osinkolu

Saturday 21st of May 2022

Hi John, I understand your frustration and I do sincerely apologize. yes, I marinated the vegetables with the oxtail together and I pulled the oxtails out to braise. I have updated the recipe to include the missing information. Please let me know if you have any other questions.


Friday 29th of April 2022

No mention of when to several ingredients such as the tomato, Tyme, carrots or bouillon.

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Monday 30th of May 2022

Thank you, Sean. If you navigate to the end of the article, you will see the details of the ingredients. I mentioned the seasoning, spices, and veggies that I used. I will be looking forward to your feedback when you try this recipe.

Gregor Kandler

Wednesday 10th of November 2021

Awesome very clear and precise!! going to try your way!

Lola Osinkolu

Wednesday 10th of November 2021

I love to know what you think once you try it!


Wednesday 10th of March 2021

This actually turned out really well. Perfect combination of spices.

Lola Osinkolu

Wednesday 14th of July 2021

“Thank you, it makes my day to hear that.