What is Oxtail Stew?

Deeply flavorful oxtail stew is a classic Jamaican dish, and it’s not hard to see why it is so loved! Perfectly caramelized and tender oxtails are cooked low and slow with carrots, peppers, and bold aromatics. The result is a fork-tender hearty soup that tastes both comforting and exciting at the same time!


3 pounds oxtails
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion peeled and chopped
4-5 cloves garlic minced
3-4 large carrots peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 bell peppers seeded and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 scotch bonnet pepper habanero

2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves or 2 tsp dried
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups beef broth
16 ounces canned butter beans drained
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup chopped scallions
Salt and pepper


  • Place the oxtails in a large baking dish. Poor in the Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of allspice. Toss well to coat the ox tails in the seasonings.
  • Place a large 6-8 quart saucepot over medium heat. Add the olive oil to the pot. Once hot, place half the oxtails in the pot and brown for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Move the oxtails around the pan so the sugar doesn’t burn on the bottom. Remove the ox tails and repeat with the remaining second batch. Remove all the oxtails from the pot.
  • Add the onions and garlic to the pot. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then place all the browned oxtails back to the pot. Top them with the chopped carrots, bell peppers, one whole scotch bonnet pepper, bay leaves, thyme, ketchup, and apple cider vinegar. Pour the beef broth over the top. Cover with a heavy lid and cook on medium-low for 2-3 hours, until the oxtail meat is fork-tender.
  • Drain the butter beans and toss them with cornstarch. Stir the beans into the stew. Simmer another 5-10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle of scallions, and serve as-is or with a side of rice.
  • Notes
  • This dish can be made in an Instant Pot or Slow Cooker as well!
  • For the Instant Pot: Sauté the oxtails and veggies as directed. Then pressure cook on high for 40 minutes. Stir in the beans and cornstarch at the end and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • For the Slow Cooker: Saute the oxtails and veggies as directed, on the stovetop. Move everything to the slow cooker and set on high for 7-8 hours, or on low for 12-14 hours. Stir in the beans and cornstarch at the end and simmer another 10 minutes.