Instant Pot Oxtail. Looking for an easy instant pot oxtail recipe, or a beef braise using an unusual cut of meat that is fall off the bone tender? Try Instant Pot Easy Braised Oxtails.
Now, this is about as simple as a recipe gets, but don't be fooled - simple doesn't mean boring. Oxtail is an excellent cut for the pressure cooker. It's full of tough connective tissue, fat, and bones and needs long, slow cooking to melt into tender meat that is falling off the bone. Or, I need to apply some pressure - that's where my Instant Pot steps in. A long, slow braise (cooking the oxtails with a bit of liquid) takes just over an hour in my pressure cooker.
So, if you want slow cooked flavor in about an hour, try this recipe. You'll never need the slow cooker again.
- Vegetable oil
- Fine sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Beef broth (or chicken broth or water)
- Dried Thyme
- Worcestershire sauce
- Soy sauce
How to Make Instant Pot Oxtail
- Sear the oxtail: Heat the vegetable oil in an Instant Pot set to Sauté mode until the oil is shimmering. Season the oxtails pieces with salt and pepper, then put them in a single layer in the pot. (They will just fit in the bottom of a 6-quart Instant Pot). Sear them until they are browned on the bottom, then flip the pieces of oxtail and immediately move on to the next step.
- Everything in the pot: Pour the beef broth into the pot, sprinkle in the dried thyme, and drizzle the tops of the oxtails with the Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce.
- Cook on High Pressure for 45 minutes with a Natural Release: Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook mode, set the cook time for 45 minutes, and let the pot pressure cook the oxtail. When the timer finishes, let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 minutes more.
- Defat the sauce and serve: Unlock the lid and move the oxtail pieces to a platter with tongs or a slotted spoon. (Be gentle, they are very tender.) Pour the liquid in the pot into a fat separator and let the fat settle to the top. Drizzle a little of the defatted sauce on the platter of oxtail and pass the rest at the table. Enjoy!
- Oxtail is precisely what it says it is - a steer's tail. Beef oxtail is not a common cut in the US, but it is getting easier to find. In the old days, I'd tell you to check your local Mexican market. Now I can find it at my local grocery store (if I dig deep into the meat case), and Costco sells entire tails, cross-cut and sealed in cryovac. No matter where you find it, it is still a cheap cut of meat, with
- If you can't find oxtail, beef short ribs, cut 2-3 inches thick, are an acceptable substitute.
If you want a fancier version of the recipe, with extra flavor: After browning the oxtails on one side, remove them to a platter. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste to the pot, and cook, stirring with a flat-edged wooden spoon for a minute or two, until the paste starts to brown. Pour in ½ cup of red wine and scrape loose the brown oxtail bits and tomato paste from the bottom of the instant pot. Put the oxtail back into the pot, add the beef broth and 2 bay leaves, and continue with the recipe as written. At the end, after removing the oxtails, discard the bay leaves, then thicken the sauce with a cornstarch slurry of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of cold water.
This recipe doubles easily in a 6-quart pressure cooker, but you need to brown the oxtails in 2 batches. Cut all the ingredients in half, and this recipe will fit in a 3-quart pressure cooker, but again, you may have to brown the oxtail in batches to get it to fit. The cooking time does not change; it takes the same time to cook a single 3-inch piece of oxtail through, no matter how many are in the pot.
Oxtails make great leftovers - I store them in 2-cup containers with some of the defatted sauce. They keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. Or, I shred the oxtail meat, pulling it off the bones while it's still hot, and store the shredded meat in 2-cup containers. (They make great tacos or shredded beef sandwiches).
Tips and Tricks
Searing on one side:
I only sear meat on one side for the best balance between flavor and speed. Browning adds a lot of flavor to braises when the cooking liquid melts the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. You can skip the browning step if you're in a big hurry, and the oxtail will still be good, but not quite as great as it could be. Or, if you have the patience, you can brown the meat on multiple sides to build even more flavor. "Brown on one side" is my compromise between building flavor and speed.
What to serve with braised oxtail
I love these oxtails with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable side (like green beans).
Pressure Cooker Beef Shank (Osso Bucco) - DadCooksDinner
Pressure Cooker Short Ribs Braised with Beer - DadCooksDinner
Pressure Cooker Beef Brisket - DadCooksDinner
My other Pressure Cooker Recipes
Instant Pot Easy Braised Oxtail
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Instant Pot Easy Braised Oxtail. Simple and delicious, braised oxtail in a little over an hour thanks to pressure cooking.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 pounds oxtail, cut into 3-inch lengths
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup beef or chicken broth (or water)
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Sear the oxtail on one side: Heat the vegetable oil in the Instant Pot over Sauté mode set to high (medium-high heat in a stovetop PC) until the oil starts to shimmer. While the pot heats, sprinkle the oxtail with ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Add the oxtails to the pot in a single layer (they will just barely fit in a 6-quart Instant Pot - think jigsaw puzzle) and sear until well browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Flip the oxtails and immediately move on to the next step.
- Add the thyme and liquid: Pour the broth into the pot, then sprinkle the oxtails with the dried thyme. Drizzle the Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce over everything.
- Pressure cook for 45 minutes with a Natural Pressure Release: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Cook at high pressure for 45 minutes (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot), or for 40 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 30 more minutes. (If you’re in a hurry, you can quick release any remaining pressure after 20 minutes.) Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to avoid the hot steam.
- Defat the sauce and serve: Remove the oxtails from the pot with tongs or a slotted spoon. Be gentle - the oxtails will be fall-apart tender. Pour the cooking liquid into a 1-quart fat strainer, and let it settle to separate the fat. Pour a little of the de-fatted liquid on the oxtails and pass the rest at the table to use as a sauce. Enjoy!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Category: Sunday Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Instant Pot Oxtail : Easy Braised Recipe, Pressure Cooker Easy Braised Oxtail
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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Wanda Hall says
Love this super easy
Hi. I rarely leave reviews or ratings, but I felt compelled with this recipe. It is so simple with minimal ingredients and yet so flavorful! I've made it 3 times in the past year. It's a game changer. I usually make veal tails for different soups, but I also love beef oxtails. Since I'm the only one in the family that loves them, I don't want to spend hours making them just for myself. Enter your recipe. I only add water, low sodium soy sauce & Worcestershire sauce. SO flavorful with minimal effort. I've made it slightly different each time - browned on one side as per recipe, not browned at all, browned on two sides. Good every time. The last two times I added a whole peeled large potato (so that it wouldn't disintegrate during 45 minutes of cooking) and I had a whole meal.
Thank you. It's a keeper.
Mike Vrobel says
Perfect recipe!!! Oxtails are delicious 😋
So freakin’ good! I made this for my wife this evening with some rice and collards as sides and she loved it. I have always been intimidated to try and cook oxtail because living in Brooklyn I have access to amazing Caribbean restaurants who make some delicious versions of it. I’ve always imagined the dish to be complex and labor intensive but this recipe was so easy and good. Thank you so much!
Mike Vrobel says
Jorge San Martin says
I have been cooking ox tail for a while. My mother taught me that instead of water or beef stock , you sauté it with a little water, onions, green peppers and the liquid is coconut milk. It really takes it a few steps higher. I also use my pressure cooker to sauté and cook it in the same pot. After de-fatting the tail, you add the coconut milk and let it finish cooking.
Mike Vrobel says
Thanks for the tip - a little extra work than this easy oxtail, but it sounds good!
My first taste of oxtails and it was very good. I love the gelatinous texture and flavor. I made a little roux to thicken the broth, after I did the fat separation, as I thought it would be better over the rice. Thanks for posting. P.S. I didn’t have the worsestshire, I always have it on hand. So I subbed horseradish to add zing.
Kandice McGee says
Just made this tonight and it was amazing! I never leave reviews but this recipe called for one. I have souther roots so oxtails we always a special Sunday dinner kinda treat. Followed you simplistic recipe to the T but I turned my stock into a gravy to poured over butter filled mashed potatoes. Oxtails no longer have to be a weekend meal. Thank you Mike!
Makoto Cole says
Thanks for this recipe. I like the simplicity of the ingredients. The cooking time of 45 minutes was perfect. Thanks again!
Mike Vrobel says
I loved this recipe.
I just added 1/2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp onion & 1 tsp garlic powder along with the other ingredients in the broth to the other ingredients in a large measuring cup, stirring until well measured. Then poured into the metal liner, added the oxtails and cooked according to your instructions.
Verity Alonso says
This recipe is amazing, i am married to a Cuban ( from Cuba) and my Cuban father-in-law lives with us.
I had never made Oxtail (Rabo) and my father-in-law loves it. Now normally Cubans make a stew... but i liked the meat as meat and serve with rice and beans, plus i had all the ingredients for this recipe in the house. Anyway... my father-in-law LOVED it ... i mean he thought i had been making Oxtail forever and had been keeping it from him, lol. So thank you ... now this has been added to my monthly menu.
Love the taste of this oxtail and it's real easy to prep. I coat the oxtail in flour before braising as i find it gives a better flavour and thickens the sauce wonderfully. Highly recommended.
I add bay leaf and 400ml red wine delish!
Simple but awesome. I’ve always liked oxtails but used to take so long to cook. With this recipe, I was able to fix it for a weeknight dinner. I’m following plant paradox and substituted liquid aminos instead of soy and Worcestershire sauce. Thickened the juice with arrowroot flour. Served the it over egg noodles. My husband said I should add it to the replay list.
I just made this ox tails and they were great
Jeff Winett says
Please ad me to the list of having fallen for pressure cooker braised Ox Tails in a big way. I had never made these in my lifetime until reading Mike's recipe/technique. I made them 2 days in advance, keeping the braising liquid separate from the tails. The chilled solidified fat was removed from the liquid so easily, and the resulting liquid was a completely bone enriched gel. When ready to serve I put the tails into a pyrex casserole and topped with that amazing liquid, albeit in "jello" state. I reheated the casserole covered with foil, and my accompaniment was Polenta. For me, this was even more delicious than short ribs! Thanks Mike, so much for sharing this recipe.
David A Edelstein says
I _adore_ oxtail. When I was growing up in Honolulu there used to be a tiny family run restaurant about a mile from our apartment that was famous for their oxtail noodle soup; I miss it to this day.
Generally when I make oxtail (in my pressure cooker, of course) I go in more of a soy sauce/doban jian/chiles/sesame oil direction. But I contend that you could cook it in plain water with a bit of salt and it would still be delicious.