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
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
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