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Jamaican Oxtail Stew


Jamaican Oxtail Stew is a rich, hearty dish that’s full of bold flavors and tender meat. This traditional Caribbean recipe is perfect for a comforting meal and is best served with rice and peas or steamed vegetables. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of making Jamaican Oxtail Stew, provide helpful cooking notes, and offer variations to suit different tastes.



  • 3 pounds oxtails, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon browning sauce (optional for color)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and chopped (use gloves and handle with care!)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon allspice (also known as pimento)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Step 1: Marinate the Oxtails

  1. Prepare the Marinade:
    • In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and browning sauce (if using). Add the oxtails to the bowl and toss to coat them evenly. Let the oxtails marinate for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight, in the refrigerator.

Step 2: Sear the Oxtails

  1. Heat the Oil:
    • In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot.
  2. Sear the Oxtails:
    • Remove the oxtails from the marinade (reserve the marinade) and sear them in the hot oil until browned on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pot. Transfer the browned oxtails to a plate and set aside.

Step 3: Sauté the Aromatics

  1. Sauté Onions and Green Onions:
    • In the same pot, add the chopped onion and sliced green onions. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add Garlic, Ginger, and Pepper:
    • Add the minced garlic, minced ginger, and chopped Scotch bonnet pepper to the pot. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant.

Step 4: Build the Stew

  1. Add Spices and Sugar:
    • Stir in the thyme, allspice, and sugar. Cook for 1 minute to toast the spices.
  2. Deglaze and Simmer:
    • Return the browned oxtails to the pot. Add the reserved marinade and pour in the beef broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let the stew simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the oxtails are tender and the meat is falling off the bone.

Step 5: Add Vegetables

  1. Add Carrots and Beans:
    • About 30 minutes before the stew is done, add the sliced carrots and drained butter beans to the pot. Stir to combine and continue to simmer until the carrots are tender.

Step 6: Season and Serve

  1. Adjust Seasoning:
    • Taste the stew and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Serve:
    • Serve the Jamaican Oxtail Stew hot, with rice and peas or steamed vegetables. Enjoy this rich and flavorful dish!

Cook Notes and Variations

Cook Notes:

  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper: Handle with care as it is very hot. You can substitute with a milder pepper if you prefer less heat.
  • Marinating: Marinating the oxtails overnight enhances the flavor, but if you’re short on time, a minimum of 1 hour will still impart good flavor.


  • Vegetable Additions:
    • Add other vegetables such as potatoes, bell peppers, or peas to the stew for additional texture and flavor.
  • Spicy Oxtail Stew:
    • Increase the amount of Scotch bonnet pepper or add a pinch of cayenne pepper for a spicier version.
  • Coconut Oxtail Stew:
    • Add 1 cup of coconut milk during the last 30 minutes of cooking for a creamy and slightly sweet variation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I make this stew in a slow cooker?

Yes, after searing the oxtails and sautéing the aromatics, transfer everything to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.


2. How do I store leftover oxtail stew?

Store any leftover stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.


3. Can I freeze this stew?

Yes, you can freeze the stew. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer to freezer-safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.


4. What can I serve with Jamaican Oxtail Stew?

This stew pairs well with rice and peas, steamed vegetables, or crusty bread to soak up the flavorful sauce.


5. Can I use other types of meat?

While oxtails are traditional, you can use beef short ribs or beef stew meat as substitutes. Adjust the cooking time as needed to ensure the meat is tender.


Jamaican Oxtail Stew is a hearty and flavorful dish that’s perfect for any occasion. With its rich, spiced broth and tender oxtails, this stew is sure to become a favorite in your household. Whether you’re making it for a special gathering or a comforting family meal, this recipe is easy to follow and full of delicious flavors. Give this Jamaican Oxtail Stew recipe a try and enjoy a comforting and delightful meal. Happy cooking!