The BEST Jamaican Oxtail Recipe

Embark on a culinary journey to the vibrant heart of Jamaica with the Best Jamaican Oxtail Recipe, a dish that encapsulates the soulful flavors and aromatic spices of the Caribbean. Oxtail, slow-cooked to tender perfection, becomes a savory melody that resonates with the warmth and richness of Jamaican cuisine. Join me as we delve into the art of crafting this iconic dish, bringing a taste of the islands to your table.


For the Jamaican Oxtail: Gather the vibrant array of ingredients that will create a symphony of flavors in your kitchen:

  • 3 pounds oxtail, trimmed and cut into sections: The star of the show, rich in flavor and texture.
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil: A neutral base for cooking the oxtail.
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped: Providing a sweet and savory foundation.
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced: Infusing aromatic depth into the dish.
  • 2 sprigs thyme: A quintessential Jamaican herb for earthy fragrance.
  • 2 scallions, chopped: Contributing a mild onion flavor.
  • 2 large carrots, sliced: Adding a touch of sweetness and vibrant color.
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced: Providing a hearty element to the dish.
  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) butter beans, drained and rinsed: A creamy addition to complement the oxtail.
  • 3 cups beef broth: The savory liquid that enhances the stew.
  • 1 cup red wine: Adding depth and complexity to the flavor profile.
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste: Intensifying the richness of the sauce.
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce: Infusing a umami element.
  • 2 Scotch bonnet peppers, whole: Bringing a hint of heat to the dish.
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste: Seasoning the oxtail to perfection.


Step 1: Prep and Season the Oxtail Rinse the oxtail sections thoroughly and pat them dry. Season generously with salt and black pepper, ensuring each piece is well coated.

Step 2: Brown the Oxtail In a large, heavy pot, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Brown the oxtail pieces on all sides until they develop a rich, caramelized exterior. This step enhances the depth of flavor in the dish.

Step 3: Sauté Aromatics Add finely chopped onions and minced garlic to the pot. Sauté until the onions become translucent, releasing their sweet aroma.

Step 4: Build Flavor with Herbs and Spices Introduce thyme, chopped scallions, and Scotch bonnet peppers to the pot. These ingredients form the aromatic backbone of Jamaican cuisine, infusing the oxtail with a distinctive island flavor.

Step 5: Incorporate Vegetables Add sliced carrots and diced potatoes to the pot, creating layers of texture and adding a colorful vibrancy to the stew.

Step 6: Create the Base with Tomato Paste Stir in tomato paste, coating the ingredients and intensifying the richness of the sauce.

Step 7: Pour in Wine, Broth, and Soy Sauce Deglaze the pot by pouring in red wine, scraping up any flavorful bits from the bottom. Follow with beef broth and soy sauce, creating a savory base for the stew.

Step 8: Simmer to Perfection Bring the pot to a gentle simmer, cover, and let it cook over low heat for 2.5 to 3 hours, or until the oxtail becomes tender and falls off the bone. This slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld and intensify.

Step 9: Add Butter Beans In the final stages of cooking, add drained and rinsed butter beans to the pot, allowing them to warm through and absorb the flavorful broth.

Step 10: Adjust Seasoning and Serve Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Remove the Scotch bonnet peppers if you prefer a milder heat. Serve the Jamaican Oxtail over rice or with traditional rice and peas, savoring each spoonful of this hearty island feast.


For an extra layer of richness, consider adding a cup of coconut milk during the last 30 minutes of cooking. This variation imparts a luxurious creaminess to the Jamaican Oxtail.


Slow and Low Cooking: The key to tender oxtail is patience. Allow it to simmer slowly over low heat for the best results.

Adjust Heat Levels: Control the spice level by adjusting the quantity of Scotch bonnet peppers. Remember that the seeds contain the most heat, so handle them with care.

Let it Rest: Like many stews, the flavors of Jamaican Oxtail deepen and develop if allowed to rest for a while before serving. Consider making it a day ahead for an even more flavorful experience.


As you savor the first spoonful of Jamaican Oxtail, let the flavors transport you to the sun-drenched shores of the Caribbean—a culinary journey filled with rich, savory notes and aromatic spices. Whether shared with loved ones or savored as a comforting solo indulgence, this dish is a celebration of Jamaican cuisine’s vibrant and soulful essence. So, let each bite be a taste of Jamaica on your plate—an invitation to experience the warmth, flavor, and culinary traditions of the Caribbean in your own kitchen.

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