How To Make Jamaican Oxtail Stew: My Family Recipe

Lynda-Louise Burrell, Creative Director of The National Caribbean Heritage Museum, shares her traditional recipe for a classic Caribbean oxtail stew.

"My favourite Caribbean dish of all time is oxtail stew. It’s often associated with special occasions because it’s a bit more expensive to make, but if you can, it’s worth finding an excuse to make it more often and enjoy the tender, flavourful goodness of this cultural comfort good. Oxtail usually takes hours to cook. It must be cooked slowly, but the stew is well worth the wait. It’s quicker and easier to cook the oxtail if all the pieces are a similar size, but don’t worry, it’s not essential. Just one other thing, if the oxtail is fatty, remove some of the fat using a paring knife, to avoid ending up with fatty gravy."

This oxtail stew will go well with Lynda's recipe for rice and peas. You can stock up on Caribbean Food & Ingredients here

You can also hear from Lynda's mother Catherine about celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Windrush and her Caribbean food memories. As well as read Lynda's recipes for a traditional Jamaican Celebration lunch

Serves 4 Caribbean-style portions i.e. large, or 6 smaller servings!

Ingredients for Jamaican Oxtail Stew


  1. Put the oxtails into a large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle over the oxtails, the salt, black pepper, dried thyme, allspice, 2 of the 4 cloves of garlic, the all-purpose seasoning, graving browning, Maggis liquid seasoning or dark soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar.
  3. Mix the contents of the bowl with your hands so each oxtail piece is fully covered with the seasonings.
  4. Leave the oxtail to marinate in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.
  5. Add the seasoned oxtail pieces to a Dutch pot or large saucepan with 1tbsp of the vegetable oil on medium-high heat, flat side down about ¼ inch apart, and brown on each side for about 2 minutes making sure they don’t burn.
  6. Remove the oxtail pieces when they are brown and put them into a bowl.
  7. Deglaze the pan by adding about 2 tbsp of beef stock cube (dissolved in water as directed) or beef broth, so you don’t lose any of the tasty goodness from the frying process. Keep the rest of the stock cube, or beef broth to one side, you will use it later.
  8. Add the remaining oil, the spring onions, carrots, and scotch bonnet pepper. Stir and sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onions have softened.
  9. Add the browned oxtails back to the pot with the remaining stock or beef broth and gently stir the contents.
  10. Cover the Dutch pot with the lid and bring the contents to the boil.
  11. Put the cornflour into a small bowl, add some of the liquid from the Dutch pot, a small amount at a time, and whisk to create a paste.
  12. Add this paste slowly to the contents of the Dutch pot while stirring in so that the liquid in it thickens.
  13. Add the drained butterbeans to the Dutch pot and cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened a little and the butterbeans are warmed.
  14. Serve and enjoy.
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Feeling Inspired? Why not try the recipe for rice and peas to accompany the dish or even look at a range of sides for a Caribbean feast.

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1 comment

  • Cannot believe Oxtail cooks in 10minutes?? I thought it simmered for several hours? Am I missing something??

    Pauline on

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