How to Cook Oxtails in Slow Cooker – Easy and Delicious Recipe 

how to cook oxtails in slow cooker

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Oxtails are a delicious and versatile cut of meat that can be enjoyed in various cuisines. Whether you prefer them braised, stewed, or roasted, oxtails will satisfy your taste buds with their rich flavour and tender texture. However, cooking oxtails can be challenging, as they require a long and slow cooking process to break down the tough connective tissues and release collagen and gelatin. A slow cooker is a great way to cook oxtails without much hassle. In this blog post, we will teach you how to cook oxtails in a slow cooker to perfection so you can enjoy this hearty and comforting dish anytime.

What are Oxtails, and Why Are They So Good?

Oxtails are the tail sections of cattle, usually cut into segments of varying sizes. They have a lot of bone, cartilage, and fat, which give them a distinctive flavour and texture. Oxtails are also very nutritious and rich in protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. Moreover, oxtails contain collagen and gelatin, which benefit your skin, hair, nails, joints, and gut health.

How to Prepare Oxtails for the Slow Cooker

Before cooking oxtails in a slow cooker, you must prepare them properly. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Choose the right oxtails: Look for fresh and high-quality meat that is well-trimmed and has a deep red colour. Avoid oxtails that are greyish or have a strong odour.
  • To prepare the oxtails, first, rinse them thoroughly under cold water and then dry them off using paper towels. Remove any excess fat and debris from the surface of the meat.
  • Marinate oxtails: To enhance the flavour of the oxtails, you can marinate them overnight or for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. You can use various marinades, such as soy sauce, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, vinegar, wine, or your favourite herbs and spices.

What Ingredients and Seasonings Do You Need?

You will need some essential ingredients and seasonings to cook oxtails in a slow cooker. Here is a list of what you will need:

  • Oxtails: You will need about 4 pounds of oxtails for this recipe. You can use more or less depending on your preference and the size of your slow cooker.
  • Onion: One large onion, chopped into small pieces. Onion adds sweetness and depth to the dish.
  • Carrot: One large carrot, peeled and chopped into small pieces. The carrot adds colour and texture to the dish.
  • Celery: One large celery stalk, chopped into small pieces. Celery adds crunch and freshness to the dish.
  • Garlic: Four cloves of garlic, minced or crushed. Garlic adds aroma and flavour to the dish.
  • Tomato paste: Two tablespoons of tomato paste. Tomato paste adds richness and colour to the dish.
  • Beef broth: Four cups of beef broth. Beef broth adds moisture and flavour to the dish.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Worcestershire sauce adds tanginess and umami to the dish.
  • Bay leaf: One bay leaf. Bay leaf adds a subtle herbal note to the dish.
  • Salt: One teaspoon of salt. Salt enhances the flavour of the dish.
  • Pepper: Half a teaspoon of black pepper. Pepper adds spiciness and warmth to the dish.

You can add other ingredients or seasonings according to your taste or dietary preferences. For example, add red wine, thyme, rosemary, parsley, or smoked paprika for extra flavour.

How to Choose the Right Slow Cooker

A slow cooker is a convenient and easy way to cook oxtails without wasting too much time or effort. However, it would help if you chose the right slow cooker for this task. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Size: Choose a slow cooker large enough to fit all the ingredients without overcrowding comfortably. A 6-quart slow cooker should be sufficient for this recipe.
  • Features: Choose a slow cooker with a timer and a keep-warm function. This will allow you to set the cooking time and temperature according to your schedule and preference. It can also maintain the warmth of your food until you’re prepared to serve it.
  • Shape: Choose a slow cooker with an oval shape rather than a round one. This will allow you to fit the oxtails more evenly and avoid stacking them on top of each other.

How to Cook Oxtails in a Slow Cooker Step by Step

Now that you have prepared the oxtails and gathered the ingredients, you are ready to cook them in a slow cooker. Here are the step-by-step instructions to follow:

  • Season the oxtails: Sprinkle salt and pepper over them and rub them well. You can also use your favourite spice blends or rubs for more flavour.
  • Sear the oxtails: Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Sear the oxtails on all sides until they are browned and have a flavorful crust. This will take about 15 minutes. Move the oxtails onto a plate and keep it aside.
  • Assemble the slow cooker: In the same skillet, sauté the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic over medium-high heat until soft and fragrant. This will take about 10 minutes. After adding the tomato paste, cook for another 2 minutes. Pour beef broth into the skillet and use a spatula to scrape off any browned bits from the bottom to deglaze it. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker. Add the remaining beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, and any other seasonings you like. Stir well to combine. Arrange the oxtails on top of the vegetable mixture in a single layer.
  • Set the cooking time and temperature: If you want to prepare your meal in a slow cooker, cover it with a lid and set the heat to low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours. The oxtails are done when they are fork-tender and falling off the bone.
  • Add final touches: Remove the bay leaf and discard it. Remove any extra fat from the top of the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. It’s worth adding fresh herbs or squeezing some lemon juice for a tastier dish. This will add a new level of freshness to your meal.

How to Achieve Optimal Results

Cooking oxtails in a slow cooker is a simple and foolproof method, but there are some tips and tricks to ensure optimal results. Here are some of them:

  • Trim off excess fat: Oxtails have a lot of fat, making the dish too greasy or oily. To avoid this, trim off as much fat as possible from the oxtails before cooking them.
  • Sear the oxtails: Searing them before adding them to the slow cooker is an important step that should be taken. Searing creates a caramelized crust that adds flavour and texture to the dish. It also seals in the juices and prevents them from drying out during cooking.
  • Layer the ingredients: Layering the ingredients in the slow cooker is another key step that affects the outcome of the dish. The vegetables should go at the bottom of the slow cooker, as they act as a bed for the oxtails and absorb their juices. The oxtails should go on top of the vegetables, as they need more exposure to heat to become tender and succulent.
  • Use enough liquid: The liquid in the slow cooker serves as a braising medium that helps cook and tenderize the oxtails. It also forms a delicious sauce that coats them. Therefore, you must use enough liquid to cover at least half of the oxtails in the slow cooker. You can use beef broth, water, wine, or other liquid.
  • Cook on low heat: For oxtails, it’s best to cook them on low heat to ensure they cook evenly without burning or drying out. It also helps break down the meat’s collagen and gelatin, making it more tender and moist.
  • Adjust cooking times: The cooking times for oxtails may vary depending on their size, thickness, and freshness. They may also vary depending on your slow cooker model and settings. Therefore, you must check on them occasionally and adjust the cooking times accordingly.

How to Serve and Pair Oxtails

Once your oxtails are cooked in a slow cooker, you can serve them in various ways. Here are some suggestions:

  • Remove oxtails from the slow cooker and plate them attractively on a large platter or individual plates. Spoon some sauce over them and garnish with fresh herbs or parsley.
  • Serve oxtails with your favourite side dishes and accompaniments. Some popular options include mashed potatoes, rice, polenta, noodles, bread, salad, or roasted vegetables.
  • Pair oxtails with a beverage that complements their flavour and richness. Some good choices include red wine, beer, cider, or water.

What to Do with Leftover Oxtails

If you have any leftover oxtails from your slow cooker meal, you can repurpose them into new dishes that are equally delicious and satisfying. Here are some creative ideas:

  • Shred or chop leftover oxtails and use them as a filling for tacos, burritos, sandwiches, wraps, or pies.
  • Mix leftover oxtails with cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, and herbs and shape them
  • into meatballs or patties. Fry or bake them until golden and crispy.
  • Add leftover oxtails to soups, stews, casseroles, or curries for extra flavour and protein.
  • Make a salad with leftover oxtails, greens, nuts, cheese, and a dressing you choose.
  • Make a hash with leftover oxtails, potatoes, onions, peppers, and eggs.

How to Store Leftover Oxtails

To preserve the flavours and quality of your leftover oxtails, you must store them properly. I have some useful tips for storing items:

  • Let the leftover oxtails cool completely before storing them. Please do not leave them at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Transfer the leftover oxtails and sauce to an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. Separate the meat from the bones if you prefer.
  • Refrigerate the leftover oxtails for up to four days or freeze them for up to three months.
  • Reheat the leftover oxtails in a microwave, oven, or stovetop until hot and bubbly.


Oxtails are a delicious and nutritious cut of meat that can be cooked in a slow cooker to perfection. Following the steps and tips in this blog post, you can make a mouthwatering dish to impress your family and friends. Enjoy!


1. Q: What are the best cuts of oxtails for slow cooking?

A: The best cuts of oxtails for slow cooking are the ones that have more meat and less bone. These are usually the middle and lower segments of the tail. The upper segments are thinner and have more bone, making them dry out faster.

2. Q: How do I thicken the sauce from the slow cooker?

A: If you want to thicken the sauce from the slow cooker, you can use one of these methods:
Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan and simmer it over medium-high heat until reduced and thickened.
Mix cornstarch or flour with water and stir it into the sauce. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
Use an immersion blender to puree some of the vegetables in the sauce. This will add body and texture to the sauce.

3. Q: Can I cook oxtails in a pressure cooker instead of a slow cooker?

A: You can cook oxtails in a pressure cooker instead of a slow cooker. However, you must adjust the cooking time and liquid amount accordingly. Generally, you must cook oxtails in a pressure cooker for about 45 minutes on high pressure, with enough liquid to cover them. You will also need to release the pressure naturally before opening the lid.

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