Oxtail Soup in Slow Cooker

14.3.20 | Recipe by Renz

This oxtail soup in the slow cooker is the ultimate blending of flavors. A hearty combination of meat and veggies, creating an end result of a delicious soup that is just what your family would need for dinner.

Pot of finished oxtail soup made in the slow cooker served in a wide dutch pot.

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I know everyone is all into using their Instant Pots now to make quick meals (the pressure cooker side) but there are some things that I feel still need to be low and slow. And cooking oxtails is one of those things for me.

This recipe is for making oxtail soup with the slow cook method. Regardless of if you use an electric pot with the slow cooker option or use a traditional slow cooker.

This is not like an oxtail stew (or stewed oxtail as we call it). This is not be eaten with white rice. This is a full-on soup.

This soup is packed with flavors that are allowed to blend together as it cooks slowly. No rush. No sweat. Just simmering and blending.

A perfect blend of oxtail pieces in a rich broth with rich flavor.

And if you like oxtail then you should also try this oxtail mac and cheese.

This is almost like a dump-and-go recipe that doesn't require much in the cooking process. No standing over a pot to make this hearty meal.

When this is done all you need to do is serve and eat.

Electric multi-cooker versus traditional crockpot

I used my electric cooker for this since it has the slow cooker option, but you can surely make this oxtail soup in a traditional crockpot.

The difference between using one over the other is that you are able to do everything in one pot versus having to use the stovetop for part of the process and then the slow cooker.

If using a slow cooker-only device, I would suggest doing the brazing of the meat first on your stovetop, then transferring it to the slow cooker.

Seasoned oxtails to be used to make sou
Seasoned Oxtail

Why braise oxtails before cooking?

You are probably wondering why have this extra step for the soup.

I feel soups need to have intense flavor. It's a dish that builds up the combination of everything that's going into the pot.

Braising meat before cooking intensifies the great flavor of the meat in the soup. It's the process of browning that meat in oil and then covering it in liquid to continue to cook. This low and slow cooking continues to develop the flavor as it cooks.

Oxtail is the perfect meat to cook low and slow. It's "tough" and needs to be tenderized.

Yes, you can just throw everything into the slow cooker and skip the pre-steps, but the soup taste is so much better with the brazed meats and getting the flavors started in the pot.

Personally, I think oxtails taste best when it's brazed before cooking.

Some people like to flour the meat prior to braising. A sprinkling of flour helps the meat to caramelize and gives it a nice deep brown color. The flour from this step also helps to thicken up the liquid it's cooking in after.

How do you clean oxtails before cooking?

Oxtails are fatty meat so it's important for us to get off as much excess fat as possible before cooking them.

If I go to the butcher counter the pieces there are usually trimmed very well and I have to do minimal clean-up when I get home.

If I buy packets that are wrapped in the fridge area, then I know I have more work to do.

Regardless of which option, when I get home I rinse out the meat and start trimming. Using a kitchen shear or knife I remove as much excess leftover fat from the meat. This is usually white in color.

Once that's done I do a soak in water and a rinse and throw off again.

What to put in oxtail soup

Well, obviously oxtail. But then I throw in some:

  • Sweet potatoes: either American or Caribbean versions will work.
  • Carrots: I prefer to use organic ones and cut them up myself into disks.
  • Celery
  • Pumpkin - I hate cutting up pumpkins but I much prefer using fresh. Squash can also be used instead

I thought of putting dumplings in there, but I opted against it. But feel free to throw in a few spinners if you want.

Ingredients to be used for the soup on a white plate

  • Onion: I think a good amount of fresh onion is needed
  • Garlic: Fresh again. I love using my garlic press to get it in there.
  • Scotch bonnet pepper 
  • And the other common pantry staples: salt, pepper, all-purpose seasoning, bouillon cubes, broth (beef broth can be used or even chicken stock.

How to make oxtail soup

The process is a quick two-part process to get this soup started.

Seasoning and braising the oxtails

Season up your oxtail as you normally would your meats. Either use green seasoning or salt and black pepper. Do this and set it aside for a little to sit.

Once ready let's get these pieces brazed. Using the saute function on my cooker, I add oil (either vegetable or coconut oil) and let that heat up, then add the pieces of meat to the pot.

When it's brown on one side (about 2-3 minutes) then I flip to do the other side.

Oxtail being braised in the pot before adding it to soup.

If you have a lot of meat, remove those pieces that are done, then do the other batch till completed. It must be braised in a single layer.

Building the soup

After removing the brazed oxtail add a little more oil to the pot to get heated. You do not want too much oil, because oxtail releases fat by itself.

Now add the vegetables to the heated oil and use that to help deglaze the pan.

Add the oxtail back to the pot and mix it all together.


If it happens to start to get too heated and the onions are sticking, add a little of the broth to the pot. No more than 1/4 cup. You want to make sure you don't have burnt onions but you also want their flavors released with heating.

Now dump in carrots, sweet potatoes, celery, bay leaf, pumpkin, and bullion cubes, and mix that up so that they also get heated through a bit.

Then add the rest of the broth. Now just about everything is in there but your water and hot pepper.

Braised oxtail meat with vegetables in a dutch pot.

We need liquid in there, not just to cover the meat to slow cook but to make sure that there is liquid in the soup when it's done cooking.  If this was a stew we would just put enough water to get the meat cooked, but we want cooked meat AND enough broth for this dish.

So make sure you add water to about 1 inch or more above the level of the meat when in the pot. Add your other seasonings, stir and add pepper.

My tolerance for heat is very low, so if you really like your soup to have some pepper heat go ahead and add more to make an oxtail pepper soup.

Now switch from the saute option by selecting cancel on your cooker, then to "slow cooker" and set the time to 6 hours and cover.

Oxtail with broth and vegetables about to be made into oxtail soup.

Now we get to do the waiting game.

After 6 hours, check the soup for the liquid amount and for tenderness of the oxtail.

If the meat is still tough, then it will need to go more. Does it need more liquid? Add some broth. 

If the meat is tender, does the liquid need to thicken some more? If yes, then you can make a flurry of 1 tablespoon of water with a few drops of water to make a paste. Add the paste to the pot and stir and leave it to continue cooking.

The oxtail meat should start to fall off the bone and be tender at the end.

I would also taste for pepper closer to the end.

This is one soup I think needs to be a little spicy so if that scotch bonnet didn't take the spice level over the top, feel free to add some pepper sauce a little at a time.

A bowl of finished oxtail soup

Reheating tips for this soup

This soup is great the next day. You can put the whole pot back to a low boil, stirring as it reheats.

You can also take out a bowl amount and warm it up in the microwave. Stop it at intervals and stir to ensure even heating.

Serving of a bowl of oxtail soup

Can this soup be frozen?

Yes, it can. But I don't think it tastes that great after being defrosted and warmed up.

It tastes amazing the next day after making it, but thawed and warmed after freezing actually was a no for me.

How to get slow-cooker oxtail soup to be less oily?

Oxtail has a lot of fat to it. So make sure to get as much of the fat off as possible. You can ask your butcher to trim it for you then you can take your time and trim off any leftovers when you get home.

A large white bowl of delicious oxtail soup in the slow cooker

Do you cook oxtails on high or low in the crock pot

You can cook them on either setting, but obviously cooking on high will get the meat tender in a faster time. If I'm home I will set mine on high, but if I am going to be out and want this to cook while I'm away, slow is my option.

You can also set it to low to start then switch to high to finish up.

How long does it take for oxtails to get tender in the crock pot?

It can take about 7 hours or so. This will vary depending on the cut of oxtails you have. If they are large pieces these can take a little longer to get tender than smaller pieces. Time can also be affected by how fresh the pieces of meat are. Older pieces would be tougher and take longer.

Check out some more slow cooker and instant pot recipes:


  1. Hi Renz,
    I hope you are well.
    You really are a great chef,very authentic!
    Keep up the recipes,and thank you for sharing your knowledge!


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