Oxtail Soup

Though a humble cut, oxtail segments braised in a rich broth with root vegetables makes a sumptuous, comforting soup.

Though a humble cut, oxtail segments braised in a rich broth with root vegetables makes a sumptuous, comforting soup.

What is Oxtail Soup?

The name of this soup is a little misleading. Though, long ago the meat cut did come from the tail of an ox, today it comes from cows. It’s a bony, fatty cut perfect for braising. And because the meat is gelatinous, the resulting broth is rich and lush.

Several cultures have a version of this soup including Korean, Italian, Chinese, and Jamaican. My favorite version has its origins in Britain. The oxtails are braised in a tomato, beef broth and studded with potatoes and carrots.

How to Make Oxtail Soup

The preparation for the soup is simple. It’s the long braising time of 3 hours that develops the complex, savory flavors and tenderizes the meat.

An important step in the preparation process is browning the meat. Don’t get impatient during this step. When you sear the meat make sure to let a brown, crisp crust form. It takes about 5 – 6 minutes per side in a medium-high heat.

Remove the browned meat from the soup pot or Dutch oven and drain half of the rendered fat from the pot. Add the onion and celery to the pot and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Next stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and sherry or water to deglaze the pot. Add the seared oxtail segments back to the pot along with the herbs and beef broth. Then, sit back and enjoy the aroma of braising oxtails.

After 2 ½ hours of braising, add the root vegetables and allow to cook until tender.

Serving the Oxtail Soup

Remember to remove the bay leaf from the soup. I like to spoon a tail segment into each of the serving bowls, surround it with the vegetables and then ladle the broth over all. If you prefer, you can remove the oxtail segments and shred the meat from the bones and then transfer the shredded meat back into the soup and serve. Garnish with parsley and serve with a crusty loaf of bread to sop up all of the broth.



Oxtail Soup

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings


Though a humble cut, oxtail segments braised in a rich broth with root vegetables makes a sumptuous, comforting soup.


  • 3 lbs. oxtail cut into 3-inch segments
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, canola
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup sherry, optional
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


  1. Pat oxtail segments dry and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a large heavy soup pot of Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add oxtail segments, without crowding. Cook the meat undisturbed for 5 – 6 minutes, until a dark brown crust develops. Turn and continue searing all sides.
  4. Transfer the meat to a clean bowl. Drain 1/2 the fat from the pan.
  5. Reduce heat to medium. Add the onion and celery, and cook until the onions and celery have softened, 9 – 10 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic, cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  7. Stir in tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce.
  8. Increase the heat to medium-high and add sherry if using or 1/3 cup broth. Stir to combine.
  9. Add the oxtail segments and any juice that has accumulated on the plate back into the pot.
  10. Add the thyme, bay leaf, and broth. Stir to combine. Bring the broth to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.
  11. Add the carrots and potatoes. Cover the pot and continue cooking for another 30 minutes. The meat should fall from the bone and the vegetables tender.
  12. To serve, spoon a tail segment into a large soup bowl, surround with the vegetables and ladle broth over all. Garnish with parsley.
  13. Alternatively, remove the oxtail segments from the soup and shred the meat from the bone. Return the shredded meat to the soup and serve in large soup bowls.
Oxtail Soup

7 responses to “Oxtail Soup”

  1. Margery Shaw says:

    Try your oxtail soup recipe with diced tomatoes and tomatoes past salt and a little sugar and stir in vegetables and a little okra and diced potatoes. Have hot water corn bread on the side

  2. Karen says:

    This soup was a sumptuous work of art, thank you so much. Added some parsnip & turnip instead of potato. My 88 yr old father said it tasted just like his grandmother’s oxtail soup…High Compliment Indeed!!! 

  3. Thedogatemyhomework says:

    Odd that when I was young, my mother made oxtail soup because the meat was so cheap – it really wasn’t good for much else besides soup.  But, today, oxtails are hard to find in supermarkets and when you do see them, they are ridiculously expensive.  Im about to make soup with  just under 2-1/2 lbs of them: the cost was just under $20.

  4. Anna Kate Goshko says:

    Thank you for this recipe! I read several before coming here and your post was the only one that had all the details necessary for a first time oxtail souper!

    Thank you! We will have this tonight for dinner!

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