Jamaican Oxtail Stew

If you’ve never had oxtail stew, you’re in for a treat. It’s rich, SUPER flavorful, with fall-off-the-bone-tender meat and creamy butter beans. A true special occasion dish. Before you make it, a few things you should know:

 1. Oxtails are SUPER fatty.

This is a good thing! Fat = flavor, and oxtails have plenty. If you’d like, you can skim the fat that rises to the surface as you’re cooking. Or, if you’d like to be more thorough about removing the fat before serving, refrigerate the stew once you reach the end of step three. Most of the fat should rise to the surface and solidify in an hour or two, making it much easier to remove more of the fat. Once you’ve done that, you can bring the stew back up to temperature on the stove and proceed with step 

2. You can control your level of spice.

We LOVE the spice in this recipe, but it’s definitely for spice lovers. If you’re not so crazy about spice, opt for a single habanero, or none at all. 

Additionally, if you’re looking to make an authentically Jamaican-style stew, keep your eyes peeled for Scotch Bonnet peppers in your grocery store. They’re as spicy as habaneros but with a slightly more tropical flavor that is preferred for traditional oxtail stews.

3. You can eat whole allspice berries.

Allspice berries are non-negotiable in this recipe, as they give this stew a HUGE amount of flavor. You might be wondering if you’re gonna have to fish all of them out of the stew when it’s ready, and luckily, the answer is no! They will soften quite a bit while cooking, and when eaten will provide a small burst of allspice flavor and not much more. It’s an essential part of the dish, and we promise you won’t break your teeth on them

4. It makes the best leftovers ever.

Since making this stew requires a good amount of effort, we recommend freezing the leftovers in individual servings. This way, when you’re ready to eat it again, all you have to do is whip up some rice while the stew defrosts! There’s nothing like having a delicious bowl of stew at the end of a long day, so do yourself a favor and make extra for the leftovers. (Stews are always better next day anyway, right?


1 tbsp. vegetable oil 

3lb. oxtail, cut into 2″ pieces

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper  

1 large onion, chopped  

6 green onions, sliced, plus more for garnish  

peeled and minced fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp. tomato paste  

2 tbsp. freshly chopped thyme 

2 tsp. allspice berries 

3 tbsp. all-purpose flour 

1 or 2 habanero chilis, depending on spice preference 

3 tbsp. packed brown sugar  

2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce 

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce 

1 (14-oz.) can butter beans, drained and rinsed

White rice, for serving


  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, heat oil. Season oxtails all over with salt and pepper. Working in batches, sear all pieces of oxtail until golden on all sides. Remove oxtails from pot and set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Add half the onion and half the green onion and cook until soft, 6 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, tomato paste, thyme, and allspice berries and cook until mixture is fragrant and tomato paste has darkened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring frequently, until no longer raw, 1 to 2 minutes more.
  3. Remove pot from heat and return oxtail to pot. Add chiles and 4 cups water to the pot and return to medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Skim fat occasionally if desired.
  4. After 1 hour of cooking, add remaining onion and green onion. Stir in brown sugar, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender and falling off the bone, 45 minutes to an hour longer. Remove chilis, fold in butter beans, and garnish with green onion. Serve over rice

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