Instant Pot Oxtail Stew is a thing of beauty. With the ease of the instant pot you too can have fall off the bone tender oxtails ready to eat in about an hour. Cooking time for oxtails is typically 2 to 3 hours of braising or slow cooking. Pressure cooking speeds up the cooking time. Most importantly, pressure cooking with the instant pot helps you to cut the cooking time in half while retaining the all the flavor of braising or slow cooking. If you don’t have an instant pot and want to make oxtail stew using a traditional pressure cooker, click here for that recipe, it is an oldie but a great recipe non the less.

Prepping the Oxtail:

For this dish it is important to trim as much fat from the oxtail as possible. Depending on where you get your oxtail from, the butcher may trim and slice the oxtail and have it pre-packaged. Some times butchers slice the oxtail to order and you may need to ask them to trim the fat before they slice the oxtails up. Therefore it is important to examine your oxtail before buying to determine whether it has been pre-trimmed or not. Consequently trimming the fat can be quiet time consuming.

I season my oxtail with some freshly made green seasoning, ground all spice or all spice berries, browning, brown sugar, salt, pepper, tomato paste and some spicy brown mustard. I let my oxtails marinade for 20 to 30 minutes if I have time. If not I just season and cook right away. The flavor of the finished dish is not compromised as a result of not letting the seasoning marinade.

Making the recipe Whole30 Compatible:

To make this oxtail recipe Whole30 compatible, I skip the browning and brown sugar and use coconut aminos. I also don’t add any butter beans or spinners which are typically added to oxtail stew. Please also read the labels on the tomato paste and mustard to ensure that they are also Whole30 Compatible.

Browning the oxtails:

Browning the oxtails is a critical next step in making the oxtail stew. I typically use two methods of browning my oxtail. Firstly, I like to brown  my oxtails using the sauté function on the instant pot, but it takes 10-15 minutes for the oxtail to get to the desired brownness. Secondly, I sometimes brown my oxtails on the stove top using a  frying pan or skillet on high heat, then transfer the oxtails to the instant pot.

After the oxtails are nice and brown and all of the visible pink parts of the meat is cooked add water, seal and pressure cook for one hour for the most tender, falling off the bone oxtail. And as a result of the sautéing, then pressure cooking the flavor of the stew will be much tastier than if you pressure cooked without sautéing.

Update (4/15/2021): Once while making this recipe, I was pressed for time and dumped my seasoned oxtail into the instant pot without browning it and to my surprise it was perfectly delicious. So feel free to skip that step if you like.

Skim the fat:

After the instant pot completes its pressure cooking cycle and you release the pressure, you must skim the fat from the dish using a ladle after you are done pressure cooking. I just scoop away all that extra fat and oil. Next sauté the dish for a few more minutes to  cook down the sauce or gravy. This step is certainly very crucial to avoid having oily oxtail stew.

I made this oxtail stew for Sunday dinner and served it with Instant Pot Rice and Peas and a side of stir fried veggies. It was really delicious and even the kids couldn’t get enough. However, my three year old was not liking it and proudly said, “Mom I don’t like this curry!” What can I say, she is a curry lover and perhaps this dark stew was not hitting that curry lover spot for her. That is to say, she couldn’t understand why this curry didn’t quite taste like curry.

Finally, what I love most about my instant pot, is that you can set it and walk away and come back to a perfectly cooked dish every time. For instance I was making my rice and peas at the same time that I was making my oxtail stew (I have two instant pots). While both dishes were cooking I was also cleaning up and setting the table for dinner.

I hope you guys get into the instant pot movement and buy an instant pot! You can also find more instant pot recipes here.

The Printable Instant Pot Oxtail Stew Recipe:

Instant Pot Oxtail Stew
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Meats
Cuisine: Caribbean
Serves: 6 Servings
  • 3 lbs Oxtail (fat trimmed and sliced into 1 inch thick pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon oil for cooking
  • 1 teaspoon salt or salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoon browning
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Browning and sugar may be substitute with ¼ cup of coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder/granulated garlic
  • ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder/granulated onions
  • ½ tablespoon ground all spice
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley flakes
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste (can be substituted with ¼ cup of ketchup)
  • 1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper or other chili pepper, or
  • ¼ teaspoon of scotch bonnet powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
Green seasoning:
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 2 heads of green onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • A handful of cilantro
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the green seasoning in a food processor or blender and blend until a smooth paste forms. If you are using a blender you may need to add ¼ cup of water for easy blending
Make a marinade:
  1. To a large mixing bowl, add the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, all spice, smoked paprika, scotch bonnet powder (if using), browning (or coconut aminos), mustard and tomato paste or ketchup.
  2. Then mix together well and set aside
Prepare the oxtail:
  1. Next, trim any fat from your oxtails the add it to the marinade that you set aside earlier
  2. Mix together ensuring that all oxtail pieces are completely covered with the marinade
  3. Allow oxtails to marinated for at least 2 hours or overnight for best results
Cooking the oxtail:
  1. Before starting to cook set your instant pot to sauté and when the pot is hot add the oil,
  2. Allow the oil to come up to temperature before adding your seasoned oxtail
  3. Sauté for about 10 minutes stirring after the first 5 minutes
  4. After 10 minutes of sautéing add 1 cup of water
  5. Then hit the cancel button to take the instant pot out of the sauté function and prepare for pressure cooking
  6. To pressure cook the oxtails, cover and seal the instant pot and pressure cook for 1 hour on high pressure
  7. After the instant pot completes the pressure cooking cycle, release the pressure
  8. This next step is critical: using a ladle scoop out some of the oil that forms above the sauce
  9. Finally, set your instant pot to sauté and cook the oxtail stew for an additional 5 minutes after scooping out the oil, to cook down the gravy/sauce
  10. Serve hot with a side of Instant Pot Rice and Peas and cabbage, carrot and mango slaw
You can also make this recipe on the stove top. Check out my stove top recipe here!


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