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My Creole Oxtail Stew recipe is made with oxtails braised in a rich gravy for an out-of-this-world meal. These oxtails are tender, flavorful, and falling off the bone! Whether you’re looking for comfort food on a rainy day or the main course for your next dinner party, this oxtail recipe guarantees to please.
If you’ve never cooked with oxtails before, Creole Oxtail Stew is an excellent introduction to this delicious cut of beef. It tends to be overlooked because it’s a tougher cut of meat, but it becomes the most tender and flavorful bite of beef you could imagine when oxtails are braised to perfection. It’s a lot like beef short ribs, but with more flavor.
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Between the fork-tender oxtails and flavorful Creole sauce, this dish seriously knocks it out of the park. I always make rice to go with it so I can soak up every last bit of that incredible gravy. Any bread also pairs well with this dish for the same reason; making the most out of your flavor-packed sauce!
When you hear people talk about meals that were so good they licked the plate clean, they talked about this one. Don’t just take my word for it; try it out and see for yourself. I mean it when I say this dish goes fast, so I highly recommend making more than you think you need. If you wind up with leftovers, you’re in luck—it tastes even better the next day.
To make this comforting dish, you will need the following key ingredients:
Oxtails. Oxtails get incredibly tender when braised in a flavorful stew-like this recipe and have a flavor profile similar to beef short ribs. You’re going to love them!
Creole seasoning. If you can’t find this, Cajun seasoning works excellent as a substitute, but I will recommend using my Savory seasoning.
Tomato sauce. Tomato sauce serves as the base of our flavorful stew, along with our chili water to thin it out a bit.
Vegetables. We’ll be using the holy trinity of Cajun-Creole cooking, a combination of onions, celery stalks, and bell pepper, and fresh garlic for this dish. The vegetables add a ton of flavor and aromatics.
Dried Guajillo chiles. These have a sweet, tangy, and smoky flavor that brings a lot to this dish.
Herbs and spices. In addition to the Creole seasoning, you will need dried oregano, dried thyme, coriander, cumin, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and fresh parsley.
Kosher salt. I like using kosher salt because kosher salt has a large coarse and flaky grain size. This allows me to use less salt but still get all the flavor desired.
How to Make Creole Oxtail Recipe
- Heat a heavy-bottomed saucepan (or skillet) over medium-high heat and toast Guajillo chiles for 15-30 seconds per side, then place in hot water for 20 minutes.
- In the same saucepan, allow it to get hot enough that it slightly smokes. Season oxtails with Creole seasoning, then add oil to the skillet and sear the oxtails for 3-4 minutes on each side, followed by 30 seconds on all sides.
- Transfer the oxtails from the saucepan to the Instant Pot, along with onions, bell pepper, celery, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, then add garlic and bay leaf.
- Remove the chiles from the hot water after 20 minutes and add them to a blender. Save 1 cup of the chile water and add it to the blender with the chiles, along with tomato sauce and spices, then blitz for a minute until the sauce is smooth.
- Pour sauce over oxtails in the Instant Pot, then seal the lid and set to pressure cook for 90 minutes. The oxtails should be fork tender when done. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with rice.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
Here are some of my top tips and tricks to help you make this dish:
- Make sure you sear the oxtails on all sides before tossing them into the Instant Pot. Searing your oxtails is a critical step in achieving a fantastic depth of flavor. That color equals flavor, as beef cooked without first being seared tends to come out looking a bit gray with a bland taste.
- Not sure where to get Guajillo chiles? You should be able to find them in the Mexican section of the International aisle in most grocery stores. They should be pliable, so don’t get them if they break when you bend them.
- I like to let the Instant Pot slowly release the steam on its own for 20-30 minutes before flipping the nozzle to quick-release the rest. Using a slow-release helps the oxtails absorb more of the delicious flavor from the stew.
- Looking for more heat? Add some jalapenos, serranos, or a pinch of cayenne pepper to the tomato sauce, or add a few dashes of hot sauce to the dish just before serving it.
- For a great pop of color at the end, garnish with a sprinkle of fresh chopped Italian parsley.
- Make sure to watch my recipe video below. The video includes all the step-by-step instructions you need to make these Creole Oxtails the right way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about creole oxtails stew:
Oxtails are the tail of the cow. They usually weigh about 7-8 pounds and are cut into smaller pieces. Oxtails are very gelatinous, making the meat tough but incredibly tender after being braised in a stew for hours.
Most oxtails come in a pack that offers a variety of sizes but make sure you buy the ones that have the biggest ones. In New Orleans, oxtails are available at most grocery stores. Check your local Mexican grocery store for them.
Oxtails are a tougher cut of beef; they are the tail of a cow, which means that it needs longer cooking times to break down the muscle fibers and get nice and tender. That’s why we typically cook it by braising it. In a standard crockpot, oxtail generally takes around 6 hours to get fork-tender. Luckily, the Instant Pot significantly cuts down the time and takes just 90 minutes to cook the oxtails to perfection.
How do you store oxtail stew?
Once your oxtails have cooled to room temperature, you can transfer the oxtails stew to an airtight bag or container and store it in the fridge for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
What if I don’t have an Instant Pot?
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, follow the first 2 steps of the recipe as you normally would. Then, instead of adding the ingredients to an Instant Pot, add them to a dutch oven, crockpot, or oven-safe saucepan, depending on what you have. You can cook this dish in the oven at 325°F for 5 hours or in the crockpot on low for 6 hours.
Can you make ahead?
Freezer: Creole Oxtail Stew: You can make the oxtails in advance and place them in an airtight container. Keep in the freezer for 3 months. Thaw 48 hours before using.
Fridge: Creole Oxtail Stew: After the oxtails cool off, place in an airtight container in the fridge for 7 days max.
Reheating: Creole Oxtail Stew: Turn the heat to medium, add all ingredients in a medium sauce pan, cover, and cook until mixture starts to boil. About 10 minutes or less. It depends on how much you’re reheating. You can also reheat your oxtails in a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes.
Coarse Sea Salt = Kosher Salt
New California Chilies = Guajillos Chilies
what to serve with Creole Oxtail Stew?
Every oxtail recipe needs a gravy/sauce/stew (whatever you want to call it). It would be a darn shame not to make the absolute most of it. It would be best if you had something good to soak up all that gravy. To do this, I like to pair my Creole Oxtail Stew with rice or bread to help soak up all of that delicious flavor. Here are recipes for my favorite dishes to serve with oxtail stew:
- Salsa Verde Rice
- Coconut Rice
- Jasmine Vegetable Rice
- Moist Southern Cornbread
- Flatbread with Shallot Herb Butter
Creole oxtail stew is a perfect introduction for newbies or lovers of oxtails. This recipe is easy and delicious, so if you’re not sure where to start in the world of cooking with this type of meat, try it out!
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Creole Oxtail Stew
- 2 guajillo chilies
- 4 cups hot water
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons dry oregano
- 2 teaspoons dry thyme
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- 29 oz. tomato sauce
- 8 oxtails
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons Creole/ Cajun seasoning
- 1 onion chopped small
- 1 bell pepper chopped small
- 3 celery stalks chopped small
- 6 garlic cloves chopped fine
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 teaspoons black pepper ground
- 4 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- Turn on the heat to medium high in a large heavy bottom skillet, toast guajillo’s for 15 to 30 seconds each side, and place in hot water for 20 minutes.
- In the same large heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat, allow to start slightly smoking. Season oxtails with Creole seasoning, add avocado oil to the skillet and add oxtails, and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes. Then cook for 30 seconds all sides of oxtails. Cook in batches and add more oil if needed. Remove and place in instant pot, add the onions, bell pepper and celery, season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper, cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and bay leaf.
- Remove the chiles from the water, and add to the blender, don’t discard the water. Add the cumin, oregano, thyme, coriander, tomato sauce, remaining kosher salt, black pepper and 1 cup of chile water, blitz on high for 1 minute, sauce should be smooth.
- Pour sauce over oxtails, cover with lid, cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes on pressure cook. Oxtails should be fork tender when done.