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A bowl of southern instant pot oxtails
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5 from 1 vote

Red Wine Smothered Oxtails

These easy smothered oxtails are bursting with flavor! Make this culinary treat with just oxtails, vegetables, herbs and spices and a little red wine to add that special touch in an instant pot or on the stove-top.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, soul food, Southern, Southern American
Keyword instant pot oxtails, oxtails, red wine oxtails, southern oxtails
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 653kcal
Author April


  • Olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 lb oxtail
  • 3 tsp salt plus more for taste but only after the oxtails are done
  • 1 ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 ½ cups red onions cut into wedges then halved
  • ¼ cup green onions about 3-4 green onions sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs stems removed
  • ½ cup red wine  you can add more for taste after you add slurry if you like
  • 1 ¾ cups beef broth
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • white cooked rice

To make the slurry

  • 2-3 tbsp water I used 2 tbsp but add 3 if you want a thicker gravy
  • 2-3 tbsp cornstarch


  • Dry seasonings: season oxtail with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and sweet paprika
    A photo of seasoned oxtails
  • Marinade Oxtail: Toss all (except the butter and slurry) your ingredients in a large plastic bag, jostle it around a bit to get everything covered, release the air from the zip bag and then let it sit in the fridge overnight. Don’t have a zip bag? Use a large container or a baking dish, as shown below. Cover with a top, plastic wrap or aluminum foil, but you’ll have rotate oxtail half way through marinating process and with a spoon pour the liquids and vegetables over the oxtails. This will infuse all those flavors into your oxtails.
    A picture about how to marinate oxtails
  • Brown Oxtail in Instant Pot: Heat up Instant Pot using "Sauté More" function. When it says "hot" about 8 minutes add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add meat - this will help prevent the oxtail from sticking to the pot. Add 2-3 pieces of the larger oxtails. Brown each side for about 5 minutes. Take out the oxtails and set to the side. Add the remaining oxtails and brown again. Set aside the browned oxtails.
  • Strain solids from oil: Pour the oil from the browned oxtails through a mesh strainer into a bowl. Keep about 2-3 tbsp of the oil. Discard the solids and or burnt bits if you have any.  Return the oil to the Instant Pot and proceed with the recipe.
  • Saute Onions & Garlic: Add in wedged halved onions, then saute for 1 mins. Add the chopped garlic cloves, then saute for one minute. Sorry. I forgot to take a picture for this step!
  • Pressure Cook Oxtails: add the red wine and beef broth in the Instant Pot. Add the browned oxtails in Instant Pot. Ensure the liquids come to the top of the oxtails but doesn't cover it. With a spoon bring the onions to the top to cover the oxtails. Close the lid. Turn venting knob to sealing position. Pressure cook on high for 60 minutes. Natural Release for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, release the remaining pressure by turning Venting Knob to Venting Position. Open the lid when the floating valve drops. Open the lid carefully. ***See notes below
  • Slurry: Heat up Instant Pot using "Sauté More" function. When it says "hot" about 5 minutes. Pour in the slurry. Mix well. Add a splash of red wine. Add butter. Cook for 5 minutes. Sauce should be thickened. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Taste: Taste first then season with more salt & black pepper if necessary. Turn off the heat. Serve with rice, rice and peas, mashed potatoes, egg noodles or eat them alone with crusty bread or cornbread. Sometimes we serve with rice and candied yams
  • *Pro Tip: If you leave the oxtails sitting in the gravy for about 20-30 minutes, they'll taste even better. This is true too for leftovers.
  • Sharing is caring, so please share this recipe, so other people can enjoy it!


Skim fat: Before you proceed with the slurry, remove oxtails from the cooking liquid. Skim the fat off the top with a spoon. Or you can chill the cooking fat for several hours so the fat solidifies. This process will make it easier to remove the fat off with a spoon. 
Strain solids from oil: Pour the oil from the sautéed oxtails through a mesh strainer into a bowl. Keep about 3 tbsp of the oil. Discard the solids and or burnt bits if you have some.  Return the oil to the Instant Pot and proceed with the recipe.

How to make Oxtails on the Stove-Top 

Follow all these steps, but instead of adding everything to the Instant Pot, just do that part in a large pot on the stove.
Cooking Oxtails:  Make sure to cook oxtails in batches. Don't overcrowd the instant pot. I used larger pieces of oxtail. If you have several small ones, shorten the cooking time. You can always pressure cook them some more, if they are not tender enough for you, but if they're overcooked there's no fix for that. So use your best judgement.


Calories: 653kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 72g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 260mg | Sodium: 1869mg | Potassium: 158mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 266IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 10mg