(GUIDE) How To Cook Oxtail In Pressure Cooker?

Oxtail is a flavorful and rich cut of meat that comes from the tail of a cow. It is known for its tender meat and gelatinous texture, making it a popular choice for stews and braised dishes. While traditionally cooked for several hours on the stove or in the oven, using a pressure cooker can significantly reduce the cooking time and still result in tender and succulent oxtail. In this article, we will delve into the details of cooking oxtail in a pressure cooker, including preparation, cook times, techniques, and troubleshooting tips.

Quick Answer: How Long To Cook Oxtail In Pressure Cooker

When cooking oxtail in a pressure cooker, the cook time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the oxtail pieces, as well as the desired level of tenderness. As a general guideline, you can pressure cook oxtail for approximately 35-50 minutes on high pressure. This will ensure that the meat is fork-tender and easily falls off the bone.


Before cooking oxtail in a pressure cooker, there are a few essential preparation steps:

  1. Trim excess fat: Trim off any excess fat from the oxtail pieces. This will help prevent the stew from becoming overly greasy.

  2. Seasoning: Season the oxtail with salt and pepper, or your preferred seasoning blend. You can also marinate the oxtail for a few hours or overnight to enhance the flavor.

  3. Browning: Optional but highly recommended, sear the oxtail pieces in a hot pan or directly in the pressure cooker to develop a rich, caramelized flavor. This step adds depth to the final dish.

Pressure Cooker Basics For Oxtail

Using a pressure cooker to cook oxtail offers the advantage of significantly reducing the cooking time without compromising on tenderness. Here are some basic tips for using a pressure cooker to cook oxtail:

  1. Choose a suitable pressure cooker: Look for a pressure cooker with a capacity of at least 6 quarts to comfortably accommodate the oxtail pieces. Ensure that the pressure cooker has a tight-fitting lid and a pressure release valve.

  2. Liquid requirement: Oxtail requires a sufficient amount of liquid to cook properly in a pressure cooker. Use broth, stock, or a combination of water and wine to enhance the flavors. The liquid should reach at least halfway up the oxtail pieces to avoid drying out during the cooking process.

  3. Rarely fill the pressure cooker more than two-thirds full: This allows enough space for pressure build-up without risking overflow. Overfilling can result in liquid spewing out of the pressure release valve.

  4. Follow manufacturer’s instructions: Each pressure cooker model may have specific instructions for operation and maintenance. Familiarize yourself with the guidelines provided by the manufacturer before using the pressure cooker.

Cook Times For Oxtail In Pressure Cooker

The cooking time for oxtail in a pressure cooker largely depends on the size and thickness of the oxtail pieces, as well as personal preference for tenderness. Here is a general guideline for different cook times:

  1. 35-40 minutes: For smaller and more tender oxtail pieces, or if you prefer the meat to still have a slight bite.

  2. 45-50 minutes: For larger, more substantial oxtail pieces, or if you prefer the meat to be fall-off-the-bone tender.

It is important to note that the cooking time may vary depending on your pressure cooker model, so it is advisable to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and adjust the times accordingly. It may take some experimentation to find the perfect cook time that suits your preferences.

How To Cook Oxtail In Pressure Cooker

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of cooking oxtail in a pressure cooker:

  1. Preheat the pressure cooker: Place the pressure cooker on the stovetop over medium heat. Add a small amount of oil and allow it to heat up.

  2. Sear the oxtail (optional): If desired, sear the oxtail pieces in the hot pressure cooker for a few minutes on each side until they develop a golden brown color. This step will add depth and richness to the final dish.

  3. Add liquid and seasonings: Pour in enough broth, stock, or a mixture of water and wine to reach at least halfway up the oxtail pieces. Season the liquid with salt, pepper, and any additional herbs or spices of your choice.

  4. Lock the lid: Securely lock the pressure cooker lid in place, ensuring that the pressure release valve is closed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper lid-locking procedure.

  5. Pressure cook on high: Set the pressure cooker to high heat and bring it up to pressure. The pressure indicator should rise, and you will hear a hissing sound as the pressure builds up. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific pressure settings and operating procedure.

  6. Cook for the recommended time: Once the pressure cooker has reached the desired pressure, reduce the heat to low or medium-low to maintain a steady pressure. Cook the oxtail for the recommended time based on its size and desired tenderness.

  7. Natural release or quick release: Once the cooking time is complete, you need to release the pressure before opening the lid. There are two methods: natural release and quick release.

    • Natural release: Allow the pressure to naturally release on its own. This can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes, depending on the model and contents of the pressure cooker. Avoid opening the lid until the pressure indicator drops entirely.

    • Quick release: If you are short on time or prefer a faster release, use the quick release method. Carefully open the pressure release valve using a long-handled utensil, such as tongs, to release the pressure quickly. Take caution as the steam will be hot and forceful.

  8. Check for doneness: Once the pressure has been released, carefully open the lid of the pressure cooker. Use a fork or tongs to check the meat’s tenderness. If it is not yet to your desired level of tenderness, you can return the oxtail to the pressure cooker and cook for an additional few minutes.

  9. Serve and enjoy: Once the oxtail is cooked to perfection, serve it hot with your choice of side dishes, such as mashed potatoes, rice, or crusty bread. Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired, and savor the rich and flavorful oxtail that has been tenderized by the pressure cooking process.

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Optimal Pressure Cooking Techniques For Oxtail

To ensure the best results when cooking oxtail in a pressure cooker, consider the following techniques:

  1. Searing: While optional, searing the oxtail pieces before pressure cooking adds a depth of flavor to the final dish. It creates a caramelized crust on the meat, enhancing the overall taste. Sear the oxtail in a hot pan or directly in the pressure cooker before adding the liquid.

  2. Deglaze the pan: If you have seared the oxtail in the pressure cooker, deglaze the pan after searing. Pour in a small amount of liquid, such as broth or wine, and use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the cooker. This step adds those flavorful bits back into the dish.

  3. Marinating: Although not mandatory, marinating the oxtail in your choice of marinade for a few hours or overnight can infuse additional flavors and help tenderize the meat further. Some popular marinade options include soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and herbs.

  4. Skimming the fat: After pressure cooking, you may notice a layer of fat on top of the liquid. Use a ladle or spoon to skim off the excess fat before serving. This step helps reduce the greasiness of the dish and results in a cleaner, more refined flavor.


Sometimes things don’t go as planned while cooking oxtail in a pressure cooker. Here are some common issues you may encounter and how to troubleshoot them:

  1. Oxtail is not tender enough: If the oxtail is not cooked to your desired tenderness, you may need to cook it for a little longer. Return the oxtail to the pressure cooker and cook for an additional few minutes under pressure. Check for tenderness again before serving.

  2. Insufficient liquid: If you notice that the liquid has evaporated too much during pressure cooking, resulting in a burnt or scorched bottom, add additional liquid when returning the oxtail to the pressure cooker for an extended cooking time. Ensure that the liquid reaches at least halfway up the oxtail pieces.

  3. Overcooking: If the oxtail becomes too tender and starts to disintegrate, reduce the cooking time in subsequent attempts. Keep in mind that oxtail can be forgiving, but it is better to slightly undercook it than to overcook it.

  4. Pressure cooker malfunction: If you encounter any issues or malfunctions with your pressure cooker, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for troubleshooting or contact their customer support for assistance.

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Variations And Flavoring Options

While cooking oxtail in a pressure cooker delivers delicious and tender results on its own, you can also experiment with various flavoring options and variations to customize the dish to your taste:

  1. Vegetables: Add vegetables such as carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes to the pressure cooker along with the oxtail. These vegetables will absorb the flavorful broth and complement the rich meat.

  2. Aromatics: Enhance the flavors by adding aromatic ingredients such as garlic, ginger, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, or star anise. These aromatic elements infuse the oxtail with delightful fragrances.

  3. Sauces: After pressure cooking, you can thicken the cooking liquid into a rich gravy or sauce by using a cornstarch slurry or reducing it on the stovetop. This sauce can be drizzled over the oxtail and sides for added flavor.

  4. Spices and seasonings: Experiment with a variety of spices and seasonings to suit your taste buds. Consider adding paprika, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, allspice, or even a dash of hot sauce for a spicy kick.

  5. Wine or spirits: For a more indulgent and complex flavor profile, substitute part of the cooking liquid with red wine or spirits such as brandy or dark rum. The alcohol will cook off, leaving behind a depth of flavor.

By exploring different flavoring options, you can create a diverse range of oxtail dishes with unique taste profiles. Remember to adjust the overall cooking time and seasoning quantities based on the specific variations you choose.

In conclusion, cooking oxtail in a pressure cooker is a fantastic way to enjoy tender and flavorful meat in much less time compared to traditional methods. By following the recommended preparation steps, cook times, and optimal techniques, you can elevate your oxtail cooking game to new heights. Don’t be afraid to experiment with flavors and variations to make this dish truly your own.


What Is A Pressure Cooker?

A pressure cooker is a kitchen appliance that uses high pressure to cook food quickly.

How Long Does It Take To Cook Oxtail In A Pressure Cooker?

It typically takes about 35-40 minutes to cook oxtail in a pressure cooker, depending on the size and thickness of the meat.

Why Should I Cook Oxtail In A Pressure Cooker?

Cooking oxtail in a pressure cooker can drastically reduce the cooking time, making it a more convenient and efficient method. It also helps to soften tough cuts of meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful dish.

Do I Need To Brown The Oxtail Before Cooking It In The Pressure Cooker?

It is not necessary to brown the oxtail before cooking it in a pressure cooker. However, some people prefer to do so as it can add extra flavor to the dish.

Can I Open The Pressure Cooker While Cooking Oxtail To Check The Progress?

No, it is not recommended to open the pressure cooker while cooking oxtail. Opening the cooker can release the pressure and slow down the cooking process. It is important to follow the instructions and only open the cooker when it is safe to do so.