Oxtail soup served in a bowl with a saucepan alongside it

Oxtail soup

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(2 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 4 hrs Plus overnight marinating and chilling

More effort

Serves 6

Forget canned soup – this homemade oxtail soup has great taste. The recipe takes a little more effort, but if you can spare the time it's well worth it

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: Per serving

  • kcal302
  • fat17g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs4g
  • sugars1g
  • fibre1g
  • protein22g
  • salt2.1g
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  • 1½ kg oxtail, cut into about 4 pieces
  • small handful thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • small bunch fresh parsley, leaves and stalks separated



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…

  • ½ tsp black peppercorns, roughly crushed
  • small piece star anise
    Star anise

    Star anise

    star an-eese

    Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…

  • ½ bottle red wine
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 2 garlic cloves, bashed once and peeled
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 2l beef stock


  1. Up to two days ahead, tip the oxtail into a bowl and season with a little salt. Tie the thyme sprigs, bay leaves and parsley stalks together and put in the bowl with the peppercorns and star anise. Pour over the wine, then cover and chill for up to 48 hrs. 

  2. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 4. Lift the oxtail out of the marinade, reserving the mixture. Heat a drizzle of the oil in a large casserole pan and, in batches if needed, brown the oxtail. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add another drizzle of oil and cook the carrots, onion, celery and garlic until just starting to brown. Stir in the flour and ketchup and cook until you have a thick paste. Pour over the reserved marinade and simmer for 1 min. Nestle the oxtail back in the pan and pour over as much stock as you can, chilling any extra to use later. Bring everything to a gentle boil, scoop off any froth then cover and place in the oven for 3 hrs 30 mins, stirring once or twice until the meat is very tender. 

  3. Remove the soup from the oven and leave to cool slightly, then lift the oxtail from the broth and shred the meat using two forks. Discard the bones and transfer the meat to a bowl. Sieve the liquid into another bowl, then cover and chill overnight. 

  4. Remove and discard any fat that has solidified on top of the soup. Tip the broth into a saucepan and simmer until silky, adding more stock if the broth is too thick. Stir through the shredded meat until warmed through. Season to taste, then ladle into bowls and scatter over some parsley leaves, if you like.

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Comments, questions and tips

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10th Feb, 2020
Agreed - Certainly a lot of effort! The soup sets like a stock in the fridge with a jelly like consistency. I’d be inclined to do this without adding the beef stock, just water, and use it as a stock instead and the meat for something else, in a beef croquet maybe
17th Sep, 2019
I'll be honest, this was a bit of a faff to make because it took 3 days in all, with the marinating and then the cooking, and then leaving in the fridge to let the fat rise to the top. But the end result was fantastic - a rich, flavourful soup that's both delicious and highly nutritious.
Ben Parker's picture
Ben Parker
21st Mar, 2020
Where is the onion in the ingredient list?
Barney Good Food's picture
Barney Good Food
30th Mar, 2020
Well spotted. It should read '1 onion, roughly chopped' above the carrot. We will amend.
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