Best Oxtail Substitute (Alternative and Replacement)

If you’ve ever wondered if there are any substitutes for oxtail, here’s your answer.

You can achieve a similar flavor to oxtail by substituting many other cuts of meat such as beef short ribs, bone-in roast beef, beef cheeks, or a combination of bones and cuts of beef, beef neck bone, or beef shank.

Also, lamb neck and lamb shank provide tasty alternatives to beef.

As soon as you are here, you must be a big foodie, so you would like to try some new dishes that are very tasty.

We will give you ideas that can be alternatives to the oxtail while giving you equally good satisfaction.

First, let’s explain what oxtail is in more detail.

What Is Oxtail?

Oxtail is the tail of cattle, usually cut into several parts during preparation. It is bony meat rich in gelatin.

In stores, you will notice that it is sold with beef bones.

Oxtail is a well-known meal in southern or eastern countries, Mediterranean countries, and Italian, Croatian, Hungarian, and Eritrean cuisine.

Oxtail is extremely popular in oxtail soup, originating from the United Kingdom.

However, it has different variations worldwide. It is mainly made with vegetables and spices.

Although the oxtail does not look very striking, its taste is worth trying. It tastes like beef, and when cooked, it creates a deep rich flavor.

Compared to braised short rib oxtail, oxtail is more tender with a silky texture.

Octayl also contains some health benefits because its collagen content has a good effect on the body.

Note that if you don’t want to cook the oxtail right away, you can store it in the refrigerator for three to five days or, if it’s well-wrapped, in the freezer for up to a year.

How To Cook Oxtail?

For your dish to turn out just right, you have to simmer it slowly, just enough so that it is not raw but also toasted.

The meat should have a soft texture with a moderate amount of fat.

The slower cooking method turns the bone and gristle into a gelatinous jelly that makes a delicious sauce.

Plan to cook for at least three hours. Although it seems long, your efforts will pay off. If you let it sit overnight, it will be even tastier.

Where to buy Oxtail?

Unlike before, oxtail is one of the more expensive cuts of meat, reaching several dollars per pound.

Due to its increasing popularity, you may need to pre-order this meat. However, the availability of oxtail also depends on supply and demand in your area.

In case there is no oxtail in your area or you just can’t find it in stores, there are substitutes that can give you a similar taste.

Below, take a look at the oxtail alternatives I’ve found for you.

Best Oxtail Alternatives

Beef Shank

One excellent substitute for oxtail is the beef shank.

This part of the meat is obtained from the legs of the cow and has a rather hard texture, considering that it is a muscle necessary for the animal’s movement.

For this reason, the preparation is longer, and longer cooking is required. But when you cook, you will get soft meat.

It is readily available at local butchers and supermarkets, so you won’t have to worry about finding the main ingredient for your recipe.

Moreover, beef shank and oxtail taste similar, so your dish won’t taste particularly different.

Beef Cheeks

Beef cheeks rank high on the list of best oxtail substitutes, and here’s why.

As the name suggests, beef cheeks are cut from the animal’s face, and since this muscle is often used, it has a lot of fat or gelatin.

However, during preparation, butchers generally cut off this layer of fat to leave clean muscle.

That way, the dish will be much tastier, and you can definitely add more fat if you want when you prepare the dish.

Cooking it with some fat is recommended to release the soft taste.

The preparation is somewhat different from other cuts of meat.

For example, you can prepare them with micro-herbs and red wine, but they need eight to twelve hours to soften.

We know that cooking is slow, but the result is extraordinary.

Beef Short Ribs

Short ribs are very popular in Chinese, Korean, and Jewish cuisine.

The result is more than good because you get a juicy and tender texture similar to oxtail.

It is known that ribs do not contain much meat, so they can’t be used for steaks. However, it’s still delicious, especially when you spice it up.

Beef ribs can be prepared in two different ways:

  1. English
  2. Barbecue

English-style ribs are a single bone with bits of meat and are considered a reliable choice for braising.

Barbecue-style short ribs have three bones and meat and are suitable for slow cooking and braising.

Slow cooking releases more fat, so the meat becomes tender in the end.

Lamb Neck Bone

Lamb neck bone is a tasty delicacy rich in gelatin with moderate fat content. It has connective tissue and spinal bone, but if it bothers you, you can remove the bone.

The taste is extraordinary, especially since the cooking process is extremely long, even four to five hours.

But after that, the meat is so soft that you won’t be able to resist it.

It is very similar to oxtail in that it has a higher level of gelatin.

Beef Chuck

This unique combination of meat, firm connective tissue, and bones can become your favorite delicacy from now on and in the future due to its specific taste.

First of all, you should know that it is cut from the upper part of the neck, shoulders, and ribs.

If you prefer larger pieces, you can cut them into slices for frying, chops, and steaks.

After a longer cooking time, it takes on a flavor similar to oxtail and becomes even softer, so the texture is excellent.

Beef Tendon

Beef tendons are a part of the animal’s connective tissue that is located between the muscles and the bones.

They are common in Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, and Thai cuisine.

They are suitable for making stews and sauces. It has a fatty but gelatinous texture like oxtail.

But still, you have to cook longer to get the desired result.

If you follow the preparation, you will understand why beef tendons are an excellent substitute for oxtail.

Lamb Shanks

Lamb shank is definitely a favorite among meat lovers, especially lamb lovers.

This part of the meat is taken from the lower part of the leg of the lamb. Lamb usually has a membrane that needs to be removed before cooking.

It has a thin layer of fat, which melts during cooking and gives the food a rich taste and a special aroma.

Since the meat is lean compared to other types of meat, it will not take much time to cook.

The meat is softer and leaner than other cuts, so cooking takes less time.

The rule is the same as for preparing oxtail. Since it has connective tissue like oxtail, you need to cook it long enough to keep it from being harsh.

Corned Beef

The meat is taken from the outer part above the leg of the animal, it has a firm texture without much fat.

It cooks slowly, but the taste you get at the end is irreplaceable.

You can braise it with wine just like you would oxtail, so this alternative to oxtail should be on your list.

Beef Neck Bone

This is a readily available cut of meat in butcher shops.

It is similar to oxtail, but the difference is that the bones are firmer, so the preparation and cooking process itself is longer.

You can eat it on its own or add it to other foods such as tacos and tortillas. And maybe it’s best if you put it in soup.

Try to cook longer to make the meat softer, and then you can just enjoy the beautiful taste.

Filet Mignon

Filet mignon can be a bland meal, so this would be a hit if you like food with less fat.

It tastes buttery, and you must cook it on medium heat for the meat to be soft. Otherwise, it may result in a loss of flavor and a chewy texture.

When you cook the meat, add spices to your taste so that the dish takes on its aroma.

Chuck Arm Steak

It is cut from the lower half of the beef steak, it is not so fatty, and the taste is exactly reminiscent of oxtail.

You have to slow cook it to get it well done. If you want, you can prepare it on the grill, stew it, or fry it.


Cow trotters are cattle legs consisting of skin, tendons, and cartilage. They have a gelatinous texture instead of a chewy one.

Trotters are used in traditional dishes worldwide, from Asian, African, French, and Caribbean to Latin American cuisine.

Vegetarian Alternatives To Oxtail


Tempeh is a fermented soybean product. Given that it has a meaty texture and a nutty taste,  it can be a great substitute for meat in your recipes.

Cut the tempeh into pieces, then marinate and sauté it before adding it to the soup. You don’t have to cook for a long time.

Also, it is a healthy alternative to meat. A 3-ounce (84-gram) serving of tempeh has 162 calories. It contains 15 g of protein, 9 mg of sodium, and only 9 g of fat.

Tempeh also contains many nutrients, such as 12% iron, 9% calcium, and 54% manganese required in the daily diet.


Seitan is a vegetarian product such as Tofurki delicacies, meatless hot dogs, fakin’ bacon, and others.

They can be sliced or ground. As far as rice is prepared, you can prepare it by hand using either whole wheat flour or vital wheat gluten, whichever is simpler.

It is made by washing the starch out of the wheat dough, leaving only the high-protein gluten.

Although it is a vegetarian product, it can be a useful substitute for oxtail. Let’s say you’re fasting, you won’t regret trying this particular dish.

Portabello Mushroom

Portobello mushrooms are another vegetarian food that can replace any meat, including oxtail.

Portobello mushrooms, sometimes called portabella, are rich in flavor, and their texture is meatier and less spongy than classic mushrooms.

They are large, so you can fill them with whatever you want.

Prepare them on the stove or grill, you will be surprised how well they can turn out. And the taste is really outstanding and will definitely enrich your table.

Also, they can be a great alternative to meatless hamburgers, whose meaty texture closely approximates a real patty.


Jackfruit, or jack tree, is a type of tree in the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family. It originates from the region between the Western Ghats of southern India.

Ripe yellow jackfruit is subtly sweet, reminiscent of a banana, apple, and mango mixture.

On the other hand, young green jackfruit has a neutral flavor and texture similar to shredded meat, making it a popular substitute for meat in savory dishes.

It has health benefits, so it is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and other important vitamins and minerals.

Some research has shown that compounds in the flesh, seeds, and other parts of the plant can potentially treat or prevent several health conditions.

Top Oxtail Recipe – Braised Oxtail

Gather the ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 300 F. Dry the oxtail pieces well so the outside turns brown during roasting.

Heat the oil high heat, add the oxtails, and fry them well. When they have a nice brown crust, remove the oxtails from the pan and set them aside.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and garlic to the pot, and fry for about five minutes.

Add the wine.

Return the oxtails to the pot along with the stock. Add the tomato paste, bay leaves, peppercorns, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bring the liquid to room temperature until the liquid boils. Cook for 3 hours.

Remove the pot from the oven, remove the lid, and let the meat cool in the braising liquid while you prepare the sauce.

Pour 2 cups of frying liquid off and pour it through a mesh strainer into a liquid measuring cup.

Heat the butter in a separate saucepan over medium-high heat, then gradually stir in the flour until pasta forms. Heat for a few minutes, stirring until light brown.

Remove the oxtails from the pot, place them on a serving plate, and spoon over a generous portion of the sauce. Serve with your favorite side dishes, and enjoy.


Should Oxtail be soaked in water before use?

Soak the oxtail in cold water for 1 hour, place it in a pot, and cook for 10 minutes. By soaking oxtail in water before cooking, you remove impurities.

How long should Oxtail sit in the oven?

Roast the oxtails at 325 F for 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Spoon the sauce over the oxtails when you take it out of the oven. Then serve the oxtails over rice or mashed potatoes.

How long would it take for oxtails to be properly cooked?

First, cook the oxtail over high heat and cook until boiling.

After a short time, reduce the heat to medium. and cook oxtails until tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Final thoughts

When oxtail is unavailable in stores, some substitutes will remind you of it in taste and texture.

In this text, we have presented you with all the best ideas for substitutes for oxtail, both cuts of meat similar in taste, and vegetarian products that can be good substitutes for meat.

It is up to you to choose what suits you best. The choice is wide, so you can try everything and decide on the best ones that suit your taste.

Enjoy your meal!

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