Instant Pot Oxtail Ragu

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This Instant Pot Oxtail Ragu is a thick and meaty sauce that’s perfect over pasta, gnocchi, or polenta. This flavorful dish is super simple to make in the Instant Pot.

Oxtail is one of those meats that takes a long time to break down, and for that reason it’s always been an all-day affair when cooking in the oven or on the stove top. But you can make it in a fraction of the time in the Instant Pot.

>>You might also want to check out our Instant Pot Brisket Recipe.

Oxtail Ragu

If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet (go directly to Amazon and order one!), you really should consider it. We have a free Instant Pot starter guide when you join our mailing list. You can also check out our Instant Pot page for more information.

What is Oxtail?

The most important part of this dish is the oxtail. If you’ve never cooked oxtail before, you might be wondering what it is and why choose it over a different cut of beef.

Oxtail is what we call the tail of the cow. The tail is cut into sections between the tailbones and each piece has meat and marrow surrounding the bone.

Due to the marrow, the meat is gelatinous when cooked, and that makes it particularly tender and melt-in-your-mouth good. Oxtail is often used to make bone broth because it’s so full of healthy collagen. The meat is used in soups and stews, and also braised to eat on its own.

Uncooked Oxtail

My favorite way to use oxtail is to make a ragu that can be served over pasta, like is pictured in this dish. However, you can use the oxtail in any way you wish once it’s cooked.

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How to Make Instant Pot Oxtail Ragu

The Instant Pot cooks the oxtail in a fraction of the time you normally need to break down the meat. It leads to an incredibly tender meat and intensely flavorful sauce.

Wash and pat dry the oxtail pieces. Season with salt and pepper.

Add olive oil to the Instant Pot and turn on saute mode. Remember that you have to work fast when the Instant Pot is on Saute mode because it can quickly get too hot and burn the food.

When hot, add the oxtail and brown on all sides. Remove from the pot.

Add the onion, celery, and carrot. Saute for 3 minutes. Turn off saute mode. You want to do this before adding the garlic and remaining ingredients because it will scorch the garlic.

Cooked Oxtail

Add the garlic, thyme and rosemary. After 1 minute, pour in the beef stock and red wine and whisk to remove the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the tomato puree and stir well. Add back in the oxtail.

Lock the Instant Pot lid and set the vent to sealing. Set to pressure cook for 45 minutes. When finished, allow a natural release of pressure (about 15 minutes).

During the natural pressure release time, you can cook the pasta, so it’s ready when the meat is done.

Oxtail Ragu

Remove the oxtail from the Instant Pot. Remove any excess fat or grease from the cooking liquid. It’s usually easy to do this by just scooping it off the top with a spoon.

Shred the meat away from the bones. Discard the bones and connective tissue. Return the meat back to the Instant Pot with the sauce. Stir it all together.

If it’s not thick enough, turn on saute mode again and cook down until thickened.

Scoop over pasta and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Do I Have to Brown the Oxtail First?

I know it sounds like a lot of extra work to brown the oxtail on all sides before cooking, but that’s the best way to add intense flavor to the meat.

Oxtail Ragu

Browning induces the Maillard reaction which is a reaction between amino acids and sugars that leads to a concentration of flavor. You can still make great oxtail without the browning, but it will be so much better with it.

Do I Have to Thaw the Oxtail First?

One of the great things about the Instant Pot is that you can cook things in it from frozen in just a few more minutes than if it was thawed. That means you can use frozen oxtail in the Instant Pot.

You would add the oxtail after sauteing the vegetables and adding the liquids. Set the cook time to 50 minutes.

Oxtail Ragu

The only issue with cooking from frozen is that you can’t first brown the oxtail, so you’ll lose out on quite a bit of flavor doing it this way.

What Else Can I Serve Oxtail With?

As I mentioned earlier, oxtail is great served just the way it is, on the bone. Serve it with a side of smash potatoes or green beans.

I also like to serve the ragu over polenta, or gnocchi, or even with fried cabbage or rice. You can also use any type of pasta you have on hand – doesn’t have to be pappardelle.

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Oxtail Ragu

Instant Pot Oxtail Ragu with Pasta

Oxtail makes a lovely, thick and meaty sauce for this pasta dish that’s perfect for a chilly evening.
4.55 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Beef, instant pot, Pasta
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Pressurize Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 613kcal
Author: Laura

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs oxtail
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 celery stalk diced
  • 1 carrot peeled and diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup tomato puree
  • 8 oz dried pappardelle
  • Parmesan for garnish

Instructions

  • Wash and pat dry the oxtail pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add olive oil to the Instant Pot and turn on saute mode. When hot, add the oxtail and brown on all sides. Remove from the pot. Add the onion, celery, and carrot. Saute for 3 minutes. Turn off saute mode. Add the garlic, thyme and rosemary. After 1 minute, pour in the beef stock and red wine and whisk to remove the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the tomato puree and stir well. Add back in the oxtail.
  • Lock the Instant Pot lid and set the vent to sealing. Set to pressure cook for 45 minutes. When finished, allow a natural release of pressure (about 15 minutes).
  • Remove the oxtail from the Instant Pot. Remove any excess fat or grease from the cooking liquid.
  • Shred the meat away from the bones. Discard the bones and connective tissue. Return the meat back to the Instant Pot with the sauce. Stir it all together.
  • If it’s not thick enough, turn on saute mode again and cook down until thickened.

Nutrition

Calories: 613kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 172mg | Sodium: 370mg | Potassium: 486mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2666IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 6mg

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Oxtail Ragu

6 thoughts on “Instant Pot Oxtail Ragu

  1. Jessica Formicola says:

    5 stars
    I’ve been looking for new recipes to add to my Instant Pot lineup, and this oxtail ragu is just the thing! Thanks for sharing!

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