Mastering the Instant Pot: Ideal Cooking Time & Tips for Perfect Oxtail

Ever wondered how to whip up that perfect, fall-off-the-bone oxtail dish in your Instant Pot? You’re not alone. Many home cooks are turning to this versatile appliance to simplify their cooking routines, without compromising on flavor.

This article will guide you through the process of cooking oxtail in an Instant Pot, touching on the necessary time and settings for the best results. We’ll also share some handy tips and tricks to ensure your meat is tender, juicy, and packed with flavor every time.

So, if you’re ready to take your Instant Pot game to the next level, let’s dive in and learn how to make the most of this fantastic cut of meat.

Key Takeaways

  • Oxtail, once considered a throwaway item, has gained popularity due to its rich flavor and succulent texture achieved through slow cooking. A proper understanding of the cut is essential to get the most out of cooking oxtail in an Instant Pot.
  • Preparing the oxtail for cooking involves trimming excess fat, seasoning for added flavors, and browning for a deeper flavor profile.
  • The Instant Pot lends great advantages to cooking oxtail, through time-saving, intensified flavor, nutritional retention, and tender results made possible by pressure cooking. Furthermore, it provides more efficiency, safety, energy saving, and versatility than traditional cooking methods.
  • The time to cook oxtail in an Instant Pot is typically around 45 minutes, but this can vary based on factors such as size, thickness, temperature of ingredients, and size of the pot.
  • A step-by-step guide for cooking oxtail in an Instant Pot includes pre-cooking preparation, cooking process, and post-cooking release and serving steps.
  • Tips for a successful Instant Pot oxtail cooking experience involve proper seasoning and marinating, achieving the right texture, and avoiding common pitfalls like overcrowding the pot, ending up with overly greasy oxtail, or triggering a Burn notice due to lack of liquid.

Understanding Oxtail as an Ingredient

To make the most out of your Instant Pot, you need to delve into the details of the ingredients you’re using. Oxtail, a unique cut of meat requiring special attention, proves to be an excellent starting point for this exploration.

The Popularity of Oxtail

Once considered a throwaway item, oxtail’s seen a revival, gaining admiration from cooks and food enthusiasts worldwide. Its popularity stems from its rich flavor and the succulent, melt-in-your-mouth texture it offers after slow cooking. Originating from the tail region of beef cattle, oxtail comprises marrow-filled bones and dense muscle. When cooked, the collagen in the meat transforms into gelatin, giving oxtail stews and soups their characteristic thickness and mouthfeel.

Preparing Oxtail for Cooking

Before you send your oxtail on a culinary journey in the Instant Pot, proper preparation sets the stage for a successful outcome. Start by trimming excess fat, considering that oxtail contains a fair amount itself – a distinguishing attribute lending flavor to your dishes. Next, season the meat. Simple seasonings like salt and pepper do the trick, yet for more flavorful results, options expand to include aromatic herbs and spices. Lastly, ensure to brown the oxtail. This step, though often overlooked, guarantees a deeper flavor profile and an alluring, golden-brown crust. This well-prepared oxtail, then ready, moves onto its journey in your Instant Pot.

Why Use an Instant Pot for Oxtail?

An Instant Pot possesses distinct advantages when it comes to cooking oxtail. Besides the rapid cooking time, this device contributes to extracting the maximum flavor and achieving tender, melt-in-the-mouth results. Coupled with the benefits of pressure cooking and a comparison with traditional cooking methods, you’re on your way to becoming an oxtail culinary master right in your kitchen.

The Benefits of Pressure Cooking

Pressure cooking, a feature in Instant Pot, offers exceptional benefits that enhance the texture and taste of oxtail.

  • Time Saving – Slashing cooking times by up to 70%, pressure cooking allows oxtail, typically a lengthy dish to prepare, ready in a fraction of the time.
  • Flavor Intensity – By cooking under high pressure, flavors are amplified and locked in. For oxtail, it means a rich, robust, and full-bodied broth that underscores every oxtail dish.
  • Nutritional Retention – This cooking method minimizes nutrient loss that often happens with prolonged cooking, ensuring that every bite of your oxtail is not only tasty but also nutritious.
  • Tender Results – High pressure breaks down tough fibers swiftly, rendering the otherwise firm oxtail into delectably tender morsels.

Instant Pot versus Traditional Methods

Contrasting the Instant Pot with traditional cooking methods further demonstrates its superiority for preparing oxtail.

  • Efficiency – With a stove-top or oven, regular checking and temperature adjustment become necessarily tedious tasks. Instant Pot automates these chores, leaving you free to attend other matters.
  • Safety – Equipped with multiple safety mechanisms, the Instant Pot vastly diminishes the dangers usually associated with pressure cooking.
  • Energy Saving – Consuming less energy than conventional electric stoves or ovens, the Instant Pot can contribute positively to your energy bills.
  • Versatility – Having the ability to saute, steam, slow cook, and keep warm, among other things, make the Instant Pot a truly versatile cooking partner.

In a nutshell, an Instant Pot leverages the benefits of pressure cooking and surpasses traditional cooking methods, making it ideal for preparing your perfect oxtail dish.

How Long To Cook Oxtail In Instant Pot?

It’s crucial to comprehend how long to cook oxtail in an Instant Pot. This understanding optimizes the pot use and results in a meal that’s both flavorful and tender. In order to get the perfect dish, two key areas come into focus: factors affecting cooking time and recommended cook times.

Factors Affecting Cooking Time

Several elements factor into how long oxtail requires for thorough cooking in your Instant Pot. Primary among them are:

  • Size and Thickness: Larger pieces of oxtail require more cooking time, as heat takes longer to penetrate and fully cook thicker cuts. A 1.5 inch-thick oxtail piece, for example, requires more time compared to a 1 inch-thick one.
  • Temperature of Ingredients: Cold ingredients naturally increase the time required to reach your cooking pressure. This effect gets exemplified when frozen oxtails are used, significantly extending the cooking duration.
  • Instant Pot Size: The volume capacity of your Instant Pot also affects cooking time. Larger pots take longer to build pressure, therefore, will extend the overall cooking time.

Recommended Cook Times

With an understanding of factors at play, you can then proceed to the actual cooking, taking note of suggested cook times. In general, oxtail needs approximately 45 minutes on high pressure in an Instant Pot resulting in tender and flavorful meat. However, this time can be affected by the aforementioned factors notably thickness and temperature. For example, thicker cuts or frozen oxtails might necessitate an additional 10-15 minutes. Conversely, particularly small or thin cuts might only need around 30-35 minutes.

Consequently, mastery over how long to cook oxtail in an Instant Pot incorporates not just the timer’s quantity but also a balance of these impacting factors.

Step-by-Step Oxtail Cooking Guide in Instant Pot

Diving deeper into the intricacies of cooking oxtail in an Instant Pot, this section provides a comprehensive, step-by-step guide. Here, let’s tackle pre-cooking preparations, the cooking process itself, and the post-cooking release and serving.

Pre-Cooking Preparation

First things first. Preparing oxtail isn’t complicated, it just needs some care. Clean each piece under cold water, pat them dry, and trim any excessive fat. The likelihood is that the butcher did a nice job, but sometimes a little extra trimming is necessary. Season the oxtail pieces as per your liking, commonly used seasonings include salt, pepper, and garlic. Others add a splash of Worcestershire sauce to impart additional flavor. Once seasoned, let the meat rest for at least 30 minutes. During this time, gather the other ingredients, such as onions, garlic, and carrots. You’re also ready to assemble and set up your Instant Pot for quick use.

The Cooking Process

The essence comes in the cooking process. Start by selecting the ‘Saute’ function on your Instant Pot. Add some oil and sear the oxtail pieces to enhance the flavor and give them a delicious brown crust. Ensure they’re brown on all sides. This process takes about 10 minutes. After searing, add the rest of your ingredients and liquid to the pot. Close the lid, set the pressure valve to ‘sealing,’ and choose the ‘Pressure Cook’ setting. Now let the magic happen. As per the aforementioned suggestive time, set the cooking time to approximately 45 minutes. Remember, if the oxtail is unusually thick or cold, you might consider increasing the cooking time.

Post-Cooking Release and Serving

Once the Instant Pot’s timer goes off, let the pressure naturally release for about 15 minutes. Then, carefully turn the valve to ‘venting’ to release any remaining pressure. The cooked oxtail should be tender enough to pull apart with a fork. Strain the oxtail, reserve the broth for sauce or soup, and serve the meat hot. Be it with mashed potatoes, ratatouille, or simple rice, the tender, flavorsome oxtail is certain to enchant your taste buds.

Tips for Perfect Oxtail in the Instant Pot

Building on the detailed guide provided, here are some additional tips you might find handy when venturing to cook perfect Instant Pot oxtail. Make sure to pay attention to these small, but significant aspects that can drastically affect the outcome.

Seasoning and Marinades

Regularly, seasoning your oxtail enhances its flavor profile, morphing a good dish into a spectacular one. Keep in mind, a simple blend of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper works wonders when rubbed onto the oxtail pieces. Additionally, marinating the oxtail overnight or for at least 6-8 hours in a concoction of aromatic spices and sauces adds further depth to its flavor. A marinade of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic, for example, penetrates the meat and makes it more succulent.

Achieving the Right Texture

Proper texture significantly contributes to the overall eating experience of oxtail in the Instant Pot. Slender bullets of cartilage surrounded by meat and fat need to be rendered tender but not mushy. Here’s where your Instant Pot shines. With a high-pressure setting, it transforms oxtail into meltingly tender morsels in around 45 minutes, unlike traditional stovetop simmering methods that necessitate hours of cooking. Remember, allowing your oxtail a natural release following the pressure cooking ensures meat that’s tender but maintains its form.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

To avoid disappointments in your cooking journey, it’s crucial to avoid common pitfalls. Overcrowding the Instant Pot, for instance, prevents even heating and may result in undercooked oxtail. Thus, ensure you don’t cross the maximum fill line. Occasionally, oxtail may turn out too greasy. Trim excessive visible fat before cooking to keep the dish from becoming overly fatty. Finally, a lack of liquid could lead to a Burn notice on your Instant Pot. Maintain an ample amount of stock or water to prevent this, with a recommended minimum of 1 cup for most models.


So, you’ve got the scoop on cooking oxtail in an Instant Pot. It’s all about embracing the efficiency and time-saving perks of your handy kitchen gadget. Remember, striking the balance with seasoning and marinades can take your oxtail to new flavor heights. Soy and Worcestershire sauces are your friends here. But don’t forget about the texture. High-pressure cooking is your ticket to tender, melt-in-your-mouth oxtail. Beware of overcrowding, too much fat, and inadequate liquid – these are pitfalls you’ll want to sidestep. Now, armed with these tips, you’re ready to conquer the art of cooking perfect Instant Pot oxtail. Here’s to a dish that’s sure to impress!

What are the benefits of using an Instant Pot to cook oxtail?

The key benefits of using an Instant Pot to cook oxtail include efficiency, safety, and the time-saving advantages it offers. It enables rapid cooking and effectively extracts flavors, yielding tender results.

What are some tips for cooking perfect Instant Pot oxtail?

Cooking perfect Instant Pot oxtail involves proper seasoning, utilizing marinades, and achieving the right texture. Use kosher salt and pepper for seasoning, and marinate the oxtail with sauces like soy and Worcestershire to enhance the flavors.

What are common pitfalls to avoid when cooking oxtail in an Instant Pot?

Common pitfalls to avoid include overcrowding the Instant Pot, which could lead to uneven cooking, and excessive fat which might make the dish greasy. Additionally, ensure there is enough liquid in the pot to maintain the pressure and avoid burning your dish.