Pressure Cooker Oxtail Soup (An Instant Pot Recipe)

5 from 9 votes
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A simplified version based on my original oxtail soup recipe so you can use minimal prep and time to cook everything in one pot. No searing or par-boiling required. The oxtails will turn out soft like butter and the soup rich and hearty. Both Instant Pot and stovetop pressure cooker methods are included. {Gluten-Free}

Instant Pot oxtail soup

One of the reasons I love blogging is that I learn so many things from my readers. And the questions I receive always challenge me to create better and easier recipes. A while ago I received a request to develop an easier oxtail soup recipe. I had published my mom’s oxtail soup recipe a long time ago. I read the recipe again when I received the request. Oh my, the cooking process for that dish does look super complicated in retrospect.

Pressure cooker oxtail soup

Cooking notes

(1) Easy prepping and cooking

That’s why I decided to improve the recipe immediately and make a simplified version. This version has quite a few benefits:

  • It doesn’t require you to brown or par-boil the oxtails before braising.
  • It doesn’t require you to transfer the soup to another pot.
  • Cooking time is shortened.
  • You don’t need to monitor the cooking. Simply set it and forget it.

I’m sure you’re wondering about the results. I guarantee it tastes just as great as the original version.

Pressure cooker oxtail soup cooking steps

(2) Benefits of a pressure cooker

When I make braised meat or stew on the stovetop, I usually brown the meat to seal in the juices and make the meat taste richer. This is not the case when using the pressure cooker.

The pressure cooker raises the boiling point of the water in the pot. The extra-high heat not only speeds up the cooking process, but also promotes caramelization and browning in a different way. Yes! Your beef will be caramelized in the liquid and it will result in a deep and complex flavor without browning the meat.

(4) Semi-quick release

You can use the natural release method for this recipe. But if you’re in a hurry, you can use the semi-quick release method. Simply wait for 10 minutes to let the pressure to release naturally for a bit, then switch to quick release.

(5) Add veggies later

I always add the veggies after cooking the meat to get the perfect texture. Since oxtails take a long time to cook, the veggies will melt into the soup if you add them at the beginning.

That’s it! This recipe is really simple and hassle-free. I wouldn’t mind cooking it on a busy weekday evening. The oxtails will come out buttery-tender and rich and the soup very hearty. Serve it with a bowl of steamed rice or some toasted bread and dinner will be ready in no time.

Ingredients for cooking pressure cooker oxtail soup

Instant Pot oxtail soup close up

More pressure cooker (Instant Pot) recipes

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

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Pressure Cooker Oxtail Soup (An Instant Pot Recipe) - A simplified version using minimal prep and time to cook everything in one pot. No searing or par-boiling required. The oxtails will turn out soft like butter and the soup rich and hearty. Both Instant Pot and stovetop pressure cooker methods are included. {Gluten-Free}

Pressure Cooker Oxtail Soup (An Instant Pot Recipe)

5 from 9 votes
A simplified version based on my original oxtail soup recipe so you can use minimal prep and time to cook everything in one pot. No searing or par-boiling required. The oxtails will turn out soft like butter and the soup rich and hearty. Both Instant Pot and stovetop pressure cooker methods are included. {Gluten-Free}
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: instant pot
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Adding and releasing pressure: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


Pressure cooker (Instant Pot)

  • 3 lbs (1.4 kg) oxtails , separated at the joints
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (or beef stock) (*Footnote 1)
  • 1/2 onion , coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 thumb ginger , sliced
  • 1 can (14-oz / 400-g) tomatoes , diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper

Cook separately

  • 1 russet potato , chopped
  • 2 carrots , chopped
  • 2 cups cabbage , chopped


  • Add all the ingredients to the pressure cooker (or Instant Pot) except the potato, carrot, and cabbage. Try to arrange the oxtails in a single layer so they cook evenly. If you’re concerned about scorching, especially if you’re using a stovetop pressure cooker, layer the onions on the bottom before adding the oxtails.
  • Seal the lid and be sure to close the valve.
  • If you’re using a pressure cooker, heat over medium heat until pressure is added. Then turn to medium-low heat and cook for 45 minutes.
  • If you’re using an Instant Pot, select high pressure and set the timer to 45 minutes.
  • Once it’s done cooking, let rest for 10 minutes. Then use the quick release method to release the pressure. (*Footnote 2)
  • Use a ladle to skim and discard the oil floating on top. If you plan to store the soup for later, I highly recommend you fridge (or freeze) the soup at this point. It’s so much easier to skim the oil completely once the soup is chilled because the oil will clot into a white layer, separate from the soup. You can boil the veggies when you reheat the soup in a pot, so the veggies will be freshly cooked.
  • (Optional) Remove the oxtails from the soup and place them onto a big plate. Use a pair of tongs and a fork to remove the meat from the bones. I usually do this step if I’m serving guests but skip it if I’m cooking for myself.
  • Add the potato and carrot to the pot. For the pressure cooker, turn to medium heat. For the Instant Pot, turn on the Saute function. Let boil for 10 minutes.
  • Add the cabbage and cook for another 5 minutes, or until all the vegetables turn tender. Turn off heat.
  • (Optional) Return the oxtail meat to the pot if you removed it from the bones previously.
  • Serve the soup hot with steamed rice or bread as a main dish.


  1. I used vegetable stock this time because I ran out of beef stock. The soup turned out surprisingly refreshing and well balanced. I highly recommend using vegetable stock if you want a lighter soup. And of course, always use beef stock if you prefer a richer taste.
  2. For a stovetop pressure cooker, carefully move the pressure cooker to your sink. Use a wet towel to cover the side of the lid and avoid covering the vent and valve. Run cold water over the towel to release pressure.
  3. For the Instant Pot, carefully use a spatula (or anything with a handle) to switch the valve to the other side to release the steam. Make sure to stay away from the valve when you do this, so the hot steam won’t burn your skin.


Serving: 4g, Calories: 313kcal, Carbohydrates: 23.4g, Protein: 37.4g, Fat: 9.4g, Saturated Fat: 4.7g, Cholesterol: 101mg, Sodium: 1078mg, Potassium: 1135mg, Fiber: 4.4g, Sugar: 11.1g, Calcium: 40mg, Iron: 22.9mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don't forget the last step! Leave a comment below, and tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!
A simplified version based on my original oxtail soup recipe so you can use minimal prep and time to cook everything in one pot. No searing or par-boiling required. The oxtails will turn out soft like butter and the soup rich and hearty. Both Instant Pot and stovetop pressure cooker methods are included. {Gluten-Free}

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Joanne says:

    Can you tell us how this recipe will change for those of us using a crock pot?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Joanne, I’ve never tried to make this dish in a crock pot, but I’m pretty sure that you can use the exact ingredients. The cooking time should be around 9 to 11 hours on low setting. You need to add the potato and cabbage half way through, otherwise they will fall apart at the end. I would also cut the potatoes to bigger chunks, and cut the cabbage into wedges (instead of chop them to pieces) so they won’t cook too fast.

      • Ellen says:

        Going to try ox tails for the first time & your recipe looked easiest. My question is do we soak, rinse, wash the meat prior and if so, water or white vinegar or?

      • Maggie Zhu says:

        Hi Ellen, if you have time, prior cooking I recommend soaking the ox tails in cold tap water for 1 hour prior cooking, get rid of the soaking water, rinse the oxtail a few times with running tap water.
        When I made the recipe, the soup turns out quite nice even without the soaking, but the soaking process will get rid of some of the blood and make the soup more clear.

  2. Katy A says:

    I made this soup last week and it was so good I’m making it again. I used oregano instead of bay and missed out the tomato paste. I added celery as I had a bit to use up. It was delicious. This week I’m adding a bit of leek. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • Carmen says:

      5 stars
      I’ve made this twice so far. We saw oxtails at the local butcher and my husband wanted to try them. It was so good, I went back and bought more to make it again! I will admit, I have forgotten to get cabbage and haven’t made it with that yet, and I only has a can of fire-roasted tomatoes with garlic this last time, which gave it a different flavor. But still good. I love how soft the meat is, and that it just falls apart!

      When the Instant Pot is done cooking, I put it on saute and throw the potatoes and carrots in to boil while I take the meat off the bones. Worked great!

  3. Justin says:

    Maggie, this is an absolutely fantastic recipe. Thank you so much for simplifying it! My work as a musician requires a massive amount of time, so I’m always so grateful to find anything relating to, ‘Set-it and leave-it’ sort of recipes, in the kitchen. And this has proven invaluable, and delicious. Keep ’em coming! You’re so awesome!

  4. A. Steen says:

    “The pressure cooker raises the boiling point of the water in the pot.”
    This is not the case. In fact, it is the opposite: higher pressure lowers the boiling point.
    Have you ever tried to boil water in Denver, CO?
    I am going to try this recipe, despite the erroneous reporting of Physics on this planet.

    • Josh says:

      Hello, I think you need to check your physics. She is correct and higher pressure leads to increased boiling point, that’s the whole point of a high pressure cooker.

    • Quinn says:

      5 stars
      I think you are confusing high pressure with high altitude. Boiled foods tend to take longer at high altitudes because the air pressure is lower, which in turn lowers the boiling point of the water. Maggie is right on point.

  5. M L says:

    5 stars
    Very good recipe. Easy to make. Super yummy.

  6. Greg says:

    5 stars
    Love it in the Ninja

  7. Ivan Barber says:

    Oxtail soup with pot barley is great,never made it in the instant pot,going to try tomorrow

    • Sandra Croley says:

      Did you try it with the barley? I am making this soup for the first time today and love barley. I wonder if I’d add the barley at the beginning, or later with the vegetables.

      • Maggie says:

        I haven’t but I love barley too. I would add them at the beginning since they requires pretty long cooking time. The 45 mins mark will overcook the barley a bit (it requires 30 mins with pressure) but I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

  8. Oxtail says:

    5 stars
    Thanks for sharing the healthiest soup recipe online with us actually I’m looking this so long finally found in your article, blog and easy to follow all steps to cook and surf this dish.

  9. Megan says:

    Hey Maggie,

    Planning to try this recipe. If I were to add noodles to this dish, can I corporate during the stage I add the veggies? I would assume the noodles do not need to be cooked with the oxtail before it cooks for 45 minutes…

    Would love your reco and hopefully there is a quick adjustment vs cooking noodles over the stove separately. Less pots to wash!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Megan, yes, you should add the noodles later with the cabbage. If the noodles package comes with instructions, you should check the time required. If it uses longer, you can add a bit earlier than the cabbage and add it later if it requires less than 5 minutes of cooking time.

  10. Celine Krafft says:

    5 stars
    Delicious and so easy! I used homemade Turkey broth from Thanksgiving and it was perfect!

  11. Roger Mann says:

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe – and even better, it uses my favorite cooking utensil! I’m a little concerned with your method of quick release of cooker pressure. I’m sure you must have done it that way on a number of occasions, but wrapping the towel around the side of the lid will only cool the air/steam above the soup (which will remain at the same high temperature. If the pan loses pressure, the remaining liquid will boil and spit in a dangerous fashion. When I want to release the pressure quickly, I simply run cold water into the sink and put the pan into this. Inb this way, the LIQUID is cooled to a safe level. Brilliant recipe though 🙂

  12. Holly Hollins says:

    5 stars
    Hi Maggie!
    I love this recipe so so much! Tried it all the time in Shanghai when I used to live there for 3 years.
    I made this recipe before but with too many ingredients 🤣🤣 so it came out like a stew instead.
    I’m planning on making this on Saturday. Would replacing oxtail with beef shank be an option? Wondering if you tried that?
    I do have the option to make it with oxtail but my best friend doesn’t like oxtail. 😨

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      I think beef shank would totally work! It might require less time (if you cut the shank into bite-size pieces) and I think I would start with 35 minutes of pressure cooking. Of course, you can always cook it longer for a more tender result. I like to load up mine with veggies buy you can totally cut them down 🙂 (especially the potato, which also thicken the soup)

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