Everything You Need To Know About Cooking Oxtails In An Air Fryer

oxtails air fryer recipe

Are you a fan of succulent, tender meat with rich flavor? Look no further than oxtails! These versatile cuts of beef can be transformed into a mouthwatering dish using your trusty air fryer. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the art of creating the perfect oxtails using an air fryer. From the science behind cooking to step-by-step instructions and tasty variations, get ready to elevate your culinary skills!

Food Science Behind Oxtails

Before diving into the deliciousness, let’s explore the food science behind oxtails. Oxtails, as the name suggests, come from the tail of a steer or cow. Due to the constant use of the tail muscles, oxtails contain an abundance of collagen, necessary to break down tough connective tissues during cooking. This collagen-rich meat benefits from slow and low cooking methods, resulting in tender, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

Selecting the Best Oxtails

When it comes to selecting oxtails for your recipe, a few key tips can make a difference. Look for oxtails with ample fat marbling throughout the meat, as this contributes to both flavor and tenderness. Choose cuts that have a good balance of meat and cartilage, ensuring a juicy end result.

Cleaning and Preparing Oxtails


  1. Cleaning: Start by rinsing the oxtails under cool water to remove any surface debris. Pat them dry using paper towels.

  2. Trimming: Trim off excess fat, leaving a thin layer to enhance the flavor. Remove any bone fragments or loose cartilage.

  3. Marinating: To enhance flavor, consider marinating the oxtails. A simple marinade of garlic, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and your preferred herbs and spices can infuse the meat and tenderize it further. Allow the oxtails to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight for maximum flavor.

Tips for Cooking Oxtails in an Air Fryer


Cooking oxtails in an air fryer is a straightforward process, but a few pro-tips can help you achieve the perfect result:

  • Preheating: Preheat your air fryer to ensure even cooking and a crispy exterior.
  • Batches: Due to the size of oxtails, you may need to cook them in batches to avoid overcrowding and ensure proper air circulation.
  • Tenderizing: To further enhance tenderness, consider pressure cooking or simmering the oxtails in a flavorful broth before air frying.
  • Basting: Periodically baste the oxtails with the marinade or cooking juices to keep them moist and infuse more flavor.
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Checking for Doneness

close up view of air fried oxtails

The key to perfectly cooked oxtails is achieving the ideal doneness. Here’s how you can check:

  1. Visual Cue: Look for the meat to pull away from the bone. When cooked to perfection, the meat should be fork-tender and easy to separate.
  2. Internal Temperature: Use a meat thermometer to ensure the oxtails reach an internal temperature of 185°F (85°C). This guarantees tender meat without sacrificing flavor.

Mouthwatering Oxtails Air Fryer Recipe

close up view of air fried oxtails

Now that you have a solid foundation of knowledge, it’s time to dive into a mouthwatering oxtails air fryer recipe!


  • 2 lbs (900g) oxtails, cleaned and trimmed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for brushing


  1. In a bowl, combine minced garlic, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, dried thyme, and black pepper. Mix well to form a marinade.
  2. Place the trimmed oxtails in a separate bowl or a resealable bag and generously coat them with the marinade. Ensure each piece is well-covered. Allow the oxtails to marinate for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator, or overnight for maximum flavor infusion.
  3. Preheat your air fryer to 360°F (180°C) for approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Once preheated, place the marinated oxtails into the air fryer basket, ensuring they are not crowded or overlapping. If necessary, cook them in batches to maintain optimal air circulation.
  5. Lightly brush the oxtails with vegetable oil to promote browning and crispiness.
  6. Air fry the oxtails at 360°F (180°C) for 40-45 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time.
  7. After the oxtails have reached the desired crispiness and are cooked to an internal temperature of 185°F (85°C), remove them from the air fryer basket and let them rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.
  8. Serve the oxtails hot with your favorite sides, such as mashed potatoes or steamed vegetables. Enjoy the succulent, fall-off-the-bone goodness!
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Variations and Creative Ideas

Want to elevate your oxtails even further? Here are some tasty variations and creative ideas to explore:

  1. Asian-inspired: Add a touch of sweetness and heat by glazing the oxtails with a mix of honey, soy sauce, ginger, and chili flakes before air frying.
  2. Spiced Delight: Create a spicy kick by seasoning the oxtails with a blend of cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, and coriander before air frying. This variation pairs well with a tangy cilantro-lime dipping sauce.
  3. Southern Charm: Infuse your oxtails with that soul food vibe by seasoning them with a blend of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Serve them with collard greens and cornbread for a satisfying southern-style meal.

The possibilities for flavor combinations are endless. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different herbs, spices, and marinades to suit your taste buds!


Cooking oxtails in an air fryer is a fantastic way to achieve tender, flavorful meat that falls off the bone. By understanding the science, selecting quality oxtails, and following the right techniques, you’ll create a dish that will impress family and friends. Use this comprehensive guide to elevate your oxtail cooking skills and explore the mouthwatering variations that will leave you craving more. Enjoy the journey and savor the irresistible oxtail goodness from your air fryer!

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  • FAQS On Oxtails Air Fryer Recipe

    What Is The Best Cut Of Oxtail To Use For An Air Fryer Recipe?

    The best cut of oxtail to use for an air fryer recipe is one that is fresh and well-trimmed, with a good amount of meat on the bone.

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    How Long Does It Take To Cook Oxtails In An Air Fryer?

    Cooking oxtails in an air fryer typically takes around 40-50 minutes at 360°F, depending on the size and thickness of the oxtails.

    Can I Marinate Oxtails Before Cooking Them In An Air Fryer?

    Yes, you can marinate oxtails before cooking them in an air fryer to enhance their flavor. Consider marinating them in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, and spices for a few hours before cooking.

    Do I Need To Preheat The Air Fryer Before Cooking Oxtails?

    Yes, it is recommended to preheat the air fryer for a few minutes before cooking oxtails to ensure even cooking and proper browning.

    Should I Coat The Oxtails With Oil Before Air Frying Them?

    Yes, lightly coating the oxtails with oil before air frying them can help achieve a crispy and golden-brown exterior.

    How Do I Know When The Oxtails Are Done Cooking In The Air Fryer?

    The oxtails are done cooking in the air fryer when they reach an internal temperature of 165°F and the meat is tender and easily pulls away from the bone.

    Can I Use The Leftover Oxtail Bones To Make Broth Or Stock?

    Yes, the leftover oxtail bones can be used to make a flavorful broth or stock by simmering them with vegetables and aromatics.