What can I use as a substitute for oxtails?11 Alternatives 

Is there a substitute for oxtails? If So, what is a good substitute for oxtails? So many queries pop up in mind while you’re running out of oxtail for making a healthy soup.

No worry, whether you are vegan or not, I include all types of oxtail substitutes, which are the best. Does not change the taste of the recipe even easy to find out from your nearest stores.

The replacements I mention below go with soup, stew, Kare Kare, Pho, and other popular oxtail recipes.

Let’s find out which is the most reliable oxtail alternative for you without wasting time.

What kind of meat is oxtail?

Oxtail is the tail of cattle, usually cut into two to four sections, then crosscut into short lengths. It is generally found in the meat aisle and sold with beef bones.

Oxtail is bony and gelatin-rich meat and is typically slow-cooked as a stew or braised.

Oxtail is the tail of beef cattle, usually cut into short segments, then crosscut into short lengths. 

It is mainly found in the meat aisle and sold with beef bones. Oxtail is bony and gelatin-rich meat and is typically slow-cooked as a stew or braised.

Does oxtail taste like beef?

Oxtail is the culinary name for cattle tail, especially that of oxen. It is generally served as a meal in southern or eastern countries and is prized for its rich flavor.

It is a traditional stock base in various cuisines of the Mediterranean basin, including Italian, Croatian, Hungarian, and Eritrean cuisines.

The cut of meat usually includes portions of the tail (about 1/3) and the tender tail meat itself (about 2/3) with some fat and bone.

What can I use as a substitute for oxtails? 11 Oxtail Alternatives 

Oxtail is the crucial ingredient of Oxtail Soup. Oxtail soup is a hearty beef and vegetable soup made with oxtail meat. This beefy, high-calcium soup is traditionally simmered in a stockpot for several hours. 

Oxtail soup is often served with egg noodles or cooked rice. A dollop of sour cream on top completes the dish. Below are the best Replacements for Oxtail.

1. BEEF SHANK- is a Good Substitute for Oxtails

A beef shank, also known as a leg cut of beef, is one of the largest and toughest cuts from the animal. It’s often called shin meat and a good alternative for oxtail-making soups, stews, sauces, and many other delicious dishes. 

beef shank is a good substitute for oxtails.

It’s a cut from the back leg and can weigh up to 5 pounds; it’s tough with lots of connective tissue and full of flavor.

According to the modern cut, it comes from the front leg and is called the shank.

A beef shank is one of the slowest cooking cuts of beef and requires hours of braising to end up tender. Perfect for a slow cooker or crockpot recipes.

There are many ways to cook beef shank, but it’s best when served with vegetables and rice or noodles to make soup just like any other cut of meat. 

You can braise it or slow-cook it in the oven or in a crockpot. It’s very easy to cook and takes time, making it perfect for low and slow cooking.

It becomes very tender once it’s cooked and full of flavor. You can make many delicious dishes with beef shank; the easiest preparation method is to make it in a slow cooker with some vegetables.

Braising is one of the most pleasing ways to prepare beef shank because you will end up with fork-tender meat that melts in the mouth.

2. BEEF SHORT RIBS Alternative to Oxtail

Beef Short Ribs are another substitute used instead of oxtail. Beef short ribs are the meaty, bone-in cut between the chuck and plate, including four to seven rib bones. 

Beef short ribs are flavorful ribs that pack a lot of flavors, but they’re fatty. They don’t require much to taste wonderful – salt and pepper will do the trick.

The key to making flavorful beef short ribs is slow cooking until they become tender and succulent.

Beef short ribs are ideal for braising, roasting, grilling, or slow-roasting because they become incredibly tender and release a lot of fatty savors.

Slow cooking allows the collagen in the bones, marrow, and connective tissues to break down and dissolve while the tough meat becomes tenderized.

Beef short ribs work great with almost any seasoning and can go from dry rubs to wet sauces. 

Because beef short ribs are rich and fatty, they pair well with tart flavors like vinegar or mustard-based sauces. They can also be served with creamy sauces, like a classic au jus.

3. Try LAMB SHANK instead of Oxtail 

Oxtail is a popular and traditional Singaporean dish, but many other alternates can be used in its place. 

One example would be the lamb shank, which has a stronger meaty flavor than another stewed beef bone soup!

Lamb shanks are the ultimate comfort food. They’re tough and inexpensive, but they have a rich flavor that you can’t really find in other meats like oxtails or beef short ribs because it’s all wrapped up within their succulent collagen-rich meat!

Lamb shanks are the cut of lamb that comes from the upper part of the front leg and are cooked on their own. 

Lamb shanks are also an excellent choice for slow cooking as they have a beautiful flavor and cook beautifully tenderly.

The Best Part is that you can either use them as the base of any casserole, stew or curry dish, or alternatively, you can marinate them to add extra flavor. 

I love serving slow-cooked lamb shanks on a bed of creamy mash with a sauce spooned over the top!

4. BEEF NECK BONES – A Decent Replacement for Oxtail

The Beef Neck Bones are a real deal, for it is considered the best meat in the cow. It comes from the neck and is close to the head and spine. 

It is rich in minerals, nutrients, and vitamins, especially selenium – a powerful antioxidant – and zinc.

It is full of flavor. The Beef Neck Bones are ideal for cooking stews, braising, and baking. If you want to eat beef, the Beef Neck Bones are the way to go.

5. LAMB NECK BONES- New Flavor in Oxtail Recipe

Lamb Neck Bones (also referred to as Lamb Shank Bone, Lamb Necks, or simply Lamb Bones) is one of the most popular parts of Lamb used for cooking.

Lamb Neck Bones is very tender, flavourful, and suitable to slow cooking techniques such as stewing, braising, slow cooking, etc.

Lamb Neck Bones are excellent for preparing stews, curries, soups, casseroles, and other one-pot dishes replace oxtail.

Lamb Bones are applicable for dry and wet cooking methods but are best suited for dry heat methods such as roasting and grilling.

Lamb Neck Bones contain a lot of cartilage and connective tissues, which require longer cooking time or moist cooking to soften them into an edible form.

Lamb Neck Bones should also be used by people on a diet because it is one of the leanest parts of Lamb and has a low amount of saturated fats.

6. TROTTERS – Unique Alternative for Oxtail 

Cow’s trotters are the feet of cattle. It mainly consists of skin, tendons, and cartilage. 

The trotters’ cuts are cherished for their distinct mouthfeel. Trotters are gelatinous instead of the chewy, spongy appearance of the muscles and flesh and give a rich soup made from the bones.

A long cooking period or a pressure cooker may be used in the procedure to extract the gelatins from the trotters into the soup, resulting in a pleasingly soft texture.

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

Other than cattle, the trotters of others such as goats, sheep, and pigs might also use in certain cuisines. 

7. TRI-TIP- A Beef Oxtail Substitute

The tri-tip is a triangular stake of beef from the bottom sirloin; it includes many muscles.

use tri tip in your recipe instead of oxtail.

Tri-tip is the best cut piece to use in chili con carne, grilling, etc. Heat the pan on maximum until it gets very hot before grilling or roasting the tri-tip.

While roasting tri-tip, put the fat side down on the pan surface. Roast for 10 minutes at 127°F for medium-rare at each side.

8. BEEF CHEEKS- Substitute for Oxtail Meat

Our last replacement for the oxtail of the list is beef cheeks. Beef cheeks are a part of the cow between the jaw and shoulder. 

This cut of meat has much connective tissue in it and contains a good amount of fat. Because of the abundance of collagen in the cheeks, this cut is especially well-suited for long and slow cooking methods.

Beef cheeks are often braised but can also be used in stews, soups, ragouts, or other dishes. It is similar to the Oxtail and is sometimes called an “Oxtail” by mistake. Even oxtail use as a substitute for beef cheeks

Vegan Oxtail Substitutes

Don’t worry about who is vegan or vegetarian because you can also enjoy oxtail recipes with it, just using a few ingredients.

1. MUSHROOMS- All-time Healthy Vegan Oxtail Substitution

Mushrooms are earthy flavor, not less flavor than meat. Mushrooms contain lots of nutrients and can use various recipes from healthy soup to any dish calling for oxtail. 

If you have dried mushrooms, that’s also ok with it, or mushrooms stock also concentrates well paired with other ingredients. There is no limit to adding mushrooms to the recipe; just add how much you want.

Read More- Shiitake Mushrooms Alternatives

2. SEITAN- Meaty replacement for Vegetarian and Vegan

Seitan is the best alternative for any meaty dish. It is made with wheat gluten. Seitan can easily place with oxtail; the best part is using Seitan in stir fry, soup, canned dishes, etc.


Beans are often used in cooking and have many health benefits, but sometimes it’s nice to have a little something on hand just for the flavor. You can use beans in many dishes from soup to curry, Kare-Kare.

Why is oxtail so rich?

Animal oxtail consists mainly of connective tissue, i.e., collagen. This gives the boiled meat its thick consistency and rich taste. 

The collagen dissolves in the cooking process. Bone marrow, a unique delicacy contained within the bones of animals, also contributes to the oxtail’s taste.

The oxtail is loaded with collagen (connective tissue), which melts during cooking (or at least slow cooking). 

In fact, that’s why it’s necessary to slow cook oxtail – if you try cooking it fast, the collagen won’t have time to melt, and you’ll end up with “hockey puck” pieces of meat. 

The collagen will also give the soups a wonderfully thick and rich body.

What can you substitute for oxtail in Kare Kare?

A Filipino celebration isn’t complete without Kare-Kare, according to tradition. Kare-Kare is a thick, flavorful peanut sauce-based Philippine dish. 

It’s the main course made with oxtail, other meats such as pig’s feet and beef tripe, and numerous vegetables such as eggplant, Chinese cabbage, or other greens, green beans, okra, and asparagus, among others.

Kare Kare tastes like full of savoriness, spicy, meaty feeling with lots of spice, making it more unique and joyful significantly on occasion.

If you want to Oxtail substitute for Kare Kare, use instead Pork is one of the most reasonable and simple flesh to cook or lamb tail, goat meat, or other seafood because Kare-Kare has several variations.

Oxtail Substitute for Pho

Pho is the National Dish of Vietnam. The classic Vietnamese noodle soup Pho comprises shredded oxtail, rice noodles, and a meaty broth.

But, You don’t need to trek to a Vietnamese restaurant for oxtail pho. Try your hand at making it in the kitchen by substituting oxtail. It’s just as tasty and much cheaper to make at home.

A classic oxtail pho starts with about two pounds of oxtail, but you can also make it with beef or veal knucklebones, steak, veal tail, fatty flank, ox cheek, lean flank, and brisket. 

You simmer the meaty bones to tenderness, remove them and add the rice noodles and aromatics: onions, ginger, garlic, and coriander seed. 

The substitute is returned to the broth for a few more minutes before the soup is served.

To make oxtail pho that’s as close as possible to what you get in a restaurant, we used the same combination of aromatics and spices: onion, ginger, and five-spice powder. 

To emphasize the “beefy” taste of the oxtail, we also simmered a few beef bones instead of the oxtails.

If you can’t find pho noodles, you can substitute dried linguine or spaghetti broken into small pieces. Although, You may discover pho noodles in most Asian markets.

Are Oxtails the same as short ribs?

No, oxtails are not the same as short ribs. Oxtails are cut from the tail of a beef cattle; short ribs come from the rib cage below the ribs. 

The reason oxtails are named like this is because they resemble an ox’s tail. Oxtails are covered in a tough membrane which should be removed before cooking.

My Favourite Oxtail Replacements

  • Beef Shank
  • Beef Cheeks
  • Trotters
  • Tri-tip
  • Beef Neckbones
  • Beef Short Rib
  • Lamb Shank
  • Mushrooms
  • Seitan

Wrap up on What is a good Oxtail Substitute!

I hope you relished reading this article and found it useful in your hunt for a substitute for Oxtail.

Please leave me a comment on which replacement of Oxtail you like the most. 

If any alternates are not mentioned in this list, please note them below and share your favorite one with us.

FAQs Related to Oxtails & Its Alternatives

Q1. Beef Shank vs Oxtail

Beef shank and oxtail are both slow cooker cuts of beef that can be used in various dishes, from soups to stews. Each is flavorful, affordable, and plentiful.

Although there are similarities between the two cuts of beef, there are also differences. I have put together the following list, which we hope you will find helpful.

Beef Shank:

Cut from the lower leg of a cow, the beef shank is a tough piece of meat that needs long, slow cooking.

If you love beef soup and stews, this cut is perfect for you.
Beef shank recipes often contain ingredients like onions, carrots, and celery for an added flavor boost.

It’s a great idea to use a slow cooker for this cut of beef.
On many animals, the lower leg is on the beef shank is typically cut from the hind legs.

As with all slow cooker recipes, be sure to cook it on low for the maximum amount of time to get the most tender results.


Cut from a cow’s tail, oxtail is an often overlooked piece of beef that can provide you with a ton of flavor.

Like beef shank, oxtail is best cooked slowly in the slow cooker or in the oven for added tenderness.

The lower part of the tail is cut from various animals, but the oxtail is typically cut from cattle.

It is very fatty, which means that spices and seasonings are a must to counterbalance the richness.

Seasoning this type of beef well is key, so you should consider adding flavor with ingredients like garlic or onion.

Whether you are using beef shank or oxtail in your stew, the end result should be a rich and flavorful dish.

While there are similarities between these cuts of beef, the differences make each an option for a particular dish.

The main difference between the two is flavor, which means that if you are looking for a hearty beef soup, you may want to go with beef shank.

However, if you want to add a deep and flavorful note to your dish, oxtail may be the better option.

-Oxtail is often less expensive than the beef shank, so if you are on a budget, this can be another deciding factor.

No matter what cut of beef you choose, the end result should be a lump of perfectly tender meat that is bursting with flavor.

Q2. What cut of meat is similar to oxtail?

Oxtail is a beef cut taken from the tail of a cow or bull that is widely used in stews and soups.

Some cuts of meat similar to oxtail are:

– Veal tail (or veal knuckle/oxtail) – A cut of meat from the calf, often used in stews and soups. 
– Oxtail is also comparable to cow’s trotters which can be found in some French dishes too.
– Donkey tail – A cut of meat from the lower portion of a donkey’s or mule’s spine. 
– Pigtail is another alternative but can be harder to find if you are in the UK.
– Ox cheek – A cut of beef from the face of a cow, near the jawbone.

Q3. Is oxtail similar to beef?

Yes. Oxtail is similar to beef, but it actually comes from a cow’s tail. It has tough, fatty meat and tendon and usually comes in an off-white color.

Q4. Can you substitute short ribs for oxtails?

Yes, you can substitute short ribs for oxtails. They have a similar taste and texture. Short ribs will have less fat as compared to oxtails, though.

Short ribs are taken from the primal of the beef chuck, which is located between the loin and the shoulder.

They are about 6 to 8 inches in length and contain 3 or 4 bones per piece. 

Short ribs are very flavorful, juicy, and tender when braised. Short rib meat can be cross-sectioned into a square cut, flat cut, or flanken cut. 

-The square cut is about 2 inches by 2 inches. 
-The flat cut is about 1 to 1 ½ inches by 2 inches. 
-Flanken cut has a long, thin shape that is cut by a butcher.

Short ribs are much easier to cook than oxtails because short ribs don’t have much fat and connective tissue.

Oxtails have more fat and connective tissue, so they require a long cooking time of about 4 to 5 hours or until the meat falls off the bones.

Short ribs are commonly used in Korean, Italian, Latin, Asian Fusion cuisines.

Q5. What can I replace wine with when cooking oxtail?

To lower the fat content of many recipes, chefs often substitute the wine with grape juice. When cooking oxtail, for instance, chefs will use grape juice instead of wine to reduce the fat level of this dish.

Q6. Where does oxtail meat come from?

Oxtail is the culinary name for the tail of cattle. It consists of the jointed segments (typically two to four) of the tail of a cow or bull. 

Oxtail is bony, gelatin-rich meat, usually slow-cooked as a stew or braised.

The oxtail is a cow’s tail. The oxtail cut of beef comes from the tail of a full-grown cow or young bull.

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