Where Ingredients Find The Best Alternatives

Oxtail Substitute (Here’s Meat-Based And Meatless Alternatives)

Oxtail Substitute
Oxtail Substitute

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Oxtail substitute works great when you don’t have oxtail on hand to make a tasty soup or beef stock. It will broaden your culinary experience as well as excite beef lovers.

Oxtail is simply a tail of the animal usually an ox. It’s edible meat with bone containing parts that is prepared, skinned, and cut out into smaller pieces. When braised properly, oxtail provides gelatinous liquid that’s rich in beef flavor and contributes a deep umami flavor to a variety of savory treats.

However, finding oxtail for a delicious savory treat isn’t easy as other meat parts. And if available luckily, it’s too pricy to add to the cart. So, it’s time to get your hands on other closer oxtail substitutes.

Oxtail Substitute

One can swap oxtail in many ways including in terms of flavor, affordability, similarity, and diet restrictions and that’s what you’re going to explore ahead.

Substitutes For Oxtail (Beef-Based)

The other cuts of beef containing either bones or tendons can easily swap oxtail with a similar flavor tone. All the given alternatives are easily available and relatively inexpensive to oxtail you can use next.

1. Beef Shank

Beef Shank
Beef Shank

A beef shank is a large, tender, and skinny cut of beef from a lower half of the leg or thigh of cow. It’s short on fats yet higher in protein content. This way, beef shank is a great way of cutting fats in your diet.

Similar to oxtail, beef shank also calls for a slow cooking method to become tender and braise well.

Beef shanks are easy to find and cheaper to get perfect for replacing oxtail. Best for making beef steaks, processed beef, and roasting.

2. Beef Neck

Beef Neck
Beef Neck

Beef neck bones can give a quite similar flavor and texture to your recipes as oxtail. Prolonged braising and simmering make beef neck delectably tender and juicy. It contributes a gelatinous liquid, meaty aroma, and rich umami flavor to a collection of recipes.

Thereby, substitute oxtail with beef neck bones to make things comparable and satisfying. Best for making beef soups and beef stocks.

3. Beef Short Ribs

Beef Short Ribs
Beef Short Ribs

Beef short ribs are good replacements for oxtail in a variety of savory cuisines and side dishes. They are short or flanked cuts of brisket and chuck areas of cow. They are not typically cattle ribs yet containing short rib portions.

These short ribs impart a punch of beefy flavor when simmered or braised in slow cooking dishes. They are also good for roasting, smoking, and grilling and seem great for substituting oxtail.

4. Beef Tendon

Beef Tendon
Beef Tendon

Beef tendon is also one of the amazing oxtail substitutes when comes to make beefy soups, stock, and stews. They are extremely gelatinous, firmer, and richer in flavor comparable to oxtail.

Simmering is a great way of extracting all the jelly-like juice from tendons which ultimately makes the recipe extra umami and mouth-watering. Best for making beef stock, beef concentrate, and soups.

Oxtail Substitute (Lamb-Based)

If you are unable to use beef-based alternatives, try lamb meat. Lamb meat is also red meat just like beef and offers a comparable richness and depth to the recipes. Lamb neck and lamb shank are often used instead of oxtail and the outcomes are similarly satisfying.

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5. Lamb Neck

Lamb Neck
Lamb Neck

Lamb neck bones are bone-containing portions covered with a fatty layer. These are firm cuts of lamb meat yet become tender on proper cooking. Stewing or simmering produce as much gelatin to the recipe as oxtail.

The stronger meaty flavor complements well with mainstay soups and stocks. Besides, lamb neck bones can also make a concentrate offering a complex flavor to other dishes.

6. Lamb Shank

Lamb Shank
Lamb Shank

Lamb shanks are similar to beef shanks and thus are great substitutes for oxtail. Rich in fats and tendons, lamb shanks produce incredibly palatable, gelatinous, and mouth-melting concentrate ready to replace oxtail in almost every recipe.

Lamb shanks are good to prepare thanksgiving savory cuisines, and casseroles.

Substitute For Oxtail (Meatless Vegan Alternatives)

Vegan guys are always looking for meatless replacements to maintain their tongue flavor in their own way. And amazingly, one can also replace oxtail with some vegan or meatless ingredients such as seitan and portobello mushrooms.

7. Seitan


You will always encounter seitan whenever looking for vegan substitutes for meat products and the same goes for oxtail. This is because its taste and texture share similarity with meat. It’s made from wheat gluten and processed further before packaging.

Go for the least processed seitan to get a rich tender flavor much likely to oxtail. In soups and stews, it makes a feel like shredded meat with a punch of savory flavor.

8. Portobello Mushroom

Portobello Mushroom
Portobello Mushroom

The complex flavor profile and a bit chewier texture of the portobello mushrooms make them a good vegan swap for oxtail. Portobello mushrooms add a deep umami richness and savory aroma to the recipes similar to beef. These are also great for substituting shiitake mushrooms.

Incorporate them in casseroles, stews, and soups to get a comparable beef hint of oxtail.

Read also: Chicken Stock Concentrate Substitute


What Can Substitute Oxtail In Stews And Soups?

An alternative ingredient rich in gelatin and collagen will work the best in stews and soups. For instance, beef tendon, beef shanks, and beef neck bones are great to replace rich beefy flavor of oxtail in soups.

The slow cooking process of soups and stews draws the maximum flavor out of oxtail replacements. In addition, lamb shanks and lamb neck bones are also good to mimic oxtail texture and flavor in casseroles, soups, and stews.

Does Beef Shank And Oxtail Are The Same?

No, beef shank and oxtail are meat cuts of two different portions of cattle. To be exact, beef shank is a lean portion of beef that comes from the thigh of cattle and oxtail is a meaty cut containing bones that comes from the tail of the cow.

But the flavor difference of both these meat cuts is not far from each other. Both give a similar deep satisfying richness to savory treats.

Can You Use Veal Shank And Veal Neck Instead Of Oxtail?

Veal shank and veal neck bones could also be great substitutes for oxtail if available to you. They are not too different from oxtail or beef shanks. They come from young beef animal usually known as calf.

Veal shanks and neck bones need more time to become tender or soften than oxtail yet end up with expected flavor. So, you can substitute oxtail with either veal shanks or neck bones to enjoy recipes as intended.


Hey, I’m Ayesha Khalid, the main writer of Substitutesfor.com. I love to write about food ingredients, cooking guides, and helping tips and tricks to upgrade your cooking experience. The aim of writing is to provide you with a collection of substitutions and novel ideas to try so that you can find all the needed information at once. Here, you can get ideas according to your diet restrictions, taste preferences, and health conditions.

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