Oxtail soup is flavorful and nutritious loaded with fresh vegetables. Oxtails and beef shank simmering slowly with vegetables produces a rich broth and tender, succulent meat, making this soup a very comforting meal.

blue and white Mexican soup tureen filled with oxtail soup and a stack of corn tortillas

This recipe makes two large pots of oxtail soup. You can easily cut this recipe in half, but what I love about homemade soup is that it makes great leftovers. Refrigerate leftovers for one week or freeze and reheat when you need a warm comforting meal.

I called my mom to ask if she knew how to make oxtail soup like my grandma used to make. Thankfully, my mom is a superstar in the kitchen and shared this recipe and lots of tips.

The broth of this soup is made by slow simmering beef oxtails and beef shank with water, salt, onions, and garlic for a couple of hours until the beef is tender and the beef broth is flavorful and rich.

ingredients to make oxtail soup on a cutting board corn, celery, garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, beef, potatoes, carrots

Then, the soup is loaded with carrots, potatoes, celery, cabbage, corn, tomatoes, and zucchini, and seasoned with basic spices like pepper, coriander, safflower petals (azafran), and fresh cilantro.

celery corn carrots garlic onion potato zucchini and tomatoes on an old wooden cutting board

Serve this soup with lime wedges, salsa casera, and warm corn tortillas.

three bowls one filled with salsa and the other two with oxtail soup

I remember as a kid fishing for the soup bones with the marrow in the middle. It honestly makes the best taco de tuetano (bone marrow taco) when slathered on a warm corn tortilla and sprinkled with salt. You might think it tastes fatty and greasy, but actually it is pure heavenly buttery goodness.

bone marrow in a corn tortilla sprinkled with salt

This oxtail soup is the perfect soup to kick off Hispanic Heritage month and to welcome the changing of the seasons.

This is my daughter Maya’s senior year and as the school year goes by, I get a little more and more anxious, realizing that she will be flying the coop soon.

Maya grew up cooking in the kitchen with me. As this is her last year at home before college, every moment in the kitchen together sharing recipes and connecting will be treasured.

oxtail soup loaded with vegetables

She is the one who gave me the idea to write a family cookbook when she was eight years old. She is the inspiration behind Muy Bueno. You can read more about that story here.

I can’t believe that almost 10 years later there is a published Muy Bueno cookbook for her to take to college and this blog to turn to whenever she wants to make one of her favorite dishes.

This year she has been consumed researching colleges and as a family we will be going on college tours. She is also looking into scholarships, and to be honest, it has been quite overwhelming.

Thanks to this partnership with Rumba Meats they shared a great scholarship opportunity and I wanted to tell you about it. They are sponsoring 25 $1,000 scholarships called the Rumba Meats Scholarship. My daughter has applied for it and we are crossing our fingers that it will be one of many scholarships she will receive. I wanted to share it with you, in case you are in the same situation with a senior in high school and researching scholarship opportunities.

I don’t even want to think about the moment she leaves home. I don’t know how I’m going to deal with it, but I’m hoping I’ll have leftover oxtail soup in the freezer to comfort me.

Thank you, Maya, for inspiring me to preserve my heritage and to pass it along to you and future generations. I am so proud of you.

soup tureen filled with oxtail soup and a bowl of soup and a side of corn tortillas



overhead shot of a bowl of Mexican oxtail soup

Caldo de colita de res - Oxtail Soup

4 (5 ratings)
Oxtail soup is flavorful and nutritious loaded with fresh vegetables. Oxtails and beef shank simmering slowly with vegetables produces a rich broth and tender, succulent meat, making this soup a very comforting meal.


  • 20 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 6 garlic, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 pounds beef oxtails
  • 1 ½ pounds beef shank, trim bone, and cut in 2-inch pieces
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 small red potatoes, 1-inch pieces (leave skins on)
  • 4 celery stalks, sliced
  • ½ large green cabbage, remove center and outer layer, chop 2-inch squares
  • 3 corn on the cob, fresh or frozen, cut in 2-inch pieces
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 zucchinis, chopped (large pieces)
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons safflower petals, azafran, optional
  • Handful cilantro


  • Bring water with salt and garlic to boil in a large stock pot. Divide ingredients into two large pots, if needed.
  • Add onion, oxtails, shanks, and bones and boil, lower to a slow simmer and cover and cook for 2 ½ hours.
  • Add all vegetables, raise the heat to bring to a boil, lower heat to a low simmer and cover for 30 minutes.
  • Add pepper, coriander, asafran (if using), and cilantro and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Taste for salt, and add more salt if needed.
  • Serve soup with lime wedges and salsa casera, and bone marrow slathered in a warm corn tortilla with a sprinkle of salt.


Freeze leftovers for a quick weeknight dinner. 
Calories: 511kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 55g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 166mg, Sodium: 2458mg, Potassium: 943mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 4366IU, Vitamin C: 37mg, Calcium: 104mg, Iron: 8mg

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Photography by Jenna Sparks 

Recipe developed for Rumba Meats. Opinions are my own.