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What To Serve With Oxtails – 36 Delicious Side Dishes

If you’re wondering what to serve with your oxtails, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I list 36 of the most popular side dishes for oxtails.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

The best side dishes for oxtails are garlic rolls, polenta, and buttered noodles. You can also try some South African traditional sides like boereboontjies, sultana rice, and chakalaka. For a healthier choice, you may serve a salad or vegetables like squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

Great flavor pairings for oxtails

Oxtails have a rich, beefy flavor and are tender and silkier than short ribs when cooked right.

Oxtails pair well with: 

  • Spicy flavors – oxtails’ meaty, savory flavor can easily stand up to spice and heat. Try incorporating spices like chili peppers, black peppers, and paprika as a rub, marinade, or straight into your oxtail dish. 
  • Tangy flavors –  bright, tangy flavors help offset the richness of your oxtails. Ingredients like vinegar, tomato, and lemons will give you that zingy bite. 
  • Sweet – it may seem odd, but sweet ingredients like molasses, brown sugar, and honey can add a subtle depth to your oxtail dish. They also complement the oxtails’ natural beefy flavor.


Oxtails already have your protein covered, so a carb-loaded side is a must to complete the meal. 

A slice of crusty bread or polenta is great if you’re making an oxtail stew. 

Want something elegant? You can’t go wrong with risotto – be prepared for an arm workout, though! 

Cheesy garlic skillet rolls

There’s something about the combination of warm, soft rolls, garlic, and cheese that I can’t resist.

They’ll turn your oxtail stew into absolute comfort food.

This recipe is better with mozzarella cheese, but if you have a different type of cheese, that will also work.

Serve alongside some sticky oxtail in red wine sauce or even dip them into the pineapple-mango sauce of jerked oxtail.


Head over to Spicy Southern Kitchen for a cheesy goodness recipe.

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Cheesy garlic skillet rolls
Another favorite
Homemade garlic knots
Make it quick
Cheddar herb Irish soda bread

Polenta with roasted vegetables

Polenta is a porridge made from cornmeal.

It’s a creamy side dish that will elevate your braised oxtail to the next level.

It’s rich, yummy, and has the right texture to soak up any leftover sauce on your plate.

Neighbor Food’s roasted summer vegetable polenta bowls are a perfect mash-up of seasons.

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Roasted summer vegetable polenta bowls
Make it crispy
Pan-fried polenta slices
Preheat the oven
Polenta florentine

Butternut squash risotto with sage

Risotto seems like one of those oh-so-fancy dishes in a restaurant, but it’s not!

It can just grace your table any day of the week as a delicious side dish alongside your oxtail stew.

I know oxtail dishes are already rich in flavor. Still, a little portion of this equally flavorsome side dish will make your meal even better.

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Butternut squash risotto with sage
Make a classic
Risotto milanese
Make it low-carb
Cauliflower risotto

Buttered noodles with herbs

Garlic butter sauce made with fresh herbs and tossed with your favorite pasta. Need I say more?

What herbs can you use?

Chives, parsley, basil, oregano, sage, mint, thyme, and lemon thyme.

I could go on…

Connoisseurusveg has a flavor-packed recipe with garlic butter, fresh herbs, and chickpeas.

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Garlic butter and herb pasta with chickpeas
An Italian classic
Cacio e pepe
Make it low-carb
Roasted spaghetti squash with browned butter

Vegetables and salads

Skip the starchy sides and go with a veggie dish or a salad if you want more vitamins and minerals with your oxtail dish. 

Simple steamed veggies will do the trick nicely, but you can also take it a step further with a creamy but low-carb mashed cauliflower. 

Steamed broccoli

Steamed broccoli sounds boring and basic.

But you know what? You can make it taste 10x better.

This light and healthy side will complement your flavorful and decadently rich oxtail dish.

Give your steamed broccoli a lift by enhancing the flavors with some garlic and butter.

You’ll never have to return to that bland, flavorless broccoli side dish again.

This lemon pepper broccoli recipe from Taste and Tell is perfect alongside some smoked beef oxtail.

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Lemon broccoli
Go Asian
Stir-fried broccoli
Fire up the oven
Roasted broccoli with garlic and parmesan

Mashed cauliflower

Mashed cauliflower is a healthy and tasty alternative to mashed potatoes – you can eat it without any guilt!

And if you want it to be extra rich and creamy to pair your braised oxtail, simply add a little grated parmesan cheese.

Kay Nutrition’s garlic mashed cauliflower recipe works well for any day.

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Garlic mashed cauliflower
Another low-carb option
Mashed rutabaga
Make it basic
Herb and garlic mashed potatoes

Beetroot and orange salad

An orange-dressed beet salad that can be prepped up ahead of time?

It’s not too good to be true because this salad is the real deal!

You can also have fun and change the recipe each time you prepare it by switching the ingredients – parsley to cilantro or spinach and oranges to avocado. 

This fresh beetroot salad from Elle Republic uses a simple blend of orange and beet varieties. So vibrant and delicious!

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Beetroot and orange salad
Skip the fruity element
Beet and carrot salad
Make it warm
Roasted beetroot 

Cheesy bacon brussels sprouts

You probably weren’t a fan of brussels sprouts when growing up.

It’s like they’re the outcasts of the vegetable world.

But this recipe will absolutely convert the sprout-hating children and adults, too.

Who wouldn’t fall in love with these vegetables drizzled with cream, smothered in gooey cheese, and topped with crispy bacon?

Roasted to perfection, these brussels sprouts are perfect for serving alongside your glazed oxtails.

I wash you dry has such an indulgent recipe filled with cream and loads of crispy bacon!

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Creamy brussels sprouts with bacon
Skip the stovetop
Oven-roasted brussels sprouts
Make it fun
Smashed brussels sprouts

African favorites

Oxtails are a popular protein in Africa, so it’s no surprise they go well with classic African dishes. 

I especially love oxtails with a heaping serving of sultana rice, but you can also try boereboonotjies or chakalaka if you want a healthier meal. 

Yellow rice

Do you know how yellow rice gets its vivid yellow color?


This sultana yellow rice is a South African side dish that’s a great accompaniment to an oxtail entree.

When served at a weekend dinner with stew, your whole family will be begging for more!

The golden ingredient, sultana, gives the dish its sweet and juicy flavor. 

All That’s Jas adds curry powder for extra spice. So good!

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Sultana rice
Make a favorite
Jollof rice
Make it refreshing
Cilantro lime rice


Boereboontjies is another traditional side dish in South Africa that’s pronounced as boo-ra bwoyn-keys.

Also known as “farmer’s beans”.

This dish consists of mixed green beans, potatoes, and onions mashed up with butter and pepper.

Its name may be challenging to say, but the steps to make it are super easy.

Make it more interesting by adding your favorite ingredients like cheese and bacon bits.

Garnish with parsley or rosemary, then serve it beside your oven-baked oxtail. Yum!

Try this recipe with your next roast from Greedy Gourmet.

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Go Southern
Southern green beans with potatoes
Skip the spuds
Lemony steamed green beans


Oxtails aren’t just for soups and stews anymore.

They can also be barbecued.

And if you have celebrations, gatherings, or simply an outdoor dinner, chakalaka is a must-have!

It’s a vegetable relish, typically made from onion, tomatoes, and beans with crushed chiles.

Check out this recipe from Gypsy Plate that sounds like a dance move – cha-cha-ka-laka!

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South African chakalaka
Go Italian
Keep it simple
Sauteed peppers and onions



Kachumbari is an East African salad reminiscent of everyone’s favorite pico de gallo. 

It features tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and bird’s eye chili soaked in lemon juice. 

This salad may be simple, but it boasts a bright, tangy flavor – the perfect palate cleanser for your rich, beefy oxtails. 

Pro-tip: this salad is better after a couple hours of rest in the fridge. 

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Add a creamy bite
Cucumber tomato avocado salad
Skip the other veg
Balsamic tomato salad

The best oxtails side dishes

  • Cheesy garlic skillet rolls
  • Polenta with roasted vegetables
  • Butternut squash risotto with sage
  • Buttered noodles with herbs
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Mashed cauliflower
  • Beetroot and orange salad
  • Cheesy bacon brussels sprouts
  • Yellow rice
  • Boereboontjies
  • Chakalaka
  • Kachumbari

What To Serve With Oxtails (36 Ideas)

In this short recipe, I show exactly what to serve with your oxtails.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: All
Keyword: oxtails side dishes, what to serve with oxtails
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 674kcal


  • 1 portion cheesy garlic skillet rolls
  • 1 portion beetroot and orange salad
  • 1 portion chakalaka
  • 1 portion mashed cauliflower
  • 1 portion butternut squash risotto with sage
  • 1 portion boereboontjies … and more


  • Prepare your oxtails according to your favorite recipe.
  • In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
  • Sides include: cheesy garlic skillet rolls, polenta with roasted vegetables, butternut squash risotto with sage, buttered noodles with herbs, steamed broccoli, mashed cauliflower, beetroot and orange salad, cheesy bacon brussels sprouts, yellow rice, boereboontjies, chakalaka, and kachumbari.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 674kcal

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