Rabo Guisado (Puerto Rican Stewed Oxtail)

Rabo Guisado is a traditional Puerto Rican dish that’s full of slow-cooked goodness. This authentic recipe features tender oxtail, aromatic spices, and a rich broth that’s perfect when you need a warm hug…in stew form.

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Rabo Guisado is a traditional Puerto Rican dish that’s full of slow-cooked goodness. This authentic recipe features tender oxtail, aromatic spices, and a rich broth that’s perfect when you need a warm hug…in stew form.

Rabo Guisado (Puerto Rican Stewed Oxtail)

I did not grow up eating oxtail, and it’s a damn shame, because it is truly delicious! I was actually introduced to this humble cut of beef by my Jamaican college roommate Sade. Whenever she would go home to visit for the weekend, she’d always come back to the dorm with some goodies from home, and that usually included some stewed oxtails. Man, I’m salivating just thinking about it.

After doing some research into how to cook this dish, I discovered that oxtail is a cut that’s featured in other Caribbean recipes, such as in Cuban Rabo Encendido. Known as rabo guisado in Puerto Rico, this dish traces its roots back to the Taíno, African, and Spanish influences that have shaped Puerto Rican cuisine over centuries. The dish reflects the island’s history of blending diverse cultural influences into a harmonious culinary tradition. Oxtail, once considered a humble cut of meat, became a centerpiece in Puerto Rican cooking, celebrated for its rich, gelatinous texture and deep flavor profile.

Rabo Guisado (Puerto Rican Stewed Oxtail)

How To Make Puerto Rican Rabo Guisado

At the heart of Rabo Guisado are simple yet flavorful ingredients, each playing a crucial role in creating the dish’s signature taste. Oxtail takes center stage, marinated and slow-cooked to perfection. The seasoning blend typically includes sofrito, a fragrant mixture of onions, peppers, garlic, cilantro, and culantro (recao), which forms the flavor base of many Puerto Rican dishes. Additional spices such as oregano and bay leaves add depth and complexity to the stew. Root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and squash are often included, enhancing both the flavor and texture of the dish.

How To Make Puerto Rican Rabo Guisado

The preparation of Rabo Guisado is a labor of love, requiring patience and attention to detail. The oxtail is first marinated in a mixture of sofrito and spices, allowing the flavors to penetrate the meat. It is then browned to perfection, locking in its succulent juices. The oxtail is then simmered slowly in a savory broth that features red wine and broth, until it reaches melt-in-your-mouth tenderness, allowing the flavors to meld together harmoniously. As the stew simmers, the aroma will fill your kitchen, notifying your loved ones that something delicious is on the way.

Rabo Guisado (Puerto Rican Stewed Oxtail)

What to Serve With Puerto Rican Rabo Guisado

Rabo Guisado is typically served hot, accompanied by fluffy white rice, which acts as the perfect canvas to soak up the flavorful sauce. A side of sweet plantains or avocado slices adds a touch of sweetness and creaminess, balancing the richness of the stew. A sprinkle of fresh cilantro or a squeeze of lime juice adds a burst of freshness, elevating the dish to new heights.

Rabo Guisado is more than just a dish – it is a testament to the rich tapestry of Puerto Rican culture and culinary heritage. With its robust flavors, hearty ingredients, and soul-warming essence, it continues to captivate hearts and palates around the world. Whether enjoyed at a family dinner or savored at a local restaurant, Rabo Guisado invites us to slow down, savor each bite, and appreciate the simple pleasures of life. So, the next time you’re craving comfort food with a touch of tropical flair, why not whip up a batch of Puerto Rican Style Stewed Oxtail? Your taste buds will thank you. ¡Buen provecho!

Rabo Guisado (Puerto Rican Stewed Oxtail)

Rabo Guisado (Puerto Rican Stewed Oxtail)

Course Main Course
Cuisine Puerto Rican
Keyword oxtail, rabo
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 4
Author Delish D’Lites


  • 4 lbs oxtail cut at the joint if using whole oxtail
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar

For The Marinade

For The Stew Broth

  • 2 cup red wine such as Cabernet or Merlot
  • water
  • 2 tbsp powdered chicken bouillion plus more, if needed
  • cup tomato sauce
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced into strip
  • 1 white onion, sliced into strips
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyrme optional
  • 3 dried bay leaves or 1 fresh
  • 3-4 culantro (recao) leaves or ¼ cup of fresh cilantro


Marinate The Oxtail

  1. Clean the oxtail by placing them in a bowl and adding the vinegar. Toss to coat, then rinse with water. Drain and set aside in a bowl.

  2. Season the oxtail with the achiote oil, adobo, sazon, oregano, black pepper, garlic powder, sofrito, garlic and liquid sazon seasoning. Toss the oxtail to coat the pieces with the marinade mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for one hour, or up to overnight.

Cook The Oxtail

  1. In a large Dutch oven, add 2 tsp of achiote oil and heat to medium heat. Remove the oxtail from the marinade (save it!) and brown the pieces for 3-4 minutes per side.

  2. Pour the marinade into the pot on top of the oxtail, then add the wine, chicken bouillion and tomato sauce. Stir the mixture and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any brown bits.

  3. Add the peppers, onion, thyme and bay leaves into the pot. Add enough water to completely cover the oxtails. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to medium low and cover, leaving the edge of the pan slightly uncovered so that the mixture can reduce.

  4. Cook the oxtail stew for 3 hours, until they're tender and ready to fall off the bone. Season with salt to taste, then serve hot.

Recipe Video

Rabo Guisado (Puerto Rican Stewed Oxtail)


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I’m Jannese, Founder of Delish D’lites

I’m a Puerto Rican girl living in paradise (Florida), and the creative mind behind Delish D’Lites. I love sharing my family recipes and travel inspired cuisine! My favorite things include collecting passport stamps, twerking to Latin music, and kissing puppies. Follow along on social.