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Sop Buntut - Oxtail Soup

Indonesian famous sop buntut (oxtail soup) that tastes as good as the one you find in some of the best Indonesian restaurants. You only need some oxtails and surprisingly other easy-to-find ingredients to recreate this iconic Indonesian soup.

Indonesia has many iconic dishes, and if you ever visit Indoensia, I truly believe that one simply must make an effort to try sop buntut (oxtail soup) once, at the very least. If a restaurant serves sop buntut at all, it will be really hard to miss since this soup is probably the most expensive dish among the many dishes available. I am sure that part of the reason for the princely price is due to the cost of buntut (oxtail), they are comparable to some of the choices cut of beef! This is why I rarely make this soup, though I love them to death. And when going out for a bite, I will treat myself to this maybe once in a year, haha, since the next cheapest dish in a menu can easily be half the price of this soup. I kid you not.

Sop Buntut - Oxtail Soup

Sop Buntut - Oxtail Soup

Lately there seems to be numerous places offering sop buntut bakar (grilled oxtail soup). These places claimed that they grilled the oxtail first, presumably with some spices, and made the soup from the grilled oxtail. If you own a grill, you can give it a try. I wouldn’t be surprised if the taste is indeed superior to the traditional one, after all, it is no secret that broth made from grilled meat should be better than un-grilled one, right? ♥

Sop Buntut - Oxtail Soup

Sop Buntut - Oxtail Soup

Sop Buntut - Oxtail Soup

4.9 from 12 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 3 hours 30 mins

Total Time: 4 hours

Serves: 8


  • 1 kilogram oxtail (Indonesian: buntut sapi)
  • 2 1/2 liter water
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick (Indonesian: kayu manis)
  • 5 cloves (Indonesian: cengkeh)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (Indonesian: bubuk pala)
  • 250 gram carrot, peeled and cut into 1 inch rounds
  • 250 gram potato, peeled and cut into 8 wedges per potato
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Grind the following into spice paste
  • 100 gram shallots (Indonesian: bawang merah)
  • 5 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
  • 1 inch ginger (Indonesian: jahe)
  • 1/2 onion (Indonesian: bawang bombay)
  • Garnish and accompaniments
  • 1 tomato (Indonesian: tomat), cut into small slices
  • 1 scallion (Indonesian: daun bawang), thinly sliced
  • 2 Chinese celery (Indonesian: daun seledri), thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • deep fried shallot flakes (Indonesian: bawang merah goreng)
  • Chili sauce (mixed the following)
  • 4 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (Indonesian: kecap manis)
  • 4 Thai chilies (Indonesian: cabe rawit), seeded and thinly sliced


  1. Boil oxtails and water in a pot. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours or until oxtails are cooked and tender. Remove oxtails from the stock and set aside. Strain the stock to get a clear broth. Return the broth and oxtails back to the pot.
  2. In a frying pan, heat oil and sauté spice paste, cinnamon stick, cloves, and nutmeg until fragrant. About 5 minutes. Add this to the pot with broth and oxtails.
  3. Bring the oxtail and broth back to a boil. Add carrot and potato and season with salt, sugar, and ground white pepper. Reduce heat and cook until carrot and potato are cooked and tender, but still quite firm. About 20 minutes. Adjust salt and sugar as needed.
  4. Turn off heat, serve the soup with slices of tomato, scallion, and Chinese celery. Sprinkle the soup with some deep fried shallot flakes. The soup is best eaten when still piping hot with a bowl of steamed white rice accompanied with the chili sauce and a squeeze of lime juice.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • Ben Ben says:

    Thank you Anita, I have been looking for a good recipe for this for a while. My Partner Freya and I were in Jakarta a few years ago and I have fond memories of this soup. I will try grilling the meat next time I make it also.

  • Konrad Markham Konrad Markham says:

    Hi Anita, Thanks for the recipe. I tried the oxtail grilled and yes it is very tasty. My only comment on the recipe is that simmering the oxtails in water, needs a lot longer than 30 minutes. Yes you do clarify and say until cooked but it's still much longer than that. Look forward to trying some of the other recipes.

  • Laski Laski says:

    Sounds tasty...It has been over ten years ago the lasttime I ate this soup..Many Thanks Anita!

  • Brandon Brandon says:

    Thank you for the recipe, Anita. It's a wonderful recipe - absolutely delicious! Like Konrad, I found the Oxtail took much longer than 30 minutes. I had it cooking for over three hours before it was tender and falling of the bone

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Brandon, thank you for the feedback. I am going to update the recipe to reflect the more correct cooking time then :)

  • Alexa Alexa says:

    thank you for your wonderful recipe! I am in indonesia right now and cooked sop buntut with your recipe for my indonesian fiance, here and there a few changes but anyway. he prefers this one over the ones you can buy and he also said tht if his mom and grandma were still alive after this dish I would have already passed as their daughter in law <3

    • Anita Anita says:

      Such a sweet story. Best of luck for the both of you :)

      • Paktom Paktom says:

        WE Lived in Jakarta for two years and I first had sop bun tut at SAte Tomang (restaurant) and had it repeatedly till we returned to USA. I now ,make it in a similar fashion and it's always good! I loved j.akarta (and Indonesia's) after I. Got use to t.he turmoil and confusion (my confusion). People were patient with my Use of the language...sorry.

        • Anita Anita says:

          Haha, life in Jakarta is indeed way more chaotic compared to the States. I am happy you like the sop buntut recipe.

        • Ardy Ardy says:

          you should try Oxtail soup at Bogor Cafe - Borobudur Hotel. The best Oxtail Soup ever.... and also the priciest... :P

  • Unixorncraft Unixorncraft says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I tried this with pork, arjust the herbs (lots of ginger and white pepper) and simmer for a few hours; the taste is fantastic! Remind me of home x

    • Anita Anita says:

      Such a creative idea! We Indonesian will probably never tried that in a million years since it has always been oxtail and oxtail only for making this soup :)

  • Rachel Rachel says:

    I've never tried sop buntut before, though my hubs rave about how he will ALWAYS have it when he goes Jakarta. So tried your recipe today and my hubs said it turned out really good! So flavourful and appetizing like he had it in Jakarta. Thanks!

    • Anita Anita says:

      You hubby sounds a bit like me then. Whenever I return home to Jakarta, I am armed with a long list of my favorite food that I simply must eat before my flight back to US, haha. :D

  • Steph Steph says:

    Hi Anita, thank you for the wonderful recipe. This became a staple food at my home as my hubby loves sop buntut. I usually made this in a larger quanity, I also used a pressure cooker (around 30-35 mins), then I stored them in little containers and put them in the freezer. So whenever we crave for buntut, just take it out from the freezer!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Haha, I also love making double or even triple batches and freeze extra cause everyone loves this soup :)

  • Ags Ags says:

    I wish I had all the time in the world to try each and every single one of your recipes... the lack of time has made me return to old favourites again and again, but there's so many things I'd love to try! Thank you for demistifying Indo food! - and the Japanese & Chinese style as well!

    • Anita Anita says:

      You are welcome Ags. And I hope you will have time to try a couple more recipes ;)

  • Boyd Kobe Boyd Kobe says:

    mmm…this looks incredibly delicious!!! My family would love it.

  • Ivana Ivana says:

    Wow just finished cook and tested. It is just delicious . Never cook this soup before, just the picture looks so good and need to try it. I am successful Oalaaaa... thank you so much for your recipe

    • Anita Anita says:

      You are welcome Ivana. I am happy you gave my recipe a try and find out that you love it. :)

  • Kelly Down Kelly Down says:

    Thanks for your recipe. I did not want to use a packaged "Sop Buntut" mix, so I found your recipe and all is good. We live in Indonesia and my maid didn't know the ingredients for Sop Buntut. Go figure? now she knows very well and thanks to you. Best regards, Kelly Down

    • Anita Anita says:

      Yay, now you can have sop buntut whenever you want, Kelly. :) As for your maid not knowing sop buntut recipe, I think it's because even for Indonesians, the soup is a special treat that most go to a restaurant for. So most don't learn how to make this at home.

  • kelly Down kelly Down says:

    Hi Anita, also FYI Americans need to speed things up so I used a pressure cooker for the Ox tails for about 40 mins. then the rest of the process was as per your great directions. tks. Kelly

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thanks for the tips to cook with a pressure cooker, Kelly! I think I am forever traumatized to use a pressure cooker since it once exploded so dramatically when my Mom used it, lid stuck on our kitchen ceiling, content (soup) erupted and spilled everywhere, and our neighbors thought someone opened a shot or we had a gas tank exploded or something, LOL.

  • Alex Alex says:

    Great recipe. Very straightforward compared to some of the other ones out there. For anyone who got here like I did by searching "sop buntut grilled" I'll just note that it does work well with the variation Anita suggests (grilling the oxtail first). Although what I've actually gotten into even more is grilling the oxtail at the end. Cook the soup as normal, but just before serving, remove the oxtail and grill it. The fat crisps up and stays crisp this way, and I don't find you lose that much of the grilled flavor in the broth, or at least you don't miss it.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thanks for sharing your grilling tips, Alex. I'll be sure to pick up some oxtail next time I visit my local Asian grocery store and make the soup following your suggestion. :)

  • Annie Annie says:

    I made this recipe last week in the pressure cooker, forgot to add nutmeg and forgot to add the seasonings while boiling the veggies. Husband said something was off. Made it again while following the steps exactly. He said it tasted perfect and loved it. Never seen him so excited to eat my cooking.

    • Anita Anita says:

      This made me smile. Thanks for sharing your experience, Annie. :)

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