Braised ox cheeks in bao buns

Braised ox cheeks

  • serves 4-6
  • Easy

An easy, slow-cooked beef dish with punchy soy and mirin flavours. Enjoy it spooned over rice, tossed into noodles, stuffed into steamed buns or even wrapped in Chinese pancakes


Make this recipe for braised ox cheeks, then check out our slow cooker beef stew, slow cooker chicken curry, slow cooker pulled pork and more slow cooker recipes.

This is a great freezer filler staple to have on hand for reheating during the week. Brisket, chuck or shin will work well, but ox cheeks give a depth of flavour, richness and thickness to the sauce that’s unlike any other cut.



  • ox cheeks 4 (about 1kg in total)
  • vegetable oil 2 tbsp
  • spring onions a small bunch, cut into chunks
  • ginger a thumb-sized piece, sliced (no need to peel)
  • garlic 4 cloves, bashed
  • red chillies 2, split
  • mirin 150ml
  • light soy sauce 100ml
  • soft light brown sugar 50g
  • star anise 2
  • cinnamon stick ½
  • Szechuan peppercorns 1 tsp
  • cloves 3
  • fennel seeds 2 tsp
  • beef stock 500-700ml
  • rice vinegar 1-2 tsp (optional)


  • Step 1

    Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Pat dry the ox cheeks with kitchen paper, trim away any sinew or fat and season with salt. Heat the oil in a casserole and sear the ox cheeks in batches for 3-4 minutes on each side until browned and seared. Set aside.

  • Step 2

    Add the spring onions, ginger, garlic and chilli to the casserole (or, to use a slow cooker, see cook’s notes, below), stir for 1-2 minutes until they take on some colour, then stir in the mirin, soy, sugar and whole spices. Bring to a simmer, and scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan. Nestle the seared ox cheeks back into the pan and top up with just enough beef stock to cover the meat. Cover with foil, put on the lid, and transfer to the oven. Cook for 5 hours until the beef is meltingly tender.

  • Step 3

    Remove the meat from the braise, and strain the remaining liquid into another pan to remove the whole spices and aromatics. Set over a low flame and bubble until thickened to a sauce. Shred the meat and stir back into the sauce. Check for seasoning, and add a pinch of extra sugar or a dash of rice vinegar to balance, if needed. Stir into wide noodles, spoon into steamed buns or simply serve over steamed rice with some pickles.

Check out more ox cheek recipes

Ox cheek and red cabbage

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 370
  • Fat 15.1g
  • Saturates 4.7g
  • Carbs 23.7g
  • Sugars 18.7g
  • Fibre 1g
  • Protein 34.4g
  • Salt 3g