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My Birria Taco Recipe is an amazing crisp, pan-fried taco filled with fall-apart tender chuck roast braised in a mildly spicy and sweet birria consomé. This recipe will change how you make tacos! These tacos are totally irresistible - and worth sharing with everyone!
What is birria?
Birria is a slowly-braised Mexican stew traditionally made with goat meat, originating in the state of Jalisco. It's a deeply flavorful stew made with a base of guajillo and ancho chiles, tomatoes, onion, and garlic, with plenty of seasoning.
Although birria stew originally used goat meat, you can make it with a variety of other meats - including beef! Beef birria is my personal favorite. Using chuck roast, you can keep it an economical meal with a ton of flavor.
What are birria tacos?
Corn tortillas are filled with shredded birria meat and Mexican cheese, such as Oaxaca, before being pan-fried in fat from the stew after cooking. The result is crisp, cheesy beef tacos unlike any you have had before! You use the birria sauce to dip these crispy tacos!
"Just made this tonight for my family and everyone loved it!! My first time making birria, might I add. Amazing recipe!"@lookatmarie
Ingredients for Birria
Birria Stew Meat
- Chuck roast: Opt for boneless chuck roast cut into large chunks. If you're having trouble finding it, look at your local grocery store for "stew meat" - this is often chuck roast, and perfect for this recipe. You can also use beef shank, short ribs, or sirloin roast, if you prefer.
- Olive oil: Olive oil is used to sear the birria beef before braising. Searing the beef before cooking it in the stew really amps up the flavor!
Chiles for Birria
- Guajillo chiles: Dried guajillo chiles are mildly spicy with a fruity, smoky, and sweet flavor. You can find them in the international aisle of most grocery stores, near Mexican foods, or in the produce section of some stores. They come packaged in clear plastic bags. If you can't find them, look for New Mexico, Pasilla, or California peppers instead.
- Ancho chiles: Similar to guajillo chiles, ancho chiles have a smoky, chocolatey flavor with a mild spice, although their flavor profile is slightly different than guajillo. You will find these packaged and sold the same way as dried guajillo peppers.
- Tomatoes: Fresh Roma tomatoes are best. If you prefer, you can use canned fire-roasted tomatoes.
- Onion: White or yellow onion is best for this recipe.
- Garlic: No need to mince or smash the garlic - it's blended into the chile mixture as part of the stew base.
- Cinnamon stick: Use a cinnamon stick up to 2 inches in length.
- Bay leaf: Boiled with the vegetables and seasonings to complement the richness of the other ingredients.
- Dried oregano: Mexican oregano is best for this recipe. You can also use fresh Mexican oregano, if you can find it.
- Cumin seeds: An essential part of the seasoning of the stew base!
- Dried thyme: Although you can always use fresh thyme, I recommend using dried thyme for ease. The flavor is fantastic.
- Beef broth: I recommend using beef broth for this dish, but you can also use beef stock.
- Salt: Kosher salt or sea salt is best with beef.
- Black peppercorns: Not ground pepper, but peppercorns!
Birria Tacos Ingredients
- Corn tortillas: Corn tortillas work best for frying quesatacos. I don't recommend using flour tortillas. They will not crisp the same way! Best of all, corn tortillas are gluten-free.
- Onion, diced
- Cilantro, chopped
- Mexican melting cheese: Look for Oaxaca cheese for your quesabirria tacos. If you can't find Oaxaca, try mozzarella or Monterey Jack. You want a cheese that melts well, so don't use a hard Mexican cheese like cotija or queso fresco.
- Lime, cut into wedges
The trick to making these incredible beef birria tacos is dipping your tortillas in the consume fat, then frying them in a pan! Crisp fried taco shells are a life-changer.
I was craving a good Birria Taco and glad I found this! Absolutely delicious.Krystal
How to Make Birria
- Place a large pot or Dutch Oven over medium-high heat on the stove and add olive oil. Season beef with salt and pepper, and once the pot is hot, add the beef. Sear on all sides. Add half of the onion and cook for 2 minutes before removing the pot from the heat and setting it aside.
- Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chile peppers. I find this easiest to do with kitchen scissors.
- In a medium pot, add the chiles, tomatoes, half onion, garlic, cinnamon, and bay leaf. Pour in enough water to cover all ingredients. Place on stove over medium-high, and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
- Add dried oregano, cumin seeds, dried thyme, salt, and black peppercorns to the pot. Give it a stir and simmer for 10 minutes more. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
- Strain the contents of the pot into a wire-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick, and discard. Place the remaining solids into a blender or food processor.
- Add the broth from the sauce into the blender, plus the beef broth. Whirl until well blended. Taste and add more salt if needed, and blend just until mixed in.
- Place the pot with the beef and onion back on the stove over medium heat. Pour the contents of the blender over the beef. If the beef needs more liquid to cover it, pour in enough beef broth to cover. Bring to a simmer, then cover and lower the heat. Simmer until meat is tender and shreds easily, about 2½ to 3 hours.
Was so good! Boyfriend did a happy dance lolBriana on Pinterest
How to Make Birria Tacos
- When the birria stew is ready, please turn off the heat, remove the beef from the sauce, and shred it using two forks. It should shred easily.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat (cast iron is best). Using tongs, dip a tortilla into the top of the stew where the fat floats, then place it in the hot skillet. Top with some shredded beef, cheese, and cilantro.
- Fold the tortilla over and fry for about one minute on each side, until crispy. Remove the taco to a plate or baking sheet and keep it warm. Repeat the above steps with the remaining tortillas.
- Serve warm with a small bowl of the birria consome for dipping. This is key! Serve with lime wedges and sliced jalapenos on the side if desired. Top tacos with diced onion, more cilantro, and more cheese as you prefer.
I tried it! It came out perfect and delicious. So easy and fun to make!!Danelle on Pinterest
Tacos de Birria Tips
- You can also make these with chicken. Chicken Birria Tacos are equally just as amazing!
- For more heat, try adding dried chiles de árbol. These hot peppers add a sharp flavor to the stew that's perfect for matching the earthy flavors of the rest of the dish.
- Use your largest pot to make this dish. I use a cast iron dutch oven.
- Prep all your ingredients, like the peppers and stew base, ahead of time the day before you make the dish to make it even easier to get started!
- Use a nice melting cheese for these quesabirria tacos, like Oaxaca cheese, Monterey Jack, or mozzarella.
- Fry the tacos in the leftover fat that rises to the top of the stew for the most amazing flavor. This is so much better than frying them in oil!
These were so delicious! So good that I am now growing the peppers so I have them on hand. Seriously worth the effort.Kimberly on Pinterest
Birria Taco Recipe FAQ
Traditionally, birria tacos used goat meat. Now, though, you'll find home chefs and restaurants experimenting with different meats. Any meat that shreds well will work for birria: you can use chuck roast beef, chicken, or pork roast following this recipe!
Mexican melting cheese, like Oaxaca, works best. You can also use another melting cheese like Monterey Jack or Mozzarella. Avoid hard cheeses that won't melt well, like cotija or queso fresco.
How Many Tacos Per Person
If you're allowing your guests to fill their own tacos, account for 2 tacos per person - people tend to over-fill their own tacos!
|Number of Guests
|Amount of Birria Consomme to Make
|Amount of Tacos
|Prepare 50% more (2.5 to 3 lbs. roast)
|Double the recipe (4 to 4.5 lbs. roast)
|Prepare 150% more (4.5 to 5 lbs. roast)
|Triple the recipe (6 to 6.5 lbs. roast)
Tip: Use the slide bar next to the recipe yield in the recipe card to automatically calculate how much of each ingredient you will need.
Make more of my favorite Mexican Beef Recipes!
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Birria Taco Recipe
- Blender or food processor
- Kitchen scissors
- Medium pot
- 2 to 2 ½ pounds boneless chuck roast cut into large chunks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 dried guajillo chiles
- 2 dried ancho chiles
- 2 roma tomatoes quartered
- 1 medium onion halved
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 ½ inch cinnamon stick up to 2-inch
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds or ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 to 2 cups beef broth
See our Beef Temperature Chart for helpful tips on cooking any cut of beef!
- Place a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. When hot, season beef with salt and pepper and add to pot. Sear on all sides. Add half of the onion to the pot and cook two minutes more. Remove dutch oven from heat and set aside while you make the sauce.2 to 2 ½ pounds boneless chuck roast, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 medium onion
- Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chile peppers.3 dried guajillo chiles, 2 dried ancho chiles
- In a medium pot, add the chiles, tomatoes, half onion, garlic cloves, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Pour in enough water to cover all ingredients, about 4 to 5 cups. Place on stove over medium-high heat and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.3 dried guajillo chiles, 2 dried ancho chiles, 2 roma tomatoes, 1 medium onion, 1 ½ inch cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf, 3 cloves garlic
- Add remaining seasonings to the sauce pot: dried oregano, cumin seeds, dried thyme, and salt and peppercorns. Give it a stir and simmer for 10 minutes more. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a couple minutes.1 teaspoon dried oregano, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon salt
- Strain the contents of the sauce pot into a large wire-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick and discard. Place remaining solids into a blender.
- Add 2 cups of the broth from the sauce into the blender, plus 1 cup of beef broth. Whirl until well blended. Taste and add more salt if needed and blend just until mixed in.
- Place the pot with the beef and onion back on the stove at medium heat. Pour the contents of the blender over the beef. If the sauce is not enough liquid to cover the beef, pour in enough beef broth to cover. Bring to a simmer, then cover and lower heat. Simmer until meat is tender and shreds easily, about 2½ to 3 hours.1 to 2 cups beef broth
Making the tacos
- Turn off heat, remove beef from the sauce, and shred.
- Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Using tongs, dip a tortilla into the top of the stew (where the fat floats), then place in the hot skillet. Top with some shredded beef, cheese, and cilantro.12-15 corn tortillas
- Fold tortilla over and fry for about one minute on each side, until crispy. Remove taco to plate or baking sheet and keep warm. Repeat above steps with remaining tortillas.
- Serve warm with a small bowl of the birria stew for dipping. Serve with lime wedges and sliced jalapenos if desired. Top tacos with diced onion, more cilantro and more cheese if desired.1 cup diced onion, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, ½ cup Mexican melting cheese, 1 lime