Birria Tacos

Bring the vibrant taste of Mexico to your table with incredible birria tacos! Savor the tender, slow-cooked beef, smothered in a rich, flavorful sauce, and garnished with onion and cilantro – all wrapped in a crispy, toasted tortilla.

Close up view of birria tacos.

Welcome to the world of Mexican cuisine, where the incredible birria [beer-EE-uh] taco awaits you! This delectable dish is a testament to the vibrant flavors and rich culinary traditions of Mexico, offering a truly unforgettable dining experience. Our recipe features succulent, slow-cooked beef in a velvety, spiced sauce, garnished with onion and cilantro, all nestled in a crispy, toasted tortilla. The harmony of textures and flavors is what sets this dish apart. So, get ready to appreciate the art of making birria at home and embark on a delicious, culinary adventure!

The Rich History of Birria

Birria tacos have their roots in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, where birria, a traditional slow-cooked meat stew, has been enjoyed since the 16th century. The origin of birria is entwined with the arrival of Spanish colonizers, who imposed their livestock preferences on the region, such as goats, but dismissed goat meat as undesirable. The colonization of Mexico, which began in the early 16th century, led to a profound transformation of the local cuisine, as European ingredients and cooking techniques were introduced and often forced upon the indigenous population.

Despite the Spaniards’ disdain for goat meat, the indigenous people of Mexico displayed their resilience and culinary creativity by transforming this neglected ingredient into a tender, flavorful stew. Today, birria continues to hold a special place in the hearts and stomachs of people in Jalisco and beyond. It serves as a powerful reminder of the region’s rich culinary history and the ingenuity of its people, who overcame colonial impositions and turned humble ingredients into a beloved and enduring culinary masterpiece.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different type of meat?

While birria is traditionally made with goat or beef, you can always substitute with lamb or even chicken if needed, though the cooking time may vary. Keep in mind that using any meat other than goat or beef can change the overall flavor and texture of this dish.

What kind of tortillas should I use?

You can use either corn or flour tortillas, depending on your preference. Corn tortillas are traditional, but flour tortillas will work just as well.

Can I make the sauce spicier?

Absolutely! Feel free to adjust the number of chipotle peppers to suit your desired spice level.

What is the difference between birria tacos and quesabirria?

The traditional Birria tacos and their modern counterpart, quesabirria, share a rich history, but also have some key differences in preparation and ingredients. Birria tacos feature slow-cooked, succulent beef in a velvety, spiced sauce, served in a toasted tortilla with onion and cilantro.

On the other hand, quesabirria emerged from Tijuana as a contemporary twist on the classic birria tacos, adding cheese into the mix. This innovative version incorporates a generous amount of cheese, typically Oaxaca or Monterey Jack, which is melted on the tortilla during the toasting process. The inclusion of cheese not only alters the taste and texture of the taco but also reflects a fusion of traditional Mexican flavors with the modern penchant for cheesy delights.

While both birria tacos and quesabirria share a common foundation of tender, slow-cooked meat in a rich, spiced sauce, it is the addition of cheese that sets the two apart. Quesabirria is a testament to the evolving nature of culinary traditions, as they seamlessly blend old and new, creating a mouthwatering experience that appeals to a broader audience.

Serving Suggestions

Serve tacos hot and fresh, accompanied by a side of Mexican rice, beans, or a simple green salad. Add a splash of lime juice and your favorite salsa for an extra burst of flavor. Don’t forget the dipping sauce from the cooking liquid to complete the experience.

Storage & Reheating Instructions

Store leftover meat, sauce, and assembled tacos separately in airtight containers. Refrigerate for up to 4 days. Reheat the meat and sauce in a saucepan over low heat, or microwave in short intervals, stirring occasionally. Reheat assembled tacos in a dry skillet over low heat until warmed through.

Dive Deeper into Mexican Cuisine

For truly authentic Mexican recipes, check out Mexico In My Kitchen! Mely is passionate about sharing traditional Mexican dishes and preserving her country’s rich culinary heritage. Her blog offers an extensive collection of recipes, cooking tips, and cultural insights, making it an excellent starting point for those seeking to dive deeper into the world of Mexican cuisine.

Watch the video below where Caytlin will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Birria Tacos

Close up view of birria tacos.

Bring the vibrant taste of Mexico to your table with incredible birria tacos! Savor the tender, slow-cooked beef, smothered in a rich, flavorful sauce, and garnished with onion and cilantro – all wrapped in a crispy, toasted tortilla.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 50 minutes


Birria Stew

  • 4 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 dried guajillo chiles
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 pounds beef chuck roast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 4 cups beef broth

Birria Tacos

  • 18 street taco size corn or flour tortillas
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 cup freshly chopped cilantro

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Add dried chiles, submerge in hot water, and let sit for 15-20 minutes until softened. Drain, remove stems, and scrape out seeds.
  • Transfer peppers to a blender or food processor. Add chipotle peppers, garlic, crushed tomatoes, vinegar, oregano, paprika, cumin, allspice, and cinnamon. Puree until smooth.
  • Heat a large, oven-safe Dutch oven pot over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil. Season chuck roast with salt and sear on all sides until browned. Remove roast and set aside on a plate.
  • Add diced onions to the pot and sauté for 3-4 minutes until they start to soften. Add chili paste mixture and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Pour in beef broth and stir to combine. Return roast to the pot and submerge in the liquid. Place the lid on the pot and transfer it to the preheated oven. Roast until tender and easily shredded, about 3 hours.
  • Remove the roast from the liquid and shred. Spoon some of the liquid into individual serving bowls for dipping, but keep the meat separate from the liquids.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Dip a tortilla into the liquid until fully submerged and immediately place it into the hot skillet. Toast for 1-2 minutes until browned, then flip. Place some of the meat, and a generous pinch of onion and cilantro onto half of the toasted tortilla, then fold in half to cover filling. Continue toasting and flipping so that both sides get toasted. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  • Serve immediately, hot, with the dipping liquid.


Calories: 504kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 980mg | Potassium: 1309mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 5000IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 7mg

Birria Tacos