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De Birria

Mexican birria tacos, Jalisco-style, made with braised beef that's slow-cooked in a fragrant 3-chile sauce with a delicious spice mix. Crispy tacos, and tender, mouth-watering beef team up with melted Mexican cheese in this impressive meal. This recipe takes a little time but it's so worth it!

These restaurant-worthy birria tacos are crispy on the outside, yet incredibly tender and juicy on the inside? What's not to love about this top-rated tacos de birria recipe?

What Is Birria?

Birria, a.k.a. tacos de birria, is a Mexican dish of meat (usually goat or beef) stewed in its braising liquid until it reaches a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Traditionally, it gets its flavor from dried chile peppers. Birria can be served alone as a stew or on corn tortillas.

Birria Tacos Ingredients

These are the ingredients you'll need to make this top-rated birria tacos recipe:

  • Dried chile peppers: The flavorful birria starts with dried guajillo chile peppers, chile de arbol peppers, and ancho chiles. For a bit of extra heat, don't remove all the seeds.

  • Beef: Beef chuck roast is perfect for braising for hours. When you're done, the meat will shred incredibly easily.

  • Seasonings: You'll need salt, pepper, fresh garlic, whole cloves, cinnamon, cumin, thyme, marjoram, and oregano.

  • Olive oil: Sear the meat in olive oil before you add the braising liquid.

  • Tomatoes: Grill Roma tomatoes before blending them with other ingredients to unlock extra layers of flavor.

  • Vinegar: Two tablespoons of white vinegar adds even more acidity to the braising liquid.

  • Tortillas: Use store-bought or homemade corn tortillas.

  • Onion and cilantro: Finish each taco with chopped onion and fresh cilantro for a final punch of flavor and texture.


How to Make Birria Tacos

You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's a brief overview of what you can expect when you make these tacos de birria:

  1. Boil the dried peppers for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and let the peppers soak until the water is cool. Drain, reserving some water.

  2. Season the beef and sear on all sides in oil in a Dutch oven.

  3. Grill the tomatoes until the skin is blistered and begins to peel.

  4. Blend the soaked chili peppers with the reserved chile water, tomatoes, vinegar, and seasonings.

  5. Strain the sauce and pour over the meat. Cover the Dutch oven and cook until the meat begins to fall apart, basting often. Allow the meat to rest, then shred.

  6. Warm the tortillas on the griddle. Fill each tortilla with meat, onions, and cilantro.

Can You Make This Recipe In the Slow Cooker?

You can prepare these birria tacos in a slow cooker as well, but you will be sacrificing a little bit of flavor. Prepare the birria the same way, but place in a slow cooker instead of a Dutch oven and cook on High for 4 to 6 hours or on Low for 6 to 8 hours.

Nicole's Best Birria Taco Tips

Culinary producer Nicole McLaughlin (a.k.a. NicoleMcMom) loves making tacos de birria to feed a crowd. Here are a few of her favorite tips and tricks:

  • For the perfect sear, use a paper towel to make sure your meat is really dry before adding it to the hot pan. If it doesn't sizzle right away, your pan is not hot enough!

  • "When I'm searing something I'm eventually going to shred anyway," Nicole says, "I like to cut it into chunks instead of leaving it as one big piece. That way you've got more surface area to get those good brown crispy bits."

  • Skim the fat off the top of the braising liquid when you're done cooking the meat. But don't throw it out and waste all that precious flavor — use it to cook your tortillas before assembling the tacos.

How to Serve Birria Tacos

Pair each serving with a small bowl of the braising liquid for dipping. For a complete Mexican-inspired meal, explore this collection of 12 Side Dishes to Round Out Taco Night. Here's a preview of the mouthwatering recipes you'll find:



  • 6 dried guajillo chile peppers, seeded

  • 4 dried chile de arbol peppers, stemmed and seeded

  • 2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed

  • 4 medium Roma tomatoes

  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper

  • 4 whole cloves

  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon

  • 1 pinch ground cumin

  • 1 pinch ground thyme

  • 1 pinch dried marjoram

  • 1 pinch dried oregano

  • 1 pinch salt


  • 4 pounds beef chuck roast

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • 18 corn tortillas

  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped

  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

  • 1 cup shredded queso asadero (white Mexican cheese) (Optional)


  1. Start the sauce: Add guajillo, arbol, and ancho chile peppers to the boiling water; boil for 5 minutes.

  2. Remove pot from the heat and allow peppers to soak until cool. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

  3. Meanwhile, sear the meat: Rinse beef and pat dry with paper towels. Cut beef into chunks if desired, and season with salt and pepper.

  4. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  5. While the beef is searing, continue the sauce: Line a heavy cast-iron grill pan or griddle with aluminum foil and place over high heat. Arrange tomatoes in a single layer on top. Grill until tomato skin is burned on all sides and begins to peel, 3 to 5 minutes.

  6. Place cooled chile peppers into a blender. Add vinegar, garlic, 2 teaspoons black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, thyme, marjoram, oregano, and salt in a blender. Pour in the reserved 1/4 cup of chile water and blend until smooth.

  7. Strain chile sauce through a mesh strainer and pour over browned meat in the Dutch oven, turning the roast so it is completely covered with sauce; cover with a lid.

  8. Bake in the preheated oven, basting meat every 45 minutes with sauce, until birria begins to fall apart, 3 to 4 hours. Remove the lid and bake, uncovered, until birria is crispy on top, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with 2 layers of aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area for 10 minutes.

  9. Remove meat to a cutting board and strain off any fat from the sauce. Shred meat with two forks, then return meat to the pot and stir with the sauce to combine.

  10. Assemble and heat tacos: Fill each tortilla with birria and top with Mexican cheese, chopped onion, and cilantro. Warm tortillas on a griddle, flipping until both sides are crispy and cheese is melted.

  11. Serve with extra sauce on the side for dipping.

Slow Cooker Option:

You can prepare this dish in a slow cooker as well, but you will be sacrificing a little bit of flavor. Prepare the birria the same way, but place in a slow cooker instead of a Dutch oven and cook on High for 4 to 6 hours or on Low for 6 to 8 hours.


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