This popular Mexican Beef Birria recipe includes tender beef that’s braised in a broth of chile peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and seasonings, then shredded and served as a stew. We also use the meat and consomé to make Birria tacos.

Looking for more Mexican recipes? Try my Mole Poblano, Chilaquiles, Pozole, or Pico de Gallo!

Beef Birria served in a bowl, garnished with cilantro and onion, and served with corn tortillas.

If you’ve tried Beef Birria, you just know! It’s next-level amazing Mexican food with rich, complex flavored broth with tender shredded beef. You can eat it as a stew, or use the meat and broth to make Birria Tacos, quesadillas or burritos.

I might embarrass myself with how excited I get to share certain recipes, but it’s usually because so many hours of testing and love went into creating them, and I’m just so dang proud of the end result! This easy Beef Birria recipe (birria de res) is no exception! It’s just as good as I’ve had at restaurants and food trucks in Arizona and California.

Why I love this recipe:

  • Flavorful – the stew is loaded with fresh ingredients, seasonings, and three different chile peppers, resulting in a rich and flavorful consomé broth.
  • Versatile – Serve it as a stew, or use it to make Birria Tacos!
  • Freezer Friendly – Take advantage of the time and effort that it took to make, and be sure to freeze the leftovers for a meal, or tacos, another night.

How to make Beef Birria:

Prepare Meat: Remove any large pieces of fat from the chuck roast. Cut it into a few large pieces and season with salt.

Prepare Dried Chiles: Rinse the chiles (wear gloves if desired), then use scissors to remove the stem and make a slit along the side to open them and remove the seeds.

Make Chile Sauce: Add tomatoes and onion to a large stock pot (at least 5.5qt pot of bigger) over medium heat. Add whole garlic cloves, chile peppers, and all of the spices except the bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes, then add vinegar and water. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes, uncovered.

Tomatoes and onions in a large pot, then spices and dried chiles added to make birria consomé.

Blend Sauce: Add mixture to a blender and blend as smooth as possible. Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer, back into the pot. Add water to the blender and swirl it around to clean excess sauce from the blender, then add it to the pot.

Chile sauce blended to smooth in a blender, then strained back into a pot.

Add Meat and Simmer: Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Add short ribs, chuck roast and 3 bay leaves. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 ½ hours.

Beef roast and short ribs added to a chile sauce, then braised until meat is tender.

Remove meat and shred: Check meat to make sure it’s tender. Remove meat to a plate and chop or shred into pieces. Discard bones and bay leaves.

Shredded beef on a plate, ready to make Beef Birria.

Serve: Taste broth (careful, it’s hot!) and add additional seasonings or salt, if needed. Add some meat to bowls and pour broth on top. Garnish with fresh chopped white onion and cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Shredded meat in a bowl with a ladle pouring birria consomé broth on top.

Serve with warm corn tortillas on the side, for dipping. Or, use this recipe to make our Birria Tacos or Quesabirra.

Birria vs Barbacoa:

Barbacoa originates from Central Mexico and is traditionally cooked in the ground in a hole for many hours. Birria originates from Jalisco, Mexico and is a saucier version that is submerged in a sauce for the cooking duration. This recipe is a shorter version that still yields a delicious result that is more accessible for an at home cook.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: This is a great recipe to make ahead and reheat another day. I like to make birria beef at least a day in advance and use the leftovers to make tacos or quesabirria.

To Freeze: The cooked beef and sauce can be frozen in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

Recipe Variations:

  • Meat: Although many people use beef, typical birria is made with goat or lamb meat, which you could substitute in this recipe. Always use some bone-in meat, as bones add rich flavor to the broth.
  • Chile Peppers and Spice Level: The Guajillo and Passilla peppers are mild. Guajillo chiles are necessary for this recipe, but if you can’t find passila, try substituting mulato chiles, or use 1-2 extra guajillo chiles and leave out the pasilla chiles. The arbol chiles are the hottest. For medium spice, remove the seeds. For very mild heat level, omit the arbol chiles.
  • Cinnamon Stick: Mexican cinnamon sticks are softer than cassia cinnamon sticks common in the US, so be sure to use a small piece of Mexican cinnamon sticks for this recipe, so they blend well. Otherwise substitute ground cinnamon.
  • Slow Cooker: Prepare recipe up to step 5. Add broth and meat to slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6 hours, until meat is tender.
  • Instant Pot: I think it’s better, faster and easier to make Beef Birria on the stove, but here’s an Instant Pot Beef Birria recipe if you’re interested.

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Recipe

Beef Birria served in a bowl, garnished with cilantro and onion, and served with corn tortillas.
Prep 10 mins
Cook 2 hrs 55 mins
Total 3 hrs 5 mins
Save Recipe

Ingredients
 
 

  • 3 lb beef chuck roast*
  • 4 bone-in beef short ribs*
  • 8 dried guajillo chile peppers*
  • 3 dried pasilla chile peppers
  • 2-3 dried arbol chile peppers*
  • 5 roma tomatoes , quartered (about 1.5lb)
  • 1 white onion , roughly chopped
  • 1 head garlic (10-12 cloves)
  • 1 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cumin seed (or 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin)
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds (or ¼ tsp ground coriander)
  • 4 or 5 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger root
  • 1 inch piece Mexican cinnamon stick* (or ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon)
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar , or white
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoons kosher salt

For serving:

  • 1 white onion , finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of cilantro , chopped
  • 2 limes , sliced
  • Corn tortillas

Instructions
 

  • Prepare meat: Remove any large pieces of fat from the chuck roast. Cut it into a few large pieces and season with salt.
  • Prepare dried chiles: Wearing gloves if desired, rinse the chiles, then use scissors to remove the stem and make a slit along the side to open them and remove the seeds. (The arbol chiles are hottest, so for less heat, remove the seeds, or omit these chiles completely. If you like extra spice, leave them whole).
  • Make chile sauce: Add tomatoes and onion to a large stock pot (at least 5.5qt pot of bigger) over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring. Add whole garlic cloves, chile peppers, and all of the spices except the bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add vinegar and 4 cups water. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes, uncovered.
  • Blend sauce: Add mixture to a blender and blend as smooth as possible. Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer, back into the pot. Add 4 cups of water to the blender and swirl it around to clean excess sauce from the blender, then add it to the pot.
  • Add meat and simmer: Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Add short ribs, chuck roast and 3 bay leaves. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 ½ hours.
  • Shred meat: Check meat to make sure it’s tender. Remove meat to a plate and chop or shred into pieces. Discard bones and bay leaves.
  • Serve: Taste broth (careful, it’s hot!) and add additional seasonings or salt, if needed. Add some shredded meat to bowls and pour broth on top. Garnish with fresh chopped white onion and cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve with warm corn tortillas on the side, for dipping. Or, use the sauce and meat to make Birria Tacos!

Notes

Meat: Regions in Mexico all prepare birria differently. Some use beef, goat, or lamb, which you could substitute in this recipe. Always use some bone-in meat, as bones add rich flavor to the broth.
Chile Peppers and Spice Level: The Guajillo and Passilla peppers are mild. Guajillo chiles are necessary for this recipe, but if you can’t find passila, try substituting mulato chiles, or use 1-2 extra guajillo chiles and leave out the pasilla chiles. The arbol chiles are the hottest. For medium spice, remove the seeds. For very mild heat level, leave them out.
Cinnamon Stick: Mexican cinnamon sticks are softer than cassia cinnamon sticks common in the US, so be sure to use a small piece of Mexican cinnamon sticks for this recipe, so they blend well. Otherwise substitute ground cinnamon.
Birria Tacos: Use the shredded meat and consommé broth to make Birria Tacos or Quesabirria.
To Make Ahead: This is a great recipe to make ahead 1-3 days ahead of time. Rewarm on the stove or use the meat and broth for tacos, burritos or quesadillas.
To Freeze: The cooked beef and sauce can be frozen (I like to freeze them separately, in case I decide to make tacos) in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
Slow Cooker: Prepare recipe up to step 5. Add broth and meat to slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6 hours, until meat is tender.
Instant Pot: I think it’s better, faster and easier to make Beef Birria on the stove, but here’s an Instant Pot Beef Birria recipe if you’re interested.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 450kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 45gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 2gCholesterol: 157mgSodium: 1356mgPotassium: 1019mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1189IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 99mgIron: 7mg

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 5 stars
    Just finished making this for dinner and the flavor is incredible and the meat is very good. There are just four of us, so I will use the leftovers to make the Birria Tacos.