It’s time to step up your taco game with the most amazing Birria Tacos recipe of tender shredded beef and melty cheese coated in sauce and pan fried until crispy. Serve extra sauce on the side for dipping, and you’ll experience why these tacos are all the rage!

I’ve got many more favorite taco recipes, including Grilled Fish Tacos, Chicken Street Tacos, Shrimp Tacos, and Carne Asada Tacos.

Birria Tacos served on a plate with a cup of consomé sauce for dipping.

Why I love this recipe:

  • The BEST tacos in the world! The beef is cooked in a bold and flavorful broth, called consomé, that’s used to dip the tortillas before pan frying and used for dunking the tacos when serving.
  • Versatile: We love make Birria tacos, Quesabirria, or Quesatacos (tacos with or without cheese) the most, but you could also serve the broth and meat as a stew, called Beef Birria.
  • Make Ahead and Freezer Friendly: I like to make a big batch and freeze the leftovers so we can enjoy them anytime! It’s also a great recipe to prepare days ahead, for easily serving a crowd.

What are Birria Tacos?

Birria Tacos became a popular food trend when someone decided to use the tender meat and consomé broth from Mexican Beef Birria stew, and transformed it into tacos! The corn tortillas are dipped in the broth before pan frying with meat and cheese inside. The birria taco craze is sweeping the internet and restaurants for good reason; they’re amazing!

Ingredients Needed:

  • Sauce ingredients: Dried chiles, tomatoes, onion, garlic and spices to make the birria sauce.
  • Beef: I like a combination of bone-in short ribs and chuck roast.
  • Corn tortillas: white or yellow corn tortillas work great.
  • Oaxaca Cheese: the most authentic choice and melts perfectly. Mozzarella and Monterey jack cheese would be good substitutes.
  • White Onion: finely chopped. Red onion would also work.
  • Cilantro and lime: for garnish
  • Optional homemade hot salsa: simple to make and takes these tacos over the top! You’ll need dried pasilla chiles and arbol chiles, tomatillos, garlic, onion, salt & pepper.

How to make Birria Tacos:

Prepare meat and dried chiles: Remove any large pieces of fat from the chuck roast. Cut it into a few large pieces and season with salt. Rinse the chiles (use gloves if desired), 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 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.

Three process photos for making meat and sauce for birria tacos.

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 birria meat and sauce cooking in a large pot.

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.

Shredded birria beef on a plate, ready to make tacos.

Dip Tortillas: Heat a large griddle or skillet over medium heat. Add a small amount of olive oil to the pot and swirl around. Dip a corn tortillas into the consommé broth and lay in hot pan.

Corn tortilla being dipped in birria sauce for tacos.

Assemble: Quickly top with a spoonful of shredded meat, a sprinkle of cheese and a little chopped onion and cilantro.

A dipped corn tortilla topped with shredded beef, cheese, cilantro and onion to make birria tacos.

Fry Tacos: Fold tortilla over, in half. Fry for several minutes, until crispy and browned on both sides, flipping once. Remove to a plate for serving.

Birria tacos cooking in a hot skillet, toasting on both sides.

Serve: Sprinkle remaining chopped white onion and cilantro on top. Serve with a cup of consommé broth, for dipping. If you want to take these tacos over the top, make my homemade hot sauce, in the recipe card, to go with!

A beef birria taco being dipped in birria sauce.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: The meat and sauce can be cooked a few days in advance, stored in the fridge in an airtight container.

To Freeze: The cooked meat and sauce may be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the fridge before rewarming, to make tacos.

Recipe Variations:

  • Chicken Birria Tacos: Make birria sauce as directed. Add bone-in, skinless chicken thighs to the sauce, instead of beef, and cook for about 30 minutes, or just until chicken is cooked through and tender. Remove to a plate and shred. Assemble tacos as instructed, and serve with sauce.
  • Slow Cooker Birria Tacos: Prepare and blend sauce. Add sauce and meat to slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, until meat is tender.

Serve With:

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Recipe

Birria Tacos served on a plate with a cup of consomé sauce for dipping.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 2 hrs 45 mins
Total 3 hrs
Save Recipe

Ingredients
 
 

Birria Meat and Sauce:

  • 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 1.5lbs)
  • 1 white onion , roughly chopped
  • 1 head garlic (10-12 cloves)
  • 1 Tablespoon EACH whole black peppercorns, whole cumin seed, dried oregano, dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seed
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
  • 1 inch piece Mexican cinnamon stick oe ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt

For the Tacos:

  • 15 white or yellow corn tortillas
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Oaxaca cheese or use mozzarella or Monterey jack
  • 1/2 of a white onion , diced
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro , chopped
  • 2 limes cut into small wedges

Instructions
 

Cook sauce and meat (can be made ahead):

  • Prepare meat and dried chiles: Remove any large pieces of fat from the chuck roast. Cut it into a few large pieces and season with salt. Rinse the chiles (use gloves if desired), 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 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.

Make Tacos:

  • Dip tortillas in broth: Heat a large griddle or skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with a small amount of oil. Dip a corn tortilla into the birria sauce and lay tortilla on hot pan.
  • Add taco toppings: Quickly top with a spoonful of shredded meat, a sprinkle of cheese and a little chopped onion and cilantro.
  • Pan fry: Fold tortilla over, in half. Fry for several minutes, until crispy and browned on the bottom. Flip and cook until crispy and browned on the other side. Remove to a plate, for serving.
  • Garnish and Serve: Sprinkle remaining chopped white onion and cilantro on top of tacos. Serve with a cup of warm consommé broth, for dipping. I also have a delicious hot salsa recipe in the notes, that takes these tacos over the top!

Notes

Chile Peppers and Spice Level: Guajillo and Passilla peppers have mild heat. Guajillo chiles are required for this recipe, but passila could be substituted with mulato chiles, or use 1-2 extra guajillo chiles. Arbol chiles are spicy, so for very mild heat you can leave them out, or for medium heat, remove the seeds.
Cinnamon Stick: Mexican cinnamon sticks are softer than cassia cinnamon sticks, so be sure to use Mexican cinnamon sticks so they blend well, or substitute ground cinnamon.
Slow Cooker Birria Tacos: Prepare and blend sauce. Add sauce and meat to slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, until meat is tender.
Chicken Birria Tacos: Add bone-in, skinless chicken thighs to the sauce, instead of beef, and cook for about 30 minutes, or just until chicken is cooked through and tender. Remove to a plate and shred. Assemble tacos as instructed, and serve with sauce.
To Make Ahead: The meat and sauce can be cooked a few days in advance, and stored in the fridge in an airtight container. 
To Freeze: freeze meat and sauce separately in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before rewarming, to make tacos.
Optional Hot Salsa, for serving:
  • 2 chiles pasilla
  • 5 arbol chiles
  • 10 tomatillo
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Small piece onion
  • Salt and pepper
Cover chiles and tomatillos with water and boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove everything chiles and tomatillos from the liquid and add to a blender. Add ½ cup of the water from the saucepan, garlic cloves, onion, and season with salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Serve as hot sauce for birria tacos.

Nutrition

Calories: 382kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 27gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 857mgPotassium: 589mgFiber: 5gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 2891IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 3mg

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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. Hi Deborah, Guajillo and Passilla peppers are pretty mild. The Arbol chiles are spicy, so for very mild heat you can leave them out, or for medium heat, remove the seeds.

  1. 5 stars
    Seriously amazing! I never thought of dipping tortillas un sauce before cooking–game changer!!

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve been wanting to try to make Birria Tacos and just saw your post! I can’t wait to make them!