Slow-Cooked Birria (Authentic Mexican Beef Stew) Recipe

Birria with tortillas and lime wedges

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Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 75 mins
Total: 95 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
745 Calories
37g Fat
43g Carbs
68g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 745
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 37g 47%
Saturated Fat 13g 66%
Cholesterol 196mg 65%
Sodium 444mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 16%
Dietary Fiber 9g 31%
Protein 68g
Calcium 226mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Who wouldn't want to delicious beef stew in the slow-cooker made with tender chunks of beef and a red chile broth flavored with onions and garlic on a chilly day? This recipe requires about 20 minutes of prep work but you can do most of it the night before, such as chopping the onions and garlic. Then all you have to do is let the magic happen and by dinner time you'll be able to warm your insides with something incredibly tasty.


  • 6 dried red chiles
  • 2 pounds chuck roast
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (dried)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano (dried)
  • 6 to 8 lime wedges (chopped onion, chopped cilantro and warm tortillas for the side)

Steps to Make It

  1. Prepare the red chiles by cutting the tops off and removing the stem. We like to use scissors because the dried chiles can be tough. Then, cut a slit down the side of the chile to split it open. The majority of the seeds will shake right out. Use your fingers or a spoon to scrape any additional seeds off and pull off any dried veins.

  2. Place the chilies in a bowl and cover it with hot water. They will need to soak 20 to 30 minutes depending on how thick they are. Use a spoon to occasionally push them under the water if they float too much. After you soak the chiles the water will be a brownish color like very diluted coffee. Depending on the chile, it may be bitter or it may have the flavor of the chiles in it, which may be similar in flavor to diluted coffee. If the water is bitter, discard it. If the water has a good flavor to it, you can use it in with the beef broth for extra flavor. Chop the chiles into fine bits. Use a food processor or blender if you want.

  3. Cut the beef into 1-inch chunks. We find this easier if the meat is partially frozen or you can have your butcher do it.

  4. Peel the onion and discard the papery outer skin. Chop or dice into fine 1/4 inch pieces or smaller. 

  5. Peel the garlic and crush it or chop it finely.

  6. In a large pan, add the oil and begin to saute the onions for about a minute to soften them. Turn the heat to high and add the beef into the pot and turn the pieces often until all of the beef is browned and beginning to get a little crispy on the edges (it doesn't matter if it is cooked all the way through.) Add in the garlic and continue to cook the mixture for another minute. Transfer the cooked beef mixture to your slow cooker and add the beef broth.

  7. Add the red chiles, bay leaves, thyme, cumin, and oregano. We start with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and add some later if needed. Turn the slow-cooker to low and let it cook for about 6 hours.

  8. Taste the stew and add more salt or seasonings as necessary. Remove the bay leaves and discard them.

  9. Serve the stew with fresh chopped onion, chopped fresh cilantro, and a stack of steaming hot tortillas. Serve each bowl with a lime wedge.

  10. Enjoy!

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