Birria Tacos

Birria tacos

The Spruce Eats / Ubish Yaren

Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 105 mins
Marinade: 8 hrs
Total: 10 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 12 tacos
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
274 Calories
5g Fat
49g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 274
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Sodium 1005mg 44%
Total Carbohydrate 49g 18%
Dietary Fiber 10g 35%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 55mg 276%
Calcium 137mg 11%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 809mg 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.)

Birria is a traditional Mexican dish that originates in the states of Jalisco, Aguascalientes, and Zacatecas. It starts with a braised meat, traditionally in some regions goat or lamb, in other regions, beef. The meat goes in the tortillas, and they're served with the braising liquid, called consomé (not to be confused with a classic French consommé). Birria tacos are a very common breakfast remedy for a hangover, but of course they are delicious any time of the day.

Lately, birria de res (beef) tacos have become popular throughout the U.S. There are a couple of different ways to make them, but in this method you'll make the birria, then dip the tortillas in the consomé before filling them with the stewed beef.


For the adobo

  • 6 dried guajillo chiles

  • 2 dried morita chiles

  • 2 dried pasilla chiles

  • 3 whole bay leaves

  • 1 (5 grams) cinnamon stick

  • 3 cloves

  • 2 allspice berries

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 avocado leaf

  • 1 teaspoon oregano

  • 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef, cut into 4 large pieces

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

For the consomé

  • 5 medium tomatoes

  • 1/4 medium white onion

  • 1 clove garlic

For serving

  • 12 corn tortillas

  • 1/2 medium chopped white onion

  • 4 tablespoons cilantro

  • 4 limes, cut into quarters

Steps to Make It

Make the adobo

  1. Gather the ingredients. Heat a cast iron pan or griddle on medium high. Cut off the stems from the chiles and remove the seeds and veins. Roast the chiles for about 2-3 minutes on each side until toasted, but not burned. Reserve the chiles in a bowl. Cover completely with hot water, cover with a lid or plastic cling wrap, and let soak for 20 minutes. Carefully move the soaked chiles with tongs and place in a blender along with about 1/2 cup of the water. Blend into a puree.

  2. Heat the pan or griddle over medium-high heat again and add the spices and herbs. Toast, stirring occasionally, until they release their aromas, about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan's contents to make sure nothing burns. Then, add to the chile puree and blend everything together.

  3. Place the meat in a large bowl and pour the puree over it. Coat the meat completely with the puree, over all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic cling wrap, place in the refrigerator, and let marinate at least 8 hours or overnight.

  4. After marinating, place the meat in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot along with 3 cups of water and a tablespoon of salt. Pressure cook for 1 hour and a half. Alternatively, you could cook the meat in a large pot on the stove. Bring the pot to a simmer, lower to medium-low and cover, and cook for 3 hours.

    The meat should be very tender. Remove the meat from the broth and break apart into bite-sized pieces. Reserve the both. 

Make the consomé

  1. Gather the ingredients. Heat a cast iron pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Place the tomatoes, onion, and garlic in the pan and toast until they are almost black on all sides, turning as needed. Blend them and strain them and add to the meat broth, cook for 20 minutes and check the seasoning. 

  2. Place the roasted vegetables into a blender or food processor and blend into a puree. Strain and add the puree to the meat broth. Cook for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste.

Build the tacos

  1. Using tongs, dip each tortilla into the hot consomé and then fill with approximately 3 tablespoons of the meat. Place in a dish and continue with each tortilla. Serve with a small bowl of consomé for each person, along with chopped cilantro, white onion, and lime slices for garnish.

Handle chiles with caution

Take care to wash your hands thoroughly after handling chiles. Some people use gloves or wrap their hands in plastic bags to protect themselves. Oils from the chiles can irritate your eyes and nose if you handle chiles and then absentmindedly touch your face.


If you like birria tacos and quesadillas, try quesabirria.

  1. Melt a shredded stick of string cheese or Oaxaca cheese on a pan over medium heat.
  2. Dip a tortilla into the consomé and place over the melted cheese.
  3. Flip, with the cheese, and fill with beef.
  4. Fold and cook each side until crispy. Garnish as desired.

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