Birria Tacos

Birria Tacos on a plate, served with a side of sauce and lime wedges

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 10 mins
Soak and Marinate: 8 hrs 20 mins
Total: 11 hrs
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yield: 12 tacos
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
545 Calories
18g Fat
32g Carbs
66g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 545
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 24%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 187mg 62%
Sodium 787mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 7g 27%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 66g
Vitamin C 32mg 159%
Calcium 118mg 9%
Iron 8mg 42%
Potassium 1092mg 23%
*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.

"These tacos were delicious with the flavorful consomé. There were several steps, but it was an easy recipe overall. I used my Instant Pot to cook the beef and it was tender and shredded easily. If you don't have a high-speed blender to purée the chili pepper and whole spice mixture you might need to strain it." —Diana Rattray

birria tacos with beef and consomé
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the adobo

  • 6 dried guajillo chiles

  • 2 dried morita chiles

  • 2 dried pasilla chiles

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar

  • 3 whole bay leaves

  • 1 small (5 grams) cinnamon stick

  • 3 whole cloves

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 2 allspice berries

  • 1 whole avocado leaf

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

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

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

For the consomé

  • 5 plum tomatoes

  • 1/4 medium white onion

  • 1 clove garlic

For serving

  • 12 corn tortillas

  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced

  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro

  • 4 limes, cut into quarters

Steps to Make It

Make the adobo

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Adobo ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  2. Heat a cast iron pan or griddle on medium-high heat. Cut off the stems from the chiles and remove the seeds and veins. Roast the chiles for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side until toasted, but not burned.

    Peppers in a cast iron skillet

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  3. Reserve the chiles in a bowl. Add hot water to the bowl to cover completely. Cover with a lid or plastic cling wrap, and let soak for 20 minutes.

    Peppers and hot water in a bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  4. Carefully move the soaked chiles with tongs into a blender along with the vinegar and about 1/2 cup of the water. Blend into a purée. Add more water if needed to get a smooth puree.

    Blended pepper mixture in a blender

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  5. 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. Add to the chile puree in the blender and puree everything together.

    Pepper mixture in a blender

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  6. Place the meat in a large bowl and pour the puree over it. Coat the meat completely with the puree on all sides. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator; let marinate at least 8 hours or overnight.

    Meat and herb puree in a bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  7. After marinating, place 3 cups of water in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, then add the meat with the chile puree and a tablespoon of salt. Pressure cook for 1 1/2 hours. 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.

    Meat and sauce cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

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

    Meat in a bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Make the consomé

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Consomé ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  2. 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 charred on all sides, turning as needed.

    Tomatoes and onions in a cast iron skillet

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  3. Place the roasted vegetables into a blender or food processor and blend into a puree. Strain and add the puree to the broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste.

    Consome in a pot

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Build the tacos

  1. Using tongs, dip each tortilla into the hot consomé and then fill with approximately 3 tablespoons of the meat. Place on a dish and continue with each tortilla.

    tacos dipped into consome on a plate

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  2. Serve with a small bowl of consomé for each person, along with white onion, chopped cilantro, and lime slices for garnish.

    Birria Tacos served with a side of consome and lime wedges

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

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.

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of roasting the tomatoes on the stovetop, you may grill them, broil them, or char them over a gas burner.
  • Avocado leaves have a mild licorice flavor and may be found in Mexican grocery stores and on the Internet. If you must substitute, use a bay leaf and a dash of cracked anise seeds.
  • For a simple shortcut, replace the whole tomatoes with a 14.5-ounce can of fire-roasted tomatoes (undrained).


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.

How to Store Leftover Birria

Refrigerate leftover birria meat and consomé separately in an airtight containers within 2 hours, and eat within 4 days.

Is birria consomé the same as French consommé?

Consomé for birria tacos is a broth made from puréed vegetables and the birria cooking stock and may be somewhat thick. It is used as a dip for birria tacos. French consommé is a clear soup made from a rich stock that has been clarified.

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