Birria Tacos

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Beef birria tacos (quesabirria) have become a huge fan favorite with their crispy tortilla, melty Oaxacan cheese, and juicy slow-cooked birria with a sprinkle of fresh onion and cilantro. Serve up the tacos with a small bowl of the flavorful consommé dipping sauce for the best ever taco night!

Birria tacos on a plate.
Photo: Gayle McLeod

Why Everyone Loves Birria Tacos

Yes, you can make a simple beef birria taco with shredded beef, onions, cilantro, and lime juice, and call it a day. But what’s become popular as of late is quesabirria tacos — an authentic Tijuana, Mexico recipe that’s changing the taco game. It takes Jalisco, Mexico’s favorite birria recipe, dips the tortilla in the consommé before adding the filling, and then fries it up for the ultimate crispy taco loaded with flavor. You can even find them in Mexican food trucks across the United States! Here’s what’s so great about them:

  • They’re like mini cheesy quesadillas. The process is similar, but you’re folding tacos on a flat-top grill with a cheesy, meaty filling instead of a large tortilla. A quesadilla enthusiast’s new favorite.
  • They’re served with the best dipping sauce. Also known as consommé, this is the rich and spicy broth made with my easy crockpot birria recipe, and boy does it taste SO good.
  • They’ve got a more kick than barbacoa. I typically love making barbacoa tacos for Mexican shredded beef. But birria de res is a great alternative when you want a meal with extra deep flavor and texture.
Ingredients for birria tacos.

Birria Tacos Recipe Ingredients

  • For the birria: I’m using beef chuck roast for meat that will become ultra-tender and juicy when slow-cooked.
  • For the birria sauce: This sauce is incredibly flavorful! It consists of three dried Mexican chiles, tomatoes, onion, garlic, beef broth, and apple cider vinegar. Add to that spices such as cumin, Mexican oregano, ground cloves, cinnamon, ginger, bay leaves, salt, and black pepper.
  • For the birria tacos: Grab your favorite tortillas, along with chopped onions, cilantro, and Oaxacan cheese. If you can’t find Oaxacan cheese, I’ve got substitutes below.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

Birria sauce in a blender.

How To Make Birria

  • Deseed and simmer the chilies. Slice the stems off the chilies and shake out the seeds. Then, give them a quick rinse to remove any dust from the outside. In a medium pot, add the guajillo chilies, ancho chilies, and arbol chilies. Cover completely with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, until the chilies have softened.
  • Roast the veggies. While the chilies are simmering, add the tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves to a quarter sheet pan. Broil them for 4 to 6 minutes, until lightly charred.
  • Make the sauce. Transfer the chilies and 1 cup of the remaining water to a high-powered blender. Remove the garlic from it’s peel and add it to the blender along with the tomatoes, onion, broth, vinegar, cumin, oregano, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. Blend on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until completely smooth.
Beef birria in a slow cooker.
  • Slow cook the birria. Place the beef chunks in the slow cooker. Pour the birria sauce on top, and add the bay leaves. Use tongs to gently mix it all together. then cover. Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours, or on high for 4 to 5 hours. The beef should be tender and fall apart easily when shredded with a fork. If it doesn’t shred easily, cook it a bit longer.
  • Shred the meat and combine it with the sauce. Discard the bay leaves. Remove the beef to a cutting board and use two forks to shred it. Place the shredded beef back in the slow cooker, stir it, and let it absorb the liquid (aka consommé).

How To Make Birria Tacos

  • Dip the tortillas. Dip the tortillas in the birria liquidy broth (consommé). The top layer of the consommé has more fat, which is perfect for frying and making the tortilla crispier.
  • Fry. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the wet tortilla, and cook on one side until lightly crispy, then flip over with tongs. Top with a sprinkle of cheese across the whole tortilla. Add a portion of birria on half the tortilla, along with a sprinkle of onion and cilantro. Once the cheese has melted, fold the tacos in half, continuing to fry for 2 to 3 minutes each side, until crispy. Serve with a side of the consommé for dipping.
Dipping tortilla in consomme.
Pan frying birria tacos in a skillet.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • If you want to reduce the spiciness of the birria, reduce or omit the arbol chiles.
  • If you can’t find Oaxacan cheese, you can substitute a Mexican cheese blend. Oaxacan cheese is like a Mexican mozzarella, it’s very stretchy.
  • While corn tortillas are traditionally used, you can use your favorite tortillas.
Beef birria tacos with consomme.

More Taco Recipes

I’m so excited for you to try these birria tacos! If you make them, I’d love your feedback on the recipe in the comment box below. Your review will help other readers in the community.

A plate of beef birria tacos.

Birria Tacos

4.80 from 10 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 8 hours 30 minutes
Total: 8 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 8 tacos
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

Switch up taco night with these beef birria tacos (quesabirria). Their crispy tortilla, melty cheese, slow-cooked birria, and flavorful consommé dipping sauce will have you going back for seconds, and likely thirds. Watch the video below to see how I make them in my kitchen!

Video

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

For the beef birria and birria sauce

For the birria tacos

  • corn tortillas (or cassava flour tortillas)
  • diced white onion
  • roughly chopped cilantro
  • Oaxacan cheese

Instructions 

To Make Birria

  • Deseed and simmer the chilies. Slice the stems off the chilies and shake out the seeds. Then, give them a quick rinse to remove any dust or dirt from the outside. In a medium pot, add the Guajillo chilies, Ancho chilies, and Arbol chilies. Cover completely with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, until the chilies have softened.
    Simmering Mexican chiles in a pot.
  • Roast the veggies. While the chilies are simmering, add the tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves to a quarter sheet pan. Broil them for 4 to 6 minutes, until lightly charred.
    Roasting tomatoes and onions on a sheet pan.
  • Make the sauce. Transfer the chilies and 1 cup of the remaining water to a high-powered blender. Remove the garlic from it's peel and add it to the blender along with the tomatoes, onion, broth, vinegar, cumin, oregano, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. Blend on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until completely smooth.
    Blended birria sauce in a Vitamix blender.
  • Slow cook the birria. Place the beef chunks in the slow cooker. Pour the birria sauce on top, and add the bay leaves. Use tongs to gently mix it all together. then cover. Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours, or on high for 4 to 5 hours. The beef should be tender and fall apart easily when shredded with a fork. If it doesn't shred easily, cook it a bit longer.
    Birria in a slow cooker.
  • Shred the meat and combine it with the sauce. Discard the bay leaves. Remove the beef to a cutting board and use two forks to shred it. Place the shredded beef back in the slow cooker, stir it, and let it absorb the liquid (aka consommé).
    Shredded beef birria.

To Make Birria Tacos

  • Dip the tortillas. Dip the tortillas in the birria liquid (consomme). The top layer of the consomme has more fat, which is perfect for frying.
    Dipping tortilla in birria consomme.
  • Fry. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the wet tortilla, and cook on one side until lightly crispy, then flip over with tongs. Top with a sprinkle of cheese across the whole tortilla. Add a portion of birria on half the tortilla, along with a sprinkle of onion and cilantro. Once the cheese has melted, fold the tacos in half, continuing to fry for 2 to 3 minutes each side, until crispy. Serve with a side of the consommé for dipping.
    Making beef birria tacos in a pan.

Lisa’s Tips

  • If you’re corn-free, I highly recommend you make my homemade cassava flour tortillas. They’re a reader favorite! 
  • If you can’t find Oaxacan cheese, you can sub a Mexican cheese blend. 
  • To store leftover birria for the week: Let the meat come to room temperature before placing it in an airtight container. It’ll stay good for 4 to 5 days in the fridge. 
  • To store the taco ingredients for the week: You can prep each taco ingredient and store them in individual containers in the fridge. This will make assembly easy throughout the week!
  • To freeze birria for later: Store any leftovers in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, let it thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in the microwave until warmed through. 

Nutrition

Calories: 513kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 902mg | Potassium: 1450mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 7174IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 7mg
Course: Dinner, Main Meal
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Beef Birria Tacos, Birria De Res Tacos, Birria Taco Recipe, Birria Tacos
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




31 Comments

  1. I’m not a chef and I feel like I could open up a restaurant with this recipe!!! Lol! Delicious!!! The layers of flavor were so perfect and intense- a sweet burn for sure! So, so incredibly good!5 stars

    1. Yay, I’m happy you loved them, Christine! And if you want to open a restaurant and use my recipe, I’m cool with that. ;) Enjoy!

    2. Hi Christine – It definitely is layered with tons of delicious flavor! Glad you found this recipe easy to follow along as well.

  2. Can’t wait to try it this recipe! Friends are coming over and I would like to make it for them. Do you assemble and fry all the tacos before serving? Do you keep them warm in the oven or do they loose their crunchiness if you do that?
    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Cindy – they will lose their crunchiness, so I prep and get everything ready ahead of time, then fry quickly right before serving. Hope you and your friends enjoy them!

  3. Overall, it’s a great recipe! It is well written and easy to follow. I would definitely cut back on the cloves the next time I make it for my personal preference. I don’t know why it overwhelmed the dish. Maybe I just had super strong cloves in my cupboard.3 stars

    1. Some people are definitely more sensitive to cloves, though I do find the flavor is more muted the next day (if you have leftovers). Feel free to cut that back to your liking. :)

  4. Absolutely delicious! I made these for my middle son’s birthday. My oldest son was visiting from California during this. I was nervous making them since he eats the real thing in California all the time.
    I followed the recipe exactly. I ordered the correct chilies off Amazon and oddly enough Walmart was our only store that sold the correct cheese.

    They were amazing! My son said they tasted like what he orders in California from the restaurants!

    My one “issue” was the serving size lol. It said it made 8 servings (unless I read it wrong) I had 8 people coming over so I figured I’d better get an extra crock pot and make two batches so I did. One crockpot definitely would have been enough. My youngest son had about 6 (17yr olds pack it away lol) my daughter had one, I had two and every one else had more than 2. Yet we never even touched the second crock pot and I have SOOOOO much birria left over even after sending a bunch home with my brother.

    Still, that’s not a bad issue to have lol. I’ll freeze some and we will have some over cauliflower rice. I got the meat from a local butcher I had never tried before and I’ll definitely be going back there. His prices were better than the grocery store and the meat much better.

    Anyway make this recipe!! But, don’t let the serving size fool ya lol.

    Absolutely perfect!

    *I didn’t see the response in time for my other comment so I just woke up super early to make the sauce. Next time I’ll definitely make it the night before. And I will be making it again!!5 stars

    1. So thrilled you and your son loved this birria, Brandy! And that’s a good point about the servings. Those servings were based off the main birria recipe (when you serve it in bowls), but you do tend to use less meat per taco. But always a good thing to have leftovers, haha. Enjoy!

  5. I love these tacos and could only find them at certain restaurants. So when Lisa created these I literally GASPED! I am making these for the SECOND time! My family didn’t leave any leftovers! 10/10 recommend.5 stars

  6. I’m making this tomorrow for my son’s birthday. Do you think it’s possible to make the sauce tonight to just dump in the crockpot in the morning? I guess I’m just worried about the flavors and if it needs to be added to the crockpot immediately.

  7. Just started this is the crockpot and I can already tell it’s going to be fabulous!! The minute I started pouring the consommé over the beef, I was in love! It smells awesome! I can’t wait to eat!! I made the recipe as written and the prep was super easy-even deseeding the peppers wasn’t that time consuming. I have the tortillas ready for dunking and crisping up along with my cilantro and lime! Thank you Lisa for another great recipe!!!5 stars

      1. They turned out awesome!! We couldn’t stop eating them!! They were so flavorful! My husband wants them every week. Thank you again Lisa!!!5 stars

  8. Greetings from England’s damp and windy North! Fantastic recipe. Unfortunately, in the cupboard we had none of the chilies that would have given the *proper* flavour profile…so I had to improvise! There are only 2 1/2 of us, and I used 1 old dried chipotle, 2 stingy-small even older sun-dried tomatoes, 1 un-named fresh green chili, rescued from its mouldy bits, and some dried chili flakes, together with a small handful of cherry tomatoes. And I forgot the black pepper. The rest, however, was all as per the recipe. The heat was unbearable for our 8-yr old without a mountain of Greek yoghurt (!), but it was bloomin’ gorgeous, even with the substitutes. And I didn’t give my family food poisoning :D Definitely one to revisit with, or without, the necessaries.
    Thank you, Lisa, for yet another very workable dish x5 stars

  9. The birria tacos were delicious. Our family of 5 ate them all and had no leftovers. The all requested it again the next night. 1000/105 stars

    1. 4 lb. of meat hopefully is not eaten in one sitting as a taco filling. I added a wonderful and huge salad with a lot of Latin American flavors, and savory beans on the side. Froze half of it for later. I sound preachie, but it’s easy to stretch animal meat with massive flavor!

  10. I made this on Saturday. It was delicious. I was a bit concerned when I tasted the raw sauce, but after cooking all day in the crock pot it came out wonderful. The tacos were delicious. I will definitely make these again.5 stars

      1. I followed the recipe exactly and my sauce was very running. Wondering if I maybe I missed something. In the photo the sauce looks thick.

      2. Hi Mary – the sauce is thin and brothy. So sounds like you did everything right!

  11. Made this today, to the recipe, with an exception of adding the juice of 1 1/2 limes in the last hour. This birria is so delicious, I doubt it will last one day around here.

    I made the sauce early this morning, wondering a bit in adding the cinnamon, cloves and ginger as I’ve never added these to a savory dish before. At hour 8 I was sure I had made some error in making the sauce as it was a bit spicy I love lime in Mexican dishes so added the lime juice at hour 8. At hour 9, the birria was so smooth, so well spiced and so delicious, I was amazed and we all dug right in. If I could give this dish more stars, I would be happy to.

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with us Just amazing.

    Regards,5 stars

    1. Hi there – Thrilled to hear your birria and tacos turned out great! And yes, you can always adjust the limes in this recipe to your liking.

  12. This is brillz! Dipping tortillas in the birria sauce! My mouth is watering. ¡Ahora a buscar los chiles birrias!