A simple authentic recipe for the BEST Birria Tacos, a flavorful Mexican beef or lamb stew that is spooned into tortillas with melty cheese, pickled onions, avocado and cilantro. Cook this in a dutch oven, slow cooker, or instant pot. Video.

A simple authentic recipe for Birria Tacos, a flavorful Mexican beef or lamb stew that is spooned into tortillas with melty cheese, pickled onions, avocado and cilantro. Cook this in a ducth oven, slow cooker, or instant pot. 

Divine guidance always arises like a whisper. It does not yell and it does not insist. It is a quiet thing. We cannot hear the whispers of divine guidance until we have embraced who we are. ~Adyashanti 

These Birria Tacos are filled with flavorful Mexican stew, typically made with beef, lamb or sometimes goat. Tough cuts of meat are cooked until tender and juicy, infused with flavorful chilies and Mexican spices. Serve the stew in bowls, or serve them inside tortillas that have been dipped in the stew juices, and fried along with melty cheese, pickled onion and cilantro. A total flavor bomb!

Using an Instant Pot takes a third of the time and yields the tenderest of meat in about 45 minutes of pressure cooking time. You can also roast this in a dutch oven or simmer on the stovetop for about 2 1/2 hours. Lastly, you can cook this in your slow cooker for 6-8 hours. Lots of options here friends!

How to Make Birria Tacos | Video

Ingredients in Birria

Ingredients in Birria

  • Beef or Lamb- Tougher cuts of red stew meat work well here and will tenderize in the flavorful sauce. Beef stew meat, chuck roast,  or beef shoulder, lamb leg, lamb shoulder,lamb stew meat or goat meat all work great.
  • beef stock (or sub chicken stock)
  • dried Mexican chilies-  guajillo chiles or ancho chilies, or Pasilla chilies, chipotles, etc)
  • onion
  • garlic
  • diced tomatoes– canned fire-roasted or fresh.
  • Mexican Spices: cumin, coriander, oregano, bay leaves, chile powder, cinnamon stick
  • apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Serve with tortillas, melty cheese, pickled onions, cilantro and avocado.

How to make Birria: 

STEP 1: Saute the onion and garlic in the dutch oven or Instant Pot.  Add all the spices and toast for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and their juices.

STEP 2: Season the meat with salt and pepper and add the meat to the pot with the stock.

STEP 3:  Remove the stems and seed of the chilies, and toast the chilies in a dry skillet until they soften and release their oils, about 1- 2 minutes.

Step 4:  Nestle in the stew, cover tightly and simmer on low heat for 2 1/2 hours, checking every 45 minutes, adding water ( just enough to cover the meat).

Alternatively, Pressure cook on high for 45 minutes.

Step 5: Remove the chilies and blend with 1 cup of broth from the stew.

Step 6: Pour this back into the dutch oven or Instant pot. If serving as a stew in bowls, feel free to add more broth or water to loosen.

birria in a pot

Step 7: If serving in tacos, shred the flavorful Birria with two forks and place it back into the flavorful juices.

Shredding Birria

How to make Birria Tacos!

Step one: Dip tortillas into the rich Birria broth, then place them onto a greased griddle, flat top, or skillet.

Tip: This will also help to skim some of the fat from the stew itself.

dip tortillas in the the birria broth

Step two: Place the dipped corn tortillas in a hot grease skillet to crisp them up. Add melty cheese like queso fresco or Oaxacan string cheese.

Step three: Top with some Birria stew meat and cilantro, fold the tortilla over and pan sear each side until crispy and melty. Keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.

Serve the Birria Tacos with any of your favorite toppings- pickled onions, avocado,or this hot sauce.   Mexican Slaw would also work! These turned out so incredibly good- the family loved them!

A simple authentic recipe for Birria Tacos, a flavorful Mexican beef or lamb stew that is spooned into tortillas with melty cheese, pickled onions, avocado and cilantro. Cook this in a ducth oven, slow cooker, or instant pot. 

Birria Stew

Birria can also be served in bowls as a stew. Top with cilantro, onions or pickled onions, queso fresco if you like or sour cream and avocado is nice. Crunchy radishes are also a nice touch. The pickled onions really help to cut the richness of the fat here. See recipe notes for removing fat.

An authentic recipe for Birria, a flavorful Mexican Stew made with beef, lamb or goat that can be made in an Instant Pot, Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker. Serve this in a big bowl or make Birria Tacos - the best! #birria #birriatacos #mexicanstew #tacos

Birria FAQS

  1. What does Birria taste like? Birria is a rich, brothy, flavorful stew, infused with Mexican chilies and tastes slightly spicy, earthy and full of flavor. The meat is deliciously tender with the perfect amount of heat.
  2. Is Birria goat meat? Authentic Birria is often made with goat meat in Mexico, but beef or lamb are both good substitutes.
  3. What is the difference between Birria and Barbacoa? Birria originates from Jalisco Mexico and is meat braised in a flavorful chili-infused sauce. Barbacoa is the traditional Mexican technique of barbequing the meat- typically placed in a hole in the ground over hot stones.

An authentic recipe for Birria, a flavorful Mexican Stew made with beef, lamb or goat that can be made in an Instant Pot, Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker. Serve this in a big bowl or make Birria Tacos - the best! #birria #birriatacos #mexicanstew #tacos

The leftover Birria can be used in enchiladas, tostadas, quesadillas, nachos, or even frozen for another time.

Serve Birria with any of the following: 

  1. Cilantro Lime Rice
  2. Mexican Pinto Beans
  3. Mexican Slaw
  4. Homemade Tortillas
  5. Mexican Papaya Salad!
  6. Fresh Tomatillo Salsa 
  7. Pickled Red Onions

I hope you enjoy this Birria Recipe as much as we do! Please let me know what you think in the comments below!

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A simple authentic recipe for Birria Tacos, a flavorful Mexican beef or lamb stew that is spooned into tortillas with melty cheese, pickled onions, avocado and cilantro. Cook this in a ducth oven, slow cooker, or instant pot. 

Birria Tacos

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Stew, beef, lamb
  • Method: Instant Pot, Baked, Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

How to Make Birria ( and Birria Tacos)- a traditional Mexican Stew, that can be made in an Instant Pot,  Dutch Oven (Baked or Stovetop), or in a slow cooker. Serve in a bowl as a hearty stew, or use inside Birria tacos. Great for meal prep and freezes well. This recipe has been simplified and updated- but see notes for the link to the original recipe. 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 12 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick ( or sub 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon)
  • 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted (and juices) or 1 1/2 cups fresh, diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups beef stock ( or chicken stock)
  • 3 lbs beef stew meat (or lamb or goat) cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces – chuck roast, shoulder, lamb leg, lamb shoulder.
  • 46 dried chilies- guajillo chiles, pasilla, ancho – see notes.
  • 13 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, optional
  • 13 teaspoons honey to taste, optional
  • Optional additions: 3-inch piece orange zest, 1-2 chipotle chiles (or 2-3 tablespoons adobo sauce sauce from the can)

Serve with: Tortillas, melty cheese, cilantro, chopped onions or pickled onions, Hot Sauce, avocado, sour cream, and radishes.


Instructions

Birria Stew

  1. Season meat with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Saute: Heat oil in  Instant pot on SAUTE setting, (or large Dutch oven over medium heat) and add onion and garlic, stirring and sauteing until fragrant, tender and golden. Add all the spices, saute 2 minutes, add the bay leaves & tomatoes and their juices and the beef stock. Stir and scrape up any browned bits.
  3.  Add the salted meat and stir.
  4. Toast the chilies in a dry large skillet over medium-low heat until softened, releasing their oils, about 2 minutes. Nestle into the stew. Add optional orange zest.
  5. INSTANT POT: Set instant pot to 45 minutes on high pressure. Let it naturally release.
  6. Dutch Oven: If using a dutch oven,  add one more cups of water, cover tightly, and simmer gently on the stovetop, on low heat (or bake in a 350F oven). Check every 45 minutes, adding more water to keep water level just slightly over the meat for roughly 2 – 2 1/2 hours, until meat is tender and falling part.
  7. SLOW COOKER: You could also place this in a slow cooker on low for 8 hours.
  8. Once the meat is tender, fish out the chilies, and blend with a cup of the warm broth in a blender until pureed. Return to the pot, stirring it in. Shred the meat with two forks.
  9. Season: Taste and season, adding a splash of vinegar and honey to taste, and adjust salt and pepper to taste. For more heat blend in chipotle or add more adobo from the can.

Serving Options:  

  1. Make Birria Tacos:  Dip tortillas into the rich broth, lightly coating each side and place in a greased skillet, over medium heat, top with cheese, birria stew meat, and any fixings.  Fold the over ( like a quesadilla) and pan-sear each side until crispy. Keep warm in the oven until serving.
  2. BOWL OF STEW: (feel free to thin this out with a little more broth if you prefer) Serve in a bowl, topped with cilantro, radish, cucumber, chopped onion or pickled onion, cotija cheese or sour cream and lime. (Fresh chopped things add good texture.)

Notes

Chilies: Use dry mild chilies like Guajillo and Pasilla Chiles to add flavor and depth – but not too much heat. (Feel free to use other dried chilies, paying attention to heat level.) Add Chipotle for more heat and smoky flavor. If you want a milder stew, I suggest using only Guajillos (like 6). You can always add more spice at the end (cayenne, chili flakes, chipotle powder) if not sure. Using dried chilies really makes this dish. 

If you prefer a brothier stew, you can always add more chicken or beef broth at the end of cooking, seasoning with a little more salt.

MEAT: I used a mixture of lamb and beef. Tougher cuts of meat work great here like stew meat. Shoulder, shank, leg, etc. Goat meat is traditional.

To Remove Fat: Make the stew ahead and cool – the fat will solidify at the top and then can be easily removed.

MY ORIGINAL RECIPE: Find it here.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: using beef, and no toppings
  • Calories: 392
  • Sugar: 9.3 g
  • Sodium: 1764.7 mg
  • Fat: 12.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 19.7 g
  • Fiber: 5.7 g
  • Protein: 52.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 151.3 mg

Keywords: Birria Tacos, Birria Recipe, How to Make Birria, Instant Pot Birria, Slow Cooker Birria, Beef Birria, Lamb Birria

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Comments

  1. Love this recipe. I have used it 4 times! The only change I would recommend is to first sear the meat then remove. Then add onions so and garlic this way they can soak up all that flavor from the seared meat. Again, love this recipe.

    Thanks!

    1. also…once you add the onions add a splash of broth and deglaze the pan. Then go from there with original recipe.

  2. Good recipe

    I used two each, guajillo, anchor, pasilla and added 2 chipotle.
    Pressure cooker for 45 min. Meat was perfect.
    Consumme was a bit bitter on the finish. Maybe too much peppers, maybe a toasted them too much.
    Not sure
    I cut the broth with chicken stock to mellow it out.
    Otherwise was a hit.
    Any suggestions to avoid the bitter taste is appreciated.

    Side note: the constant pop ads really suck.

    1. Over-toasting the peppers can make them bitter. Glad you were able to mellow it out. Sorry about the ads- were you on your phone or desktop? just curious.;)

  3. I’m glad to see other comments that the recipe has been updated, I thought I was losing it! Thankfully, I’ve made the previous version so much I remembered the steps. If this one is similar results with fewer steps, I’ll try it next time (but I’ve grown to enjoy toasting the spices & simmering the chilis in the broth.) I think cloves, peppercorns & orange peel have been removed from this version? Either way, I’m sure it’s delicious & still better than any I’ve gotten in a restaurant,

  4. This is delicious, however I agree with the previous posters that the original recipe was even better! I wish I had printed or copied it but unfortunately only saved the link, so if there is any way you could post the old version of the recipe or possibly email it to me? My family would be so grateful! Thank you for all of the fresh and flavorful recipes you post!

    1. OK Jeannette- I will see what I can do and add to the recipe notes. Give me a few days. 😉

  5. Delicious, it was hard to source the Mexican chilies but well worth the effort, they add so much to the dish. I served it with coriander rice (also delicious), sour cream, radishes, and pickled onions. Everyone loved it. My husband had the leftovers for breakfast!! Thank you for another great recipe Sylvia. I am going to try and make a vegetarian version

  6. Hi,
    Did you update your recipe? I was such a huge fan of the previous recipe. Is there any way you can send it to me? I’d love to have it and keep it!

    1. The recipe itself is the same- except I just took out the orange peel, and changed the order of things (blending after, instead of before). Feel free to add the orange peel.:)

      1. Hi there! I have the ingredients screen shotted and I can assure you that it is NOT the same at all…. I had to attempt it from memory because I loved that older recipe so much! These current ingredients are lacking… is there any way I could get the old one as well? It was my go too and now I am very sad. You are awesome! Thanks!

        1. Hi Sage- just curious- have you tried making the current version as written? Do you mind sending me your screenshot to my email sylvia @ feastingathome .com? thanks so much!

  7. We tried this recipe for the first time today, I prepped everything this morning and popped it into my trusty slow cooker – when we got home the whole house smelled so good and I couldn’t wait to dig in. All we had to do was assemble the tacos and everyone wanted seconds. This will definitely be added to our family staples, it’s delicious!

  8. This was delicious and so easy in the Instant Pot. Blending the broth and chiles gave it the most amazing flavor. Thank you!

  9. Made this for the first time tonight. Delicious! Any tips for the corn tortillas? Mine didn’t hold up as well as those in the pictures when I put them in the skillet.

    1. Oh shoot Jenna! If you warm them up a bit first, they are more pliable and bendy.

  10. I’ve made this recipe several times and we can’t get enough of it. I noticed it has been updated, but no longer has instructions for cooking in a Dutch oven in the oven. I appreciated that method because you can pop it in the oven and forget about it for a few hours. I don’t remember the oven temp or duration, could you remind me? Thank you!

    1. Ooops! Ok I added that back in- 350F for 2-2 1/2 hours, checking liquid level every 45-60 mins. 🙂

  11. I somehow managed to print out a version of this recipe prior to the last update, and can no longer find that version. It was a bit more complicated, but was what I used. It called for toasting the spices, and toasting, then soaking, the chiles in the broth alone before blending them and adding them back to the tomato mixture. I haven’t tried this version, which looks like it’s been simplified. Glad I printed the first version, though it’s a bit spattered now–the dish is fantastic!

    1. Yes, I did update this recipe, making it simpler. It honestly does not taste a whole lot different!

  12. Gonna try this on the weekend… I managed to find some dried epazote which is rare here…can I swap out the same measurement of oregano for this epazote to give it a more Mexican taste? Or should I use less/more? Your advice greatly appreciated!

  13. Absolutely delicious! We so so enjoyed every last bite of these.
    The pickled onions are a must. Just love the spice combo.

  14. Wonderful and easy.
    I added some oj to this and it added a bit more of sweetness.
    Jamie

    1. Goat is often used in the traditional recipe in Mexico and since it is harder to find here in the states, I modified this. You can still use goat- see the recipe notes. 🙂

  15. Nothing about this dish is authentic. It is an insult to people like my grandfather that have been making it for decades in Jalisco. Change this name to a stew because birria it is not!!

    1. Interesting, did you make this Teresa? Can you tell me what you would change, or how the Jalisco version differs? Just curious.

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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