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+ servings
Half eaten Birria tacos on a blue plate.

Birria Tacos

Yield: 24 tacos
Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 3 hrs
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Tender beef and melty cheese is folded in a crispy tortilla and dipped in a deliciously rich Birria sauce.


Birria Part 1 - Sauce Ingredients: 

  • 10 dried guajillo chiles, (see note 1)
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 7 oz. can of chipotle peppers in adobo, about 6 peppers
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt

Birria Part 2 - Meat Ingredients: 

  • 3 lb. chuck roast, cut into 4-6 pieces
  • 2 lb. bone-in short ribs, (see note 2)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. oil for frying, (see note 3)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled & minced
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, (see note 4)
  • 4 bay leaves

Taco Ingredients:

  • 24-32 small tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Oaxaca cheese, or shredded mozzarella cheese
  • fresh cilantro, optional topping
  • red onion, optional topping
  • lime wedges, optional topping


Birria Part 1 - Sauce: 

  • Remove the stems and seeds from the dried guajillo chiles. Then soak the chiles in warm water for 15 minutes or until softened.
    Instructions to prep and soak dried chiles.
  • Once the peppers have softened, put all the Birria Part 1 - Sauce Ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend the sauce until smooth. Set aside. 
    Instructions to make Birria sauce in a food processor.

Birria Part 2 - Meat: 

  • Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Season all sides of roast and short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven (see note 5 & 6) over medium/high heat. Working in batches, sear all sides of the meat. Once seared, removed the meat and set aside. 
    Meat being seared in Dutch oven.
  • Immediately reduce the heat to low and allow the Dutch oven to cool for a minute or two. Add a little more oil if needed and sauté the diced onion until lightly brown. Then add the garlic and cook for an addition minute.
    Onions and garlic being sautéed in pot.
  • Add the Birria Sauce, beef broth, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and meat to the Dutch oven. Increase the heat and bring to a simmer. Cover with an oven-proof lid and transfer to the preheated oven (see note 6) for 3 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling apart . 
    Combining ingredients in Dutch oven to make Birria.
  • Remove the meat from the sauce. Shred the meat with two forks and set aside. Remove the bones, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves from the sauce and discard. 
    Shredded meat on a cutting board.

Taco Assembly: 

  • Put a skillet over medium heat. Dip the tortilla in the top layer of the sauce and immediately place in the preheated skillet. 
    Tortilla being dipped in Birria sauce.
  • Sprinkle some of the shredded cheese over the entire tortilla. Then add some of the shredded meat to 1/2 of the tortilla.
    A Birria taco in a skillet.
  • Use a spatula to fold the tortilla in half to make a taco. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy. 
    Frying a Birria taco in a skillet.
  • Serve with a side of the Birria Sauce for dipping. Garnish with fresh cilantro, red onion and lime wedges if desired.  
    Crispy Birria tacos on a white platter.


Note 1 - Dried Guajillo Chiles: Dried guajillo chiles are either found in the Mexican section or the dried herbs and spices section of the grocery store. Dried ancho chiles can be used as a substitute if needed. They are very mild, easy to find, and easy to use.
Note 2 - Short Ribs: Ensure the short ribs are bone-in because they add amazing flavor. Other bone-in options can be used such as oxtail or beef shank.
Note 3 - Oil: Use oil with a high smoke point to sear meat like vegetable, canola, or avocado oil.
Note 4 - Cinnamon Sticks: One teaspoon of ground cinnamon can be used as a substitute for the cinnamon sticks.
Note 5 - Dutch Oven Substitute: A large pot with an oven-safe life can be used instead of a Dutch oven.
Note 6 - Alternative Cooking Method: This recipe can be made in a slow cooker instead of an oven if needed. Cook in the slow cooker (covered) on high for 5-6 hours.


Serving: 1taco | Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 298mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g
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