Skip to Content

Beef Birria Tacos Recipe

Easy Beef Birria Tacos recipe combines tender slow-cooked beef, warm spices, and chilies, all wrapped up in a crispy tortilla for a delicious and satisfying meal.

Angled view of tacos filled with birra meat and garnished with cilantro and cheese - Hostess At Heart
Beef Birria Tacos

Perfect for any occasion, from weeknight dinners to entertaining guests. Try it today and experience the rich and savory flavors of this classic Mexican dish!

The spicy and unique flavors of our Birria Taco Recipe will take your guests on a culinary journey from the first bite to the last.

What are Birria Tacos?

Legend has it that a shepherd was forced to leave his goats in a cave during a volcano eruption and upon returning he found them perfectly steamed and delicious.

Originating in Birria, Mexico, this tasty mixture of shredded beef in a rich pepper sauce topped with cheese and then deep fried in bread or tortillas. It has been served for centuries. Today, beef or chicken are commonly used.

The word Birria comes from the word “birri” which means “To Roast” in Spanish. Traditionally Birria was made with lamb or goat but beef (Rez) is commonly used now.

Angled view of birris tacos on a plate topped with chopped cilantro and lime wedges - Hostess At Heart

Why We Love Beef Birria

Beef Birria tacos have an incredible flavor. They’re rich, savory, and as spicy as you want. While the dish has to simmer for a while to develop that incredible depth it is famous for, it’s the perfect dish to make on the weekend. The smells coming from your kitchen will have everyone anticipating this amazing meal.

While we’ve made these amazing tacos, there are so many ways to use Beef Birria meat and we’ll be sharing some of our favorite ideas with you.

Ingredients You’ll Need for This Recipe

Traditional recipes used goat meat. I’ve taken the liberty to change up this Quesabirria taco using two rich and delicious cuts of beef.

Top down view of beef, onion, garlic, dried pepper, spices, and garlic sitting on a baking sheet. Hostess At Heart
  • Water.
  • Chuck Roast. Look for one with a moderate amount of fat and even grains of marbling.
  • Bone-In Short Ribs. The bone adds significant flavor to the beautiful consommé used for dipping your tacos.
  • White Onion. You can use a sweet onion (sometimes labeled Vidalia) or yellow onion if needed.
  • Garlic Bulb. Each bulb has between 10 and 20 cloves of varying sizes.
  • Large Carrot. You can remove this at the end, so you can leave it whole or cut it into large pieces that can easily be removed after cooking.
  • Bay Leaves. While these leaves are not toxic, they do not break down in the stew and should be removed before you serve the sauce.
  • Guajillo Chile Peppers. Guajillo peppers chillies dried mirasol chile. They have a fruity smokey flavor and are considered a mild-medium pepper. They’re hotter than a poblano but less than a jalapeno pepper, so they are mild in my opinion.
    • If you cannot find them in your regular grocery store, try a specialty store for Hispanic cuisine or a Whole Foods store. They can also be purchased online
    • If you’re very sensitive to heat, you can use dried ancho chiles, which are dried poblano peppers known for their mild heat.
    • Dried Chile lasts a long time and when added to a hot liquid develops an amazing flavor that you would think would only come from fresh.
  • Chicken Boullion. Use the cube form or the granulated form. This adds depth to your sauce when combined with the beef flavors.
  • Chili Powder. This gives the dish its classic deep red appearance.
  • Mexican Oregano. I love the flavor of Mexican Oregano. It’s got a smooth flavor and is not as bold as regular oregano. I use it so much that it’s not one of those spices you buy and never use again.
  • Ground Cumin.
  • Salt.

We kept our spice profile very simple. You can also use ground coriander, ground cloves, or cinnamon sticks. There’s so much flavor in this dish that you don’t need a lot of salt and pepper either.

Ingredients to Make Tacos

  • White Corn Tortillas. These have a slightly different flavor and are the most traditional for this dish. You can use yellow corn but I don’t recommend flour tortillas for this recipe since they tend to puff up when fried.
  • Cotija Cheese. A white, aged Mexican salty, crumbly cheese works great with these tacos. You can substitute it with queso fresco, quesadilla cheese, or even Monterey Jack Cheese if you cannot find this addictive cheese at your grocery store.
  • Onions and Cilantro. For garnish. Red onions would add a beautiful color.

How To Make The Best Birria Tacos

Please note, that the printable recipe card has ingredient quantities, complete instructions, and nutritional information. The following is a quick overview of the recipe.

Step One: Start making beef birria tacos.

Place the birria meat, dried chiles, and all of the vegetables in a large dutch oven or stock pot and cover them with water. Add the herbs and spices (except chili powder) and bring the mixture to a low boil over medium-high heat.

Dutch oven filled with meat, vegetables, dried peppers, and spices in preparation to make Birra tacos - Hostess At Heart

Step Two: Boil.

Let the pot boil for thirty minutes and then skim off the top to remove the impurities.

Step Three: Puree the peppers.

Food processor filled with blended chilies, spices and vegetables to make a Birria sauce - Hostess At Heart

Remove the peppers from the pan with a slotted spoon and puree them in a blender or food processor. Return them to the pot and add the chili powder.

Step Four: Simmer.

Beef birria meat takes a minimum of three hours to simmer on the stovetop. You’re infusing flavor into the tender meat. 

Tip: Keep the cooking liquid. You can use it to reheat the meat or to make a rich stew. I would also add some of the birria broth to the meat before freezing to keep it from drying out.

Step Five: Reserve the grease.

Skim the grease off the top and set it aside. We’ll use this later to heat up the tacos.

Step Six: Chop up the birria taco meat.

A bowl filled with shredded beef birria meat - Hostess At Heart

Remove the onion, garlic, carrot, and bay leaf from the pot and discard. Remove the birria meat from the hot pot and shred it.

Step Seven: Make your tacos!

Heat the retained grease in a large skillet and place a tortilla in it. Place meat and cheese on the tortilla and let it heat. Use tongs to fold the tortilla over to form a taco and cook each side until crispy. Remove from heat.

Serve beef birria tacos to your family or friends.

Set out individual bowls of your favorite toppings, such as onions, avocado, tomatoes, shredded cheese, lime wedges, Oaxaca cheese, and fresh cilantro. Serve an individual small bowl of the rich broth mixture or beef consommé on the side for dipping. Dipping the tortilla is the traditional way of serving Birri tacos.

More Beef Birria Meat Serving Suggestions

Besides my famous birria tacos here, Birria meat makes the best quesadillas, or pile some of the shredded meat on top of nachos for an appetizer. Instead of shredding the meat cut it into large chunks and make Beef Birria Stew. Another dish in the works is a Birria Ramen. I can’t wait to share that one.

Frequently Asked Questions

What beef cuts do I use for birria meat tacos?

Our recipe uses a combination of chuck roast and short rib. However, oxtail, beef shank, and stew meat are also good alternatives.

Do I have to simmer my beef birria ingredients for so long?

Yes. As with any stew, the flavors deepen as they cook. There isn’t a substitute for time when it comes to a recipe like this one. This type of meal is famous for tasting better the next day.

This Beef Birria recipe makes a great slow-cooker recipe. Instead of simmering on the stove, place the meat mixture in the slow cooker for 6 to 8 hours.

Top-down view of 4 birria meat tacos on a plate garnished with lime wedges, cilantro, and cheese - Hostess At Heart

How To Reheat & Store Beef Birria Tacos

Best way to store Beef Birria Tacos

Refrigerate leftover taco meat and toppings separately in airtight containers. Toppings are good for a couple of days in the refrigerator and the meat will last up to 5 days. I’d freeze it as soon as you know you will not be serving it again.

Can I freeze Beef Birria Recipe?

Yes. You can freeze the cooked beef for up to three months in airtight containers. I like putting the birria meat in a reclosable ziplock bag in individual meal-sized servings and laying it flat to freeze. This allows me to take out what I need for a meal. Laying them flat allows me to stack them in the freezer as well so they take up less space.

Also, freeze any reserved beef broth. You can use it anytime a recipe calls for beef stock or when you want to make dipping sauces for sandwiches like our Prime Rib Sandwich.

How to reheat Birria Taco?

You have lots of options for reheating this amazing taco meat. You can reheat the birria meat from the refrigerator or the freezer. Place the meat in the microwave and heat in thirty-second increments.

Reheat the meat in a skillet or saucepan with a little water or reserved cooking liquid for an easy stovetop method. It will take a little longer but is more gentle on the meat. You can also reheat the meat in the oven at 325ºF for about 15 to 20 minutes. Cover it with foil to keep it from drying out and getting too crispy.

What to serve with Birria de Res

Besides an amazing Margarita, we always have an appetizer such as Queso Blanco Cheese dip and love a great side dish with a spicy kick, such as Mexican Rice, Charro Beans, or our semi-homemade Black Beans Recipe. Don’t forget dessert!

Tips for the Perfect Beef Birria Tacos

  • Cook the ingredients low and slow. The meat develops a rich and spicy flavor and becomes so tender that it falls apart.
  • If you do not have a food processor, you can puree the chiles with a stick blender or a high-powered blender. Just make sure to put the lid on tight.
  • Be careful when handling the guajillo chiles. You will need to remove the seeds for the recipe. Wear gloves, and/or avoid touching the seeds completely. Remove the gloves without touching where the seeds were. Wash your hands with hot soapy water and avoid touching your eyes until you’re sure you don’t have chili oil on your fingers.

We think our Beef Birra Tacos are some of the best tacos we’ve ever made, we love alternatives. Some of our go-to recipes are Ground Chicken Taco Salad and Leftover Brisket Tacos, and you can’t go wrong with this Instant Pot Pork Taco recipe.

I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe as much as we do. Drop me a comment below, and don’t forget to give it a star rating. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. Your comments and ratings help others decide if this recipe is for them too.

Beef Birria Tacos sitting on a plate garnished with chopped cilantro and cheese - Hostess At Heart

Beef Birria Tacos Recipe

Author: Julie Menghini
Easy delicious Beef Birria Tacos recipe features tender beef cooked in a flavorful blend of spices and chilies.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword: Beef, Birra, Tacos
Servings: 8 2 per person


  • 8 c water
  • 4 lbs chuck roast cut into 4 large chunks
  • 2 lbs short ribs bone in
  • 1 large white onion Peeled and cut in half crosswise
  • 1 garlic bulb cut the narrow top off, no need to peel
  • 1 carrot cut in half crosswise, then cut in half (4 large pieces of carrot)
  • 5 bay leaves dried
  • 8 dried guajillo chiles stems cut off and seeds removed
  • 3 tbsp chicken boullion
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt


  • 14-16 white corn tortillas
  • 2 cups grated cotija cheese
  • Chopped cilantro and onions for garnish


  • In large pot add meat, onion, garlic, carrots, bay leaves and dried peppers. Cover with water.
  • Add chicken bouillon, oregano, cumin and salt, stir to combine. Bring to a boil.
  • After 30 minutes, skim the top of the pot to remove impurities from the bone cooking out.
  • Remove the peppers and place in a food processor. Blend until smooth, add up to 1/4 cup of broth if needed to help get a smooth consistency.
  • Add the blended peppers into the broth and stir to combine.
  • Add in the chili powder as desired to get a nice deep red color to the broth.
  • Cover and continue to simmer for about 3 hours or until meat is tender and easily shredding on it’s own. Taste the broth once the meat is cooked through and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Skim the grease from the top of the broth and save for later.
  • Remove the onion, garlic, carrots, and bay leaves from the broth.
  • Remove the meat from the broth, and finely chop until only small pieces remain.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Dip the corn tortilla into the reserved grease from the broth.
  • Place on heated griddle, top with the chopped meat and cheese.
  • Fold the taco over and press down with a spatula. Continue cooking until the taco is crisp and golden on the bottom, about 2-3 minutes. Then flip and continue cooking the other side.
  • Cook until both sides are crisp. Remove from heat and allow to cool briefly before serving.
  • Top tacos with fresh cilantro and onion.
  • Serve with a bowl of the broth topped with onions and cilantro on the side
  • Dip the tacos into the broth while eating.


Calories: 774kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 68gFat: 44gSaturated Fat: 20gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 2gCholesterol: 239mgSodium: 1006mgPotassium: 1286mgFiber: 5gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2549IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 291mgIron: 8mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

Did you enjoy this recipe? Don’t forget to pin it for later and follow me on Pinterest for more delicious recipes like this one!

Top down view of beef tacos sitting on a plate garnished with chopped cilantro and cheese.
Recipe Rating

Sheila Thigpen

Tuesday 18th of April 2023

So much flavor depth in this taco! Absolutely the best taco I've ever made — thanks so much for the recipe.

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 19th of April 2023

Thank you, Sheila! So easy and delicious.


Tuesday 18th of April 2023

Took a while for me to find guajillo chiles but it was worth it. Brought so much great flavors to the meat. Definitely saving and making this again

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 19th of April 2023

Thank you! The guajillo chiles last a long time which is a great thing.


Tuesday 18th of April 2023

This is our new favorite taco recipe. My family devoured the tacos. The sauce is DELICIOUS!

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 19th of April 2023

Thank you, Sandra! It's one of the most requested in my house.


Sunday 16th of April 2023

We loved these! Made and have been enjoying them all week as tacos, but also in salads and quesadillas, so good!

Julie Menghini

Monday 17th of April 2023

When I make them I make plenty because we love the leftovers too. Thank you!


Friday 14th of April 2023

Wanted to try something new for dinner guests, and this was a hit!

Julie Menghini

Friday 14th of April 2023

Anyone would like this delicious taco recipe! Your guests would love them.

As Seen On